Giveaway: De-Frumpiness Toolbox

Remember I mentioned the Spanish Professor gifted me one of her beauty boxes (New Beauty’s TestTube)? Well it actually ended up being a two for one deal and I got a second beauty box! So I asked her if I could pay it forward and do a giveaway with some of the products in the test tube along with a couple of beauty products and samples I had. She said yes (because she is awesome) and I went hunting and put together what I am calling the De-Frumpiness Toolbox.

In honor of the De-Frumpiness Project, I am going to give away a travel bag filled with beauty products and samples. Heck I might even throw in some accessories and a water bottle if I can get my hands on some before the giveaway closes. Some of the brands in the beauty bag are: Tresemmé, Jane Iredale, Mèmoire Liquide, Mally, Dr. Brandt, Skinceuticals, Julep (enter code COLOR2012 to get your first box for one cent), John Freida, and Olay Professional.

Fun stuff, right?

Ok now here’s the how-to-enter stuff.

First of all, US entries only. I’m sorry but the postage costs are through the roof and this little bag of goodies has some weight to it. And being that I’m not swimming in money (did I tell you guys the state informed me Ex owes me over $13,000 in child support?) I’ve got to stay reasonable. I do promise I will do a giveaway soon that is lightweight and therefore can ship anywhere but this one, sadly, is not it.

So, just move to the US and then leave a comment and tell me something you’ve done to treat yourself recently (the past month) and if you haven’t done anything to treat yourself recently, I want you to post what you’re going to do to treat yourself and when! One comment per person please.

The only bonus entries I’m giving are to single moms who blog. So if this is you, just write a second comment letting me know you’re a single mom and linking us to your blog. And while you’re at it, you might want to check my list of Single Parent Blogs and see if you’re on there. And I mean Single Moms with kids that are still dependent on them (and I’ll extend this to the single moms putting their babies through college). I admire you awesome veterans but you’re the first to remember how crazy easy it was to neglect yourself during the Chaos Days.

Giveaway ends in one week: July 19th, 2012 at Midnight EST

So, that’s it. My first giveaway!

Advertisements

Beauty Boxes Woo Hoo

Last week, I got two delicious deliveries– one I expected, the other a surprise.

I got my introductory penny box from Julep Maven for one. I’ve already started using the pedicure cream but haven’t had a chance to do my nails in the new gorgeous colors.

The colors are so pretty and perfect for summer time sandal wear. I can’t wait to try them out, I have a feeling they’d go stunning layered together. And hello, I paid ONE CENT!

And then, there was a really cool, big, awesome surprise from The Spanish Professor. She’d left me a comment that she wanted to treat me to a box and I told her she twisted my arm with the Hispanic guilt thing. So I took her up on her offer not sure what I’d be getting or when. Well, I got a very hot pink box delivered to my doorstep the other day and it was packed with goodies.

This my friends is the New Beauty Test Tube. What a neat concept! This beauty box is actually a beauty tube filled with products for you to try and it is delivered quarterly instead of monthly. Each box includes the new edition of New Beauty magazine which is thick and humongous, as well as a smaller magazine telling you about all of the products you received.

The box included:

Mally Evercolor Eyeshadow Stick

Neostrata Exfoliating Wash

Moroccan Oil Frizz Control

Olay Regenerist Sample

Ybf Eyeliner

Memoire Liquide Creme

Memoire Perfume Sample

Skinceuticals CF Feuric and Physical Fusion Defense Samples

Perlier and Elariia Body Creme

Dr. Brandy Bb Cream with Flexitone Sample

$85 in coupons for Spalook.com

What an impressive box. A lot of it was full-sized samples and pretty high-end brands as well. If you’re thinking about it for yourself, it’s about $30 but it’s only delivered about 4 times a year. I really liked all of the variety in it and I was very impressed with the number of full-size products in it.

