Saturday, April 28, 2012

My first tattoo!

 A few years ago, I decided that I wanted a tattoo. Preferably a Harry Potter quote, on a part of my body that wouldn't change much over time. At first I wanted "the ones we love never truly leave us", from Prisoner of Azkaban. I then thought that it was way too long. The last book came out after my freshman year of college, and I loved the last line in the epilogue, "All was well". I loved it, and decided that I wanted it on my foot, to comply with the Disney Look standards. The nice thing is, not everyone will recognize it as a Harry Potter quote.

My friend got a great tattoo at a shop downtown, and after talking to her artist Ian, I realized that I wanted him to do my tattoo as well. I made the appointment on St. Patrick's Day, for April 28, 2 weeks before college graduation. I wanted it to have a subtle nod to Disney, so I found the Aladdin movie title font online, and chose that for the font.

The shop called me the day before, confirming my appointment and placement. After the phone call, since I knew nothing about tattoos, I decided to look up aftercare tips. That was a giant mistake. "My god, the pain before and after was like nothing I've experienced before!" "My foot swelled up to three times its size!" "I bled for 3 weeks!" "My foot bled puss for a week and I had to go to the hospital!" "My foot will never be the same again!" "I couldn't walk for 2 weeks!"

I was now terrified.

The next morning, I went to breakfast with my brother, and then to the shop with his girlfriend (my friend who had gotten the tattoo at the same shop from Ian). I had put a small stuffed animal in my purse, Gromit from Wallace and Gromit, thinking that I might need to squeeze something.

Ian walked into the reception area and we started talking about paperwork, the tattoo placement and font, and then he noticed how nervous I was. He asked me if it was my first tattoo, and I nodded. He asked me what I was afraid of, and I told him that I had stupidly looked up tips on Google. He nodded, and asked me if I ever looked up my symptoms when I was sick. I said no, and he explained that going online to look up medical information was a horrible idea, because it always gives you the worst information/diagnosis. He then said that most of the people had probably gotten their tattoos "in some dark living room with dirty needles and cat hair everywhere". He reassured me, and then left me with the paperwork as he went to trace the tattoo. I filled it out, reading about the possibility of infection, death, etc. He and I signed it, and then went into the tattoo room.

Ian then said "I know this isn't the kind of music you normally listen to-" Heavy metal was playing- "Would it help if I put on some Disney music?" "Um. Yes please!" I couldn't believe that he would be so nice. I chose the Lion King Pandora station, and 'I Just Can't Wait to be King' started playing. Ian smiled and said "This is the first time this kind of music has played in this tattoo shop."
I got my Gromit stuffed animal from my purse, and sat on the table he had pulled into his tattoo cubicle. From the way he had me position my feet and legs, I was really glad I was wearing leggings. He explained that all the equipment was sterilized at 270 degrees, that he would use a new needle (he showed me as he prepared it), where the needle would go into the biohazard bin, how the tattoo gun worked, how long the needle was, what the sound of the gun was like. He was incredibly thorough, and I was so glad he was.
After placing the stencil/transfer on my foot, he asked me if I liked the placement. I asked it to be moved down a bit, and he did exactly that. He then got the tattoo gun going, and told me that he wouldn't start until I said "Okay". I took a deep breath, and he asked me if I was ready. I nodded, clutched Gromit with one hand and held my foot down with the other, and said "Okay".

He started with the last letter, and worked his way backwards. I was trying so hard to not move, but sometimes my foot would involuntarily jump a little from the pain.

I had thought that it would hurt really badly, but since it’s fairly small, it didn’t hurt that bad-more like lots of short, sharp, pokes. There were definitely places where it hurt really badly-the first ‘a’ and ‘w’, but overall it wasn’t terrible. I didn’t cry or faint, which was nice.
He was finished in about 15-20 minutes, and it would've been faster, except for my stupid jumpy foot. During that time, 'I See the Light', 'Under the Sea', 'The Bear Necessities', 'Can You Feel the Love Tonight', and other fantastic Disney songs played. Ian whistled along a little to 'The Bear Necessities' as he worked, and I was charmed.
My brother and his girlfriend were the best cheerleaders. They kept telling me I was doing a great job, patting my back; that sort of thing.

