What I do

Energetic, creative digital marketing professional with 20 years of fundraising and marketing experience in the corporate and nonprofit sectors. Skills include online fundraising strategy, evidence-based decision-making, user experience design expertise, and an action-oriented, collaborative working style.

EXPERIENCE

United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington, DC
Online Fundraising Manager February 2014 — Present
Responsible for overseeing the Museum’s $1.7M online fundraising channel, setting online fundraising strategy and providing financial and engagement analysis for online campaigns as part of $10.6M overall direct response membership budget.

  • Manage fundraising initiatives across all digital platforms including web, email, social, and mobile channels, working with internal stakeholders and partners to assist with planning and implementation.
  • Optimize the online donation experience to increase average gift amount and frequency, grow the membership base, and retain valuable supporters by segmenting donors, prospects and lapsed donors to serve up specialized content and ask strings on landing pages and forms.
  • Produce fundraising forms and landing pages, and track all online donations through source and origin data to ensure accurate attribution.
  • Execute fundraising email sends from start to finish: planning, creative design, content creation, HTML, tagging, targeting, A/B testing, and deployment. Evaluate results using KPIs and course-correct using data and analysis to optimize future campaigns.
  • Maintain financial dashboard to monitor revenue trends against budget, calculate ROI and CTAD, and identify other opportunities to add growth.
  • Integrate direct mail and online marketing efforts and assist with budgeting and daily revenue analysis.
  • Integrate data from marketing automation platform (Marketo) and online fundraising platform (iDonate/EveryAction) into Museum’s database of record (Portfolio) to record online gifts and communicate holistically with  members. Establish practices for data-mapping and 1:1 record management.
  • Oversee donor centered user experience testing, create wireframes for optimal user experience with keen attention to interaction design principles.

The Nature Conservancy Arlington, Virginia
Online Fundraising Campaign Manager October 2011 — December 2013
Directed The Nature Conservancy’s online fundraising campaigns geared to acquire new donors, engage members and increase revenue.

  • Lead The Nature Conservancy’s search engine marketing strategy, analysis and project management.
  • Managed online media budget of $1,000,000, in addition to a $40,000 Google Grants account; analyzed spending and established projections for revenue and new donors.
  • Created and produced marketing content, including written copy and design for digital display ads.
  • Introduced new revenue tactic through donation e-cards, increasing revenue by 21% in FY13 for holiday-specific campaigns; improved results with landing page and ask-string testing, user-flow analysis, and promotion through paid search and social media.
  • Increased revenue in FY13 by 18% for giving programs such as Adopt An Acre®, Plant a Billion Trees and the carbon offsets program by utilizing paid search in Portuguese and Spanish, and working closely across teams to improve content.

Clyde’s Restaurant Group Washington, DC
Corporate Marketing Manager November 2000 — October 2011
Managed all marketing and advertising functions for a privately-held group of thirteen unique restaurants.

  • Created strategies to grow and develop business, working within a $1.5 million annual budget.  Oversaw monthly media buys and maintained advertising schedule. Wrote and edited press releases, supervised public relations efforts, organized and attended press dinners.
  • Created and managed all social media campaigns, overseeing multiple Facebook pages and Twitter accounts to increase brand awareness and advertise specials and promotions
  • Wrote content and produced HTML code for all CRG online properties. Supervised website manager for site maintenance and on-going redesign.
  • Worked directly with advertising agency to develop and oversee campaigns.
  • Effectively managed projects by directly overseeing public relations consultant, website manager, freelance graphic designer, and printing companies.
  • Designed advertisements for large circulation newspapers including The Washington Post, online media, in-house collateral, stationery, email communication, point-of-sale pieces, t-shirts, special event flyers, and postcards

musictoday.com and Dave Matthews Band Charlottesville, Virginia
Marketing and Promotions Representative, Summer Tour 2000

  • The most fun job ever. Seriously.

Edelman Washington, DC
Healthcare and Science Intern April 2000 – June 2000

  • Less fun than touring with DMB.