It felt like a majorly girly Christmas in June for me and I am so grateful to you Spanish Prof for the present. You have no idea what a bad day I was having and to walk in and see this hot pink box of FUN on my table was an easy smile getter so thank you.

I had a really nice weekend. I heard from my kids a lot and they are having an amazing time in New York with their grandparents. Today, they leave to Chicago. I have been crocheting like a beast trying to get this wrap done for the wedding I’m in on Sunday. And I got to hit up a Marlins game on Sunday courtesy of my uncle. I put up lots of silly photos on Instagram. If you’re on there, follow me and let me know you found me!

Stuff like this shows up on there… Happy Monday!

 

REALLY good Julep deal & Shopping Spree Total

For everyone curious to know how much I spent at my 12 item Express shopping spree…

$244.80

That means on average, I spent $20.40 per item. I don’t think that’s pretty shabby considering the kinds of clothes I got. And now I’ll just wear them until death does us part.

Speaking of deals, I’ve got a good one for you. Julep is offering the introductory box for their Maven Subscription program for one penny and that comes with free shipping. This month’s intro box comes with two polishes and a pedicure cream.

How do you get it? Easy peasy.

Step One: GO HERE

Step Two: Take the fun and frivolous Style Quiz, enter you email to find out your Style Personality, and see the box they’d send you. You can also go ahead and check out the boxes of the other styles and if you like one of those better, you can grab that one instead. In my case, it pegged me as an American Beauty but I was all about the Bombshell. So I added Bombshell to my cart and removed American Beauty.

Step Three: Sign up and check out.

When you’re done, you are now a part of the Julep Maven Subscription Program. And honestly? It’s a pretty good one. The way it works is like this.

On the 20th of every month they send you an email showing you your next box. By default they show you the style of the intro box you ended up with. If you love it, you do nothing. They charge your credit card on file $19.99 and send you your box.

If you don’t LOVE it,  you can log in and see the other styles. They even link you to a post on their blog that shows the colors for each box on nails. Next month includes a lip gloss and they took pictures of a girl wearing each color too. I really appreciate this because I feel like it’s full-disclosure and they’re not trying to pull a fast one.

So once you’ve checked out the other styles you can:

1. Choose a different style to send your way. This style will be your default next month.

2. Choose any of the styles and send it to a friend or family member as a gift. I love this for birthdays or other special occasions.

3. Skip the month. That’s right, you don’t have to buy the box every month. You don’t like it, you don’t have a friend who deserves it, or you’re just plain broke that month, you skip.

Of course you can always cancel the subscription and stay happy with your one cent intro box but if you like treating yourself now and then, I think it’s worth keeping it. Occasionally, they throw in a free polish. They also offer subscribers a chance to get mystery boxes– $60 or more worth of products for $19.99. I mentioned I had purchased one of these boxes and I received it the other day.

My Pretty Julep June Mystery Box Packaging

My Julep June Mystery Box Contents

My Mystery Box came with:

Julep Elixir Organic Oil, $24

Facial for Hands Glycolic Hand Scrub, $32

Glow on Age Defying Hand Brightener, $32

Megan, $14

Brooke, $14

And a free Julep.com nail file. Retail value of my $19.99 box? $116.

Not too bad huh?

Honestly, at first I was sort of blank about it. I really didn’t know what to make of the box because three of the six items were totally alien to me. But now that I’ve had it a few days and have been using the products, I’m really happy with it. One of the things I’ve been discovering through my De-Frumpiness Project is how luxurious some really small little things can feel.

Do I feel completely fancy washing my hands with a glycolic hand scrub and then rubbing in an age defying hand brightener? Why yes, yes I do. And by the way, the hand brightener feels and smells so nice. Is there something slightly decadent about dropping oil into my hands from a glass bottle with a glass dropper? Um, yeah. Definitely. For me at least.

You have to understand, I’m the girl that recently rediscovered how yummy it is to apply good facial moisturizer ok?

