Tuesday, May 28, 2013

This is My Life?! Splendid!

If I've seen you in the past two weeks, you've probably heard both of these stories.  For those of you who haven't heard them already, let me introduce you to a new series called "This is my life?!" that will showcase the slightly ridiculous moments that happen to me.  If you follow me (@klareau3) or our house (@KLandSP) on Twitter, you'll probably get snippets of these stories.  Here are the full (overly)dramatic versions.

The first story takes place just over two weeks ago.  I had an interview that afternoon, and it was unseasonably hot that day (welcome to Central Illinois, where the weather is schizophrenic), so when I came home, I changed from my interview dress to a lounge-about-the-house dress.  I decided to unwind for awhile by watching YouTube videos, and I became intrigued by the Colors of the Rainbow tag videos being made by some of the vloggers I follow.  The concept was to talk about one of your favorite beauty/fashion items for each color of the rainbow (plus pink and multi-colored).  I decided I wanted to make a video response.  

I set up my camera in the dining craft room, opened the blinds and turned on the lights.  I decided that I couldn't wear the lounge-about-the-house dress because it has weird straps, and I have to wear a cami underneath it, and there were just too many straps involved to make me comfortable on-camera.  I took off the lounging dress, and went back into the craft room to finish putting on my makeup so as not to get any makeup on the dress I was going to wear in the video.

Before I go any further, let me describe where I live.  It's a small house with two front doors situated on the corner of a side street and a busy one way street.  There's a bike lane along the one way street.  The window of the dining craft room looks out onto the one way street, but based on assertions by my roommate who never sees me wave at her from that window, I basically assume that most people can't see me...

As I adjusted my makeup in the dining craft room, I happened to notice a young man riding his bike on the sidewalk just beyond our front porch.  Now, I can't be positive that he saw me, wearing nothing but beige undergarments, but he did look directly at the window.  And I swear, in that moment, not only did he see me, but it felt like he looked into my soul.  I immediately scampered back into my room and threw the dress on.  Then just for good measure, I closed and locked both front doors that had been standing wide open so as to encourage a breeze inside the house.  Luckily for me, he kept on riding, but seriously, this is my life?!

Then last Friday, I was getting ready to north for my cousin's graduation party.  I had just gotten out of the shower and was wearing my pj's, which may or may not have been decorated with not only toothpaste spots but also a nice big smudge in the exact neon orange dust that is found on Cheetos. (Hint: it did.)  Most of my wet hair was sectioned for drying, and I had a single braid down the center of my head.  Since I'm home alone so often, I rarely get ready without playing music.  I was dancing around, like one does, as Mick Jagger serenaded me with "Let's Spend the Night Together."  To be honest, Mick was also serenading half the block, and there's a very real chance window panes were rattling in my little house.  The hair dryer was going, I was singing, and over all that cacophony, I heard four loud knocks on a front door.

As I emerged from the bathroom to pause the music, I saw the landlord standing on the porch.  He stopped by to check in about a few things and ask if we were planning to sign another year long lease.  The entire conversation probably didn't take longer than 5 minutes, but it felt like eternity.  In those four minutes, I think a bus full of school children unloaded at the corner, people were walking their dogs, and I was sopping wet on the porch in sweatpants talking to my landlord.  

The landlord is a nice enough guy, but he doesn't get me.  When we originally signed the lease, Stacey and I were in a good mood, making jokes about how we were excited to move to a neighborhood that didn't necessitate having the police on speed dial, and he just didn't get us.  Since then I felt like every conversation between the two (or three, if Stacey's around) of us has been awkward.  I could tell that he really didn't know how to process the sight before him.  I think it was the hair that put him over the edge, not the Cheeto dust.

As he turned to leave, I turned the music back on.  Once more in the bathroom with the hair dryer and the singing, I heard four more loud knocks at the door.  It was deja vu all over again.  I came back out of the bathroom to find the landlord on the porch again.  Now, he claimed that he had forgotten to mention one last thing while we were talking, but I'm pretty sure he was just floored by my beauty, grace, and glorious singing voice and was desperate to be in my presence.  This time I made sure his car had pulled away from the curb and was on its way down the street before I turned the music back on.

I do have a sense of shame, and I do get embarrassed from time to time, but stories like these happen to me so often that it doesn't make sense to feel embarrassed about them anymore.  Instead I share my potential shame with the world and hope that it makes somebody feel a little bit better about their day.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Fangirling over Hannah Hart? Splendid!

