Thursday, March 31, 2011

Tis the season to be married

When I was little I always looked forward to hanging my A+ (okay, fine, B+) papers on the fridge. I took even more pride in my school picture magnet that secured my test grade on there. The fridge was where important dates on the calendar and our sports schedules could be found. Today, my fridge is a patchwork of Save-the-Date magnets and engagement party invites. Welcome to wedding season. I love weddings. I really do. I mean, what's not to love? Open bar, tons of dancing with friends, decent food and playing dress up...all of my favorites! But, with 7 in the near future, the wedding scene is not so exciting. I'm finding not all weddings are open bar; over wearing your "wedding" dress is a no-no; they all don't take place in the greater Boston area; and just because the registry says Bed Bad & Beyond, doesn't necessarily mean they registered for the $2 tea lights. With that said, my fridge is freaking me out...

Over 150 miles, that is an issue:

This summer, in only a two months span, we will have stayed in RI, south shore MA, AZ, FL, PA and CA. Without owning a car our options are foot, Zipcar, plane or rental car. We can barely make it to Cambridge on foot (in heels that is). Zipcar only allows 150 miles round trip and one day rentals. So that's out. This means Jet Blue and Enterprise Rental Car will be sucking us dry. It's too bad people choose to get married on weekends, in the dead of summer or worse on the 4th of July (no offense Kate). I mean really, the rates are substantially lower during the week, and on holidays, forget about it. I'm trying hard not to complain because a vacation IS a vacation, but the thought of spending my yearly income on transportation gives me a minor-major anxiety attack.

Thanks to the photographer, everything is documented:

I do own a number of dresses. French Connection can vouch for that. But how many times can you buy a dress to wear to a night wedding in the summer. I can't afford that many. So that brings me to my next question. How many times can you wear the same dress to different summer night weddings? The answer is 2, maybe 3, but your pushing it. I've tried it. Believe me. But after pictures went to press (AKA Facebook) I was screwed. It looked like I had been photo shopped into different scenes with the same hair, same dress, same glass of Sauv-Blanc in hand. There I was on the dance floor with Jon with that dress on; once in the city, once in a renovated old barn and once in a candle-lit tent. Jon's response to this "No one will notice Kris." Of course no one noticed the same black pant/vest combo he sported, but after a few FB comments from friends on my one and only outfit, I was acutely aware people do notice. This is when I decided, like a bride remarrying, every wedding needs a new dress.

With invitations come registries...:

After buying the tickets, the car and the dress, all that's left is the gift. Last week we got an engagement party invite in the mail. It said they were registered at Bed, Bath & Beyond. After reading the invite and registry card together the convo went like this:

Me: "Can we go there tomorrow to get something for them since we both have the day off?"
Jon: "We don't really have to get them anything. I think that registry part is just optional. That's why it's on a separate card."
Me: "Reserve a Zipcar"

I mean, I wasn't surprised by his response at all. In the car on the way I explained to him we can't show up to the engagement party with our presence as the gift. At Bed, Bath & Beyond Jon decided we should get them something for their bathroom. Shocked he said the bathroom and not the kitchen, I agreed and we headed to the bathroom section of the store. I was thinking they probably had registered for some bathroom decor anyway. Then I heard the words "What about luffas? Everyone loves luffas." Note to self, don't let the man buy the wedding gifts.

With every save-the-date, comes a smile and a cringe. I'm always happy for the couple (don't get me wrong), I just feel bad for my wallet. I'm always excited for the wedding, and use to be a little jealous. I'm always excited for the reception, and until my experience at Bed, Bath and Beyond, I wished I was the one sending the save-the-dates. However, after booking flights and hotel rooms, dress shopping and registry searching, the idea of planning a wedding doesn't sound so glorious. For now, I'll just continue watching "Say Yes to the Dress" reruns, and except the fact my future registry will be filled with luffas in every color...

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

You know you're getting old when...

