Author Archives: bewaretheundertoad

A Valentine’s Day Tale


Five year old me conquering slide. (Avoiding barrels in case of portals to alternate noiresque dimensions.)

I’ve always had a pretty good memory. This can make for a useful party trick, because I get to say things like “On February 14th, 1991, I dreamt that I was trapped in a sepia-toned noir film. With pie.” Of course it would be a way MORE awesome party trick if I could remember completely arbitrary dates and events; I mean, February 14th is Valentines Day, so it’s pretty easy to associate a a particular V-day with something and go from there,  but wouldn’t it be awesome if I could be like, ” On March 11th, 1988…” and just like, describe the events of the day? “10:30am: pushed over my sister…10:45: ate some crayons…” Now that would be impressive. Boring, but impressive. But yeah, I can’t do that. So instead here’s the story of the noir-pie:

The morning of the aforementioned Valentines day, I dreamt I was playing on the playground of my elementary school, when this super-cool girl with crimped hair (I think she was a third-grader), asked me to play with her. Naturally, I was stoked (hello? CRIMPED HAIR. LIKE CYNDI LAUPER,YOU GUYS), but when I ran after her, I got lost behind one the big cement barrels. Now, I was a fairly intelligent child, like, I typically knew how to navigate my way around some barrels, but remember: dream, so Instead of just running through the barrels and winding up near the slides like normal, I instead ended up in a strange, noiresque land (or more like “Roger Rabbit-esque,” because that’s as “noir” as five year old me knew…but there was, you know, like, rain, and lamp-posts and stuff). Turns out a bunch of other kids got lost in the barrels, and ended up there too (though not the cool big kid with the crimpy hair). We all wandered around noir land (which, as I alluded to earlier, was sepia-toned BTW, so this was like, the opposite of “The Wizard of Oz”), and eventually ended up in this tiny little diner (which probably even said “Diner” on the window, but I don’t think I could read well enough to dream words at that point). The woman who owned the diner (who looked JUST like my then-hero, Jodie on “Today’s Special”)  offered us pie. I REALLY wanted pie, but I was like, “WAIT, does this pie have consequences? Like, can we never leave if we eat it?” (A VALID INQUIRY.)

The diner-woman told us that pie or no, there was sadly, no way out of noir land. To console us, she sang this song about believing in ourselves, which five year old dream-me recognized as both comforting and hella-cheesy. (I remembered that song for YEARS, only now every time I try to it turns into that Diana Ross song from “The Land Before Time.” ALL OF THE TEARS FOR LITTLEFOOT’S MOM, YOU GUYS.)

Anyway, I woke up I woke up mid-song, glad to no longer be trapped in sepia-toned noir land, but bummed about no pie, until I found the huge box of chocolates (real-life non-sepia chocolates!) waiting for me at the breakfast table along with, for some reason, a windup stuffed clown (note: do not Google image search “windup stuffed clown, early 90s,” the results are terrifying). After eating as many chocolates as I could (before my mom put the box on top of the refrigerator), and a rousing game of “toss the clown” with my sister, I marched happily off to school to distribute my Rescue Ranger valentines.
On that note, may your day be filled with consequence-free pie (and minimal clowns), and may you avoid both bleak, inescapable alternate dimensions AND getting your chocolate put on top of the refrigerator.


In Which I Blog About Baking (Or: “In Which Hell Has Frozen Over”)


So, I baked these cookies today. For a lot of people baking cookies probably wouldn’t be a blog-worthy event, but if you know me, you know I hate kitchen stuff. Like, hate. The fact that I’m a yoga teacher who lives in Portland might lead a person to believe that I make keifer with my leftover coconut water,  grow my own kale (can you do that? See, I don’t even know), and  cook up every meal from scratch with ingredients hand-picked from my local farmers market. Nope. I don’t cook, and I like it that way. I’m perfectly content with takeout and/or salad, and/or soup, and/or prarie oysters for dinner every night. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I still try to eat all healthy, and organic, and local and shit. I just spend an ungodly amount of money on healthy, organic, local crap that OTHER people make. Me + cooking = no. But baking…eh, baking is slightly less distasteful. When you bake, your house smells nice, and you get to lick the bowl–but still, it usually takes a bunch of time, and to be honest, it’s kind of a crap-shoot, right? I mean, unless you measure stuff, but who has time to measure stuff? Not this lady.