When the tattoo was finished, I was instantly in love. Ian took a few pictures for me, and then wrapped my foot in plastic wrap and medical tape.

At the Blaque Owl tattoo shop, one hour is $100, and he charged me $50.

I'm so glad I did it, it was worth every penny and every second of pain. I love it!

Blaque Owl Tattoo facebook page

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

I have fallen in love with the merchandise for 'Brave'

 If I were still in elementary school, I would be wearing this dress everywhere. Just like I wore my Jasmine pajamas to shreds.
 The best accessory for a girl (or boy) who wants to be adventurous and kick butt.
 I would snuggle with her and play tea parties.
 I would also snuggle with her. Look at her awesome hair!
 I bought myself Belle's tiara at Disney World, but I think I like this one more. The rhinestones!
 I also would wear this dress everywhere. If I was still in elementary school.
 I am going to buy these for myself. I love ballet flats, and it's hard to find flats with straps. I love these shoes.
 This wig is epic. I can't wait to see people wearing this at the Halloween party.
Look at how fierce this mini-Merida archer is! I love her!

All the merchandise was found here, at the Disney Store website.

I'm holding out judgement until I see Brave, but Merida, the Scottish archer princess, may become one of my top 5 Disney Princesses. My list is: Belle, Jasmine, Rapunzel, Pocahontas, and Mulan. I love Aurora too, but she didn't do much beyond sleep.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

National Princess Week

Target partnered with Disney and the Julie Andrews Collection to announce that April 22-28 is the United States National Princess Week.
The wonderful Dame Julie Andrews had this to say: "You need to be allowed to let your own sparkle out no matter what you think being feminine means, whether that is being a princess or being a truck driver. There are no boundaries or rules except to be decent."
I love Julie Andrews, and I love princesses. I love The Princess Diaries book series and the two movies, Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine, and all the Disney princesses-Belle is my favorite, because of her love of books and her ability to appreciate that beauty comes from what's within. I loved watching the royal wedding last year, and making a presentation about it for my current events course. I love how Queen Elizabeth and Kate Middleton appear with children, getting down on their level and taking the flowers with big smiles and grace. I love being a birthday princess, wearing a rhinestone tiara and a pretty dress. I love the idea of being a princess, doing good deeds, wearing gorgeous dresses, devoting your life to community service.
Meg Cabot, the Princess Diaries author, had this to say in a blog post:
"...Everything gets back to princesses eventually. This is why when princess-haters pop up in the media to insist that loving princess is detrimental to the developmental growth and maturation of young girls (and boys), I always point out that it was my admiration for princesses that helped me through the most difficult times in my life, since I strived to be like them: hard-working ladies who followed their dreams, didn’t listen when mean people bossed them around (such as Nazis or Dark Lords of the Sith), knew when to accept help from friends (or fairy godmothers or wookies), and never, ever quit, especially when the going got tough. That’s why I’m excited about Princess Week, though every week is Princess Week as far as I’m concerned."

Julie Andrews also said:
Q: Were you influenced by England's royal family in creating the Queen of Genovia? 
A: Growing up in England, of course you do absorb certain ways the royals wave their hands and carry themselves. Like most girls, I fantasized about being some sort of a princess.

Q: Have you met Queen Elizabeth II?
A: I have on many occasions. The first was when I was 12. I was a child prodigy who had a freak voice of something like four octaves. I was asked to sing the big aria at a huge royal benefit. There was always the hope that I might be able to emulate the queen. And then I finally got my chance. (She laughs.)
Q: Why do you think The Princess Diaries became such a hit? It's made more than $165 million worldwide.
 A: The nice thing about the movie - and maybe the reason young girls identify with it - is that it isn't just about the trappings of being a princess. It is also about what you are inside and the responsibility and just plain old hard work that goes into being a princess.

