Nicole In A Nutshell

November 24, 2008

Short but sweet (just like me)

Filed under: Shopping,Steals and Deals — by Nicole @ 11:44 pm

Quit snickering – I can be sweet. I’ve really been dragging ass with the blogging lately, but I’ll be back up to speed from now on. However, this post won’t have a lot of substance because it’s late, I’m tired, and I’m hauling my ass to the gym early in the morning (for the second day in a row!) so as to avoid peak douchebaggery at the pool. Wait until after work and you end up sharing a lane with 3 people, including the old lady who refuses to put her head in the water and is slowing everyone down, the kickboarder who doesn’t quite get the hang of it all just yet, and the ultimate pool tool: the incessant splasher. Memo to splasher: you are not Michael Phelps, and you never will be. Kick me again while trying to do an ill-fated flip turn, and I’ll make Jaws look like a goldfish up in that bitch.

Anyhoo, since I’m so clearly in the holiday spirit (I actually am, previous diatribe notwithstanding), I thought I’d pass along some info on sales/bargains/etc. that have come to my attention.

First up, your guide to the secular shopaholic’s Christmas/birthday rolled into one: yes folks, I’m talkin’ ’bout Black Friday. There’s a handy website out there that’s tracking sales and specials at nationwide stores, so check it before you set that agenda and throw on your steel-toed boots to kick the bejesus out of that woman who wants to wrestle you for that last 75% off TSE cashmere sweater.

http://www.black-friday.net/

Next up is coupons. Don’t be afraid to use ’em.

Online coupons

  • Alternative Apparel 40% Off coupon CEF183. Expires: 11.26.08
  • Kiehl’s: 20% off Coupon FAMILY. Expires 12.1.08.
  • Land’s End: 20% Off Coupon SHARE with pin 00008692.
  • New York & Co: 30% Off coupon 9815. Expires: 11.26.08
  • Ralph Lauren: 30% off coupon HOL2008. Expires: 12.8.08
  • Rugby: 30% off coupon HOL2008. Expires: 12.8.08
  • Stila Cosmetics: 20% off coupon and free shipping on orders of $30+ Coupon ECYX12. Expires 12.16.08

Printable/in-store coupons:

  • Kiehl’s: 20% off – go here for printable coupon (thanks, Makeup Girl!)
  • New York & Co printable 30% Off coupon. Expires: 11.26.08

I’ll be updating the site with more of these as I learn of them, so check back in. And of course, if you don’t feel like doing the shopping yourself, leave it to a pro and holla at ya girl.

November 19, 2008

Miss me?

Filed under: On A Serious Note.. — by Nicole @ 9:51 pm

There hasn’t been much to blog about on my end lately, but I’m back. I have to say from the start that this isn’t going to be a happy post.

I take the opportunity to volunteer for every pro bono project that comes my way. I feel that it’s important, not only because it does a lot of people a lot of good, but that it breaks up the monotony of my otherwise boring and repetitive work life. My most recent project involves assisting Holocaust survivors in filling out applications for reparations from a German government program. We’re helping out people who lived and worked in the ghettos before being deported to concentration camps or elsewhere. It’s clearly an emotionally draining yet fascinating project, and I have become passionate about it. I’ve only been speaking with these people for a few days, but every survivor I speak to has such a moving story that it has sunk in really deep rather quickly.

My last call of the day was with an 86 year old Polish man. From the second he answered the phone, I could tell that it was going to be an incredible conversation. It was. He had lived in one of the largest ghettos in Poland as a teenager, and was shipped off to several concentration camps after the ghetto was liquidated. He told me about what he saw, what he experienced, what he felt. He told me about how while digging graves for the bodies of his fellow prisoners, a Nazi put a pistol to the head of a three year old girl playing in the sand, pulled the trigger, and forced my client to undress and bury her. He told me about how he was forced to dig graves, bury corpses, only to to be told that the graves weren’t deep enough, forced to dig the bodies back up and create a shallower pit. He told me about the death march he was forced to take. Did he have me in tears? You bet your ass he did.

I though about this man the whole way home. I thought about blogging the experience, but I didn’t want to get all depressy. Then, upon arriving at home, I’ll be damned if the next DVR’d 90210 episode on the list wasn’t the one where Andrea Zuckerman’s grandmother was a survivor of Buchenwald and the kids have to deal with that in the context of the arrival of a Holocaust denier on campus. I took it as a sign.