If baking is so completely “meh,” then why did I do it? Here’s the thing. Like most Portlandians, I don’t eat gluten (you were worried for a second right? Like, “Holy shit! A West Coast yoga teacher that doesn’t grow her own kale???!!! Next you’ll tell me she eats gluten!” Chill, people, I do not eat gluten). So here’s the thing: I like cookies, and gluten-free cookies are seriously, like $10 a box, and also they have soy in them, which we all know is like, twice as evil as gluten right? What to do? Being the resourceful little thing that I am, I figured out (with a little inspiration from Skinny Bitch and a Hungry Girl blog I read, like six years ago) how to make (MAKE!!!!) cookies that are gluten-free, serendipitously vegan (so a total go for all yoga-related potlucks!), tasty, and ridiculously difficult to screw up. They’re usually pretty low in sugar/calories too, but the particular batch that I made today was not (because I accidentally bought and used pumpkin pie filling instead of plain old pureed pumpkin), so, I guess, suck it, Skinny Bitch.

Here’s what you need to bake these super-tasty, gluten-less morsels:

  • Gluten free cookie mix (I used Bob’s Redmill because it was cheapest–though full disclosure, the chocolate chips are made with soy lecithin, which despite my previous anti-soy tirade, I’m basically cool with, but if you’re not, there are pricier (and chocolate chip-less) mixes you can use, and soy lecithin-free chocolate chips you can buy to mix in.)
  • 1 8-oz can of pureed pumpkin and/or pumpkin pie filling (They’ll be way-sweeter, and your house will smell way-better if you use the pie filling, but they have fewer calories if you use the puree. So do whatever the hell you you want I guess.)
  • Like, half a cup of some sort of milk or something (I usually just keep adding a little almond milk until I get the consistency I want.)

THAT’S ALL!!!!!! Really! Three things!

Here’s how you turn the things into food:

  • Take all of the shit you’ve been storing in your oven out of your oven because now you have to use your oven for food.
  • Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  • Put some tinfoil on a cookie sheet (you’ll probably need two cookie sheets actually), and spray the tinfoil with oil to prevent sticking (or just use  non-stick cookie sheets).
  • Mix all three ingredients together in the biggest bowl you own.
  • Roll your newly created cookie dough into little balls (note that it will be stickier than traditional cookie dough) and place them on the cookie sheet(s).
  • Do that cool little criss-cross smooshy thing with a fork to flatten out the cookies (because the dough is sticky you’ll probably have to spray the fork with oil).
  • Pop the cookies in the oven and cook them for the recommended time (I think like 15 minutes), check on them, realize they need to cook longer, set your timer for an additional 5 minutes, check on them again, and repeat until they’re done. (I usually need to cook them for about 25-30 minutes–twice as long as normal cookies.)
  • Take the cookies out of the oven (because they are void of bird ovum, they will be lighter than regular cookies), and let them cool until you eventually say “fuck it,” and eat one, and even though you sort of burn your mouth a little, it’s totally worth it, because these cookies are freaking amazing.
  • Put the rest of the cookies on plate and Instagram the shit out of them, thus proving to your family, friends, and acquaintances that  you are a fully-functional adult that knows how to make at least one thing that is food.

Slow Boat to China

Me (right) probably telling my sister (left) to take a slow boat to China.

Last night when I was practicing yoga (THAT IS REALLY WHAT I WAS DOING, I SWEAR TO GOD I’M NOT JUST NAMEDROPPING YOGA HERE) this memory popped into my head. It made me laugh, so I figure maybe it would make somebody else laugh too.

So anyway, when I was six (probably sometime in 1991 or 1992— for those of you that are like me and like to know the year in which an event took place so that you can visualize the appropriate clothing and hairstyles), my sister was four (think pigtails and OsKkosh for us both). My sister Kristyn could be a Ramona-esque pest sometimes (as little sisters are wont to be), and when she really started bugging me, I’d run to tell my grandma about it. It would go something like this:

Me: “GRANDMA!!! Kristyn is annoying me!”
Grandma: “Well, go tell her to take a slow boat to China.”

