Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The pitfalls of being a wallflower

Sometimes I annoy myself. I'm not a super social person, especially if there are large groups of people involved, which means that sometimes I miss out on really fun things. Chvrches had a free show at a bar here in Chicago on Friday, and when I didn't get guaranteed entry tickets the night before, I opted to skip it rather than wait in line. Saturday, I didn't go play softball with my boyfriend and his friends because I'd just finished painting my nails, and didn't want the work to go to waste; apparently, it was an awesome time, and my nails were messed up by the next day anyway. Later on Saturday, I felt overwhelmed by the number of people at a backyard bonfire that I went to and decided to leave early. Again, a great time was had by most everyone else who was there.
I wouldn't really describe myself as shy, exactly. In most situations I can deal with people just fine. Every job that I've ever had has been customer service related, so time and practice have made it much easier for me to interact with people in a professional sort of framework. I'm also ok having one on one conversations, or conversations in small groups of people. Stick me in a room with 10 or 20 other people, though, and all I want to do is either hide in a corner with a book, or, better yet, leave. A significant amount of alcohol can help me get over that, but I don't really like to drink that much anymore, so I usually end up just going with my impulses.
It helps to have my boyfriend around to figuratively (and sometimes literally) hold my hand, bringing me into conversations and helping me feel included, without necessarily forcing me into heavy duty interaction with other people. While it's nice having that support, sometimes it also makes me feel guilty, like I'm keeping him from having fun by being too clingy or needy. He assures me that that's not the case, but it doesn't always keep me from thinking it.
I'm not happy about missing out on so many social activities this weekend, but there were still things that happened that I enjoyed. It was in the 70s for most of the weekend, so I spent a lot of time outdoors, walking around, reading, and checking out the autumn foliage.
Even though I missed the show on Friday, I got to take some nice outfit shots, and then I spent the evening with Brian, listening to records and playing Bioshock.
I also went shopping, and while I don't have any photos of the amazing vintage coat that I got for only $16 (it needs buttons and a cleaning), I do have a photo of the honking big nose ring that I really like, and am not sure I'll ever wear in real life.
I'm still going to enjoy my solitary pleasures a lot of the time, but I am going to make a little bit more of an effort to say yes to more social activities. I just need to get out of my bubble. Sometimes I forget that things like that can be fun, and this weekend felt like a wake up call for all the stuff that I'm missing out on.
So, what about you guys? Are you a social butterfly, or are you more likely to want to stay at home curled up with a good book? If you're more introverted, like me, how do you balance taking care of yourself with enjoying social activities with friends?