Going to a school that focuses primarily on anti-aging, I am coming to the realization, I'm not 20 anymore. The products we use, focus on minimizing lines, helping dry/maturing skin find it's moisture and really boosting the metabolic cell process. At first I'm thinking, this is for old people. I don't have lines. I don't have dry skin. The only metabolic process I need to boost is my metabolism of food. Let me just say, I was in for a big surprise. My box-o-wine in college 5 nights a week- backfiring. My double-sessions at the electric beach- call me Magda. And if anyone tells you there's no way at 25 you can have dry skin..send them my way. It really gets me thinking about every aspect of my life. From partying, to now grocery shopping with coupons; I'm old.

A hangover at 20 lasts a day, a hangover at 25 lasts an easy 3...

For the sake of argument, let's play remember when. When I was in high school we drank at the Clark's religiously every Saturday night into early morning hours until Mike yelled downstairs that the Howe's were going to call the cops. Without fail, Sunday morning I woke up and opened Honey Dew at 5:30am. Help from Mom, yes. But was I hungover, no. Then college rolls around. We would dress in ridiculous sheer shirts, and do make-up to match the face on our ID. We would head to the Embassy and drink vodka, cran and sprite until 2am and then continue the party at our dorm. The next day we were all useless and hungover, but were ready to rally with a Box-O on Monday. The other night I decided to go out. We started at a bar to celebrate St. Patty's in the late afternoon with a couple of beers. I was buzzed. We ended with a carbomb. I was home by 8:30 and in bed by 9. I was hungover for three days and looked swollen for two of them. Now I understand why my parents first cocktail is at 7 and they are asleep on their Lazy-Boys by 9.

Crows Feet before 30...yikes!

Now that I'm more vain then ever (thanks to school), I'm constantly looking for any sign of a wrinkle or a blemish. While looking in the mirror recently, I smiled to see if my Crest White Strips have been paying off, but instead, my attention is drawn to my eyes. I see crows feet and eye wrinkles. I thought I was looking forward to those nice lines in my 40s? Of course I keep alternating smiles for straight face looks in the mirror to see if the wrinkles remain. Of course, they do. Naturally I freak out and research online why and where they came from. Is it stress? There actually is no possible way I could be stressed out other than from my puppy Peanut eating any new purchase I've made in the past year. So I rule that out. Then with a little help from google I find my only honest answer. Tropic Tan. They should've made the winkies a requirement.

My love/hate relationship with the MB

When I first moved to Boston (and didn't pay my own rent/utilities/loans/healthcare/you name it) I was shopping with the finest at Whole Foods. I didn't like the food in the caf so instead I would buy a nice gourmet organic meal every day...for every meal. When I think back on that now, I want to cry. Instead of waltzing over to Whole Foods and buying an apple for $3 because it's organic, I'm clipping coupons for Granny Smiths. I always told myself once I left home I would never return to Market Basket (AKA MB). That was a lie. Every other week my boyfriend and I make the dreaded trip to the MB in Chelsea. It's insane. Not only is English the second language there, and the lines for the $4 Rotisserie wrap around two isles, but it is the largest, busiest, most head-ache driven grocery store I have ever been to. The upside... we spend the same amount for two weeks that we would spend in one trip to WF. The trip consists of me pushing the cart and whining "Jon, can we leave yet?" and Jon checking of his list replying sternly "Kris, why don't you go sit in the car." It's horrible. I hate it. If I didn't have it, I'd have no HBO...

So although I've realized I'm a light weight, I have beginning stages of tired eye and I'm going to be shopping at MB for the rest of my life, I still can hold onto my youth in some places. For example, I still get carded for everything...movies, drinks, scratch tickets, etc. I can still get student discounts where Suffolk ID's are accepted and say I lost my ID. I can still put purple highlights in my hair and call it a faze. I can still attend Britney Spears concerts. And lastly, I'm always going to be the baby in the family, so when everyone else is really old, I'll still be the young one. I will keep reminding myself of these things every time I find a new wrinkle. A new stretch mark. My first grey...