Yes, the dude on BH was fictitious, but it’s amazing that there really are lunatics out there (like Ahmadinejad) who still refuse to acknowledge that this happened. You simply can’t make this shit up. Millions of people aren’t collectively crafty enough to conspiriatorally invent such similar, horrific experiences. Obviously these denial maniacs are in the minority, but that doesn’t make them any less dangerous.

The scary part of this is that it’s not all that distant in our past, but it’s still happening. I hope that the change we needed (and got, thank Jeebus) makes a much more concerted effort than this past douchebag administration has to stop the genocide in Darfur. If we can wage a bullshit war over oil, we can definitely step in to help resolve a genocide. We can also take the courageous step that FDR didn’t when he failed to help the Jews upon learning of Hitler’s machinations. Believe it or not, we can restore respect around the world, the respect reflected by my survivor client in the final minutes of our discussion:

CLIENT: Are you religious?

ME: No, sir.

CLIENT: I wasn’t either. You know how they are waiting for the Messiah, the Jews?

ME: Yes, sir.

CLIENT: For me, the Messiah came On May 6, 1945. The Messiah was in those American soldiers. A few more weeks, and I would have been dead.

At the risk of turning this into something about me, I have to say that all of this does make me want to put things in perspective. All of the bullshit that I constantly bitch about seems so trivial next to the monumental difficulties and horrors these people have lived through. I can’t tell you how many times throughout our conversation my client asked me, “Can you imagine?” No sir, I really cannot.

Most evenings, I get annoyed if I don’t get a seat on the train. Today, as I stood there and looked around for a non-existent seat, the first thing that came to my mind was, “At least this train isn’t taking me to a death camp.” I’m still waiting for the chills to subside…

November 11, 2008

Crazy people

Filed under: bitchin' and moanin',Issues In The News,It's All About Me — by Nicole @ 9:44 pm

Just finished watching a pretty amazing (and really fucked up) documentary on MSNBC called “Witness to Jonestown”. For those not familiar with the murders and mass suicide that occurred in Guyana in 1978, I highly recommend that you take a look at this piece. It’s the situation that created the phrase “drinking the Kool Aid” (since followers were instructed to kill themselves by drinking cyanide-laced punch) and is quite telling. More so, however, is the similarity that I see to Jim Jones and some of the fundamentalist evangelicals out there today like James Dobson and Fred Phelps. Their Kool Aid is hate speech, and people are drinking it left and right. Pretty scary, folks.

You know who else is crazy and scary? Mormons. This is a people who funded 70% of the “Yes on Prop 8” movement in California. I still don’t understand how same-sex marriage is a threat to anyone, but to provide such vehement support for a measure whose only purpose is to strip away others’ rights is truly baffling. This is a people who, because of their own practice of polygamy, had to move west and form their own state (Utah). It is only within the last century that this practice was outlawed in the official church doctrine, so maybe they are bitter that they can no longer ad wife after wife to their respective broods, but to me, they should be more sympathetic to non-traditional practices. Equally disturbing is the fact that the the Church of Latter Day Saints (puhleeze) have been and continue to attempt posthumous conversion of Holocaust victims to Mormonism. Are you fucking kidding me? I only recently found out about this situation, and I am simply dumbfounded by it. It’s not often that I’m speechless, but…

On a lighter, but no less crazy, note, I present to you a personal story of sheer nuttiness. For years, our family has split a partial season ticket package to Yankee games along with a group of family friends. The tickets are in another dude’s name, and for as long as this arrangement has been in place, we pay him in full for the package, and we get all of the tickets in return. However, this year saw a whole new ball of wax. Ostensibly because this was the last year the Bombers would be playing inthe House That Ruth Built, the guy with the seats took it upon himself to gank several sets of tickets (premium games, mind you) without paying for them, giving us notice, or even asking if we were all cool with it. As we had already paid in full for the entire ticket package, we were not at all cool with this. Since he had literally taken possession of the tickets in question before turning over the rest to us, there was little we could do other than demand our rightful money back for the lost games. By the end of the season, we had seen no cash come our way. As the designated lawyer and writer of strongly worded letters, I sent him such a letter over a month and a half ago. I recently received the response below. It’s a doozy…enjoy:

***

My apologies for not responding earlier, BUT THAT IS ALL I APOLOGIZE
FOR.  Your  communique made me so angry I was ready to go for the
throat, verbally, with the 2 so called “partners” you mentioned on 9/29/08.  I decided
to let cooler heads prevail (mostly mine).  Forward this message to
all involved.  Let them know I never REALLY got over the Aaron Boone
game, then we can take it from there.