Monday, September 29, 2014

Crotch Gussets and Frankentitties: A Rago Shapewear Review

I mentioned last week that I had ordered some new shapewear, and it recently arrived. I've been test driving it for a couple of days, and I'm pleased to report that I really, really like it so far.
Rago is a pretty popular brand among vintage loving ladies, and for good reason. If you're not buying vintage girdles and don't want to drop the dough required for something like What Katie Did, Rago is really the way to go for shapewear. Their pieces use modern fabrics and technologies, but still have a certain old-fashioned charm.
I already own a couple of things from Rago - a suspender belt, which is super sexy and awesome, and their 1294 open bottom girdle,  which is great in a lot of ways, but also has some serious downsides. It does an amazing job shaping, and takes an entire inch off of my hips and thighs. Unfortunately, if I wear it on a normal day, when I'm going to do normal things like, say, walk more than 50 feet, I end up with enormous raised welts on the insides of my thighs because they rub together so hard. Taking off a girdle at the end of the day is always kind of a relief, but you shouldn't need lymphatic massage afterwards.
I still wanted something to smooth me out, though, and on top of that, I like wearing shapewear. I know some people find it really uncomfortable, but I kind of enjoy that squeezed feeling you get from it. What I ended up ordering was the Hi Waist Long Leg Shaper, and while I was at it, I grabbed their Long Line Bra as well.
The leg shaper has been a great choice so far. It's not quite as firm as the girdle is, but in my case, that's kind of a good thing. Because my hips and thighs are so much larger than my waist, not only is the girdle too tight in the thighs, it's actually not tight enough in the waist. The leg shaper takes about 3/4 of an inch off of my butt and thighs without squeezing my thighs too much, and also gives me a bit of a cinch in the waist. It doesn't ride up or roll down either. It comes up a bit higher in the front, which gives added tummy control, but I get a little bit of flesh pinched between the top of the shaper and the bottom of my regular bra while sitting. I can't really even call that a con, though, since it actually makes me sit up straight for once.
It comes with four garters, which I wasn't expecting, since it's not mentioned in the product description on Amazon. On the one hand, it's great - I can wear my stockings with it! On the other hand, if I'm not wearing my stockings, it's just something digging into my thighs. There is also a crotch gusset so you don't have to take the whole thing down to use the bathroom, but... well, let's just say that it doesn't actually work as well as one might like.
I added on the bra mostly just to get free shipping, so I'm very pleasantly surprised by how much I like it. My sternum protrudes just a little bit right between my boobs, and the bands for most underwire bras rub and irritate me there. Because of the construction, this one offers great support without the irritation. The cups are the "lift and separate" style, and there are horizontal seams across the cups, so they actually give me a pretty decent set of cone boobs. I know that might not sound like a good thing to everyone, but I really like it! Not only is it great for filling out those vintage tops and dresses, it works pretty well with the natural shape and position of my assets. Because it is lace, I would not recommend for wearing with a t-shirt, or other tops made from a light or thin material, because it will be highly visible. And this might be a personal problem, but because my boobs sort of settle in the cups as the day goes on, they start to wrinkle a little bit across the seam. The cups, I mean. Not my boobs, my boobs don't have seams. Although Frankentitties would be an awesome burlesque name, right? Anyway, I know that they make inserts for cone bras, and I might invest in some to get around this issue.
I know just talking about shapewear doesn't really give you much of an idea about what it's doing, so I put on my tightest, least forgiving dress with and without my new Rago pieces. You know, for science.
With. Obviously. Giant bra straps are kind of a give away.
Without, side view.
With, side view. Not a hug difference, really. If you're looking for more tummy control, you might want to look at some of their other products.
Without. My granny panties are doing me no favors here.
This is the shot that makes buying this stuff seem worth it. It doesn't make anything that much smaller, but it smooths out the little lumps and bumps that I have. Would I want to wear it every day? Hell no. Is it a great way to boost your confidence in a tricky dress, or feel extra sexy on a special occasion? Yes.
I don't spend a lot of time or money on underwear, but if you're interested in more vintage lingerie reviews, I highly recommend TheNylonSwish.com. She's a serious lingerie enthusiast, and she offers excellent and detailed reviews of her undergarments. 

Friday, September 26, 2014

Sweater Weather

October, my favorite month, is fast approaching. Although we've had some nice bursts of cooler, autumnal weather, this past week and the week to come have felt like summer's last hurrah. I'm certainly not going to complain about 70° and sunny, though, and there's a little bit of brisk air when I leave for work in the morning, so I can still bring out my sweaters.
This look was actually inspired by Call the Midwife. I've been watching the last few episodes of season 2 lately (and now I've got season 3 to watch as well! Thanks, Netflix), and I loved the combination of the light blue uniform and red cardigan that the nurses will wear sometimes. While I don't have the same pieces in the same colors, I can still do the color combination with this dress and cardigan. To bring in a little bit of the Teddy Girl influence that I was so excited about, I thought a slightly fancy brooch at the throat would a nice touch, and I also added some sort-of-matching clip on earrings as well.
On a side note, I've discovered that I really like rosy brown lipstick. I wouldn't have thought it would suit me, but got a free lip liner in that color and was surprised by how good it looked. I usually run more towards cooler pinks and reds (and, lately, purples), but the brown tone gives a little bit of color and definition to my lips without really reading as makeup.
A couple of days ago, I was test driving the new shapewear that I picked up (I'll have a review for that on Monday), so I figured this skirt would be a good piece to try it out with. Possibly inspired by the 1938 Hitchcock film I watched recently, I decided to go for a kind of 30s/modern look, with my low heeled shoes, a subdued floral blouse, and a vintage pink cashmere cardigan.
I'm actually really pleased with how this worked as a transitional, early fall outfit. The longer length of the skirt and the light sweater give me just enough warmth when it cools down in the evening, but it's breezy enough to be comfortable when it hits 70° during the day. I was going to put this blouse away for the winter, but I love all of the different colors subtly worked into the floral print, which makes it easy to pair with just about anything.
I didn't realize until I was putting this post together that mid-calf skirt/dress + cardigan seems to be my go to look right now. Do you guys also find yourselves unwittingly reaching for the same kinds of items day after day? What are your go-to pieces for transitional dressing?