I don’t have a complicated beauty regimen. I’m not even really sure that I have an actual regimen. But yes I am definitely enjoying the couple of minutes every day where I indulge in myself. My nails are chipped? Time to change the manicure! It’s summer, so I absolutely can’t leave without my facial moisturizer with SPF. Floss! Scrub my hands. Nourish my cuticles! Go into fitting rooms!

Slowing down. I’m actually slowing down. These little things are little pauses. Little only for me and only about me pauses. And they’re nice.

 

 

Beauty on a Budget

As much as I have tried to keep my De-Frumpiness Project from deeply impacting my wallet, not spending in this department has been impossible. And you know what? That’s the frickin point.

There are so many ways we put ourselves on the back-burner and spending on other things is definitely the easiest for many of us. In my case, I will justify the purchase of clothing and shoes for my kids when theirs shows wear or is ill-fitting or I just find a really good deal. Not so much for me.

I have found great deals on all sorts of things this year, and even with the De-Frumpiness Project, I have more often than not left the item on the shelf or rack muttering something about not having money right now and then spending the money I don’t have on something else for someone else.

The past couple of months I’ve been forcing that to change. It doesn’t always feel as great as it sounds like it would. Yes, you would think I’d be all excited by the idea of giving myself permission to spend on myself but I just don’t. I stress and moan, “But what about the children?”

Lately I’ve been a bit tough on that whiny part of me and have rebuked her with a sharp, “The children have more than plenty and they don’t even take care of it properly!” Which is kind of true. Ok fine, it’s a lot true. My kids are really lucky because they are part of a very big family that lives in the same city as they do. The very big family is of Cuban heritage mostly and is therefore quite fond of gifts for children. We’re the type of culture that firmly believes if you can’t afford gifts for everyone, at least make sure you get the children gifts. Always, the children.

So my children are inundated. They get clothes and toys and toys and more toys and clothes. Do they get all the clothes they need? No. They don’t get shoes for instance or underwear or socks. But they get a lot of the other stuff– shirts and shorts and skirts and dresses and on and on.

The point is, the kids get a lot more gifts than I do. And that is awesome. That is totally fine. That is the way it should be. BUT that is also the fact I have to remind myself of when I’m talking myself out of buying something for myself that is 1) a great deal, 2) that I can afford at that moment in time and 3) that fills a gap in my diminishing wardrobe. Well, mentally it’s diminishing. I’m having a hard time physically purging my closet this year but that’s another roller coaster post waiting to happen.

Anyhow, here are a few things I have been spending on lately and how I’ve been doing just that.

Clothes: I keep trying Goodwill and keep getting mixed results. Ok, honestly? I don’t find much for me. First of all, the Goodwill by my house is huge in an overwhelming way. It attempts to be organized, but let’s face it, it’s Goodwill. It’s not organized. I just don’t have much shopping time and the past couple of months, I’ve had even less as the kids have been spending more and more Wednesdays and weekends with me instead of their dad (also another post). When I’ve gone and browsed, I’ve found a lot of things that look good until I pull them out and take a look at them. They are the wrong size, stained, faded, or just not what I thought they were when I saw them on the hanger. Repeatedly having this happen to me is insanely discouraging. And when I have found something that is the right size, is not faded, is a good brand, it’s about a couple dollars less than I’d pay for it at a store like Ross.

That doesn’t mean I’ve been striking out in the clothes department completely. I’ve actually scored some major hits– at Ross and Marshalls. Surprisingly, moreso at Ross than Marshalls but I had a great haul last weekend so I can’t complain about Marshalls too much. Although I will complain a little bit. When did Marshalls get so expensive? I was strolling through their shoe section and OUCH. I couldn’t find a nice pair of shoes for under $40.

