27

Somehow it never really feels like the year has actually started until my birthday comes around at the end of January. And I mean the very end – I was born 1/31/1991, which sort of rolls off the tongue in a fun way. Just for kicks, here’s my birth announcement — I randomly found it in my house years ago and took it for myself, lol.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I’m still feeling residual anxiety and hopelessness from 2017, but I’ve already talked at length about that so I won’t rehash it. You can, however, read about it here, if you’re feeling so inclined.

So after putting aside the notion of writing more about how shitty 26 was, I was trying to think of a direction for talking about starting 27. And then somehow my brain looked back 10 years to Krys-at-17. What was she up to? How does her life compare to mine now?

1930027_19705530683_7468_n.jpg

Age 17. Driving a Duck on my first ever visit to Boston (an overnight trip with the school band).

The answer is, as much as I didn’t hate high school, I definitely wouldn’t want to relive my junior year. For instance, Junior Krys had a boyfriend who didn’t respect her boundaries and neither the voice to convince him to stop nor the confidence to just leave him. She spent a lot of time worrying about getting top grades in her full slate of high level classes, while her mother told her, “as long as you pass it doesn’t matter.” Driving gave her extreme anxiety so she didn’t get her license when she turned 17 and as a result didn’t have much of a social life outside of school.

When I think back to that school year I don’t remember being a constantly unhappy little cloud moping about (for instance, I did get to go on the cool overnight school trip pictured above), but I do vaguely remember writing on my Xanga blog about taking a mental health day. How many 17 year olds in 2008 even knew what a mental health day was?

tumblr_mhi105UJsp1qa7osho1_1280

Actual picture taken with my webcam on my 22nd birthday. Was trying to show my whole outfit without cutting off my head, and somehow thought this pose was okay, lol.

And then I thought back just five years, to Krys-at-22. It was the start of 2013. She’d graduated from college just before Christmas, was beginning her search for her first adult job, and was nervous, but cautiously optimistic about what life would be like going forward.

2013 turned out to be one of the worst years of my entire fucking life. I was plagued by multiple forms of rejection, plunged into a very deep depression, and spent most of the year unemployed. It was only in September when I got part time work helping kids not so different from Krys-at-17 prepare for the SATs that I started to feel alright again. So, no, I would not want to go back five years’ time either.

So while, yes, I’m not starting out 27 with things in my life exactly the way I’d like them to be, I’m glad for the life experience I’ve gained. I’ve managed to survive all of the garbage of my life so far (including things I haven’t covered in blog form yet, obviously), and while I’m probably not the absolute strongest person I know, I’m not a weakling anymore either.

If someone isn’t treating me well and I’m in a position to get them out of my life (ie: not at my job), I do it (although usually silently, because I’m still usually not strong enough to tell people off). I’ve been shown multiple times that a lot of times I can get by in life with minimum effort, and that I don’t have to worry about being perfect so much. When rejection of any kind happens (by jobs, men, etc.) it’s because it wasn’t meant to be in the first place (although that doesn’t mean it doesn’t always sting a little). Driving is one of my absolute favorite things.

And if life is disappointing me now, that just means I’ve got better things ahead, right? (Hopefully?) (Soon?) (Please?)

Anyway, wherever you are, Reader, I hope you’re having the best week you can! Hang in there. ❤

–Krys

A Week of Work Outfits (1/8-1/12/18)

When I was younger I was always super jealous of girls who were able to easily get cute clothes. I’ve been plus size since high school, and back then I just didn’t have the spending money or physical access to fully outfit myself the way that I wanted to. Luckily, I live in the future now and have a job that allows me to pay my bills and also occasionally buy cute clothes. My wardrobe has gotten to a place where I’m pretty pleased with it, and I thought it would be fun to do a series of outfit photos showing what I wear in a typical week at work.

Even though I was planning to do a blog post, I didn’t plan my outfits any more precisely than I normally would’ve. In fact, this turned out to be a week where I had a really bad cold, so I was really just trying to be as comfortable and work appropriate as possible. The cold is the same reason I covered my face in all the pictures — I really looked like an exhausted mess, and spent every day waiting to go home and crawl into bed, lol.