To put this in street parlance, I feel the two supposed gentleman you
mentioned “played” me for the benefit of themselves, their families,
their friends.

SOME of the accusations and details you brought up are BLATANTLY
false, MOST INACCURATE at best.

Where I come from as a Southern gentleman and scholar, when I help
someone it is implied  that they offer something back without me
having to ask. Obviously it doesn’t work that way up here.

It depends on how far you want to take this; I still have the ticket
rights for next year and am considering renewing.  I WILL MAINTAIN THE
CONTROL OF THOSE TICKETS OR GIVE THEM UP ENTIRELY.   You and you alone
I would consider as a partner; one of the two gentleman you mentioned
is OUT completely – I will let THEM figure out who that is.

Bottom line is those two tried to “play” each other, as well as me.
Never trust someone who is a narcotics addict, or thinks that
extramarital sex is OK    You will end up hurt or embarrassed.  I will
leave it at that.

If you or they want to continue the discussion I look forward to that.

SINCERELY,

[redacted]
Southern Gentleman and Scholar

P.S. –  if you don’t vote for OB, be he Muslim or not, someone is playing YOU!

***

Can you say batshit insane??? Footnote: this response was forwarded to our entire ticket group, and not one member knew what the hell this guy was talking about in any single one of his rambling references. Judge Judy, here we come!!!

November 6, 2008

A shout out to Michelle Obama

Filed under: Hawtness,Issues In The News,Shopping — by Nicole @ 10:55 pm

Girrrrrrl…we gotta talk. First of all, congratulations. You are an amazing woman with a fantastic family and are very much an inspiration. You will make a wonderful First Lady. In order for that to happen, your hubby needs to be inaugurated, and I trust that you will look impeccable as he does so. However, based on your choice of attire at his historic and beautiful victory speech at Grant Park, I am gravely concerned. You’ve often proven that you have great taste, but the member of your “glamour team” responsible for fashion deserves a smack upside the head for that getup. The Narciso Rodriguez dress, standing alone, would have passed muster had it not been altered from its original runway form (which had a shorter bodice). I can understand lengthening it to appear more First Ladylike, but that wasn’t the only problem. Perhaps there was a chill in the air, perhaps in all the excitement you forgot to wax/shave/laser under your guns, but whatever the reason, covering up with that cardigan-shrug hybrid was a grievous error. It added frump, and you are not frumpy. So, since your stylist seems to have taken leave of his/her senses (which should open up a vacancy, in which case, call me!!!), I humbly offer my suggestions for Inaugural Ball redemption. There’s gonna be a lot of partying going down, and you’ll need a fresh dress for each event. In no particular order, here is my well-researched take on designers that would make you shine like the star that you are:

  • Marchesa
  • Vera Wang
  • Elie Saab
  • Carmen Marc Valvo
  • Carolina Herrera
  • Monique Lhuillier
  • Badgley Mischka
  • Reem Acra
  • Thakoon (just make sure you don’t get into a Thakoon rut – he’s done well by you, but variety is the spice of life)
  • Richard Tyler
  • Valentino
  • Korto from Project Runway
  • Rami from Project Runway
  • Narciso Rodriguez (it’s not his fault that the Grant Park outfit went bad – most of his designs are spectacular and would suit you to a T)
For the actual inauguration suit, you can’t beat a classic: Chanel all the way.
Makeup-wise, you’re always stunning, but everyone could use a discount at the facepaint emporium that is Sephora. That’s why I’m happy to pass along to you (and all of my lovely readers) the 20% off code that is valid from November 6th through 11th: FF2008. Note: the code is only valid online.

You go girl!