So anyway, somewhere around that time, there was a really big jackpot in the lottery, and my aunt bought a bunch of tickets (and probably every adult in my family too, on account of my family really enjoys playing the lottery). We were all in kitchen, preparing dinner, and/or munching on some pre-dinner cheese, and talking about the lottery. When I was six, I REALLY wanted to go to LA, because I was totally sure that if I walked down Hollywood Boulevard, singing “The Glory of Love” that I would be discovered in an instant, become a big star, and never, ever have to learn to multiply fractions (and also I REALLY wanted to meet Jason Priestley)…so anyway, I was all like, “LINN! (my aunt), IF YOU WIN THE LOTTERY WILL YOU TAKE ME TO LOS ANGELES???!!!”
And Linn was all, “Of course I will!”
And then Kristyn was all, “And if you win the lottery will you take ME on a slow boat to China??!!”

Then everyone gets really quiet, and my grandma was like, “No, Kristyn, see, you don’t really want that…” But Kristyn was not to be deterred. “No,” she insisted, “I WANT TO GO ON A SLOW BOAT TO CHINA!!!” It was her dream vacation, you see. All the while, I thought I was telling her to get lost, but what she heard, was, “Hey, Kristyn! Go take  luxury cruise to a super-cool country!”

So finally, the adults where all like, “OK, Kristyn, if we the lottery, you can go an a slow boat to China.” And she was super-stoked about it.

Nine Reasons Why Easter is Hella Awkward

Easter of ’94. I’m on the far right. Really excited about this bunny cake. 

I should start by saying that I do enjoy Easter. I mean, I’d rather have it be Easter than not Easter (unless “not Easter” means Christmas, or Halloween, or my birthday, or the day that the next Hunger Games movie comes out—November 22nd!) Basically, Easter is great. Mostly because mini eggs. I know that last sentence may be shocking to some of you. Sometimes I think people have the impression that I survive solely on salad greens, gluten free muffins, and kombucha. Not so. My roommates will tell you that I also consume an ungodly amount of instant miso soup. And also mini eggs. Cadbury mini eggs are basically the perfect food (if you ignore the fact that they have basically no nutritional value). If Cadbury Creme Eggs (which are DISGUSTING, BTW) are laid by clucking rabbits, mini eggs must be laid by ethereal little bunnies with fairy wings, singing beautiful arias and/or reciting mystical poetry. And this bounty that these sweet angel bunnies  giveth unto us, they giveth only once a year, for, you know, like, a couple of months. No other seasonal treat can compare. Not even those gingerbread ice cream sandwiches they sell sometimes at Christmas. Aside from the mini eggs, Easter has other good points too—it’s an excuse to buy a fabulous new spring dress, BRUNCH, and a lot of people get the day off and get to spend time with their loved ones too. Really, I am pro-Easter. That said, Easter can be/usually is hella awkward. Everything about this day, and the days leading up to it (except maybe the mini eggs) just sort of lends itself to inelegance and embarrassment—a (mostly) endearing sort of inelegance and embarrassment to be sure, but inelegance and embarrassment none the less.

Here, in list form (!!!) are a few of the most prominent examples of snafus, faux pas, and WTFs related to the day of bonnets, bunnies, and brunch:

1. What the hell do you say to the Easter Bunny?
So this one is obviously more awkward for little kids, since the preschool-elementary school age set tend to make up the majority of the Easter Bunny lines at the department stores and malls, but we were all kids once, right? And DO YOU REMEMBER HOW AWKWARD THIS WAS?? Remember? After, like , a half hour of waiting, and whining, and begging for an Orange Julius, which you can’t have because then you and your adult would have to get out of line, and the Easter Bunny doesn’t have a Disney World-esque Fast Pass, you finally, FINALLY get your turn to sit and talk with the giant fluffy bunny, and then it hits you, “OH MY GOD? WHAT DO I SAY TO HIM/HER????” With Santa it’s obvious. Everybody knows the drill: “Yes, I’ve been a good little kid, now here’s all the shit I want you to bring me…” But there is not such established bunny-human dialogue. NONE. (At least none that I know of…) I was always just like, “Oh….hey….um…nice bow tie…” Easter bunny banter is worse than trying to think of something to say to that guy you met on OKcupid. Are you allowed to ask the bunny for a specific type of candy? Your favorite color of Easter grass? Petition him to lobby in favor of your preferred brunch location? WHAT??? WHY DID NO ONE TELL ME THESE THINGS??? It was always the same. After a few minutes of hemming and hawing, and bow-tie admiring, someone takes a picture, the bunny hands you a coloring book or bunny shaped Pez dispenser, and then you have to stand around while your adult decides which photos to buy and how many, and you STILL just want an Orange Julius (or a cookie or fancy chocolate if your local bunny happened to be inside Macy’s or Nordstrom or something instead of the center of the mall).