I’ll link what I can (#notspon), but I’ve had some of this clothing for a long time, so it’s not all available anymore.

20180108_161817

Monday!

Welcome to the bathroom at my office! The landlords of our building have been really throttling our heat this winter – no matter how much we fiddle with the thermostats it’s still pretty chilly. So I’ve been trying to dress warmly. This sweater dress is from Torrid’s Outlander collection. It’s maybe a size too big on me, but by the time it arrived it was sold out so I couldn’t exchange it. The bigness really only makes it more snuggly anyway. The weird cloak/cowl thing around the neck is kind of annoying (it also goes around the back and I have a hard time making it lie flat back there), but it’s not too annoying to live with.

I got my boots from Payless two or three years ago. Because I’m plus size and also have short legs for my height, it can be tricky for me to find boots, but these ones are good. My leggings are from Forever 21. I love them so much that I actually have extra brand new pairs in the bottom of my drawer in case they ever discontinue them. I only wash my hair every other night, and I’ll often use headbands to distract people from my greasy hair.

20180109_170100

Tuesday!

I feel super fortunate to work at a law firm that allows us to wear jeans and sneakers! My top is one I bought at Torrid during the summer – it has a cute lace detail on the shoulders and upper back, but you can’t see because of my cardigan, which is from Forever 21. I’m wearing a basic grey tank top from Walmart under my shirt because while the shirt isn’t see thru, it is a sliiightly more low cut than is office appropriate. I wore a pair of my favorite Torrid jeans. It was very cold this particular week, so I would’ve worn sneakers with this outfit instead of these Walmart flats, but we had a client coming in, so I figured I should wear more professional shoes.

20180110_160046

Wednesday!

On this day we were hosting a meeting with a bunch of attorneys from other offices (a deposition, if you’re down with law lingo). So I figured even though I was sneezing like crazy, I should dress up a little. None of the attorneys ever told me that I should look nice for depositions, but I figure that a lot of times I’m the only staff member that visitors will really see, so if I look good, it makes the firm look good. Dresses and leggings are my go-to for looking nice at work, because it’s just very comfortable, while still being presentable. Here I’m wearing an old dress from Torrid, another pair of the leggings I mentioned above, and the Walmart flats again. The pinned back hair is another way I make my hair look nice when it needs a wash.

20180111_163737.jpg

Thursday!

This is just a basic casual work outfit. These jeans are the same Torrid jeans I wore earlier in the week, only in grey. My top is from Torrid as well. I didn’t realize until I uploaded the picture to my computer, but the thin horizontal black and white stripes photograph horribly (or create “noise,” to use a term I learned in my college TV production classes). So sorry if this picture is hurting your eyes, lol. My sweater is an oldie from Forever 21 and my Converse are actually cheap knockoffs from Target.

20180112_154523

Friday!

Finally! We’ve survived the week. I was just super worn out by this point from illness and general work stuff, so I picked an outfit that was as close to pajamas as humanly possibly. Here again we have Forever 21 leggings and the Walmart flats. This cute, bird print dress is the only thing I’ve ever bought from Asos and it’s very comfortable. My half ponytail is probably the hairstyle I use the most on hairwashing days.

So that’s it! I hope you’ve enjoyed this peek into my wardrobe. I definitely think it was a fun idea, and I’ll probably do another one in the spring or summer, to show off the warm weather side of my work wardrobe, so stay tuned for that!

Distant Worlds Concert!

My birthday isn’t until the 31st, but this past weekend, my friends and I ventured to NYC for my birthday outing. On Facebook I’d spotted that the Final Fantasy Distant Worlds show was coming to our area again, and when I asked my friends if they wanted to go, they were totally down. We’d been in 2015, coincidentally also for my birthday, and the show was so good we decided to see it again.

20180113_135831

View of the stage from our seats! Taken before the show started, natch.