Q: What do you remember about shooting The Princess Diaries in San Francisco? 
A: We shot at a house that had a lot of stairs. I had to go up and down the stairs endlessly all the time thinking, "I hope I can look regal and not disgrace myself."

Q: Are you and Anne Hathaway wearing real tiaras in the film? 
A: Yes, and I believe they were made for the movie. They were very good about making one for the older woman, the queen, and the other was a much younger-looking tiara. (During the shoot) I had a gentleman following me around everywhere in case somebody tried to snatch it.
Q: And now you are writing with your daughter Emma (from her marriage to set designer Tony Walton). 
A: We finish each other's sentences and we have a similar sense of humor and are having a ball doing it. It is a joy to go to book signings and meet the children and have their mothers mention a book I wrote 40 years ago. I'm not singing anymore; that is why I am so pleased to be writing. My daughter said, "You just found a different way of using your voice."

In her LA Times Q&A:
Some parents are bewildered when their daughters -- whom they may hope will grow up to be doctors or lawyers -- go through a princess phase. What would you say to them?
There has been a lot of discussion among child development people about the significance of imaginative play when it comes to a child's social and cognitive development. There may be a strong connection between a make-believe a child allows and their later success in life. They always come out of it. For me it’s part of loving books, getting lost in books, playing princesses, playing whatever you feel like. They usually play nurses and doctors and everything else. Princesses are usually for the little ones, I think.
Have princesses changed?
There’s a lot more to princesses these days. Their civic duties alone. Look at Kate [Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge], the new lovely princess we have in Britain right now. I think she's probably extremely hard-working and has an enormous amount of responsibility speaking for the royal family and doing her royal duties and going out to her charities. It’s a very busy and hard life.
I'd heard that the Mary Poppins' author, P.L. Travers, could be quite difficult.
She called me about three days after I had given birth to my daughter. And suddenly in the hospital they said, "P.L. Travers is on the line." I got on the line and she said, "Well, talk to me." I said "Well, uh, I’m feeling a little weary right now. I had a baby three days ago." She said, “Well, you’re far too pretty, you’ve got the nose for it, but you’re far too pretty. We ended up fairly friendly, and we exchanged letters for a little bit while the film was going on. But I do believe she thought she could tell Mr. Disney exactly what needed to be done, and he, I believe, put her very kindly and lovingly in her place.
Disney relied heavily on princesses in his company, starting with Snow White.
Cinderella, Pocahontas, the Little Mermaid…

Why do you think those characters fit in with what Disney was trying to do?
A lot of it had to do with animation, which is to do with children reading books and loving fairy tales. He took a lot of gambles with the live action. But originally I do believe that the fairy stories were what he probably felt would best represent animation in a way.
What’s the difference between a princess and a fairy?
The very fairy princess means that she’s got magical powers. Our little girl believes that anything is possible and you just have to let your sparkle out. Whatever she’s doing, it usually is extremely daunting and she’s put in her place to start with, but by the end of her story she triumphs. Also, princesses don’t usually have wands or wings. Fairies do.

Good point. There were no wings or wands at the royal wedding … some of those hats, though …
Yes, you could have imagined the wings and wands.
Things I love about this picture: Julie Andrews, The Disney company and National Princess week logos, and the fact that she's wearing a bright pink feather boa.

Meg's blog post
Julie Andrews article
Julie Andrews Q&A
LA Times interview

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Getting ready for graduation!

There is less than a month until I graduate from college!

Today I sold my lovely pink Schwinn bike, I was surprised that I got $70 for it! If I can sell my fridge before graduation, I'll be even happier.