While Marshalls kills Ross in selection, organization, and brands it’s just not that great in the dollar aspect and that is way more important to me right now than anything else. Why? As much as I am mentally in a hurry to get my wardrobe revamped already, I’m not monetarily in a hurry to do so. I’m not even monetarily able actually. So I have time. I have time to go to the Ross by my house (closer than the nearest Marshalls too and with less nerve-wracking parking than the cramped garage the Marshalls is housed in). I have time to wander the clearance racks. I have time to wander the other racks. I have time to try things on. I have time to not take anything because none of it fits me right. And although that IS slightly depressing I am really tired of not looking quite right in my clothes.

This has actually been my savior. My shape has changed a lot in the past year and a half. While this has wreaked havoc on my wardrobe and my options at home, it has really slowed down my shopping. Before, I used to have the type of shape that was pretty standard for a size Small. Ok so not everything fit perfectly but more often than not things fit the way I expected them to.

Not so anymore. And so this means I force myself into the dressing room every single time no matter what the item is. I never used to use fitting rooms, that’s how standard I was. Fitting rooms slow me down. And fitting rooms make me really question and inspect my prospective purchases. So while my wardrobe overhaul is not going as smoothly or as quickly as I’d want it to, I’m more pleased with where it’s going.

Beauty Products: It is all about the drug store sales. Well, it’s mostly about the drug store sales. It’s almost entirely about the drug store sales. If you haven’t figured this out yet, and you really do enjoy the occasional new lipstick, nail polish, eye shadow, whatever, it’s high time you got on this.

For me, CVS is king. Their coupon policy is easy-peasy. Their ExtraCare Bucks are generous. Their Beauty Club makes it even more generous. The fact they’re all over the place makes them easy to access and you can even shop multiple ones in the same day. I learned all about CVS at Southern Savers. Yes, coupons make CVSing even more rewarding but you can get by without them. You’re just not going to save as much money.

This week alone you can score free facial care products, free deodorant, and free floss (perfect for June’s De-Frumpiness project). You can also get a pretty good deal on razors, face wash, and makeup.

The thing with CVS is patience. Stick to the sales and you’ll be a-ok. Also, don’t be afraid to use their return policy. I had a makeup shopping spree a couple of months ago during a particularly good sale week and bought a powder that was supposed to shimmer. I got home and realized what I got was not what was listed on the rack it was in. The packaging on the products was identical despite the fact they had four different finishes. More than a month later, I finally got the chance to go back to CVS with the product and receipt and was able to exchange it for the right one– even with the first product already being open and used. In other words, be unafraid to purchase makeup you can’t try. If, when you get home, the shade makes you look freshly dead, exchange it for a different shade. Easy!

Walgreens is also quite popular with the savings crowd. I can’t suggest them as strongly as I can CVS because they have so many stupid rules and restrictions with their Register Rewards and coupons it’s a true labor to get things done. My suggestion? Don’t put Walgreens on the list of places you regularly shop at but DO make sure you check out their ad if you find you have to go there for whatever reason (prescription, ATM, medicine, etc.). I had to go to my Walgreens last night for their ATM (ING Direct-friendly!), checked their ad real quick and found they have a deal on Goody hair accessories this week– $2 in Register Rewards when you buy certain $2 hair accessories. That means free hair accessories– IF I have to buy something from Walgreens by June 21st. Turns out I do need some saline drops that never go on sale.So I’m wearing my cute little headband today and in the next few days I’ll go by and pick up the saline drops. Free hair stuff!

Of course, it’s also about keeping an eye out. I ventured into Sally Beauty Supply the other day in search of nail tip guides to find they are having a pretty big sale this month which includes a lot of Buy 1 Get 1 Free deals– even on nail art items (currently a thing). I’d honestly never been much of a Sally girl but rest assured I’ll be checking in on their ads more often now. They have lots of specialty items there you just can’t get at CVS and they’re not afraid to mark them down.