2. Sometimes (most times) it’s cold on Easter Sunday
Easter dresses don’t care where you live. Easter dresses are strappy and flimsy and FREEZING FUCKING COLD. Easter dresses just ASSUME that we all live in SoCal or something. I mean, WHAT is a girl to do? Wear a parka over her sundress? I think not. No. We tough it out. And maybe wear a cardigan, you know, if it matches.

3. The last half of Easter basically sucks because we all have to go to school/work the next day
Easter is, was, and ever shall be, the last day of spring break. WHY? This doesn’t actually affect me currently, since I’m actually working all day ON Easter this year, and have the following day mostly off (hooray!) But when I was a kid, it was the WORST. The first part of the day was awesome, what with the egg hunts, and visiting Grandma, and wearing pretty dresses, but then, it’d be, like 9pm, and my mom would say “you better get to bed now, you have school in the morning!” and I’d still be stuffing my little cheeks with peanut butter cups and trying to figure out why the hell Dr. Zaius wasn’t in this Charlton Heston movie my dad was watching.

4. The Passion of the Christ is not a Children’s movie
Remember, I’m from “The Bible Belt of the Midwest.” Yeah. And a lot of people have this thing, where they’re totally NOT cool with their kids hearing Beetlejuice say “fuck,” or seeing Kate Winslet’s boobs for two seconds, but they are totally cool with exposing small children to the concept of crucifixion via a violent and anti-semetic Mel Gibson Move. SERIOUSLY, ADULTS, STOP IT. THIS IS SO NOT AN OKAY MOVIE FOR KIDS. I actually saw “The Passion of the Christ” in college. On a date. People were eating popcorn. I spent most of the movie staring at my hands and trying to think about puppies. Again, NOT A MOVIE FOR CHILDREN. Or adults, really. Please show  children “The Berenstain Bears’ Easter Surprise” instead (really, there are good songs! And a joke about fermented carrot juice!), or if you really want something religious, I’m sure there’s a Veggie Tales Easter video out there. That probably doesn’t depict the brutal torture of a human being for 127 minutes. ONCE MORE: MEL GIBSON MADE THIS. IT IS RATED R FOR VIOLENCE. NOT FOR KIDS.

5. Dyed eggs are actually really fucking gross
Remember dying eggs pretty pastel colors for Easter?! And remember drawing/writing on them with a white crayon first, then watching your words/pictures magically appear when you dipped the eggs in the egg-dye? (I used to draw a lot of peace signs on them. And one time, when I was nine, I wrote the word, “clothes,” on one of mine, explaining to my mother that I wanted the egg to represent something that was important to me. I obviously haven’t changed a bit!)…but then remember how you were stuck with a bunch of pastel eggs for a really long time? And remember how disgusting those pale blue egg salad sandwiches, and fuchsia fried eggs were? I move that we replace egg dying with pedicures. We still get to paint things pretty colors, AND a pedicure is the PERFECT follow up to the traditional Maundy Thursday foot washing!

6. Ham
I don’t eat ham. I’ve never really eaten ham (except for a few sandwiches my Freshman year of college—some kids rebel with drugs, I rebelled with pork products), but people are forever offering you ham on Easter. I’m like, “No thank you, I don’t eat meat.” And they’re like, “NOT EVEN ON EASTER?” Like, legitimately offended that I won’t consume a pig for Jesus. Because obviously, the best way to celebrate the life and teachings of a Jewish mystic is by eating pork.