I saw War Horse and The Help this weekend, both were excellent. I was way more into War Horse than I thought I would be.
 This is one of my favorite Calvin and Hobbes strips.
 This turtle disapproves of pessimism.
 I want this t-shirt, it's quotes from Wishes!
 From the 'Texts from Hillary' tumblr.
I love Rafiki.
 I also love huskies.
 And Colin Firth.
There are 36 days left until I check back into Disney World, and I can't wait! I've been daydreaming about castles and princes and fireworks and great food and magical moments. I also want to buy an annual pass for Universal Studios, so I can drink frozen butterbeer whenever.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Spring Break 2012

I have never had the typical college spring break. I've gone to Salt Lake City to visit a then-boyfriend, Atlanta with my mom to visit my grandparents, to Portland with my brother, his girlfriend and my mom, and home for a week. This last spring break was a road trip with my family, my parents and brother, to California to visit family.

We ate lunch in Idaho, and dinner in Winamucca, at a local pizza place. My dad decided to stop there for the night, and stopped at the first cheap motel, the Economy Inn. He paid the $60-some dollars, and we went to our room. There were garlic clove skins on the floor, and something that looked like dried vomit or sperm on the red curtains.

I went back to the front desk ask for sheets to put on the floor-my brother gets the second bed, I sleep in a sleeping bag on the floor. That's the way it's always been on family road trips.

I was skipping across the parking lot, as I do. I heard a man whistling "Hey, baby girl! Come on over here!" It was dark, and I ignored the voice. I got to the front desk...which was empty. I waited for a bit, then left, only to hear "Hey, baby girl! Do you need something?"
"Um, do you work here?"
A man with a giant beard sat smoking with another man outside. "I do, baby girl. How can I help?"
"Well, first of all, please don't call me that. It's offensive. Can I please have 2 more towels and a sheet?"
"Sure thing."
He disappeared inside and came back with a full sheet set and towels. I thanked him and he asked "So, how old are you?"
He leered. "Damn, you look young!"
"Thank you for the stuff. Have a good night." I went back to the room, sort of shaken. He was so much bigger than me and intimidating, and I don't like it when men call me 'baby' and it was dark and there was no one else around and it was just scary.

I went back to the room, where my brother turned back the sheets on his bed, and discovered...a peanut. Seriously.

The night passed, and the free continental breakfast turned out to be packets of the peanut butter and chocolate Little Debbie's Nutty Buddy bars.

Once we got to San Fransisco, we had a delicious lunch with my favorite cousin and her husband. We spent the night at my grandparents' house. My parents and I cleaned the house a little, throwing out Consumer Report magazines from the 90's, wine that had turned to vinegar, a printed guide on how to use dial-up internet, color-arranged bread clips and twisty-ties, pens that didn't work, 20 year-old receipts, and disgusting old food. We made a dent. I never knew that canned food would buckle with age.

Each day, we drove out to their retirement home to visit my grandparents, my 97 year-old grandfather and my 85 year-old grandmother.

I thought that I was prepared to see my wonderful French grandmother again. I hadn't seen them since 2009, and she had a stroke in November. My dad had told me how she was, as had my aunt. But seeing her in a was really hard. She mostly said "yes" or "no", it was a little triumph each time she spoke a whole sentence or laughed. The hardest part was seeing her cry, I had never seen Mima cry before.

I had a little alone time with her, I showed her some old family Christmas cards, from the 1950s, and then we started talking about her and Grandpa's relationship. I asked her "I know you met him on a blind date when you were an au pair, was it in Illinois, or Connecticut?"
It came to her immediately. "Connecticut".
"And the cellist that introduced you, what was his name?"
"Carl Zeiss."
"Wow, Mima. And now you've been married more than 60 years. I hope that I have a relationship like yours and Grandpa's someday."
She started speaking in French, a whole paragraph, when she noticed my look of incomprehension and wonder. She switched to English. "You will find the love that I have had someday. You will be as happy as I am, and you will meet a wonderful man."
I almost started crying.

Later in the week, I asked to say goodbye to her alone. My parents left the room, and we held hands. She told me I was beautiful, and that I could only cry "happy tears". She kept telling me to "remember that you are a part of it". I thanked her for giving me a love of ballet and travel, and we told each other "I love you." It was the goodbye I wish I could have with everyone.