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Links to love

I've got a photo heavy set of links for you guys today, so I hope you enjoy them!

The Photographer Who Rejected Racism in the American South
This fantastic article about recently discovered photographic plates depicting a wide range of folks from the South is really fantastic. In a time and a place when the law mandated that blacks and whites live separate lives in every way possible, this man opened his doors to anyone who wanted their portrait taken. It reminds me a little bit of the way Vivian Maier photographs were found - this little slice of history that could too easily have been lost.
First Look: Bettina at Galleria Carla Sozzani
Bettina (born Simone Michelle Bodin) was one of the most iconic models of the 40s and 50s, but I don't think she has quite the same name recognition as someone like Dovima or Suzy Parker. It seems like she had an incredible life, though, and I would love to hunt down a copy of her 1965 autobiography.
Will misogyny bring down the atheist movement?
It kind of weird to realize that Buzzfeed, home of lists of things from the 90s that you'd forgotten about and quizzes about which Harry Potter character you should mate with, actually does really interesting, well-researched articles as well. This one, about sexual harassment in the skeptic movement, was a great read, if a very depressing one. You would think that people devoted to rational thought would be slightly more rational about sexual harassment in their ranks, but the same issues that crop up when women start to move into any traditionally male dominated spaces are present here as well.
I'm just going to leave Emma Watson's speech to the UN here for you. It's both awesome and relevant.
Realistically Colorized Historical Photos
I love the stark beauty of black and white images, but there is a distancing effect to photos that aren't in color. I mean, we see the world in color, so black and white can seem sort of unreal to me. That's why I loved these photos that have been digitally colorized. They may or may not be accurate, but there's such a sense of vibrancy and life to the color images that it kind of took my breath away.
30 Years of the Coens
So this isn't one article, but a series of articles from an author rewatching all of the Coen Brothers' films in chronological order. I haven't seen all of their films - not by a long shot - but reading these reviews makes me want to have a binge weekend with them. My favorite, given who I am and how old I am, is The Big Lebowski, but I've never seen a Coen Brothers' movie that I didn't enjoy.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Classic Movie Catchup: The Lady Vanishes

A little note before we jump into the post:
It looks like this morning I passed 10,000 total page views. I know that compared to some blogs that's not a lot, but I'm still hugely excited about hitting that mark. I've had a bit of an uptick in traffic lately, and while I'm not sure where it's come from (generally increased visibility from having done this for six or seven months now, I guess), it definitely makes me happy.
So, basically, thank you! Thank you for reading my ramblings. Thank you for commenting on my posts. Thank you for having your own blogs, which are a huge source of inspiration, entertainment, and camaraderie. I love doing this, and knowing that people read and enjoy it makes it feel worthwhile.

Let's call this my happy dance.
Ok, so on to the actual topic at hand.
At the risk of sounding like a bad vintage-y person, or even a bit of a poser, I have to admit that I have never watched a Hitchcock movie before watching The Lady Vanishes this weekend. Nope, not even Psycho. Of course, Hitchcock is so much a part of pop culture that it would be hard not to have some knowledge of him. It's just one of those things that I categorize in my head as, "well everyone knows about that." The shower scene from Psycho; the birds in, well, you know; the plane swooping low over Cary Grant's head in North by Northwest; and, of course, the succession of icy blonde vixens in his movies that gave us the term "Hitchcock blonde."
I don't think The Lady Vanishes is all that well known, as far as Hitchcock films go. I know I hadn't heard of it until I decided that I wanted to watch a Hitchcock movie, and lo and behold, here is was - literally the only one available on Netflix. What the hell? I will never understand their licensing agreements, but stuff like that is why I still have the subscription for actual, physical DVDs. There are a startling number of movies that aren't available for streaming out there, and I'd still like to have access to them.
This chick seriously makes me want some 30s style eyebrows...
But anyway, the movie! It was the last one that Hitchcock made while working in England, and it's pretty well regarded. It stars the very lovely Margaret Lockwood as Iris, a tourist visiting a fictional country that seems to be situated somewhere between Germany and Italy. While waiting for the train back to England, she befriends a sweet old lady, Miss Froy, who, shortly after the train departs, vanishes. With the help of an impish musicologist named Gilbert, she searches for her missing friend.
There is a lot to like about this movie. It's from 1938, and the costumes are fantastic - I was making mental notes about various outfits and pieces the entire film. It's also surprisingly funny. There's some very silly physical comedy in the movie, and the dialog is sharp and witty. I also really enjoyed the chemistry between the two leads, which seemed very natural and affectionate.
Saucy minx, hanging out of a table top in your underwear while the poor, distracted butler dude has to try and work.
While I enjoyed the movie, the plot is kind of beside the point. The sweet old lady is a spy, carrying an important message embedded in a folk tune; my reaction to that development was something along the lines of "um, ok...." The back and forth between the main leads as they match wits with all of the baddies on the train is the real reason to watch the movie, because it's freaking adorable. I also love that a major plot point involves a fake nun who gives herself away by wearing high heels, as well as two dudes who love cricket so much they lie about not seeing our elderly espionagette so they don't miss a big match.
So what's your favorite Hitchcock film? Or are you a philistine like me who has never seen some of classic cinema's best known thrillers?