Arnold & Porter, LLP Washington, DC
Legal Assistant July 1997 – April 2000

EDUCATION

University of Virginia Charlottesville, VA   Bachelor of Arts in English Language and Literature June 1997

Corcoran School of Design Washington, DC   Continuing education studies in Advertising Theory and Graphic Design May – September 2002

SKILLS & INTERESTS

  • Proficient in Adobe Creative Suite, Microsoft Suite, Google Suite, WordPress, BSD Tools, iDonate, EveryAction, Portfolio, and Marketo.
  • Adept in Blackbaud Luminate, InDesign, HTML, and DreamWeaver.
  • Excellent writing, communication, and presentation skills. Easy, funny public speaker.
  • Mentor 8th grade students with Higher Achievement, a DC-based nonprofit which pairs scholars with adult volunteer role models for tutoring and mentoring
  • Interests include making people laugh, podcasting (wearestillhungry.com), body-positivity advocacy, creative writing, watercolor and acrylic painting, playing ukulele, anything on Bravo, literature, social change for the equity of all marginalized groups of people, and my cat Otis.
Advertisements

2017 Year in Review

1. What did you do in 2017 that you’d never done before?
Dealt with the discomfort, anxiety and dissociation of not knowing what is wrong with my body. (Thus, The Boob Issue.)

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I have literally no idea what mine were last year. I’m not sure I believe in a year’s worth of resolutions anyway. Isn’t it easier to bite off a resolution for a week or two weeks and see what you can accomplish then? Maybe I’ll try that this year — 12 monthly resolutions.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
No. I turned 42 this year, so my friends my age are long past that stage, and the few friends I have who are ready for babies are still waiting.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
No, thank you, Jesus.

5. What countries did you visit?
None. Last year, I said, “In 2017 I would like to spend some time outside my own life so I can experience new things and feel small in the world.” I didn’t. I didn’t even travel anywhere. Furthermore, the only time I spent away from work was either a staycation in DC, in Arkansas with my parents, or relaxing in Madison County, Va.

6. What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016?
Romantic love and affection. A clearer sense of self. A new apartment. A tad more financial security.

7. What dates from 2016 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

  • The Women’s March on Washington, January 21. It was the bellwether for what would become an incredible year for women. Woman have brought about a shift in the messages we hear from television and media and I can’t wait until Congress is filled with natural-haired black women, transgender men and a bunch of queens. That’s a team that will get shit done.
  • November 4: What began The Boob Issue, a story for a later date, and one I’m hopeful 2018 will provide a positive resolution.
  • Christmas Eve. I learned that a dear friend suffered a devastating illness, from which I hope he recovers.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Adaptation. Things changed for me in ways I didn’t want but I’m proud of the way that I was able to look them with an understanding of what I need and deserve, and then make changes to accommodate. Adapt and overcome was my motto for my friendships, my family and my hope.

9. What was your biggest failure?
My biggest failure was not moving my body more. My body wants to dance and walk (but def not run lolz) and stretch and I didn’t let it.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Well, there’s The Boob Issue that is still unresolved. As I type, I’m one day after biopsies on two places on both breasts, with a third next week. This will deserve its own post at some point, but this experience has made me feel the following things: loved and supported by my friends and family, breathtakingly lonely, completely disconnected from my body, mad at God, and happy to work where I work.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
I went to Drag Con in September and while the experience was a series of highs and lows, the hoodie is the most amazing, soft, delicious thing I’ve ever had and I MET RUPAUL.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Hillary Rodham Clinton. AGAIN. Look, she lost the Presidential race but subsequently she has been the epitome of class since her defeat.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Donald Trump.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Same as the past few years — rent, parking, and mental health care not covered by insurance.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
My beloved podcast We Are Still Hungry. It’s been a platform for a voice I didn’t know I had. It’s made me smarter, funnier and more empathetic. It’s a really fucking good time.

16. What song will always remind you of 2017?
Chunky by Bruno Mars. But also it was a great year for female pop music. Demi Lovato, Kelly Clarkson and Pink all had amazing albums, but 2017 also saw the return of Kesha, which made me cry honest tears and sing really fucking loudly in the car.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Here’s an off the cuff list: travel, taken life less seriously, cleaned, gotten out of my own head, pushed myself to fight my introvertedness, snipped Otis’s goddamn claws, read more books, journaled more, accepted help from other people, seen more live music.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
I wish I had spent less time hanging out in the dusty attic of my brain.

20. How did you spend Christmas?
I spent it in Arkansas like I always do.

21. Did you fall in love in 2017?
Nope. Online dating is a goddamn nightmare and it’s a frontal assault in self-esteem to continue to open myself up time and time again. If my perfect person is out there I’d reallllly love to have him come soon. I am weary.