Distant Worlds is a touring concert series that performs orchestral versions of music from the long-running Final Fantasy video game series. While the orchestra plays, little movie montages play on a screen, with the footage corresponding to whatever game or character the music applies to. I’ll be honest here and say I’ve only partially played three of the Final Fantasy games (four if you count Crisis Core!), but the music is still fantastic even if you’re unfamiliar with the subject material and your friends just happen to have invited you along (as was the case with a friend’s girlfriend who came with us). Final Fantasy already has great music, but there’s something that’s extra great about hearing it performed by a live orchestra.

You might be saying, “Hey, if you already saw the concert, wouldn’t it be the exact same program? Wouldn’t that be boring?” Fortunately not! As of 2017, Distant Worlds has been happening for ten years, and they’ve built up quite a collection of orchestrations by this point. (If I’m remembering correctly, the conductor/director Arnie Roth mentioned that there’s something like 140 pieces of music in the repertoire. Woah.) There are certain classic songs that you can expect, but they don’t announce the program in advance, and I’m sure there are slight variations from city to city.  Additionally, 2017 was also the 30th anniversary of the Final Fantasy series, so they had some special, brand new arrangements to show off, including a new arrangement of The Opera from FFVI and a couple of songs from the recent FFXV.

In 2015 Distant Worlds was playing in Newark, NJ at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, which is in driving distance of where we live. But this year they were at Carnegie Hall, so we decided to make a little bit of a day of it in NYC. There were two performances, in the afternoon, and in the evening, so in the interest of being able to take our time, and not having to rush in a dinner before, and then rush to the train home after, we opted for the afternoon, with plans for dinner after the concert. Also, when we were buying tickets, the afternoon show had ever so slightly better seats within our budgets.

I’d never been to Carnegie Hall before, and I was surprised by how vertical everything was. There were many stairs. (There’s also an elevator, just so you know if you need it.) I’d thought there was one more balcony above ours, but I guess I misread the seating charts, because we were right up there by the ceiling! Walking down to our seats kicked my fear of heights into gear just a little bit, even though we were a good six rows back from the front!

20180113_134649.jpg

View of the back/side of the balcony from our seats. Look how close to the ceiling we are! Oof!

My friends had wishlists of things they were hoping would be played, and all of their boxes got checked! Very lucky! The only thing I wished afterwards was that they had played Dancing Mad for us instead of The Opera, but I knew when they did The Opera we weren’t getting Dancing Mad because they’re both from FFVI and both very long. I just didn’t like The Opera as much because I couldn’t understand what the soloists were singing (it was in English, they were just a little drowned out).

(I hadn’t heard the Distant Worlds version of Dancing Mad before I pulled this up to embed it, so I’m assuming the excessive amounts of pipe organ and electric instruments would be an obstacle to live performance, but also I’m SURE they would’ve made a touring arrangement that doesn’t require it, because I’m pretty sure Dancing Mad is a fan favorite. Anyway, moving on, lol…)

There’s something about live music that I really love, especially orchestral stuff. I was a band student when I was in school, played flute for a decade, so I just love getting to watch and pick out what all the different instruments are doing, because sometimes when you listen to a recording you hear something neat, but don’t know exactly which instrument did it, and I’m a nerd who thinks it’s cool to know.

Also, my friends feel that when they hear this music live, they can feel the emotions better than when they just listen to a recording. I get where they’re coming from, and I agree with it to an extent (and so do all the goosebumps I felt throughout the concert!), but also, I’m not entirely wired like they are. Music doesn’t often make me cry, but there are certain chord progressions that plug right into my emotional core and make me well up.

For instance, To Zanarkand, from FFX. I’ve played a good portion of FFX, but got derailed by a tough boss. From the moment I first heard this in the game, I thought it was lovely. But something about this particular arrangement had tearing up pretty badly. The section between 2:19 and 3:00 especially gets me. This section isn’t exactly present in the original version. There is an undercurrent of those eighth notes (I assume that’s what they are?) in the original, but somehow just the way Distant Worlds builds them out and harmonizes them and spotlights them gets my tear ducts going. I’ve nearly made myself cry about three times while writing this post when I was trying to figure out the timecodes for the part I noted above, lol.