7. We can’t ALL wear pastels
They wash me out.

9. Hat etiquette
The last time I wore hats on a regular basis, I was still concerned about my teacher making me remove them in class (thus, TOTALLY ruining my carefully put together outfits). Also, back then, my mom called the hats I wore “Blossom hats,” so it was, you know, like, 1993. The thing is, I would sort of like to make hats a regular part of my wardrobe again, and I figure that Easter—a day that is known to inspire the wearing of fabulous hats, is a great time to start. BUT I HAVE SO MANY QUESTIONS!!! Such as, CAN I wear a hat inside? Or are hats like sunglasses, where you have to take them off? Can you wear the same hat two days in a row? I think I’m going to re-watch the last season of Mad Men, and take detailed notes on all things hat-related.

9. Lack of a universal Easter candy vocabulary might accidentally lead your friends to believe that you are a horrible, horrible person
So like, two years ago, I was having a post-Easter Dinner conversation with two friends. We all grew up in different countries, and we were comparing childhood Easter traditions. One friend asked me if I used to get chicks for Easter when I was a kid. I mean, we ALWAYS got Peeps in our Easter baskets, so I excitedly replied with “Oh, yeah! My sister and I would always explode them in the microwave!” And my friend was like, “OH MY GOD. THAT IS HORRIBLE. WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT.” I thought he was asking about marshmallow peeps, but it turns out he was talking about actual baby chickens. After I explained that I was not, in fact a monster, we had a good laugh about it.

And now, here is Bing Crosby singing, and Marjorie Reynold’s wearing a very interesting hat:

The One Where I Blog All the Things

Yesterday, my beloved aunt bemoaned the fact that I do not blog about the topics she suggests. This is untrue. Writing about that one time when I saw Anna Wintour at Bloomingdales was totally her idea. However, because I am like, the most thoughtful niece there is, today I am going to blog my thoughts on every single one of her suggested topics.
Let my opining commence!

Topic: Ryan Gosling
My thoughts

Topic: Bob Newhart
My thoughts
I’m not sure when I started liking Bob Newhart. I think I’ve always liked Bob Newhart. Here is a photo of me in 2003, posing with a bust of Bob Newhart at Disney World:

(Please ignore the fact that I am dressed like a toddler).

Though I have enjoyed all of Mr. Newharts performances, I especially enjoyed watching Newhart reruns as a child. And Joanna > Emily (yeah, I said it). But Bob Newhart > everyone.

Also, fun fact: Bob Newhart did not learn how to drive a car until he was like, 30. I know, because I read it in his memoir.

Topic: Vanna White
My thoughts
For some reason, everyone in my immediate family like, really, really likes Vanna White. When I was eight, my parents named our mini van “Vanna Blue” (spoiler alert!… the van was blue). I mean, I guess it makes sense. Wheel of Fortune was/is on six days a week, and when I was a kid, as long as we were home, we always watched it. Vanna was like a member of the family. I really did love her super-sweet sequined dresses when I was little, and can still hear my mother exclaiming “Come on; let’s go see what dress Vanna is wearing tonight!” I also remember dressing up as Vanna and pretending to turn letters when I was about three years old. This involved wrapping a long black scarf around my entire body and pretending that it was a floor length strapless gown. This was also the “dress” I would wear when I pretended to be Gypsy Rose Lee.

ALSO: There is this TV movie from 1988 called Goddess of Love. Since 1989, it has been my family’s tradition to watch it every New Year’s Eve. It’s basically the greatest cinematic masterpiece of our time. Vanna White is Afrodite (the aforementioned Goddess of Love), and she’s hanging around  in 1988, BECAUSE MAGIC, trying to win the heart of a guy named Ted. TED. I think we can all agree that “Ted” is the most 1988 name there ever was…and this guy, he is the most Ted-like Ted you will ever see. BUT HERE IS THE BEST  PART: THERE IS A SHOPPING SPREE MONTAGE!!!!!! OH! And also Little Richard is in it. He plays an eccentric hair dresser. Obviously, you need to head on over to right now, and cough up 99 cents for a used DVD.

Topic: Fireworks
My thoughts:
Not really a fan. They make dogs freak the fuck out, and they sound like gun shots, which is, like really traumatic for a lot of people. Plus, in Michigan, as soon as it stops snowing, people start shooting them off EVERY SINGLE NIGHT. AND IT IS ANNOYING AS FUCK. Like, you’re lying in bed, and all of a sudden: POW!!! POW!!! POW!!! and you’re like, “OK, that is probably fireworks. There is probably NOT a gun fight happening in my backyard right now. Right. Right???!!! And then the dogs start barking. And then there is no sleep to be had. Until October.
Now professional fireworks displays…those are OK I guess…to look at, I mean, they’re sort of pretty. And I am sort of a sucker for the theme park firework shows…because really, who doesn’t appreciate a chemical explosions of “WILL YOU MARRY ME, AMBER?” lighting up the night sky? But despite the kitsch factor,  fireworks are pretty bad for the environment. So maybe we could pick a new, less destructive national tradition. Like Kitten videos, broadcast on  ginormous outdoor screens.