I wrote a couple months ago about my girl crush on Hannah Hart, her YouTube series My Drunk Kitchen, and her Hello, Harto tour.  It was my distinct and absolute pleasure to meet her on Saturday!

She kicked off the Hello, Harto! tour in late April, rented an RV, and hit the road.  Most of her stops include shooting for the Hello, Harto travel portion of the show, shooting an episode of My Drunk Kitchen in a fan's house, and a volunteer event/meetup.  They even developed a smartphone app so fans can stay connected throughout the tour.

When the tour calendar was announced, I was sad to see that the tour wouldn't include my kitchen, but I was happy that they would be stopping in (somewhat nearby) Chicago.  It also happened that the Chicago stop was scheduled for Mother's Day weekend.  I immediately called my mom (who is also a fan of Hannah) to ask if she would be interested in volunteering and meeting Hannah for Mother's Day.  Being awesome, my mom enthusiastically agreed that it would be a great way for us to celebrate.  The hard part was waiting for details about the event.  Both of us checked the app multiple times a day in hopes of the volunteering signup being open.

In the meantime, my Grandma came up from Florida to visit and celebrate my cousin's college graduation.  When registration for the event finally opened, she asked if she could join us.  My boyfriend also agreed to go, which was fantastic since none of us particularly like driving in Chicago.  The event also included a food drive, so before Saturday, I went and picked up some things for us to donate.

Saturday we headed north (MUCH earlier than I've been awake lately) and enjoyed watching all the U of I Commencement traffic heading the opposite direction.  We met Mom & Grandma in the suburbs and headed for the venue.  It can be difficult to find a food bank to accommodate the number of volunteers Hannah was able to recruit.  Because of this, we weren't actually able to help at a food bank.  Our act of volunteerism was the food drive, and I think that turned out pretty well.  All the food was donated to the Greater Chicago Food Depository.

The event was at the Catalyst Ranch in Chicago.  I had never been there, but I heard that it's used a lot for corporate retreats and to encourage creativity.  I can totally understand that because it is a very eclectic space.  In addition to colorful decor, the room we were in also had a bunch of different vintage dinette sets and fabulous chairs.  Waiting in line to meet Hannah was easier because there was always something interesting to inspect.  Before we could go in the room where Hannah spoke, I asked Scott to take a picture of my grandma, mom, and me, because it's not often we all get to do something together, especially something so awesome!

Unintentionally color coordinated and everything!

Since we weren't able to help at a food bank, Hannah was able to devote a lot more time to talking about the tour and answering questions from the audience.  She was so gracious and sweet.  She talked about how the tour was going, and her plans for the future.  She was warm and funny and absolutely charming.  One fan combined Hannah's show and her love of Doctor Who by creating a sonic spatula and presenting it in front of the group.  It was a replica of the sonic screwdriver David Tennant used as the 10th Doctor, complete with blue light and sonic sound effects.

The Sonic Spatula is in the top row.

After the Q&A session but before we could meet Hannah, Pearl (Hannah's friend and the tour's producer) took a panoramic shot of everyone who attended.  It was suggested that everyone Grace Face as an homage to Hannah's friend and excellent YouTuber, DailyGrace.  Hannah shared that her usual reaction to that request is to flash both her middle fingers at the camera, and those of us in the audience could choose which we wanted to do.  Not knowing what Grace Facing is and not wanting to flip off the camera, apparently my grandma opted to give the camera A finger instead of THE finger.  She just held up her index finger.  It was pretty adorable.  If you look closely in the Instagramed photo Hannah posted after the event, you can even kind of make her out.

It took us quite awhile to make it through the line to meet Hannah individually, but it was absolutely worth it to me.  When we got to the front of the line, I went first, she shook my hand, introduced herself (it was a very Harriet Jones, Former Prime Minister moment for me), and then gave me the best hug.  Seriously, home girl can hug.  Then I explained to her that I take 98% of my pictures with my mouth open, and I was wondering if she would do that in our picture.  She asked me to demonstrate and then was totally game.  After introducing her to my mom and grandma, she hugged each of them, and the four of us posed for a picture.  Hannah asked if we were going to take the picture with open mouths.  Again, in case you didn't catch that, IT WAS HANNAH'S IDEA TO TAKE AN OPEN MOUTH GROUP PICTURE WITH MY FAMILY!  And then I died.  No, really, it was so sweet.  Pearl noticed the three generations in our group and asked if we would mind being interviewed on camera.  I was obviously up for it (and therefore decided all three of us were up for it), and she sent us to see Sam the cameraman.  Sam asked a few questions about how we became fans of Hannah and what we love about her and similar things.  Hopefully we'll make the final cut in the documentary at the end of Hello, Harto!

