an open letter to the guy who busted up my car

Dear Asshole,

Thank you for breaking the window in my car. I had always thought it was ugly, but now I have an excuse to get it replaced. It will only cost about $300 — not so bad?

Thank you for stealing my backpack. I really didn’t want to do my homework. Even better, I now have the time to call insurance and SafeLight Auto Repair to get the window fixed!

However, I’m sorry I only had textbooks and pencils in my car — I really should have left you my computer, my nook, or my smartphone. Why didn’t you take the $100 sunglasses or the $70 air mattress? I should have left you enough of my things to sell that you would have made the same amount of money that I will spend to fix the window — that would have at least been worthwhile expenditure of your time, right?

Thank you for making me feel insecure. I mean, we all need a reality check, right?

Thank you for making me call the police to file a report. I’ve never had to do that before — it’s a whole new experience! Now I’ll know what to do in the future.

Thank you for also making me call insurance and learn how to tape up my window. Now I’ll always know how to do that, too.

Thank you for making a cute guy run around his neighborhood and knock on doors and scare the shit out of some locals just to defend his property…and maybe just to make me feel a little better. Thank you, again, because he helped me clean my car, tape the window, and make me feel a little more okay.

In conclusion, you should know that my car window will hopefully be fixed tomorrow by Safelight Auto Repair. If you’d like to bust it open again, you’ll have to come into the garage this time, and all you’ll find is the receipt for my window — as much fun as this has been, I’ve decided to keep my things inside and my car out of sight at night.

With all my love, respect, and appreciation,

You suck.

Sincerely,

Cari

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to clean a little

My next challenge will be to clean a space every single day. It doesn’t matter the size or the object of my cleaning — just that I’ve cleaned something, so that the house feels a little…better. I’m going to start this tomorrow, since I don’t get home until past midnight tonight. More on this in a bit!

Start date: October 28th
End date: November 2nd.

Have a great week!

challenge: moisturizer (a product review)

The Setup

I have always had red-faced syndrome. Always. My entire life. And there are some pretty typical questions that go along with it:


I even have makeup on -- my face is just perpetually red!

  • “Are you sunburned?”
  • “Why are you so embarrassed?”
  • “Are you sick?”
  • And, most directly to the point, “Why is your face so red?”

I’ve been self-conscious about my red face as long as I remember — there was a particularly humiliating moment in seventh grade when I liked a boy, and I was able to blame my blushing on my red face…but that’s about its only saving grace.

When I was a sophomore at Emory, I decided to go to the doctor and see what I could do about it…but her only solution was to put me on some sort of daily antibiotic, which may or may not have fixed the problem unless I kept refilling the prescription. But honestly, I’m not so self-conscious that I would take a pill every single day just because I don’t like how my nose turns red for no apparent reason.

But…of all the things I thought moisturizer would fix? My red face was not one of them.

Now granted, I was just on a heavy dose of antibiotics for my throat thing. But! I have been off those antibiotics for a few days now, and the redness has not returned. Oh, it’s still there a little — but not nearly as badly as it has been in the past. In fact, my face has looked almost normal!

Now, I am not necessarily hopeful that this will last. The antibiotics have definitely skewed the clarity of the results. But I have noticed some other benefits of moisturizing daily which, in reality, should be pretty commonsensical:

  • My face hasn’t been drying out as badly
  • My skin feels nicer in the mornings
  • I think my skin tone is evener? I can’t tell definitely, but I think the tinting honestly helps.

The Product Review

In case you’re wondering this is what I’m using: Neutrogena Healthy Defense Daily Moisturizer with a Light Tint and SPF 30.

It’s a relatively lightweight moisturizer, though it’s just slightly heavier than the oil-free moisturizer I used a lot last year (I still had some around, so I compared them).

I honestly love the tinting. I don’t think it actually covers up any blemishes, but it does even out a little bit of the blotchiness in the morning.

Also, I’ve always heard that it’s good to have sunscreen in your moisturizer, and considering how easily I burn, I like that this SPF is a little higher than some of the others (which are often at SPF 15). I mean, I know the sunscreen doesn’t hold its strength the entire day, but I think it helped the other morning when I was unexpectedly playing Ultimate Frisbee outside with my PE class for an hour — because man, I burn so easily, and I was not burned at all after class.

The Challenge Itself

This was definitely a good challenge to go through. Now some of the more technical details. First off, I did miss a day when I went to KLX over the weekend — it was just so much chaos! And I hadn’t had any sleep, and I was going to be late to my volunteer shift…it was halfway through the day before I remembered. Other than that, no mishaps!