Lastly, there’s the internet. Today I purchased the June Mystery Box from Julep. Julep is a nail care company and every now and then they offer mystery boxes for $60. Each mystery box includes anywhere from $60 to $200 worth of merchandise. This month, you can get a limited edition mystery nail color OR the entire collection of Julep nail polish. Um yeah that’s pretty amazing right? But $60? Ouch. Well, use the code JUNEMYSTERY and your box is $19.99 with free shipping. I indulged. It’s $19.99. I wouldn’t hesitate to spend $19.99 on my kids. Each of Julep’s nail polishes go for $14 each and the mystery boxes include at least three of them from what I’ve seen in previous month’s reveals. Julep is a beauty company to watch. They have a nail polish subscription as well and they occasionally offer the chance to try a box for a penny. I’ve always talked myself out of trying it but next time I won’t, especially if the Mystery Box doesn’t disappoint.

Beauty boxes are very popular right now. I keep seeing mentions of them all over the place. Julep’s the only one though that seems to be willing to offer great deals. I’ve heard great deals on Glossybox but a $21 monthly subscription is out of the question. I might buy myself one month’s box for my birthday in August to try it out and then, if it’s as good as I’ve been seeing I’ll probably use Tinsel’s guts towards the purchase of another one in December or January. The value of the box’s contents tend to be much higher than the $21 so it’s worth it if the money is set aside for it. Definitely a great Treat Yo Self type of purchase, eh Nikki?

So there you have it. Some of the ways I’ve been spending on myself this year. I wish I could say spending and not stressing but it’s just not true. I still have issues spending on myself and I wonder if in a way I always will. I didn’t have this problem when I was single (no kids, no nobody) but as soon as the loves of my life started making appearances, this went out the window and what was once a fun thing to do turned into a guilt-ridden experience.

What about you? Do you like spending on yourself? What about on things that are outside the Needs Zone but not in the Communal Wants Zone? Things only you want that no one else would really enjoy?

Mutant Supermodel gets Hair-larious

You should know that just now I was at my standing desk dancing to M.I.A.’s Paper Planes (Diplo Street Mix) and because I’m behind my desk I had kicked off my heels and because I was dancing I tripped on them and because my chair was directly behind me I collapsed straight into it. That’s totally chuckle-worthy right?

It’s Friday. It’s Friday and I had such a horribly stressed out day yesterday that I am forcing myself to let go and relax and be silly and lite and total fluff. I’m not even going to be mysterious. I’ll just come right out and tell you that yesterday sucked because the people I work with in Office #2 filled me with complete panic about my job security. The university’s medical school has been adversely affected by the calamity that has beset our city’s one and only public hospital with which we are closely affiliated with. This is of course trickling up and per the rumor mill the administrative jobs are under close scrutiny. Some people insist that doesn’t include mine and some people insist it does include mine and yesterday I was with the second group and though I’m not proud to admit it, they totally got to me.

Now after having several hours away from that atmosphere I’m not so panicked anymore and am more in my original attitude towards the whole thing– I do think I am safe because the project I work for is very lucrative, I am the only admin that is fully funded by the project, and I do have something to do with the project’s profitability although how much those in charge would be willing to acknowledge that is not something I can really guess at. If the opposite is true and I am not protected by my project’s profitability, then it’s true– I am the most likely to go because of lots and lots of reasons. And even though that sort of makes me sad, it’s not really fazing me. It’s just a sign that something in my logic, something in my plans, isn’t right and I have to fix it and this is one way of correcting that.

But back to fluff and stuff right?

On Monday I asked you guys what to De-Frump next and 50% of the voters chose Hair. I’m actually kind of happy about that. My kids go on spring break now so I actually have a week of mornings with more time. I also got a haircut last month and have been enjoying playing with it.

So bring out the hair products and the accessories and put away the scrunchies and banana clips (none of us actually have those right? Ha. Ha.). Let’s figure out how to use these bobby pin things. Let’s look at some hair tutorial videos on YouTube. You can be edgy. You can be feminine. You can be pop. You can be rock. You can curl. You can straighten. You can poof. You can smooth.