Hugs and open mouth pictures with HANNAH HART!

Meeting Hannah has definitely been the highlight of 2013 for me.  It's hard to meet someone you look up to so much, because the higher the pedestal you put them on, the more likely they are to disappoint you.  Hannah Hart did not disappoint.  She was absolutely as lovely and welcoming as I had hoped she would be.  On the trip back home, we decided the best single-word descriptor for her would probably be delightful.  She really is just so delightful.

If you have the opportunity to meet her, definitely take it!  And call me so I can go with you!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Another Kiddo Kim Story? Splendid!

When I was a kid, my parents censored the types of media in our lives but only on a limited level.  We watched a LOT of movies at home because we didn't have cable or satellite until I was in high school.  That meant we were limited to the two channels we could pick up with the TV antenna.  We had a pretty big movie collection, but there was the section at the back of the faux woodgrain VHS tape drawers that held the movies we weren't allowed to watch. 
Yeah, remember these guys?

I even remember which movies they were: Animal House, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, and Stripes.  The nudity in these movies was apparently deemed too graphic for us.  (Mom, I know you read this.  Why wasn't Caddyshack included?  The nudity wasn't too graphic?)

They were even more lax when it came to music.  We regularly listened to the Meatloaf album Bat Out of Hell on the casette player in the car.  I'm pretty sure I knew all the words to "Paradise by the Dashboard Light" by the time I was eight.  I loved that song - still do - but it didn't have anything to do with the lyrical content.  It's loud, and epic, and it's a duet, and there's a whole baseball section in the middle!  It wasn't until I was much older that I really started to understand the lyrics anyway.

Anyway, my favorite movies as a kid were Grease and Dirty Dancing.  I won't even go into the lyrics for "Greased Lightning."  But to this day, I still think the final scene in Dirty Dancing is one of the most triumphant scenes in all of film.  Seriously.  Nobody puts Baby in a corner.

This is what success looks like.

And yes, I do realize how ridiculous this sounds, but I stand by it.  As a kid, all I knew was that this was a love story with a lot of amazing dancing.  I had absolutely no understanding of Penny's plot line.  I mean, I guess I probably knew that she was pregnant.  But I'm pretty sure I thought she was still pregnant at the end of the movie until I was 17.  It was definitely a lightbulb moment when I figured out why anyone had a "dirty knife and a folding table."

I loved this movie so much that when Johnny and Baby would perfect the lift at the end, I would beg my dad to do the same with me.  Obviously this got progressively more difficult as I got older.  (Sidenote: I think that's one of the saddest moments of growing up - when you realize you're finally too big to just be tossed up into the air.  Especially when you're the oldest, and the other kids still have years of child throwing ahead of them.)  Then there was also the fact that my dad didn't love Dirty Dancing as much as I did, so he often found reasons to avoid watching it with me.  That's when I developed my solo Dirty Dancing lift technique.

We had a a really sturdy footstool that was the cornerstone of playtime in our living room.  It was used as a tunnel when we were really small, as a house or garage for dolls and cars, a sturdy wall for fort building, you name it.  Most importantly for me, it was also the Johnny to my Baby.  It was my lift partner.  If Dad wasn't around to do the lift with me, I would come running from one end of our house and gracefully flop onto the footstool arms outstretched, legs straight out behind me.  I had no shame in this either.  I didn't care who was around.  When my parents were out for the night, and our babysitter Laura let me stay up late to finish watching the movie, the only thing that changed was that I would try to run quieter so as not to wake up my little brother.

I don't think this spectacle was ever captured on film or video, so I made a helpful visual aid.  Other than the fact that I used a picture of me at twenty-seven instead of seven, I feel that this is pretty accurate.  Please feel free to compliment my photo shopping skills.  
This is full of win.  Trust me.
I really don't blame my parents at all for exposing me to those things as a kid.  Until a child is old enough to understand what any of it means, it doesn't really matter.  And once we were old enough to understand, my parents would have honestly answered any questions we had.  To this day, I still don't think much about Penny's plot or the lyrics to "Greased Lightning," so it's no big deal.  Understanding the lyrics to "Paradise by the Dashboard Light" however...  Yeah that was an adjustment.