22. How many one-night stands?
None.

23. What was your favorite TV program?
All the Bravo shows.

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
I hated Trump last year. I hate him now. So, no.

25. What was the best book you read?
Into The Water, by Paula Hawkins

26. What was your greatest musical discovery?
I didn’t discover anyone new. The best artists I know served me well. I didn’t need new.

27. What did you want and get?
Ugh, this is a hard one because I know I received a million gifts from the universe and I try so hard to be grateful. But truth is, 2017 was a shit year. It’s so hard to be positive and grateful. It just is.

28. What did you want and not get?
Romantic love and partnership.

29. What was your favorite film of this year?
Get Out.

30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 42 and my parents came to visit from Arkansas. We went to Clyde’s for drinks then ordered Indian food for delivery. Pretty solid night, actually.

31.What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Romance, sex, a monthly or fortnightly cleaning service.

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2016?
Saw a meme that said, “my personal style can best be described as, ‘I didn’t think I’d have to get out of the car.’”

33. What kept you sane?
Laughter! My finely tuned mix of psychotropic drugs, my tight knit circle of friends all of which I’ve had for decades except for one sweet angel who leads me by example to be more thoughtful, centered, loving, and more careful with my words. I used to think she was perfect but then once she wore fashion sneakers with socks and knocked the shine right off that apple. Jeesh.

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Tarana Burke, who began the #MeToo movement, and all the fucking bad ass women in Hollywood who spoke out and tore down the patriarchy of the entertainment industry. To name a few: Rose McGowan, Salma Hayek, Ashely Judd, Reese Witherspoon, Shandra Rhimes, Jill Soloway, Cat Sadler, Eva Longoria, America Ferrera.

35. What political issue stirred you the most?
All of them. Literally every single one. This year was the year I became extremely invested in our political system and our government. I regret not having done so sooner.

36. Who did you miss?
Last year I said I missed the same ol’ ghosts of the past. Not this year. I reunited with one of those ghosts last February and he turned out to be a huge dick, which I should have learned in 1991 but sometimes it takes a few times to learn a lesson. Boy, bye.

37. Who was the best new person you met?
Last year I met my Work Husband — a wise-beyond-his years man who consistently surprises me with his wisdom and friendship, and who has seriously outgrown last year’s moniker by becoming a really solid close friend who makes me laugh more than anyone else on the planet. This year I became a mother at 42 with my Jewish gay Work Son and he’s brought me an immeasurable amount of laughter and a crazy approach to cube decoration.

38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016.
Bad things happen that no one deserves. They happen to wonderful people who have wonderful love stories. They happen without reason, justification and purpose, that are definitely not part of God’s plan. And sometimes the good things you DO deserve don’t happen at all. I have no idea how to reconcile that with a strong sense of faith, but lessons aren’t to be learned in the middle. We can only pray for clarity in the long term.

39. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.
So many things that I had before
That don’t matter to me now
Tonight I cry for the love that I’ve lost
And the love I’ve never found
When the last bird falls
And the last siren sounds
Someone will say what’s been said before
It’s only love that we were looking for

2016 Year in Review

1. What did you do in 2016 that you’d never done before?
I have a podcast! My friend wife Paula D Atkinson and started it together after we realized we got pretty fired up about what’s happening in the world. We started We Are Still Hungry and now we have dozens of have followers and I love it.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I honestly don’t remember. I was very specific about resolutions in 2015 but I don’t think I made any 2016 resolutions. I also had a conversation fight with a coworker about the difference between goals (“I’d like to read one book a month”) and a resolution (“I resolve to be more present”) so I think after that, I just said, “Fuck it — bring on 2016.”

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Yes! 2016 brought the world Harrison and Wilson. They laugh at my jokes and are chubby, which are two of my favorite qualities in men and babies.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
No.

5. What countries did you visit?
None. I flew to Arkansas twice but I didn’t go anywhere and did not take a vacation. Spending time with my family is awesome and nourishing, but in 2017 I would like to spend some time outside my own life so I can experience new things and feel small in the world.