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

In My Makeup Bag

I think even people who love summer have to admit that it's not a great time of the year for wearing makeup. Well, actually, people who don't like wearing a lot of makeup might disagree with me; if you prefer to just swipe on some mascara and lip gloss, summer's a great time of the year for makeup. Personally, I keep my makeup gun set to "whore," so I get annoyed when all of my hard work just slides off my greasy, shiny face.
One of the things that I spend the most time and effort on is my skin. It's not that I have really bad skin, but I'm so fair, and it's so sensitive, that every little thing seems to make a mark. I have issues with redness, and every time I get a pimple I'm left with a red spot for weeks afterward. I also have quite dark under eye circles as well, no matter how much sleep I'm getting.
I used to just stick with foundation and concealer and call it good enough, but recently I've stepped up my game a little bit. It's nothing crazy, but good skin is the base of any beauty look, and it's also a marker of good health, so it makes sense to put a little more time and effort into making it look as good as it can.
The first product that I've added to my arsenal is E.L.F. Mineral Infused Face Primer.
I've tried primers before, including the highly rated (and highly priced) version from Smashbox, and I wasn't all that impressed with it. They didn't really seem like they did anything, frankly; my makeup didn't go on any better or last any longer, so shelling out extra money for them just seemed like a waste. E.L.F. products are inexpensive and generally pretty good, though, so I thought I'd give this green guy a go to help combat my redness, and I am so happy that I did. Although the green tint doesn't have a huge impact, the primer goes on incredibly smoothly, and makes my skin feel like velvet. I've definitely noticed a difference not only in how long my foundation lasts, but how much I have to use to get good coverage. I've used the primer every day since I bought it, and I like it more every time.
Another issue that I'm doing more to deal with are the dark circles I get under my eyes. I already used concealer on them, but it just didn't get the job done. I felt like I had to really cake the concealer on to get good coverage, but that's a bad look in its own right. This pastel yellow HD Concealer from NYX is the stuff dreams are made of if you're a pale person trying to cover up dark circles.
I just dot it on my under eye area and gently pat it in, and, like magic, most of the darkness is just gone. I then use a concealer brush (also a new purchase) to get a tiny bit of my regular concealer into the inner and outer corners of my eyes. It's pretty amazing what a difference it's made. I'd recommend it for anyone is fairly pale and has dark circles; if you're on the darker end of the spectrum, you'd want something that's more in the orange or salmon pink family.
Another product from NYX that I'm a big fan of is their Primal Colors Powder in Hot Red.
I grabbed it on a whim with thoughts of using it for Halloween, but it's actually surprisingly versatile. It's very pigmented, but just a tiny swipe of it gives me a very believable flush. I also patted it onto my lips after applying red lipstick, and it gave me a great matte texture and extended the wear of the lipstick.
This photo from Saturday shows my makeup, including the primer and concealer. Those two are definitely becoming staple products for me, and the best part is that they've really improved how my makeup goes on and how it works without completely emptying out my wallet.
So, do you guys have any great new products you're really excited about?