Friday, March 4, 2011

Tan in a Can

With out fail, every January I begin asking myself why it is I choose to live in Massachusetts. Every February I begin researching what other state I could see myself in. Every March I look for apartments on craigslist in California. At this point I am also researching "the best spray tan in Boston". It's almost offensive how white I can get with the lack of Vitamin D. With that said, this year I decided since the 10 minute bed isn't an option, I would try out all the different spray tanning options that are available. So far I have successfully completed 4 spray tans. All of these experiences have been, well, unique. It's only fair I share, so that some of you will never have to go through the same orange looking, cheese-it smelling torture.

The Booth: This is just weird. First of all you have to watch a video of a girl in a bathing suit putting on a hair net and stepping into a booth that looks similar to a stand up tanning booth. Then, you watch her do about 10 different awkward poses while being blasted with what looks like dirty water (AKA the tan). While watching the video, there is no way you can think about memorizing these poses because all you can think is, "was I supposed to bring a bathing suit?" When the video ends you are handed a towel and are told to head into the booth. With your best effort, you mimic the poses seen in the video wearing your bra and undies that inevitably are now ruined. When the spray ends you are coughing because there was no warning the booth was about to spray at your face when you took your deepest inhale. You are wondering why your are dripping so you begin to wipe down your legs, arms and face with the towel provided. You step out of the booth free-boobing it because your bra is sticky from the tan and you don't want to ruin your white shirt (another strike against you). As you pass the mirror in the hall heading toward the front desk you see out of the corner of your eye your reflection in orange. For the next 5 days you smell like cheese-its or Frittos, it's hard to distinguish. It was the worst $30 investment of my life. (Other than my 4th grade haircut from Fantastic Sams)

The Medford style spray tan: After asking a few people in school where to get a good spray tan I was told about some place in Medford. When I got there, although behind a Chinese Buffet restaurant, it looked like a nice little spa. I headed to the back where I was told to put on my hair net, take off my clothes into whatever I felt comfortable, and rub lotion on my hands and feet. I did as told and kept on, yet again, my bra and undies. The girl came in and guided me through my positions while she sprayed me. I told her off the bat I wanted a natural glow. After 8 coats of spray she told me to wait just a minute and get dressed and I would be good to go. Excited that I had a much better experience then the booth I payed and tipped with a smile on my face. When I opened the car door, my boyfriend for the first time, was speechless. I looked into the mirror and all I saw was eye balls and teeth. Scary and orange, it was not the look I was trying to achieve.

The mini-airbrush technique: I decided to try to stay local on this one. I found a spa minutes from my apartment with airbrush tan. This was amazing. When I got there I was directed into a room with a shower. Different I thought, but the shower looked nice so whatever. Again got undressed down to the bra and undies. Put on my hair net. The esthetician came in and asked me if I was going away. With rough heels and jacked up toe nails I embarrassingly said "If I were I would've opted for a pedi". She then preceded to take out a facial mini-airbrush machine. She began spraying me with precise strokes. I even asked her if she could paint me on some abs. Half way through the airbrush, I heard the machine start to stutter. She stopped calmly and tested out the machine on the wall to make sure it was working okay. I figured since she continued on painting me that the machine was working perfectly. When the spray was over she said I could wait a minute and then get dressed. I looked in the mirror and was very happy with the results on my face. It was a perfect summer glow! Unfortunately, the following day while at my core fusion class one of the ladies asked me if everything was alright at home. I smiled and said I was very happy at home. She pointed to my arm and said "if you need to talk I'm here. I've gone through the denial before too". Confused, I went to the bathroom to look at my arm. I looked like I had been badly beaten. No lie, I looked like a Leopard. I compared the other arm and my left leg and realized I had been beaten with a bad airbrush machine. Not only did I look like an animal, one of the ladies in my class thought I was in denial over domestic violence. $45 later, I was pissed.