This is even without makeup! Just a hint of redness...

I did post a little late, of course, since I was so busy at the beginning of this week — what with the Flying Biscuits performance at KLX and the Dalai Lama program at Emory. And I thought that would give me time to research more about the moisturizer, but when I tried doing the Olay Recommendation online, the sound wouldn’t work. So, I don’t have any additional information (at this moment! I’m still going to try…).

Personal success rating: 8/10. I missed a day, and I failed to return with more information.

Conclusion: Out of this experience, I hope to gain the habit of daily moisturizing, at the very least every morning. Imean, that’s just a strength of will thing to build the habit — but once I’m in the habit, it will be easy. On top of that, I honestly hope to gain just a little more self-confidence. Because as much as I accept that my face is naturally red and will probably always bee that way, it would be nice if the redness were reduced…just a little. I wouldn’t mind having more days like the one to the right…

his holiness, the Dalai Lama: notes

Today, I attended the Professor’s Office Hours with his holiness the Dalai Lama. This program was part of a larger event called “The Visit,” where the Dalai Lama visited Emory University to participate in various academic and spiritual discussions around campus. I was lucky enough to win one of a thousand tickets raffled off for free to attend the Professor’s Office Hours, while tickets sold upwards of $100 or $150 for some of the various events.

In the Professor’s Office Hours, various members of the Emory community (students, faculty, and staff) posed questions for the Dalai Lama to answer. These questions ranged from questions on enlightenment and compassion to questions about the Dalai Lama’s opinions on lesbian love (no joke). While the Dalai Lama was not able to answer every question, the questions sparked some amazing dialogue on education, spirituality, optimism, enthusiasm, and compassion.

About twenty minutes into the program, I realized that the Dalai Lama was passing on far more wisdom more quickly than I could absorb in an hour and a half. So I pulled out a piece of paper and a pen, and I jotted down some notes — not everything, of course, but what resonated with me. For now, I’m only going to relay my raw notes (with some additional context, and in complete sentences, so it will be easier to understand). I plan on processing some of this information and, hopefully, posting some of my thoughts that come from this.

Also, for the record, most of this is summarized. But direct quotes have been quoted. And phrases that I found particularly important have been highlighted.

***

Topic of discussion: As students about to graduate, we find ourselves overwhelmed with our eminent entry into the “real world.” How do we handle the stress, the ambiguity, and the difficulty of entering this world which is in the middle of political, spiritual, and economic crisis?

“Be realistic.” Problems will arise — we must recognize that. And in recognizing problems, we must also realize that they will not solve themselves. Instead, realism will allow us to accept that a problem has arisen and then handle that problem efficiently.

“Be optimistic and enthusiastic,” because it’s the only way to get things done.

Our time on this earth as a human being is short — the Dalai Lama said something about if the history of the earth was compressed into a hundred years, our life (as in yours or mine) would barely span one one-hundredth of a second. As such, you must¬† make something of your life — don’t focus on worrying or on stress, but on the positives, and good will come from it.

Furthermore, be steady. To be absurdly happy when something good happens but incredibly depressed when something bad happens is to cause stress and cheat ourselves of happiness. Instead, be steady and take everything in stride. Overall, you will be happier.

With the daily stress of academics, economics, and life in general, it is hard to maintain happiness and to grow spiritually as a human being. What advice do you have on finding happiness and spirituality in day-to-day life?

You depend on everyone else. In fact, every person depends on everyone else. Compassion is what allows us to all be healthy and happy — if you are compassionate, you make the lives of others better, which in turn improves the quality of your own life.

“Make eye contact and always smile.” Compassion and love allow you to go anywhere and to see anyone as a friend.

Maintain a truthful, honest, and compassionate attitude. “Sometimes, compassion is more forceful than reason.”

In today’s world, social media has dominated many human interactions. How can we encourage personal growth in such a technologically connected world?

Maintain balance between technology / social media and our need for personal growth. Personal growth happens more between face-to-face human interactions than over the internet.

On the challenges of knowledge and personal growth.

“Don’t leave knowledge in the books.” Focusing on external stimuli inhibits personal growth and the process of learning. Give yourself time to integrate knowledge into your being to truly gain the intelligence, rather than memorizing facts. “Do not misunderstand information to be knowledge.”

What is universal truth? How do we find truth, and how will we know it is truth once it is found? And, as human beings, will we ever be capable of understanding and comprehending this truth?