6. What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016?
Romantic love and affection.

7. What dates from 2016 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
On November 8, I sat at a bar alone (after Paula left) and watched the presidential election results come in. Living in a world with a Trump presidency is not something I’ve been able to deal with yet. I stayed until about 1:30 and then went home and slept in half hour increments until I saw the words “President-elect Donald Trump” then I cried myself to sleep.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Talking about my depression on the podcast. It made me feel proud and vulnerable and scared, but since we clicked “publish” I realized how important it was for me to do so.

9. What was your biggest failure?
My biggest failure was not being kinder to my body.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Nothing major. A few colds and infections here and there. OH, and the day-to-day, monotonous, mind-numbing ache that comes with dysthymia and depression. Ha!

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Medication and therapy.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Hillary Clinton. When she addressed the nation after she conceded the election, I was breathless. One day I hope to be that poised and eloquent.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Donald Trump. What’s more appalling and depressing than the leader of our country saying “grab ‘em by the pussy”?

14. Where did most of your money go?
Rent, parking, therapy.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
HILLARY FUCKING CLINTON. I loved feeling the momentum of a bad-ass women’s movement.

16. What song will always remind you of 2016?
Beyonce’s Lemonade. All songs from that album. #notsorry

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder? Happier!
b) thinner or fatter? Probably the same, maybe fatter, but hate this question because it’s horrible and arbitrary.
c) richer or poorer? Same.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Painting! Or, writing or making art, in general. Somewhere along the way, it just wasn’t on the top of my list. And we all know how hard it is to get back to the top of the list.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Work. I love my job, but I rolled over a lot of vacation days and that’s straight up bullshit.

20. How will you be spending Christmas?
You mean in 11.5 months? Probably with my parents as life dictates, but I would LOVE to go somewhere warm.

21. Did you fall in love in 2016?
Nope. Not even close.

22. How many one-night stands?
This is an inappropriate question. But no. No one-night stands.

23. What was your favorite TV program?
I continue to be hopelessly in love with Law & Order SVU, any and all shows on Bravo, and a few standouts I discovered on Netflix: Stranger Things, a show about women in prisons, American Crime.

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
I think I probably hated Donald Trump before, but man, did my hatred for him skyrocket in 2016.

25. What was the best book you read?
I can’t ever say which is the best. But here are a few passages from the books I read in 2016.

We Were Liars, by E. Lockhart:
We looked at the sky. So many stars, it seemed like a celebration, a grand, illicit party the galaxy was holding after the humans had been put to bed.

The Girl with All the Gifts, by M.R. Carey
Melanie thinks: when your dreams come true, your true has moved . You’ve already stopped being the person who had the dreams, so it feels more like a weird echo of something that already happened to you a long time ago.

The Good Father, by Noah Hawley
Looking at the photos of my family, fleeting emotions hit me—flashes of anger, of fear. These are the feelings that last—the extreme swings, the fights that burn themselves into your core. A decade later it is easier to remember the car crash than it is to remember the long drive leading up to it.

The Girls, by Emma Klein
Poor Sasha. Poor girls. The world fattens them on the promise of love. How badly they need it, and how little most of them will ever get. The treacled pop songs, the dresses described in the catalogs with words like “sunset” and “Paris.” Then the dreams are taken away with such violent force; the hand wrenching the buttons of the jeans, nobody looking at the man shouting at his girlfriend on the bus. Sorrow for Sasha locked up my throat.

26. What was your greatest musical discovery?
I stuck pretty close to the vest this year, musically. I loved listening to First Aid Kit and Marin Morris. They were new to me, but not really new.

27. What did you want and get?
Recognition and applause at work.

28. What did you want and not get?
Long term love & romance.

29. What was your favorite film of this year?
The 13th, by Ava Devunay.

30. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned FORTY ONE and I spent it having dinner with Paula, Carlo, Marisa, my favorite Australian Jarrod, and Mark.

31.What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Tbh, sex. I mean, I could lie and say something else, but that’s the truth.

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2016?
I saw a thing on Facebook that said, “My personal style can best be described as ‘I didn’t expect to get out of the car’”. I think that pretty much sums it up, but if you need details: black cropped pants, black flats, a flowy top, silver hoops, silver bangles and more than enough mascara.

33. What kept you sane?
Medication and therapy.

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
My sweet, sweet Hillary.