November 5, 2008

Tempered euphoria…I haz it

Filed under: Issues In The News — by Nicole @ 11:22 pm
Everyone has that morning-after glow; it’s as if the whole country had the greatest sex of their life last night. Smiles are abundant. It’s a wonderful day for America.
However, let us not lose sight of the other decisions that were made on Election Day. Shame on you, Florida, Arizona and California voters who cast ballots of hate, for showing your true (bigoted) colors and denouncing the gays as second-class citizens. I’ve said it before, and I’ll continue to say it again: separate but equal is never equal. Call it a civil union, a domestic partnership or whatever you will, it’s simply not the same as marriage, and that is a right you have callously stripped away from people who just want to express their love and commitment in the same way that you do.
I often wonder about people who so demonize same-sex marriage and hypothesize what they would do in the event that they produced a gay child.
  • Would they love and support that child and his/her right to marry unconditionally? If so, then they’d be acting hypocritically with respect to the position that they preach. Now I’m not saying that people can’t change, and if they change for the better, then great, but shouldn’t they be respectful of all people, whether or not they’re related?
  • Would they reject the child outright? If so, that flies in the face of that whole “unconditional love” thing that is the foundation of the notion of family values.
  • A third, and unfortunately all too common situation: would they make it so difficult for that child to live and love as the true person that they are that the child must stay closeted for years, if not for life? Statistically, gay teens have a massively higher rate of depression and suicide, mainly because they are forced to live a lie. Any good parent would never want to make their own child suffer, yet so many people are so deeply entrenched in what they think their religion, society or community is telling them is right that they can’t see how much they hurt their loved ones.
One hopes, for the sake of our nation’s future, that people will eventually wise up and realize that gay doesn’t equal threat, and that love is love.
On a brighter note, some good things happened in several states:
  • Voters in Washington state brought respect to the polls by legalizing physician-assisted suicide for terminally ill patients. If only the other states would follow suit, we’d have no more Terri Schiavo debacles and would let people maintain their dignity through and after their passing.
  • Anti-abortion measures in South Dakota, Colorado and California failed, which is a giant sigh of relief for the ladies of those states and the men who fuck them.
  • Michigan legalized the use of medical marijuana. This makes Michigan the 13th state to allow for the use of cannabis to relieve the painful symptoms of for patients suffering from a variety of chronic ailments.
  • Massachusetts decriminalized possession of less than an ounce of weed (road trip to Boston!!!). Instead of facing criminal penalties, people caught with under an ounce will be subject to a $100 fine and forfeiture of said weed (thus guaranteeing severe munchies for staties and cops throughout Mass).

So I guess the moral of the story is this: while the events of last night produced historic and mostly positive results, we’ve gotta keep on keepin’ on in making sure that one day, the same historic advances can be blessed upon all Americans.

Change we need, yes indeed!!!

Filed under: Issues In The News — by Nicole @ 12:31 am

FUCK YES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

No need for that Valium tonight, baby!

As my people say, mazel tov Obama/Biden!

November 4, 2008

Vote For O, have an O!!!

Filed under: Issues In The News — by Nicole @ 11:37 pm

Actually, it doesn’t matter who you voted for. As long as you did the deed, you can go to the NYC or Seattle locations of famed pleasure emporium Babeland from November 4th through November 11th and get yo’self a free sex toy. For the ladies, they are giving away the “Silver Bullet“, a tried and true classic. For the gents, the prize is, ahem, the “Maverick“. Show proof of voting or give them your “word of honor” that you cast your ballot and the freebie is yours. Fuck coffee, ice cream and donuts – this is the gift that keeps on giving!!! Rawr!!!

kissmeivoted1

Well, that’s all folks! It’s in the stars now. I’m sitting at the edge of my seat, trying not to hyperventilate into a paper bag. As the Valium beckons from the medicine cabinet, I bid you bonsoir. Fingers (and toes) crossed!!!

November 3, 2008

Getting down to the wire…

Filed under: Issues In The News — by Nicole @ 10:58 pm

Holy shit – it’s almost here!!! Just a quick reminder to double check your polling place and to call 1.866.OUR VOTE if you have any questions or problems related to voting. It’s a nationwide hotline, so call from any state and encourage others to do so as well.

No matter how you’re voting, this is going to be a historic election, so be sure to do your civic duty and exercise one of the most important rights we have as Americans. Remember: if you don’t vote, you’ve got NO right to bitch!!!

Oh, and good news for caffeine freaks – free tall brewed coffee at Starbucks for ALL voters (not just Floridians)! Happy buzz!!!

November 2, 2008

A quick blast of info

Filed under: Issues In The News — by Nicole @ 9:46 pm

Long weekend, still recovering (thanks for a great party, L!!!). Just wanted to let you know about a program I’m volunteering for this week called Election Protection. It is a nationwide, non-partisan coalition designed to handle and record voting problems and voter questions. I encourage anyone with an issue involving voting, electioneering, polling, or related matters to PLEASE call 1.866.OUR VOTE (1.866.687.8683).

Oh, and by the way, Florida voters get free Starbucks coffee on Election Day! The rest of us will have to supply our own caffeine 😦

Blog at WordPress.com.