There is the idea of one truth and one vision, but there is also the idea of several truths and several visions. Both are important. For example, religion is true to the individual. The difference between Christianity and Buddhism is not important in itself — but to the individual, one must believe in one truth, one vision to keep his or her own faith.On the other hand, it is important to keep in mind the idea of several truths and several visions — this is reality, and it must be recognized to respect the truth and vision of others.

On compassion.

If you serve others, you will receive benefits. “The practice of compassion benefits all.”

Some final thoughts on today’s world.

The 21st Century belongs to our generation — we’re only 10 years in, and there are 90 years yet to go. We must prepare ourselves to take care of our world (environmentally, politically, economically, and socially), so it will be a greater, healthier, happier place.

***

Finally, I would like to mention a few things which struck me during the program.

The Dalai Lama is a happy, funny person. When he entered, we all stood to greet him, and when he had finished walking in, he waved his hands and said, “Sit down,” as if it were absurd that we were standing in the first place.

The Dalai Lama called himself the “hopeless professor,” for he never teaches a class and never gives homework. But honestly, I learned more from him in an hour and a half than I did from any of my classes thus far this week. Part of that is my own fault, but part of that is also because he has so much to offer. And honestly, he did give me homework — because I have a lot to think about.

The Dalai Lama is such a happy, compassionate person. He fully lives his life, and I can only strive to be so compassionate, optimistic, enthusiastic, and purposeful in my own life.

event review: KLX

I have never been to KLX before, despite its proximity to home, cheap ticket, and general appeal as a Lindy Exchange — I was always busy or in the middle of midterms or just off of AVS. But this year, the Flying Biscuits were performing, and I found it was a fantastic excuse to attend the weekend. I mean, if I have to go to perform, I may as well go to dance as well!

It was a small, but fairly well-run event. I volunteer for every event I attend, and I found that all the coordinators and fellow volunteers I worked with were amiable and well-informed; also, Jenna (volunteer coordinator) was a pleasure to work with, as she put up with a lot of my high-maintenance moments before the event.

As far as music goes, I enjoyed both the bands I heard. On Friday night, the Old City Buskers were cute and played a wide variety of tempos, and their songs never went on more than three or four minutes; however, their vocals were sometimes out of tune, which was a little off-putting. On Saturday night, the Streamliners played some great big-band jazz at a wide variety of tempos; however, I found their songs went on for far too long (somewhere over 4 minutes I get tired, and the average song was over 6 minutes). Still, I thought they were a good choice for Saturday night. I did not hear Cristobel and the Jons on Sunday night, but I know I would have enjoyed them.

Regarding DJs, I mostly enjoyed all the music. I particularly enjoyed the sets by Michael Gamble and Rob Moreland, but that wasn’t a huge surprise to me. Breanna and Yossef were enjoyable, and Laura was hit or miss for me. Honestly, though, I was in the mood to dance, and that made me more amiable to the average set than usual. I didn’t go in the blues room at all, so I can’t tell you what that room was like.

Speaking of the blues room, that would be my biggest criticism. I mean, why? It’s fairly common, especially in large events. But KLX was a smaller event, and we comfortably filled the Saturday night main dance — maybe a tiny bit crowded, but not so much that it was unbearable. When the rooms were split for the late night, the body count in each room got extremely low, which was only exacerbated when many left to get some shut eye. I understand the desire of many attendees for a blues room at late night, but I think there’s a point where you have to choose to keep everyone in one room just so that the event maintains the energy past midnight. It is much more enjoyable for me, I think, to tell the DJs to play a happy medium of Lindy songs and some groovy, blues-able songs. At KLX, though the late nights ran to five am each night, there were fewer than fifteen people in the Lindy room pas 2:30 pm…and that’s just depressing. And while we’re on late nights — why would you ever have the registration desk manned by two volunteers until 5am? Just saying, it didn’t really make sense.

Overall, I found the event ran smoothly and the music was enjoyable and very danceable. And honestly, I enjoyed the excuse to leave around 3pm because there were no people to dance with and, well, why not go home and cuddle and sleep? Of course, I do think that the energy might have been maintained at late nights had the rooms not been split, but the music instead compromised to appeal to both parties. Still, I had a blast — oh, and the food was fantastic. Just gotta throw that out there.

And though I’m not really into self-promotion, I will say that the Flying Biscuits did a great job performing!