Topic: Bubbles
My thoughts
When I first saw this suggestion, I thought of Bubbles the Powerpuff Girl. Then second, I thought of Bubbles the chimp. So which is it, Powerpuff Girl, or chimp?

Topic: State Capitols
My thoughts
I live in Oregon. Our capitol is Salem. I have never been there.
Like most kids, I memorized my state capitols in elementary school, so my brain was set to “Salem=Oregon.” So natch, I assumed the Salem witch trials took place in Oregon. I thought this for a really long time, actually. Until I was like, twelve.

Topic: Road trips
My thoughts
I love road trips! …and I actually JUST realized that I have not left the state of Oregon for almost a year and a half. This is the longest I’ve physically been in one state since I was eight years old. When I was a kid, my mom used to tell me I had “wanderlust,” (not the festival, the thing). This is true. This is why I love road trips.


….Next time I need to run an errand, I am going to run it in Vancouver. ROAD TRIP TO VANCOUVER. (Bus trip? Train trip? HOW THE FUCK DO YOU GET TO VANCOUVER???!!!)

Topic: Facial Hair
My thoughts
Two things:
1. Last year, I posed something on Facebook about goatees being douchebaggy. And I feel really bad about this. I feel bad, because I realize that I know a lot of non-douchebaggy guys with goattees, and really, their goattees are quite becoming.  So I apologize  I allowed the douchebaggery of a few lone jerk-faces cloud my perception of an entire style of facial hair. Forgive me, gotteed friends.

2. My dad grew an ironic mustache in 1994. He also played Dungeons and Dragons, had  a super-impressive comic book collection (ORGANIZED IN BINDERS!!!)  knew everything there is to know about Stark Trek AND Star Wars,  regularly watched documentaries narrated by Carl Sagan, and would often quote “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.” This means that in 1994, my dad was the coolest person in 2013.

Topic: Fortune Cookies
My thoughts
I haven’t  had a fortune cookie in a while, on account of they are made of wheat flour, and gluten makes my internal organs explode, but it seems, that unlike the fortune cookies of yore, the contemporary cookie  offers either good advice (“Failure is the chance to do better next time”), or compliments (“You are bright and attractive”), but never FORTUNES. A fortune is a prediction. A prophecy. It needs to describe an actual thing that is going to happen to you; “Bob Newhart will accompany you on a road trip to Vancouver, where he will officiate your wedding to Ryan Gosling.” That is a fortune, “You have lovely cuticles” is not a fortune.
WTF, stale shallaced cookie? WTF.

Topic: Cleopatra
My thoughts
When I was ten, I dressed up as Cleopatra for Halloween. I found a costume, like, at K-mart or someplace. It was a gold sequined number, with a gold headband, and some gold and purple “Egyptian style” accessories. I then informed my mother, that if I were to authentically portray the last pharaoh of ancient Egypt, I TOTALLY had to have straight, black, Liz Taylor hair. Obviously, I needed to dye my hair. It was the only solution. My mother was sympathetic to my plight, and informed me that we would look for a straight black wig, but if we couldn’t find one, she would let me get some spray-on hair dye.
MY PLAN WAS WORKING, I WAS SO CLOSE TO BEING ABLE TO DYE MY HAIR. I WOULD BE THE ENVY OF THE FIFTH GRADE. But then we found a straight black wig with Liz Taylor bangs. Because of course we did, because it was Halloween.



Literary Archetypes: Holly Golightly Would Win the Hunger Games


*Warning: Lots of 60 year old spoilers. 

I have family and friends in the Midwest that I haven’t seen in two years, and I have teachers on the East Coast that I haven’t studied with for about that long either, but it’s the new Breakfast at Tiffany’s play on Broadway that has me pricing Greyhound tickets—especially since it’s supposed to be, like a zillion times more true to Truman Capote’s original novella than the Audrey Hepburn movie was (I love Audrey, and I do really like that movie, it’s just way different from the book is all).