The gradual tan: This was the last and final attempt for a tan. I walked into the salon and met with my esthetician. She told to head into the room and again take off everything and/or wear what I was comfortable in. This time I figured to save a bra and spare a panty. It was weird at first and I was bouncing around while trying to perfectly strike my cheerleader like poses. The room was freezing and I was singing Britney Spears songs in my head to get me through the service. She informed me that this tan would go on clear and gradually over the next few hours into the next day, turn into a nice even tan. When she finished the spray she told me to stand in front of a fan to ensure that it dried. With the fakest smile I could muster, I agreed to do so and I miserably froze in front of the cold fan. I quickly changed, paid and left. For the first time in 4 tans I was very pleased with my color. Like she said the tan did build and I actually had an even healthy glow. $60 later, I was a happy crispy brown.

My experiment was successful. I've done a lot of self reflection after these experiences. I am moving to California.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

You are what you tip...

Working in not one, but two, industries where tips pay rent, I feel it's only fair I help educate customers, clients, potential customers, and (more importantly) my potential clients. It's unfortunate to say, but in all honesty, the tip you leave says a lot about who you are. The standard tip as you know, or should know, 20% gratuity is due for a (legal) service provided. This means 20% is due when you go out to eat, get your haircut, a facial, even when you get a to-go medium reg at Dunks. Tip that poor girl...she's freezing in the drive-thru! I understand, times are tough right now, but what about your poor waitress who's making $2.63/hr? Or your esthetician who is making $8/hr and may only have two clients the entire day? So my question for you is, what kind of tipper are you, and what kind of tipper do you want to be?

The Great Tipper : This is the guy who acknowledges the server at the table and instead of insisting on eating an item that is not on the menu, and probably never will be, he orders without modifications. He thanks the server when water or beer is brought his way and doesn't sarcastically say "Oh I hated it. Take it away" when his empty plate is being cleared. He's thoughtful, appreciative and leaves his respectful 20% ( or more if he's got the funds).

This is the woman who fills out her client history form before receiving a facial. She follows the steps of getting changed, going to the room assigned and comfortably assumes position in the bed. She receives her service thanking her esthetician at the completion of her facial. Before getting out of the bed she doesn't use the oh-so-original joke "That was terrible, can I stay and sleep" She leaves her 20% and books another appointment when the time is right.

The 15 percenter...: This is a wide range. There is only one exception for this category and that would be the really cute old couple. They go out to eat once a week and are accustomed to tipping 15% since forever ago. They really can do no wrong.

The real 15 perceneter is the woman who comes to get her facial and pulls out nine different expired coupons for her service. You agree to accept one. She then proceeds to ask for an extra ampuole, an enzyme mask instead of exfoliator, and a brow and chin wax. Lovely. She tips 15% on her balance after her coupon was deducted from the total. Without fail, she is the woman who is calling the following day saying she read online that the enzyme mask could cause her itching and rash if she has hay fever which she claims she definitely has. "I deserve a refund!" I'm sure you do.

This is the costumer who insists you have a fish stew not listed on the menu. "I'm sorry sir, maybe you are thinking of the Cioppino?" They go on to pull up a Yelp review on their Iphone and tell you since their fellow Yelper enjoyed your fish stew so much on January 7th that is they only reason they came in to eat today. Getting off to a smooth start, they order the cioppino recommended with 4 refills of bread and only one glass of diet coke unless there are free refills. They leave a whopping 15% and upon exiting he smiles and says "This is the best meal I've ever had. I'm going to come back here all the time and request you as my server!" Thanks for the verbal tip buddy.

The European: Really you can't blame them (unless they live here). When we go to their country we don't tip. I'm sure it doesn't say ANYTHING about going out to eat and leaving gratuity in one of their 3 ginormous guide books they own. Maybe it does and it just doesn't say how much? I think they give it a good guess and if they're generous leave 12% and if they are clueless (I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt here) they leave 10%.

With this said, a tip can say a lot about who you are. Are you cheap? Broke? Needy? Needy, cheap and broke? The service industry works very hard to ensure you have a nice experience so do them a solid and strive to be great.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Botox, Lipo and a trip back home...