Now that the review’s out of the way, some points on why I loved KLX. For me, the exchange was more about the people than the event. I honest-to-goodness love the people I stayed with: Jon Car, Beth Hartzel, Breanna Perry, Dylan Jennings, and Ahmed Elkamil. I also liked getting to know Rob Moreland and Christiane (and her Sugar Glider!).

Some of my favorite moments at KLX:

10. Awkward dances.¬† Examples: some awkward transition into me climbing over Dylan’s backside into a position somewhere close to a duck and dive; lipstick on Andrew Munoz’s shirt; nearly tripping on Corey’s feet while attempting to do the Big Apple at full speed. Et cetera…

9. Gelato. Mmmh. Pistachio and Birthday Cake. Mmmmmh…

8. MORE PELVIS. Including front-out swingouts with a pelvic thrust on one and two.

7. Dinner with Ahmed and Beth on Sunday evening. Super casual, super fun.

6. Dancing with Rob Moreland at 3am at the Saturday Late Night. I mean, no one else was dancing…so he played all his favorite songs, and we danced eight or nine out of ten songs together. Awesome? Yes.

5. Attempting (and failing) to babysit Dylan so a chocolate bear could be iced and then shoved in his face. And then bonding with him when he was nice enough to pretend to let me keep him away from the kitchen.

4.Getting second in the random Jack and Jill with Robby at 2:20am (weird time?) at the Saturday Late night. We dropped it like it was hot, then worked it like we never should to twenties Charleston music…and man, it was fantastic.

3. Performing with the Flying Biscuits! Despite our last minute choreography changes and the fact that we never ran the entire piece at speed with the music, it went fantastically well! (Video is above!)

2. CUDDLE PILES. I mean, seriously. On Saturday morning, I woke up with three men in my bed. On Saturday evening and Sunday morning, I cuddled smushed between two other people, a happy middle fork. I mean spoon. I mean…what?

1. So many beautiful swingouts, and at so many tempos! Dylan Jennings. Ahmed Elkamil. Jon Car. Rob Moreland. Andrew Munoz. Beth Hartzel. Breanna Perry. Robby Jemian. Komi Tepe. The list goes on. Holy cow. So much awesome.

moisturizer?

Due to my being in the ER and all, I had to put off the next challenge. But! To regroup. The next challenge will be to moisturize properly every day (as suggested by my mother!).

So to start the challenge, I went to CVS (with a coupon!) and bought some basic moisturizer. But I was confronted with this* (sorry for the poor picture quality!):

And that was only a small portion of the selection! So, I was overwhelmed with choices. I knew I had an oil-free moisturizer, which I bought a while back when I had super bad acne…but I’m not quite sure about it, because I’ve heard that oil-free moisturizer is more about what season it is than anything else. And then, over the summer, a family member mentioned how much she loves tinted moisturizer for its ability to even out skin tone on a basic day where you’re not really dressing up. And then, I know I have somewhat sensitive skin, so should I buy that bottle with the little pink “sensitive skin” label?

In the end, I got some Neutrogena Tinted Moisturizer. I respect Neutrogena as a relatively healthy brand of face & skin products, and I liked the idea of a basic, daily cover-up.

But regardless of making a decision, I walked away with some questions.

1. Do I moisturize in the morning or at night? I would guess at night, but there are a lot of tinted moisturizers, which would suggest morning application in that why else would you need the tinting?

2. In that vein, should I try a tinted moisturizer in the morning and then a plain moisturizer at night? Or should I go for one or the other? Would moisturizing too much make my sensitive skin break out, or would it help as long as I regularly cleaned my face like a good little girl?

3. What kind of moisturizer should I use? In winter? In summer? For my skin type (combination, sensitive)? Do I use oil-free moisturizer? Is oil-free moisturizer a seasonal thing?

I’m going to try to look some of this up online, but I’d love some help because my searches thus far have been very unproductive.

Start date: Today! 12 October 2010
End date: 18 October 2010

Challenges I have to overcome: remembering every morning is tough for me, but I’m going to use the tinted moisturizer every morning. Also, I want to know more about this, so I really need to research moisturizers…even if I don’t implement that knowledge now, it’d be useful to know.

***

*For the record, it’s a very clever display, because the name brands are all on the second shelf (from the top), and then above each name brand sits a similar CVS brand (for cheaper, of course) — but instead of having an identifying CVS brand packaging, CVS packages the similar brand in the same color scheme and in a similarly shaped box. Thus, those who don’t pay attention might walk away with the CVS brand even when intending otherwise! Very clever, CVS. Very clever…