The concert closed with an encore that included One Winged Angel (aka, Sephiroth’s theme from FFVII). They used this as an encore at the 2015 show as well, so it’s probably what they always do as an encore, because they must know that FFVII is one of the most popular games in the series and that’s one of the most famous songs. They make it fun for the audience though, by encouraging them to sing along to each of the loud SEPHIROTH’s in the song.

(Although as I recall, the singalong was a little more extensive in 2015, with subtitles on screen for all the Latin, or whatever that is in there. The composer Nobuo Uematsu was there, and he pointed at us when we were supposed to sing. But I think they might not’ve had a chorus at that performance? Or at least not for the second half?)

After the concert we made our way to dinner. And since this was my birthday outing, you bet your ass I dragged my friend’s asses down to Wagamama. Luckily, they all liked it! I would’ve felt bad if any of them said they didn’t like it (and I trust them not to lie to me about that, lol).

20180113_175138.jpg

Give me some chili squid and I am a happy girl. The red stuff is some pickled vegetable that my friend let me have because I realized it was similar to the little pickled things you used to be able to order as a side.

And then we basically ran to the train. Not because it was really late, but because it was super cold! I was wholly satisfied with this early birthday outing, and everyone had a good time, which is something that’s important to me. And also, I looked hella cute. All in all, a great day!

20180113_175849.jpg

Me and the brick wall behind our table at Wagamama. My friends said the brick lighting makes it look like a texture from a PS2 game, lol.

(If you think you’re interested in seeing Distant Worlds live, you can check out their website here. Not sponsored, obviously, just wanted to make your life a little easier!)

 

My Face Scrubs and Masks!

Welcome to the face scrubs and masks follow up I promised in my skincare routine post from the end of November! My whole skin history doesn’t really need to be explained here. If you want that, take a look at my previous post.

IMG_2062.JPG

I’m really bad at remembering to use physical exfoliators on my face, but when I do, I pick from one of these as the mood strikes. The Simple Smoothing Facial Scrub is nice, but it’s not got as many gritty bits in it as I’d like, so I won’t be repurchasing it. It could be nice for someone who likes more of a gentle scrubbing. The St. Ives Apricot Scrub is an old favorite of mine, and this blemish control version is definitely more helpful for my oily, acne-prone skin than the regular version. It definitely scrubs very strongly. My skin feels very soft and nice once I rinse if off. The apricot makes it smell quite nice too! Sometimes I’ll use this as a body scrub as well, and it’s fairly good at that.

However, my favorite texture for a scrub is what I’ve seen called a “microdermabrasion” scrub. The texture is not supposed to be as damaging as a scrub with big chunky bits, but the thick texture has so many teeny tiny bits in it that I feel like my skin feels even softer and more exfoliated than using a scrub that’s technically more exfoliating / has bigger chunkier bits. These little samples here (from Lancer and Kate Somerville) that I got in a couple of Sephora Play boxes are ones that I’ve been carefully rationing out in between using other scrubs because they’re pricey. A more budget option that I really like is the Pink Lemon & Mandarin scrub from St. Ives, and I’ll probably purchase that one once I use up all of the scrubs I already have.

IMG_2065.JPG

And now, a personal favorite thing of mine, face masks!

The Neutrogena Clear Pore Cleanser/Mask is one of my favorite things, for a few reasons. Firstly, it feels tingly and cooling and wonderful — definitely a nice mask to use on a hot summer night. Secondly, it only has to sit on your face for five minutes to get the job done. There’s been plenty of times I’ve used this in a rushed panic right before a date when I’ve felt like my skin isn’t exactly up to par, lol. Thirdly, it’s loaded with benzoyl peroxide, a known acne killer. However, benzoyl does stain/bleach fabrics (I’ve damaged a couple of pillowcases using a benzoyl-based spot treatment), so I’ll only use it before I take a shower, or in the shower if I’m using it as a face wash instead. It’s good stuff.