Breakfast at Tiffany’s is basically the same exact story as Sally Bowles. Like, right down to some of the dialogue even (which isn’t too surprising since Capote used to hang with Christopher Isherwood), but I actually like Tiffany’s better—mainly because the characters are more interesting, and  it’s just SO FUCKING WELL WRITTEN. If I had to pick a favorite writer, based solely on his/her talent for writing, I’d pick Truman Capote. I mean, when he describes a chair—a god. damn. chair.—I’m like, GIVE THIS MAN ALL OF THE PULITZERS FOREVER!!!!! And Breakfast at Tiffany’s (henceforth referred to as B @ T’s) is my favorite story of his (which probably makes me the worst Capote fangirl ever, since that’s basically the one Capote story that everybody’s read), but it’s my favorite because it’s this rare combination of great story telling and great writing. Like, try to imagine The Hunger Games without the awkward sentences, and constant summarizing of key plot points. Or a Jane Austen novel that’s not boring. It’s like that.

The thing is though, even though B @ T‘s is really similar to Sally Bowles (manic pixie dream girl’s big city adventures, as told by introverted BFF), Holly is not Sally. Where I want to give Sally a hug, and drink raw eggs with her in solidarity, I’m pretty sure that Holly Golightly would destroy me. Holly is the type of person that would steal your boyfriend, and your favorite shoes, and then show up at the place where you work, with your boyfriend, and wearing your shoes. Really, she’s not very nice. Like Sally Bowles, Holly takes advantage of people a lot, but with Sally it comes more from a place of not recognizing her own privilege, and thinking, “duh, of course these guys will do whatever I say; why the hell wouldn’t they? But Holly has a totally different backstory, and she doesn’t wear the same privilege goggles as Sally. Holly is way more calculating—which is actually pretty badass. She does what she does because she is a mother. fucking. SURVIVOR.  Holly Golightly would win the Hunger Games.

Even though I would be totally afraid of Holly in real life, I also kind of want to be her. Like, in the same way I want to be a Disney villain sometimes (shout out to Maleficent—I love your cool hat with the horns, and your sweet-ass cape with the purple lining!) Holly has a lot of qualities that I admire, and besides the fact that she’s mean, and she uses people a lot, I really have learned a lot from her. The the Guru Tattva, as illustrated in the story of Dattatreyas’ 24 gurus in the Indian scripture, the Bhagwatam Purana (yes, I went there. YOGA!!!!), says that anyone, and anything can be your teacher if you let it, so why not Holly?

SO. In that vein, here are ten important life lessons that I’ve learned from Holly Golightly:

You don’t really ever have to do laundry.
Holly sucks at doing laundry. I get it, because I suck at doing laundry too.
I tend to approach the issue by either:
a. sucking it up and doing the laundry
b. buying new clothes in the name of laundry avoidance

Holly has other ideas, including:
a. asking your best frenemy to move in, and hope she sends your laundry out for you
b. remembering that clothing is overrated. Just wear a towel to the party, and call it good

Holly’s solutions are both money-saving and do not involve the doing of actual laundry. Clearly superior to mine.

Hard times call for fabulous lipstick
When Holly is the hospital, recovering from a miscarriage that nearly kills her (and also, she’s probably going to jail), and about to read the world’s shittiest breakup note from Jose Ybarra-Jaeger—presumed future president of Brazil (with the world’s coolest name), she asks for her purse first, so she can put on some lipstick.

A girl just doesn’t read this sort of thing without her lipstick.

DAMN RIGHT SHE DOESN’T. A good lipstick, or quality gloss is essential, always, but especially when things suck .I like Smashbox’s “It Girl.” I think Holly would approve.

Sunglasses. Always.
Capote’s Holly Golightly was not outfitted by Givenchy (and unfortunately, neither am I) , but she was “never without dark glasses,” and wore simple clothes in colors that worked for her (in Holly’s case, blues and greys). Seriously, sun glasses are the shit, and while I live in Portland, where it’s cloudy most of the time, you never know when the sun will pop out and totally take you by surprise! So really, sunglasses are always appropriate. Also, you can totally get super-cute Holly-like shades at H&M for like, ten bucks (cheaper in the off seasons!) Also, if you always wear sunglasses, you don’t have to bother with eye makeup either! And if you’re like me and you have tiny eyes, but are not Renée Zellweger (the only person allowed to have tiny eyes, according to the beauty blogs), NO ONE HAS TO KNOW. EVER.