35. What political issue stirred you the most?
All of them. Seriously, ALL OF THEM. This was the year that I found myself coming into my own passion about American politics. As I sit and type on January 8, with the inauguration of Donald Trump a mere 12 days away, I am still completely dumbfounded.

36. Who did you miss?
The same ol’ ghosts of the past I always do.

37. Who was the best new person you met?
My new work husband has brought me an excessive amount of daily laughs.

38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016.
Playing by the society’s rules for women on how to look, how to think, and how to behave gets us nowhere. Look at Hillary! She did everything exactly how American culture and media demanded. She smiled without looking too happy. She was intelligent without being threatening. She was quiet and let Trump walk all over her during the debates and did so peacefully and calmly. And in the end — IT DIDN’T MATTER. SHE STILL LOST. And she lost because there was “just something about her” that people didn’t like. (That “something” was her vagina.) It’s all complete bullshit in my humble opinion and I will not conform anymore. I won’t do it! I won’t listen to one more fucking person tell me that I’m “too” something for a woman. Enough.

Hillary taught me that if you follow the rules and you don’t get a fair shot anyway, fuck the rules.

39. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

I won’t go as a passenger, no
Waiting for the road to be laid
Though I may be going down
I’m taking flame over burning out

Interfere

Yesterday, two men in different parts of the country were murdered by police officers.

Alton Sterling was selling CDs outside a Baton Rouge convenience store when two police officers responding to a 911 report about a man with a gun wrestled him to the ground and shot him multiple times at point-blank range in the chest and back.

Philando Castile was pulled over by a Minnesota police officer for a busted tail light when he, too, was shot at point-blank range while reaching for his ID and car registration.

Did I mention that these two victims were black? Did I need to?


Just over a year ago, I published a post on this blog “Say Something” in which I admitted my fear of speaking out about the Black Lives Matter movement because, in part, I was afraid of saying the wrong thing, sounding ignorant, or letting any unchallenged biases I might still have surface. But I learned that not speaking out is worse than saying something imperfect.

That day I pledged to start speaking out, and I have done so. I mean, I have a fucking podcast now. Speaking out is no longer the issue.

I wrote:

I do have black friends (and actual, real life friends, not “some-of-my-best-friends-are-black” friends). I have black coworkers and neighbors. I’d like to speak out for them, although I’m struggling with a way to explain that, without it sounding, again, like this is all about me.

It doesn’t matter anyway; the truth is, my black friends, coworkers, and neighbors don’t give a shit what I say, here or elsewhere — they just care about what I do and how I act.

And that’s where I’ve let myself down. I didn’t do what I’d promised. I own up to my failures. I never wrote letters to the black churches in DC nor did I seek out and join like-minded communities. Maybe I’m hard on myself….maybe not. But I know I can do more. That’s for sure.

Last summer when I posted Say Something, a friend from high school challenged me as a white woman to be a better ally because it’s virtually impossible for change to happen in society until people in power help. And today, a different friend from high school posed the same challenge. Challenge accepted.

  1. I’m going to stop being an ally and start being an accomplice. If it happens to the black community, it happens to me, too. 
  2. I’m going to use my public forums to create more accomplices.
  3. I’m going to start doing instead of talking.
  4. I’m going to refuse the idea that the solution to this fucked up problem will come from black and brown people. White people created this, and it’s time white people deconstructed it.

I work at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum and every day I fight to keep the memory of millions of victims alive as testimony to what happens when good people do nothing in the face of evil.

The founding chairman of the Museum and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel died this week.

“Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant. Wherever men or women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must—at that moment—become the center of the universe.”
–Elie Wiesel

It’s time to interfere.

Unsent Texts

My friend-wife Paula has been gone for four days on a retreat. Specifically, a silent retreat at Satchidananda Ashram in Virginia, at which the practice of eliminating communication with others allows one to shift the focus inward to connect the body, mind, heart, and soul. In this way, it is quite the exact opposite of 75% of the daily communication between the two of us.  Sure, we discuss deep things, but like any relationship, most of it is sharing the weird things that go on in our minds and making each other laugh.

She headed south a few hours after Prince passed away, so we were able to mourn together for a short while. If not, I seriously would have considered calling the main desk. If Prince’s death doesn’t qualify for an emergency, what does?

I started jotting down the list of dumb shit I would have texted her. It has been a fun experiment to identify exactly how bizarre our day-to-day is.

Here you go.