Monday, September 22, 2014

Heart of Haute Review: Gypsy Skirt in Peacock Royale

I've been a very spendy little minx lately. I don't really feel too guilty about it - I was in a position where I could check off some boxes on my "things I want for fall" list, so, well, I did. I didn't buy anything very expensive or extravagant, just a bit more at once than I normally would have. Consequently, you can expect to see a few more reviews on here than you normally would.
One of the items that I picked up was a skirt from Heart of Haute, the Gypsy Skirt in the Peacock Royale print. I'd seen photos of the print and loved it, and given how happy I was with the first piece I ordered from HOH, I decided to go for it. It also fits in pretty nicely with the folk influence that I wanted to bring into my wardrobe for fall, which is an excellent bonus.
The print is even prettier in person than it is in photos. Blue and green are my favorite colors, and there are so many shades of it in this skirt, accented by pops of yellow. The peacocks are also edged in gold that really shimmers in the light. The cotton is lightweight, but seems to be fairly high quality - it's soft, smooth, and even, and it ironed out really nicely before I put it wore it.
I didn't realize until my nails were done that they matched the skirt. I can't say I'm made about it.
I ordered a medium, and it seems to be pretty true to size. The waistband is about two inches wide, and that might actually be slightly too wide for me. I can't really explain the wonkiness, but I would probably have preferred a standard 1 or 1.5 inch waistband.
The other thing that I don't love is the self tie belt. I can't tie a decent looking bow for shit, so I ended up just knotting it and letting the tails hang, which wasn't ideal. I guess I could always just wear it backwards, so I could have the bow in the back, but I really wish it were a removable sash instead so I could swap it out for other belts. 
I wish that these photos did the skirt justice, but it was a warm and very humid day, so it was just kind of hanging there. I plan on wearing it on a regular basis, and I've got some interesting ideas for it for the future.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Squares and Drapes

*curtains rise*
"My momma always told me that you have to be a lady to get ahead in life. No one likes a vulgar woman, she said."
"My momma was like a pretty bird in a cage, singing the songs that she'd been taught, and teaching me the same ones. How to laugh and smile at their jokes, and never disagree with anyone about anything. She says it's the only way to get through life as a woman. I never told her how much I hate biting my tongue."
"For a long time I still tried to be the lady that she wanted to me to be. But then, one day, I realized something..."
"I don't always have to be good anymore."
*cue music - M.I.A. Bad Girls*
"Now, I wear leather jackets and tight skirts. I also stare moodily off into the distance, just so show people how intense I am."
"Seriously, it's all about the moody stare. And the really, really tight skirt."
"I actually wish someone had mentioned that being bad would involve shapewear."
"Ooh, puppy!"
"But clearly, I was always meant to be a bad girl. I mean, just look at my butt. No, really, look at my butt."
*curtains fall*
Outfit 1:
Cardigan: Banana Republic
Shoes: Zara
Outfit 2:
Skirt: Ann Taylor, thrifted
Shoes: Seychelles
Jacket: Modcloth

Ok, so you guys know that I like dressing to a theme, but I thought it would be funny to try to construct an actual narrative from the photos that I took this week. It kind of struck me how one of the outfits was very "good girl" - a full skirted, high necked, long sleeved dress with a cardigan, in muted mustard and navy - and the other so stereotypically "bad" - tight skirt, red top and red lipstick, leather jacket. It wasn't intentional, but I'd say the split suits my personality pretty well.
I sort of forgot that I had this pencil skirt. I thrifted it last year for something like $3, and the nice thing about it is that it has a fair bit of stretch. Unfortunately, I really do need to wear some kind of girdle with it (I'm actually not wearing anything here) because it's so tight in the hips and thighs, as you can probably tell. MY ASS CAN'T BE TAMED.
Actually, speaking of ass tamers, I just ordered a new girdle from Rago. I already have their open bottomed girdle, and while I like it, there are some serious chub rub issues on my upper thighs. The one that I ordered is their "leg shaper," so I've got high hopes about both the comfort and the shaping abilities. I should have a review for it next week.

I hope everyone has a kick-ass weekend!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Cheap Thrills: Bargain Basement Jewelry and My First Piece of Bakelite