Next in line is Innisfree’s Super Volcanic Pure Clay Mask, which I bought after YouTuber heyitsfeii recommended it. It’s almost like a poor man’s version of the famous Glamglow Supermud mask, which I bought as a birthday gift for myself earlier this year and loved, but can’t justify re-purchasing because of the price. The Innisfree mask is just about as good as the Glamglow was at clearing my pores. I really like it a lot! Sometimes it can be a little overly drying for my skin, but I just moisturize extra afterwards if my skin is feeling tight.

I don’t know why I included that Sephora Play sample of Boscia’s Pore Pudding in this picture, except that it looks kind of cool. It’s alright, but I like other masks better. And it’s got that same herbal scent that a lot of Boscia’s products do, that I’m not too crazy about. Another mask that I’ve got here that I think is just okay is that Birth of Venus jelly mask from Lush. It smells nice, and makes my skin feel nice, but using the jelly mask has turned out to be a huge fucking pain in the ass. It’s so fussy to apply, and difficult to get an even coat on my face.

Peter Thomas Roth’s Irish Moor Mud is an all time favorite mask of mine. It’s pricey, but it takes me a year or more to go through a tub of it, so I can justify it (unlike the Glamglow, which is pricey, but disappears seemingly instantly, lol). The Irish Moor Mud has lots of good clearing stuff in it, like clay and charcoal, but the mask is a super soft whipped sort of texture and doesn’t dry down completely, so it’s not too drying for the skin.

And finally, this Suction Black Mask I found on Amazon. It’s sort of like one of those Biore strips for your nose that pulls out all the gunk, but you can easily apply it anywhere on your face. My big gross pores are not just on my nose, but stretch across most of the upper part of my cheeks, and pore strips don’t cover all that real estate, and also just don’t always fit my nose very well in general. I’ll put this on after a shower, so that my pores are extra open from all the steam. It’s kind of grossly satisfying to peel this mask of and check out all the gunk that comes out of your pores. I’ve tried a few different masks like this, but this one is my favorite so far, and the first one of its type that I’d actually buy again.

So that’s it! I hope you’ve found all this skincare babble interesting. What face masks and scrubs do you guys like? My general daily skincare is pretty pinned down, but I’m always looking for new things to try when it comes to scrubs and masks!

–Krys

New Year, Same Old Shit

20180101_000215

Bringing in 2018 with a K-pop mug of champagne (not 100% filled, of course).

It was August when I decided that 2017 was a total wash, garbage, take it back to the store and try to persuade them to let me exchange it for a better year even though I’ve already used more than half of it because this one is clearly broken. The nail in the coffin was a boy, let’s call him K. We’d gone out maybe five or six times over the course of a month, and now, on the day he was supposed to come over to my house for the first time, he’d asked me to call him on the phone when I got home from work. I dialed him as soon as I parked in the driveway and when K picked up, he delivered the news that I really shouldn’t have been surprised to hear simply based on the patterns of my entire life. You know, the type that starts, “You’re a great girl, but…,” and ends with me saying, “uh-huh, okay, yeah, sure, thank you,” in an effort to get him to stop spouting polite bullshit so I can calmly hang up before I burst into tears.

I sobbed in my car for a few minutes, giving myself some time to feel feelings, because I knew that momentarily I’d have to go into the house and explain the situation to my mother, and I wanted to be composed when I did so. (We weren’t planning on a full “meet the parents” moment, but since I live in my mother’s house, I feel it’s only polite to tell her when I’m having guests over.)

I wasn’t crying because I felt so attached to K in particular. In fact, I’d actually started out sort of on the fence, but he was growing on me, and I’d started to feel that maybe the run of bad luck I’d been having since the spring was coming to an end. But no, yet another thing had fallen apart on me. Hooray.

I was crying because of the feeling that filled me to the brim: “Haven’t I already suffered enough this year?”

I know that the issues I’m about to describe will come across as kind of stupid and whiny and very “white privilege, first world problems” when compared to people that are actually suffering real hardship. I know I’m very fortunate to have a roof over my head, a job, enough food to eat, and family and friends that I can rely on for love and support. I am so, so grateful. But, fuck, 2017 was a real humdinger for me. I didn’t really accomplish anything beyond mere survival. The only good, new thing that I brought from 2016 to 2017 and actually got to leave the year with was my car.