Growing up in a small town on the South Shore of Boston, I didn't know many people from Columbia, Brazil, or, really, anywhere north of Boston. My senior year of high school I attended boarding school in Winchendon, MA (the armpit of Massachusetts). What I thought was going to be a 50% rich kids 50% hott male athlete ratio turned out to be 90% Asian 5% athlete 5% kids who thought the same thing I did when they applied. When I moved to Boston to go to Suffolk, I started working in restaurants and began working with all different ethnicities. At the restaurant I work now, the kitchen staff is all from Columbia. At my school, the Brazilian accent outweighs the Boston accent. With that said, I am learning my fair share about the Brazilian and Colombian cultures. Mostly, what I'm intrigued by is their take on beauty.

While punching in at work, I always take a second to notice my surroundings. Naturally, my eyes are drawn to the brightest color in the room, which inevitably is one of the girls outfits. I give them a lot of credit. Their shirts are never without a hole, rip, tear or string holding it together. They love their aqua's, neons, sparkles and spandex. And, of course their make-up always always always matches their outfits to a T. It is actually really impressive. I can only hope, one day, to have their self-confidence.

Recently one of the shuckers went back home for a 5 week vacation to Columbia. She was so excited to go and I assumed it was because she has a daughter back home. 5 weeks go by and in comes the new (subtract 20 lbs add braces) Natalia. I couldn't believe it. She came in all smiles Natalia: "Hola Kristina"
Me: "Natalia??Liposuction??"
Natalia: "Si Kristina!"
Me: "Natalia, are your eyebrows and eyeliner tattooed on!??"
Natalia: "Si,Si Kristina!!"
Me: "Natalia...Te llama Natalia?"

Fast forward two months. I'm at school. One of the ladies in class decided to take a 5 week hiatus from school to go home to Brazil. Considering she was slightly behind as it was, all the girls thought it was what we wouldn't consider to be the best idea. At first we thought she was just a slower learner because of course it would be more difficult to learn about microbiology in a different language. But then, as time went on we came to the conclusion she A: just didn't want to learn, or B: just not that bright. WE have about 3 rules in school: 1. wear white and only white. She wears polka dots. 2. Don't eat in class. She eats snickers bars while steaming and masking clients. 3. You are only allowed to miss one class. She missed 5 weeks. When she finally did return, we were all speechless at what we saw. Rumors started flying and whispers were exchanged. Was she beaten? Bad relationship? She owed someone money? Oh no, she had botox gone bad. Note to self, don't go to a private practitioner for botox while on vacation in Brazil.

All I know is when I come back from a vacation home on the south shore, the only thing I'm bringing back for show is a slightly larger love handle, a new item of clothing I stole from my sister, a couple rolls of toilet paper from the Christmas Tree Shop and a jar of Peanut Butter. I'm looking up flight to Columbia as I write this entry...

Friday, January 14, 2011

Last entry, over 2 years ago, I was what one would call...bitter. So I graduated and couldn't find a job. Who didn't? So I was in debt $20,000 and had no health insurance. It happens. So I was single and sleeping with my personal trainer at a shitty gym down the street from my shitty apartment. It happens. I was young. I was naive. I was working at a restaurant thinking "my life sucks" when I should have been saying... "negative $20,000? not so bad. Free wine and oysters? Not so bad. Thanks to Obama I am covered by Mom's health insurance until I'm 26? I'll take it!" These are the things I couldn't wrap my head around in 2008. I was still riding the wave from college. Now it's a different story. For better or worse, you can decide...