The art of a good swear
Holly has a lot of good ones—including, the simple, yet hilarious expletive, “oh, balls!” But nothing—nothing will ever beat “gee, golly goddamn!” Especially in context:

“But oh gee, golly goddamn,” she said, jamming a fist into her mouth like a bawling baby, “I did love him. The rat.


If you’re arrested in a narcotics scandal, talk about God, and why marijuana is superior to brandy. But then save face and say that you like brandy better.
Do I really need to explain this one?

If you want people to think you’re smart and sophisticated, say things in French! (Also, it doesn’t have to be good, or accurate French. Americans won’t know the difference)
Holly just kind of haphazardly says things in French sometimes. Like, for no reason, other than to be awesome. She’s had French lessons, and she PUTS THEM TO USE. I’ve had four years of French. Not semesters, but YEARS (two in high school, and two in college), and I’m still too scared to order an  “au chocolat,” because I’m worried that I won’t pronounce “chocolat” correctly. This, was an actual thing that happened recently:
Me: “Listen. I really want to order a cafe au lait with chocolate sauce in it. I know what it’s called, but I’m afraid that I’ll either sound really American or really affected if I try to say it…so, can I just have one…of those…twelve ounces…with rice milk, please?
Barista: “You mean an aww chaw-klit?” [That’s how she pronounced it. “aww chaw-klit.”]

See, Holly would’ve owned that shit.

Try the Holly Golightly Diet
Melba toast, cottage cheese, and/or a fuck-ton of liquor for every meal.
Actually, don’t do this. You’d probably die. Just read Skinny Bitch instead, or something.

Spay or neuter your pet (even if your pet is an independent, like you)
Holly is a dick to her cat. Like, really really awful. Except for when she realizes it, and tries to find the cat after she already told it to fuck off (her exact words) and tossed it out of a car, but unlike in the movie, Holly doesn’t find the cat right away, so she makes her BFF (whom she calls “Fred,” even though that’s probably not actually his name) promise to find it, and take care of it while she moves to Brazil (Holly is a dick to her friends too). BFF “Fred” finds the cat eventually, but not for weeks. Weeks. Now, I don’t know that Holly neutered the cat. She probably didn’t, because she was Holly and it was the 40s…but, you know, she should have.

Have a solid plan B
After getting dumped via awful breakup letter by Jose, Holly asks BFF Fred to call up the Times, or whatever you call, and get a list of the fifty richest men in Brazil. Audrey Hepburn says this line in the movie too,but in the movie-version of B @ T’s, it’s said in desperation—like, movie-Holly really knows that the guy from the A-team is the one for her, she just can’t bring herself to admit it, so she adorably shrieks, “find me the fifty richest men in Brazil!” because she doesn’t know what else to say or something. But book-Holly is seriously, like, this is legitimately her plan. She is not kidding. 

People don’t belong to people
OK, this one is cheating, because this line is from the movie, not the book, but it is so much more book-Hollyesque than movie-Hollyesque, that I for real thought it was in the book, until I actually looked for it this afternoon and found that it wasn’t. And, OK, I know the point here is supposed to be that Holly is a commitment phobe or something, but screw that, people don’t belong to people. In fact, a lot of really horrible things happen as a result of people thinking that other people belong to them. Like, it’s good to love people, to care about people, to be kind to people, but not to, you know, own people. That’s creepy. It reminds me of when Chris Brown said he owned Rhianna’s vagina. Remember that? Like, two weeks ago, when everyone was talking about that?
Let’s be the opposite of that, OK? Here’s a great poem by Kahlil Gibran about not owning people. Let’s be like Kahil Gibran.
Also, ALSO, after movie-Holly says that awesome thing about people not belonging to people, and Hannibal Smith is all, “yes they do!” You know what movie-Holly should have done? She should have said “screw you!” and hooked up with Greta Garbo or Nehru (the two people that book-Holly describes as her romantic ideal).


Right on.