Things I Have Wanted to Text Paula But Can’t Because She’s on a Silent Yoga Retreat:

  • I listened to Purple Rain on the way home from work and cried that Prince died. First time I’ve ever cried over a celebrity.
  • I wore too much eyeliner to work today. I look like a whore.
  • I need Todrick Hall to stop wearing hats with area codes on them on Gay For Play.
  • Otis just did the cutest thing ever. Here’s a photo.
    20160417_125458
     He’s sticking his tongue out!
  • Why didn’t you tell me that that weird Cake By the Ocean song was sung by Joe Jonas?
  • The transmission is shot in Ol’ Blue. Car trouble sucks so hard…
  • I quit all online dating. I just can’t take it anymore. I need you to send me a video of you singing Indigo Girl’s “Love Will Come To You.”
  • The olive leaf extract that your mom is making me take every day tastes really disgusting.
  • Do you ever wish that Jesus* could text you to say hey while you’re gone?
  • I’m eating imitation crab salad for lunch!
  • Afternoon snack: trying a new kind of yogurt, the kind where you flip over the nuts into it. Aren’t you proud of me for eating yogurt?
  • The yogurt is banana flavored.  ABORT.
  • On RHONY, one of the women responded to being called “too skinny” as “I’m healthy. I get my period every month.” I can’t. Why do we have to teach everyone about this?
  • Um, I just bought a car.
  • OMG BEYONCE.
  • Hey Serena. “You better call Becky with the good hair.”
  • I WILL NEVER FORGIVE YOU FOR LEAVING ME ALONE ON THE WEEKEND THAT I HAVE TO DEAL WITH PRINCE’S DEATH AND BEYONCE’S LEMONADE.

*Jesus is Paula’s dog. Although having the actual Jesus Christ text you to say hey would be cool, too.

Oscars 2016

I think we can all agree that there’s no way that I can actually make it to the end of this awards show for two main reasons a) I’m too old to stay awake past 11 pm and b) I’m sick. AGAIN. So rather than give you a well-written critique of this year’s telecast with all the reasons why so-and-so’s performance was magical and such-and-such movie changed my life, I’m just going to talk about dresses and suits, and highlight anything entertaining before I eventually pass out from a grigio/NyQuil cocktail. I’m a cranky bitch.

Here’s the thing about me and fashion. I love it…it’s not for me. I absolutely love fashion as a designer’s artistic expression. I’m a faithful watcher of Project Runway and love how much hard work goes into each garment. (Garments are what fancy people call clothes.) But I am not a fashion plate by any stretch of the imagination, mostly because of a long battle of wills with my body and all its perceived flaws over the years. From frustration over the parts that were too big (breasts, belly, arse) and the parts that were too long (my torso) or too short (legs, fingers), I decided unfairly a long ago to resign myself to the sartorial expression of the designers at Old Navy, JC Penney and Belk. My strategy is to dazzle people with my jokes and my laugh and hope they don’t look at me below the neck.\

Since fashion is not for me, I don’t know shit from shinola about it. The purpose of this post is so I can talk out of my ass and stop myself from sending hate mail to my coworkers who come to work whilst under the weather which keeps us all passing this muthafucking cold back to each other week after week.

Before I dive into my thrilling critique, I’ll admit that I have never been less prepared for this show. I have seen The Room and Spotlight. I hope Brie Larson wins, but other than that, I literally don’t care at all. There were several movies I wanted to see and I’m sure I’ll see eventually, like Carol, The Danish Girl, The Big Short, Brooklyn and The Revenant. (P.S. Read the article about the author of The Revenant. Poor guy, all this attention and he’s silenced because of his big DoD job.)

I begin by watching the red carpet coverage by the genius committee at E!. Ryan Seacrest and Giuliana Rancic are like the chic weird couple from NYC that live in your building and you’re pretty sure one of them is gay but you can’t quite figure out which one.

Alicia Vikander

Pale yellow strapless Louis Vuitton bubble gown with silver stuff on it. She might have the most beautiful skin I’ve ever seen. Her hair looks a little unkempt, but I find the rest of her completely magnificent. Never heard of her before tonight but word on the street is that she’s in The Danish Girl, which I gotta see.