If you’d like to play along this month, I’m going to encourage you to share photos. And I am going to give you LOTS of ways to do that ok? So if you do something with your hair you are happy with, send it my way via:

I know a lot of you are camera shy so I figure this might be fun because you can take lots of pictures of hair without showing your face. I know it sounds wrong, but trust me. Have fun with it this month, let’s go a little crazy. Send me photos of hair-related things that inspire you. Send me before and after photos. Send me links to hair tutorials. You know that fantasy that guys have of a bunch of girls at a slumber party doing each others hair in their underwear? Well it’s kind of like that except we’re all on the internet and I’m guessing most of us will be fully dressed but you totally don’t have to be if you don’t want to be.

I’ll kick it off by showing you the collage I put together and took with me to the hairdresser last month for my hair inspiration. That way you can see that before you see how my hairdresser actually did and how I’m wearing it.

Have fun!

Grand Finale: 31 Days of Lipstick

Today ends my first mini-project of my ongoing De-Frumpiness Project. I started off with something fun and easy and light– 31 Days of Lipstick.

The goal was easy to define– wear lipstick every time I went out for 31 days. Now that it’s over, here are my thoughts.

It was easy to remember to wear lipstick when I: was going to work, was leaving work, was going to school, was going out with my friend who was playing along with me, and when I went out to an event.

It was hard to remember to wear lipstick when I: was spending the day in the house, was going out somewhere not special with the boyfriend, was running errands, and was stressed out.

I love the texture and smell of lipstick. I love the way it shapes and changes with constant use. I love how simple lipstick makes being bold. I love the ritual involved with putting on lipstick. I love the way it gets left behind when you kiss someone.

I hate how fast it disappears and how it disappears from the center out leaving you with a lipstick ring of doom which means reapply, reapply, reapply.

It made me feel pretty and feminine but also made me self-conscious of my teeth and smile which was a side effect I was not expecting.

It made me realize how much sexuality we attach to the mouth. I can’t tell you how awkward it was for me to photograph my mouth and not feel the photo looked suggestive. The one with the straw was particularly trying. Either I have a hyper gutter brain or I am being pillaged with sexual imagery concerning the mouth way more than I would ever have imagined.

This one was a fun little activity I highly recommend anyone feeling under the weather or less than desirable should undertake. Lipstick is a shot of color into your day. It’s also a quick and tiny “me” thing you can do– and cheap too if you rock CVS the way I do.

For February, it’s all about the Fingers and Toes. I have a very bad habit of tearing my nails, cuticles, even nail polish. This includes my poor little toes. Instead of going fancy and committing to going to a salon for the manicure/pedicure treatment, I’m committing to just maintaining nice fingers and toes. All paint is to be applied by me and will consist of the lots and lots of nail polish I already own unless I am able to snag up some free or super cheap polish at CVS during the month. I have to stop the habit of tearing and peeling. It’s gross and it’s painful. If I need to get my nails down to size, it’s either cut and/or file.

So that’s it for me for February– simple and clean nails. If there’s paint I have to keep it looking nice or take it off. No scratched up or smudged polishes. Anyone want to play? If you’re on Google+, circle me here. I put most of the updates to the De-Frumpiness Project on there. Otherwise, I’ll post every now and then on the blog and you can update me on your blog too!

“Just Kids”: Hope & Inspiration for Today from Yesterday

I’m reading Patti Smith’s Just Kids and I’m fascinated. I honestly didn’t think I’d be too intrigued by her story but it’s drawn me in and held me captive. Yes, there’s sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll but, honestly, there’s way less of all three than I was expecting. What I am really taking away from this book are much more abstract concepts, stirrings in my gut, and tugging at my heart. Patti is really evoking a sense of her time and place. There is this need for feeling (the physical, emotional, mental act) that reverberates through her book like a gong being slammed. And it’s not just her, it’s her time (1960’s and 1970’s), her place (New York City).