Spring 2017 especially sucked. Let me list the ways:

  • We had to put our dog down.
  • I was in the same room as my biological mother for the first time in 20 years, at the funeral of the great-grandmother I barely knew, that I only attended because I love my grandma. I didn’t have to talk to bio-mother, but the whole situation was still pretty upsetting and anxiety inducing. (Surprise! I’m adopted! Haven’t really talked about it on the internet before. I’ll tell the story another time. I finally told this story in this post.)
  • At the beginning of April, after being wonderful in numerous ways including being an excellent support/distraction during the above listed bullshit, my boyfriend suddenly broke up with me after four months. I had never been so emotionally or physically honest and open with anyone I’d dated, and he’d also treated me better than anyone I’d gone out with. I was very blindsided, and did not take it well. At all.

There’s an embarrassing pattern in my life of me falling almost completely to pieces in most aspects of my life after my romantic relationships dissolve. My theory is that the boys make me feel so nice that I forget how shitty I feel about other parts of my life. When they’re gone I wind up standing with the shattered glass of my heart scattered all around my feet, waiting to cut me open while I look over what’s left going, “Fuck, right, this is what my life really is. I’d completely forgotten.” And then while I’m distracted by that revelation Depression digs her barbed hooks into me.

Anyway, dramatics aside, boyfriend ditched me at the beginning of April. My job became immensely less tolerable without anything to look forward to in the off hours (besides seeing my friends, who are great, but not the same as a boyfriend). I was already job searching then, because in March I’d been asked (read: told) not to make any plans to go away in August as our calendar coordinator was taking a three week vacation out of the country and they needed me to cover for her. Doing the scheduling is easily my least favorite thing I’ve ever been asked to do at my job; coordinating 12 lawyers is stressful and anxiety inducing because if you fuck up the calendar it can have repercussions for an entire case. So even though I had very little going for me, I did at least have a goal: “Get a new job by August.”

I sent out resumes and applications for all kinds of secretarial work in my area (minus NYC, because they might have a lot of jobs, but I’m not crazy about the city or that fucking commute). By this point, you can probably guess what happened between March and August. Nada. Not even one. single. interview. Or phone call. Great.

So, now we’ve come back to August, where I started this whole rigmarole. When K told me over the phone that he didn’t want to date anymore I was already a week into covering the calendar. I was a wreck; I’d been sneaking off to the bathroom at least once a day to cry out my stress. I can’t think of a time I’ve been more unhappy at work. I felt like an extreme failure for having five months to secure a new job to save me from this mess, but not being able to do it. And then I had received this other sort of rejection, the declaration that I was a great girl, but K didn’t feel that I would be long term relationship material for him. As I mentioned way back at the beginning of this post, I wasn’t too attached to K yet, but he was fun to be around, and that was what I needed at that point.

I collected myself, and went inside, but broke down again when I told my mom what had happened, making sure to explain that K was really only a minor thing in a string of disappointments. Through my tears I declared, “2017 is a cursed year.” Mom ordered us Chinese food, splurging on fried cheese wontons because I was very sad. By the time the food arrived, I already mostly didn’t feel sad about K anymore, but I was still very fucking done with 2017.

2017 did have a few more disappointments and frustrations in store for me (for instance, I hurt my back doing filing in October and haven’t been right since). But mostly, the rest of the year has just been very stagnant. Which is its own blessing in a way, but is also a fucking exhausting drag.

I’m trying to be hopeful about 2018, but it’s so hard, guys. I’m struggling to be optimistic when my day to day existence is still the same as it was before the clock struck midnight and I flipped my calendar over to January. And I know it’s on me to make changes, but my most desired changes require outside forces to cooperate with me as well, and since they haven’t yet, I’m stuck.

I turn 27 at the end of the month, and I just feel like my future is a grey void, that I’ll never have the things I want (which are, all things considered, very simple, and yet no matter how I try, the universe refuses to let me have them). I want 27 to be better than 26 so badly. But I’m terrified it’ll just be more of the same and I don’t know if I can stand that.

–Krys