Sofia Vergara

Why is she here? This woman is everywhere: the Oscars, Pit Bull’s Grammy performance, and I think she was the pharmacy rep who filled my antibiotic prescription. Navy blue Marchesa gown with lots of breasts, sequins and a peplum. I feel just kind of meh about this look, and it looks a little bit like a step-mother of a bride dress, like if your Colombian stepmom is your dad’s third wife and she’s out to prove that she’s hotter than your mom, for whom your dad secretly still holds a flame.

Jacob Tremblay

Cute little dude with a very handsome Armani tuxedo. His parents are drop dead gorgeous. While watching Room, I was transfixed by his performance. He was amazing and I actually forgot that he was an actor for much of the movie.

Whoopi:

“The Dames” (am I supposed to know? wtf? huh?) made her dress based on a dress Bette Davis wore in All About Eve. I’m not in love with this look, mostly because I’m irritated when people try and dress women with bigger bodies in a bunch of fabric and pleats. It’s just too much stuff all over her body. But because it’s Whoopi and she DGAF, she’s got this outrageous weird octopus hand jewelry that I’m loving. “That’s how you know it’s me.”  Werk.

Saoirse Ronan

Spaghetti strapped dark green sequin Calvin Klein gown with a deep plunging neckline.  Her hair and makeup are gorgeous and I just looooove her adorable Irish accent. This dress is everything — flattering, elegant, simple. I love the back with the cutouts on the hips. She just Lord of the Danced her way onto my Best Dressed list.

Eddie Redmayne

What is that? Velvet?

Common

Is there anything more handsome than a man in a tuxedo? Common is giving me an ivory white Dolce & Gabbana jacket & vest without looking like a fine-dining waiter, and that’s hard to do. I need more information on his lapel pin.

Olivia Munn

I love this orangey-red one shoulder Stella McCartney gown. Her left shoulder is caped in a very fitted sleeve which makes me think of a patio-furniture cover, but I love how simple it is.

Brie Larson

This blue spaghetti strapped tulle Gucci is amazing and the belt is spectacular. Love the little ruffles and pleated fabric. But I definitely had this hairstyle in the 4th grade.

Heidi Klum

Looks like someone wrapped her up in tulle and cotton candy and threw a few silk flowers on her arms as a practical joke.  But the goddamn joke is on you, you fashion trickster, because this woman is breathtaking and apparently doesn’t age.

Rooney Mara

“Have we ever seen the diamond belly?” asks Ryan Seacrest. I hate the tiny buns in her hair but the dress is super fancy and I think I love it. Lots of white wispy drapey stuff in this Givenchy gown. Her makeup is flawless, and I think this may be the first time I’ve ever seen anyone transform her previous bitchy resting face into a serene Mona Lisa thing. ACTING!

Henry Cavill:

Please marry me. Or maybe just come over and vacuum and let me watch


 

Switching to ABC because I have had juuuuuust enough of Kris Jenner and ABC has a deal where they’re the only ones broadcasting live from the red carpet, except Ryan sneaks in a quickie interview with Dr. Jill Biden because he’s a rebel and gives the middle finger to authority. Or something.

Julianne Moore

I just really don’t know how I feel about the this Chanel dress. The top half is dominatrix and sparkles and the bottom is bridesmaid. Meh.

Tina Fey

This dress is EV.ER.EY.THANG. Her hair, tho. Frowny emoji.

Cate Blanchett

I think I’d like this dress better if it didn’t have the embellishment of the flowers and feathers. Robin gave a little hat tip to her partner and I’m overwhelmed with how happy I am that she kicked cancer in the tuckus. I gotta tell you about the time Cate Blanchett came into Clyde’s. I was downstairs after the lunch rush getting some iced tea when I saw that there was a glow coming from the front door. It was Cate and her two sons and I shit you not when I say that this woman is breathtaking in real life. I didn’t know skin could look like that without Photoshop. And that’s the end, and it turns out this story is not so interesting.

Lady Gaga

Secret pants!!! Designer and best friend Brandon Maxwell made a shit ton of dresses for her and 1 in 5 women and 1 in 20 men will be a victim of sexual violence. Gaga will be singing “Till It Happens to You” about which I know zero point zero facts but will probably make me cry anyway.

Charlize Theron

Everything about her is perfect. Love the lines of the spaghetti straps next to the diamond strands of her necklace, and her perfect perfection which is perfectly perfect

Other standouts:

Naomi Watts: purple navy sparkles strapless, dark lip, blonde bob.