This book is doing things to me. The people she writes about crave to feel things and to have others feel things. I’ve always looked at drugs and, at times, sex as an escape—a shutdown of bad feelings. And though there is a sense that such a thing was part of the reason these things were so rampant, it is nothing more than a part. There’s a desperation to feel more, more, more. Patti Smith’s personal experience with drug use is small. It was experimental and she voiced a preference to partake in drug use as an enhancement to her creativity versus a tool for navigating social scenes. But drug use wasn’t the only thing that led her to be creative. She didn’t have that crutch. She was creative before, during, and after a drug. She was creative without it and with it and more often than not, she went without.

The name-dropping is mind-blowing and yet it doesn’t feel like the name-dropping of today. In Patti’s stories, Robert Mapplethorpe, Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs, Janis Joplin, Sam Shepard, Andy Warhol, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, and so many others are touchable. They are not precious. They are not on pedestals. They’re dirty. They’re heartbroken. They’re working. They’re sweating. They’re grunting. They’re dying. They’re failing. They’re succeeding. They’re aging. They’re normal.

Today, you hear the names of famous people and for one, they’re famous for mostly wrong reasons, but also, there is a feeling that they live in a world apart—untouchable. The famous ones of today put themselves in crystal castles. They enclose themselves in expensive, dark vehicles. They hide in security-laden resorts. What are they afraid of? The people? Have they forgotten they’re as much us as we are them?

Patti’s people were addicted to living and feeling everything. And that’s missing today. There’s a rawness in Patti Smith’s stories that I don’t think is possible today. Yes, a lot of these people wrecked themselves– look back at that list and note how many are dead and gone. They wanted to elevate, elevate, elevate, and crashed and burned. They were disappointed in the numbness they saw around them and the preoccupations people had. They wanted to shake the world and say, “Wake Up!”

They’d be horrified today. They’d be smashing their heads into walls and all for naught. That’s what saddens me. In the 60s and 70s, very small but determined groups of people were able to shake the world. They were able to cause ripples with the equivalent of pebbles. And though we claim the world has gotten smaller with the evolution of technology, we’ve also created a much larger pond. The ripples of a pebble don’t get close to the shoreline.

It is fascinating to me that it is far easier today to truly tune out than it was during a time where drug abuse was rampant. It’s not just the glows of televisions, computers, and video game consoles. It’s the medications. It’s even the food. For their weed, we have Cartoon Network, FaceBook, Prozac, and Whoppers. For their LSD, we have Fox News, World of Warcraft, Xanax, and French Fries (extra large). For their speed, we have ESPN, Grand Theft Auto, Ritalin, and Coca Cola.

Please don’t mistake me as romanticizing the 60’s and 70’s. I think they must have been extremely difficult times to grow up in, and even harder times to be a grown up in (imagine being a parent or grandparent). I think there was conflict raging at all levels—micro to macro. Homes and governments alike were in turmoil. The lives Patti’s people led were truly difficult. They were often malnourished, plagued by disease, and surrounded by crime scenes.

And please don’t mistake me as dismissive of our present life and times. I haven’t given up on today or even tomorrow. I don’t think we’re living in a world completely inhabited by zombies. I have hope.

And maybe that’s where I find my kinship with Patti Smith. I haven’t even finished the book—I begin the last section today, but I sense something connecting there and it’s a hope.

I have a hope for beauty to return to our world—true, raw, glorious, unforgiving beauty. I have a hope it returns and resurrects our seemingly slumbering muses. I have a hope it stirs its way into paints, pencils and camera lenses. I have a hope it slinks into pens, keyboards, and typewriters. I have a hope it shimmies into pianos, guitars, and vocal chords. I have a hope it swells into fabric, metals, and leathers.

And more than anything, I hope it shakes us all and screams like a banshee—“WAKE THE FUCK UP!”