I now live in the North End with my boyfriend Jon and our two dogs Millie (5 years) and Peanut Butter (a miserable 9 months). We met through mutual friends in restaurants. What started as a hook-up turned into a little dog family in a small apartment, a crazy girl (yours truly) who has planned their jewish meets Irish Catholic wedding with no engagement ring and a brand new collection of Lululemon to add to our debt. In all honesty, I couldn't be happier. Still slinging oysters and serving lobster rolls ("hot with butter or cold with mayo?") I work at one of the best restaurants in Boston. Not only am I serving and saving for taxes, but now I am pursuing my dream to be an Esthetician. I am enrolled at the Elizabeth Grady School. I can honestly say, I thought the characters at the restaurant would make a good blog, but esthetics is a whole different beast. I'm talking brazilian waxes, black heads galore, ESL and snickers bars. Oh, and did I mention, more debt?

I came to terms with the fact I would never get the job I wanted in Print Journalism. The Devil Wears Prada was just a book, only Anne Hathaway would land a job like that, and no one gets free samples of Gucci. With that said, I decided I would do what I love most....make-up and facials. Call me shallow, but I think it's my calling. Since enrolling at Elizabeth Grady, I really feel I am where I belong. I mean it hasn't all been smooth sailing, I can't lie. The whole brazilian waxing threw me for a little loop when I found there actually ARE people out there who have never shaved or waxed down there EVER other than my mother. Oh, and I can't forget to mention the idea I cant shave any part of my body while attending school until designated "waxing days" was a make it or break it deal. But everything else, like popping black heads, exfoliating, steaming, massage and make-up is so much fun to me. I'm right where I should be. Another $5,000? Put it on my tab.

Let's just say today I gave my co-worker his first facial. For Christmas Santa brought me a steamer, loop lamp and esthetic table. Little did I know, I would be performing my first back wax tonight. Two months ago I gave my 14 year old cousin his first eye brow wax. Between the 36 year old who never saw herself without a power bush, a 14 year old who never knew he had two eyebrows, to a man who never thought he would see the skin on his back again, I'm changing mens lives with each rip of wax. I will share my life changing stories and I promise, it will be before two years have passed.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Kristin Oyster

While scrolling Craigslist in search of a job that pays anything more than $2.63/hr, I decided to create this blog. Is there anyone who can relate to my current dilemna? I have no idea what I want to do with my life. Seeing as no employer gives consideration to an applicant with little to no experience, and everyone that has experience is getting laid off, I am stuck in a bind and well, waiting tables with a degree.  I spent four years busting my butt to earn a B/A and instead of a monthly pay check and health benefits, I receive a monthly bill for loans and am jacked up on vitamins from Whole Foods to ensure that I won't get sick. So now, this leaves me to decide what to do. I could go back to school and get my masters (in something?). I could keep applying to jobs on craigslist and never hearing back. I could just suck it up and keep being a waitress. For now I will stick with option 3.

Now, I must admit that I'm being a bit dramatic. What I meant by "busting my butt for four years" was I crammed a lot last minute. Pulling all-nighters and writing a paper an hour before deadline is tough work. Studying in Italy for five months, going to Celtics and Red Sox games, Red Sox and Patriot Parades, being in walking distance from the best night clubs in the city and living on the nineteenth floor of a high rise with my 5 best friends... well, that wasn't so tough. So earning the degree that is in turn earning me nothing was well worth that hard work. Of course if I could do it over I wouldn't have opened that credit card sophomore year or deferred that loan payment over and over again, but you live and you learn. I'm currently learning that my waitressing money is paying off me living the life.

I am also making it sound like I hate my job. Being a waitress can be actually really fun. I work in a restaurant in the North End where we all have fish names because the restaurant is infamous for our oysters, fresh fish dishes and lobster rolls. We have shiner (julie), smelt fish (vinny), turbot fish (dan), butterfish (tiffany), striper (Kari), Mahi (Kelli-Anne) and Tuna (Jeff-the owner). I am currently Kristin Oyster. It's actually the best restaurant I have ever worked at. We have a great time together and we all know everything about one another. They were with me through my relationship status change (I'll fill you in later) and through my day to day crazy life. It's more like a television show unfolding before my eyes and this is why I feel the need to share my stories with you. So please enjoy, comment and know that the characters and the drama are real.