Tina Fey: purple silhoutte strapless simple amazing

Chrissy Teigan: beige flowers baby bump

Mindy Kahling:  black dress, blue cap sleeves, puffy blue train thing.

Mark Ruffalo’s navy jacket

Mark Ruffalo’s wife Sunshine’s dress and hair. I *think* the gold embellishment on the hips is Grecian female anatomy.

Things I didn’t like:

Kevin Hart’s jewel piping

The thank you ticker at the bottom

Lastly, I’ll say that Chris Rock has done an amazing job so far. His acknowledgement and critique of the lack of black and brown actors among the pool of this year’s nominees was both subtle and over-the-top. I will leave the pontificating to those better suited to provide insightful commentary, but I will say that no one could have done a better job than he.

What did I miss? Whose dress/tux did you love? Why am I still sick? Why are there no black people nominated?

 

Swarm

When my parents visit the east coast from Arkansas, they fly in and out of DC, but go to Richmond to see my brother, sis-in-law and the twins in the middle of their trip.  Unless I can get the day off, I usually follow on Friday afternoon or Saturday morning to spend a weekend as a Big Family Unit. Thus begins my tale of this weekend’s adventure.

On Saturday, I hopped out of bed bright eyed and bushy tailed* and got in Ol’ Blue, aka The Silent Death Trap, my navy ‘97 Volvo. My old joke about Volvos is this: The good news about a Volvo is that it will never die. The bad news about a Volvo is that it will never die. Ol’ Blue has no speedometer, no odometer, no dashboard lights, and no functioning horn. It does, however, have a cassette player, a few Fabulous Thunderbirds tapes and a $0 car payment. Pros outweigh the cons, if you ask me.

Blue and I were cruising down 95 when I noticed she was a little low on fuel, so I made a stop. I put the hose in the tank*, flipped the handle-kick-stand-thingy to keep it going by itself, and popped the hood to check the oil because I am a Responsible Car Owner. Everything was good under the hood* so I ran in to wash my hands and have a quick pee pee.

Back outside, I grabbed the handle to put the hose back* and that’s when it happened.

The hose swarmed on me.

Gas started spewing everywhere* and the hose was out of control*. I honestly don’t remember what happened next, I must have blacked out. The next thing I knew, the hose was back in its cradle* and there was gas on my pants*, my shirt, my tank top and my $11 ballet flats.

I sat there stunned for a few minutes, assessing the damage. At one point I turned back toward the car and thought, “I’m sure it’s just a tiny splash*! Everything’s fine! Let’s go to Richmond!”

Nope. Oh, such wishful thinking.

I fished my change of clothes from my overnight bag and headed BACK into the gas station where I had just been to pee pee so I could change and wash off whatever gas had leaked through my pants and onto my leg. Please to enjoy the mental image of me in the bathroom, pantsless with my foot up on the sink splashing water onto my knee.

I sent a quick text to Dad to tell the family that my journey had been delayed by 30 minutes by the gas incident. Back on the road, I zoomed down to Midlothian with my soiled clothes in the trunk.  I arrived and after a few much needed hugs and kisses from my favorite 8 year olds on the planet, I was redirected back outside to deal with the gas issue.

The group had Googled what to do with gas-soaked clothes and it wasn’t as simple as just rinsing it out before throwing it in the laundry, which is what I would have done. What did we do before we had the Internet*?

THEN THINGS GOT FUN*. At least for me, because for whatever reason, someone else did all the hard work*, and I just took pictures and video*.

We put detergent, color safe bleach and the clothes in a bucket and filled it with water. Then we agitated it with the stick end of a push broom, and rinsed it twice.

 

Lastly, it was time for the spin cycle*.

Comedy gold.

We hung the clothes up on a 40 pound test fishing line that Matt had strung up between two trees on the side of the house, much to the displeasure of my very, very accommodating and tolerant sister-in-law (and the probably the HOA).

swarm

They dried overnight and smelled pretty good when I folded them and put them in my bag to go home.

After it was all said and done*, I ended up with hand-washed clothes rid of all gasoline.

I think we learned a lesson in all of this: If something starts to swarm on you, the best thing to do is surrender, go with the universe’s flow and write a blog post so everyone can laugh with you!


 

*That’s what she said.