I went from zero to sixty in terms of my interest in jewelry, it seems. It wasn't that I didn't like it before, but now I see it more as a part of my wardrobe, rather than just an afterthought. The nice thing about it is that it's much easier to find cute, inexpensive vintage jewelry than it is to find cute, inexpensive vintage clothing. If I have to have an addiction, cheap jewelry is one of the more harmless ones I can imagine.
My dealer of choice for vintage jewelry has turned out to be an antique store on the north side, near Brian's place of work. It's called Ya Ya's Antiques, and I was surprised to find out that they've only been open for a couple of years. They have that cozy, cluttered feeling that I thought took a couple of decades to create, and I love pawing through their "2 for $5" bins of jewelry.
When I went in this weekend, he had an even better deal going on - virtually everything in the store was half off. So now the bins were 4 for $5, and even the more expensive jewelry in the cases was in my reach. It's probably a good thing I only had $20 on me...
I was so in love with silver confetti lucite that I didn't look too closely at the construction. I was under the impression that they were earrings, but...
The backs weren't like any clip on earrings I'd ever seen. I can actually still wear them (I have stretched ears), but I was curious about whether they're actually earrings, or something else entirely.
I asked on Instagram this morning, and one person told me they're actually scarf pins. Kind of cool, right?
These are actual earrings.
I was so happy to stumble across this brooch. If it's not a set with the pretty hairpin I picked up there last time, it's a weirdly close match.
I don't think I'm actually going to keep this one. It struck me as cute when I picked it up, but the more I thought about it, the more I felt like it might be culturally insensitive. I might be overthinking things a little bit, but that's exactly the kind of cultural appropriation that I try to avoid in my own life. Any thoughts?
This one was not from the bargain bin. This pretty dress clip is actually my first piece of bakelite! Probably my last one too, since I don't have a particular interest in collecting it, but I really like dress clips, and he was willing to drop the price all the way down to $15 for me. I just couldn't pass it up.
Do you guys have any not so guilty pleasures, or inexpensive ways to get your vintage fix?

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Mammas, don't let your babies grow up to be smokers

So, here's my deep, dark secret, which is really only a secret from the internet, because it's sort of hard to hide from people in the real world - I smoke. I haven't had a cigarette for about two weeks, which is a pretty long stretch for me, but I'm feeling a little stressed out, so I'm trying really hard to fight those cravings.
Both of my parents smoked while I was growing up. I remember being deeply disturbed by the anti-smoking ads that were on TV when I was in my early teens, and begging my mom to stop, even running out of the house in anger on a couple of occasions. My parents always smelled like stale cigarette smoke, and they both had that deep, hacking smoker's cough. In my dad, that later developed into emphysema and congestive heart failure.
The obvious question to ask, then, is why did I ever start? Honestly, I don't know. I smoked cloves very briefly in college, mostly because I liked the taste and the look of the black, sugared paper. I smoked one too many one time, though, and now the smell just makes me nauseous. I guess it really started, as a lot of stupid things that young women do, with a guy. I dated a guy that smoked, so when he would smoke, I would smoke. It didn't seem like a big deal - I would bum one from him once in a while, and then one or two a day, and then he'd get annoyed that I was smoking all of his cigarettes and I'd end up buying my own pack. There's no sharply defined transition between occasional, social smoker and that person that's huddled under an awning when it's -10°, desperately puffing away.
When I young, I didn't realize how hard my parents were trying to quit. It seemed like they smoked constantly, but I also remember a lot of nicotine patches and gum being purchased. My mom had probably been smoking for 20+ years, my dad for close to 40. After so many years, I'm not sure what was stronger - the force of addiction, or the force or habit.
I hate that I'm repeating their mistakes, but in a way, I understand them so much better than I used to. There are so many things that make me want a cigarette. I'm a huge stress smoker. When my father died, I sat on my porch for hours, chain smoking between bouts of tears. Being angry or frustrated makes me crave them. Drinking makes me crave them. Seeing other people smoke makes me crave them. Seeing anti-smoking ads makes me crave them. Talking about smoking, right now, makes me crave them.
Even though I know that, after one or two of them, they're not going to make me feel good; that they're going to make my clothes smell; that they're going to give me wrinkles; that they're going to shorten my fucking lifespan, I still want them. There's this stupid little part of my brain that thinks "come on, just one more pack. One more pack, and then I'll really quit forever. And look at all the cool people that smoke. Models and old movies stars and people like that. If Lauren Bacall does it, why shouldn't you?" It's just hard to keep saying no when saying yes just seems like such a reasonable thing.
But it's been almost two weeks since my last one, and somehow I've managed to keep saying no. Brian's birthday is in a couple of weeks, and I've made a deal with myself that if I can keep on the straight and narrow until then - healthy eating, no drinking, no smoking - I can debauch myself a little bit while we party. The promise of a little craziness in the future seems to be helping me restrain myself right now.