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Not for me, possums. I’m a few loads of laundry and a rereading of The Great Gatsby away from being pretty okay with things. But my bloggy friend Mel of a little lady’s thug life is at a crossroads with her father and — despite seeming like a dude who would punch you in the dang face if you ever offered her unsolicited advice — really needs some feedback. I know how fraught parental relationships can be, and thought if you had a minute to spare to weigh in on her situation or just offer a little love, it would be a really wonderful thing to do.

Check out her post here.

To give you time to read her post, the shortest NTKOG ever:

NTKOG #115: The kind of Ingalls-lite who bakes crackers. Crackers. Honestly. Isn’t that like the simplest atomic guise of bread? I just assumed they were formed in nature.

The Scene:

The Verdict:

[Edit: for those of you who want to try it, this is Mark Bittman’s recipe for parmesan-cream crackers — which I, naturally, slathered with garlic. Thanks to Leigh at Full Gastronomic Tilt for passing on the recipe a few weeks ago! And apologies that I was too deliriously tired to give credit where credit was due in the first place!]

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I am honored today to present a guest post by the inimitable Sarah Von of yes and yes. If you don’t already read her site, you absolutely must check it out: she’s one of those gutsy, inspiring total badasses who we all dream of being, and every time I read a post, I leave absolutely grinning (even on these blah rainy New England days). Check out Sarah’s NTKOG experiment in my hometown — it’ll leave you shooting your beverage (not rancid fruity vodka, I hope) out your nose.

Also, if you’re craving a little TKOG, today I’m posting at Secret Society of List Addicts (another of Sarah’s projects!) about how to put down the wine spritzer and shake up cocktails like a big boy or girl.

NTKOG: who enjoys a) fruit flavored liquor b) attracting the attention of everyone in the bar

I am: the girl who frequents tiny, hole-in-the-wall bars where I can be ignored while I nurse my vodka gimlet, thankyouverymuch.

I am not: a fan of theme bars, sports bars, watching alcohol-related spectacles or being a spectacle myself.

The Scene: The BFF and I were in Las Vegas, escaping the icy clutches of winter for a three-day weekend, eating our weight in buffets and attending ridiculous, vampire-themed Vegas shows.  We had grand plans to meet up with an old friend from our hometown who’d been living in Vegas for nearly ten years. “Where would you like to meet, old friend?  What sort of awesome, locals-only watering hole would you suggest?”  “Why, how about this quaint little place called Kahunaville?” he responded.

Now, it is not a stretch to say that Kahunaville?  It was probably my arch-nemesis bar.  I could not have created, from scratch, a bar that appalled me more.  It was as though someone had reached into my brain and read my list of Things That I Never, Ever Want to See in a Bar.  Things like:
1) Flat screen TVs broadcasting a football game
2) Waitresses wearing skimpy Hawaiian outfits, handing out flower necklaces, asking if you want to get ‘lei-d’
3) Incredibly loud techno music
4) Drinks that stream/explode/are served with fifteen toys/flowers/straws in them.

Yes, I am actually 65 years old on the inside, in case you were wondering.  If you want me, I’ll just be over here muttering about those damn kids having too much fun with their skinny jeans and flavored beers.

While we waited for our friend to join us, the BFF  and I tried to yell a conversation at each other over the sounds of Akon and she picked an umbrella, two test tubes, a fake starfish and a skewer of fruit out of her drink.  But then?  Things got interesting.

In an attempt to make Kahunaville even more entertaining, apparently the management employs trick bartenders.  And apparently the half-time of the football game was performance time.  Just as we were settling into our $15 cocktails, an announcer came striding through the bar, with a microphone instructing us to “Get the F*ck up!  I want to hear you scream!”

With that statement sir,  you have now just guaranteed that I will sit here silently glaring.

As we watched, each of the bartenders on the three sides of the bar put a whistle in their mouths and began one of those Cocktail-caliber drink mixing routines.  Juggling mixers!  Catching the mixer on top of the vodka bottle!  Throwing cherries into the air and catching them on toothpick in their mouths!  All of this was accompanied by a promotional video about each other bartenders tauting their wins at various ‘flair competitions’ and previous occupations (Our guy was a former Chip n Dale’s dancer)

To be totally honest, it was pretty impressive, but once the announcer encouraged us stand on the tables and scream for free shots, I decided to clap sedately in my seat.  Because I’m an a-hole like that.

But as luck would have it, our side of the bar apparently won the hollering contest because, before you could say “pink favored vodka,” Steve “Big Show” Shrearer was standing on the bar handing out shots.  By this time, I had approached the bar out of pure curiosity.  I backed away from the bar as the free shots were coming around and was internally grateful when he ran out.

But as I turned around to head back to the table, the BFF shook her head at me, grinning and pointing back at the bar.  I spun around, with what I’m sure was a look of total horror on my face to see Mr. Big Show, astride the bar.  He was staring me down and doing his best former-stripper finger-curling, come-hither gesture, and pointing at his mix bottle and then at me.

I would be lying if I did not say that I wanted to immediately turn on my heal, walk to the bathroom and hide out there for the next twenty minutes.  But I honestly channeled a bit of our girl NTKOG and thought “Von Bargen, you get outside your comfort zone.  You go up there and let that man pour fruit flavored alcohol down your throat while everyone cheers.”

So I did.  I stood next to the bar while a man nicknamed ‘Big Show’ stood five feet above me and poured pink alcohol down my gullet. All the people standing on their tables whooped, I successfully avoided coughing, choking or melting into the floor with embarrassment.  Then I walked back to our table, licked off that tiny umbrella and drank two test tubes full of vodka.

The Verdict: I didn’t die – of embarrassment or alcohol poisoning. I’m glad I bucked up and tried something new, but at the end of the day, I’m just more of a corner-booth, nurse-my-whiskey Kind of Girl.  I think this is a situation where what happens in Vegas, truly stays in Vegas.  Unless you write about it on the internet, I guess.

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Today, I’m excited to be giving over my blog reins to one of my favorite 20something bloggers, Fabulously Broke, who writes a blog called: Fabulously Broke in the City, which is a lifestyle blog with a focus on personal money management and debt. She is also the author of The Everyday Minimalist and Style on a String.

And if y’all are missing me (I know, I know), feel free to check out my post at Secret Society of List Addicts, where I’m the new Wednesday blogger!

NTKOG Guest Blogger: The kind of girl who would think olive oil would be something good to put on her combination skin, as a cleanser.

I am: Not shy when trying back to basic beauty recipes like washing my hair without shampoo, coating shea butter on my legs, or using baking soda as a cheap, very gentle and effective facial scrub.

I am not: Willing to let this method go even if it sounds weird, if it will be better on my skin in the long run, and taste pretty good if it runs into my mouth by accident.

The Scene: My apartment, the test bathroom for all of my crazy going green ideas. Luckily, I have a wonderful BF who is VERY low maintenance, and totally supports my going back to basic beauty experiments.

I scoured the internet using my trusty Google skills to read up more about it.

Why they say it works:

Basically, your skin produces oil. Everyone knows that.

If you cook, you know that putting water into a pan with oil is NOT a good idea (and yes, I have done it by accident a number of times). Since oil doesn’t mix with water and wash off, it’s why we use a facial cleanser that has something called surfactants in it.

These surfactants grab those little oil molecules and hugs them with their white foamy lather so that when you rinse the lather off, the oil molecule goes kicking and screaming down into the drain, in a tight head lock by those lathered suds.

At least, that’s how I imagine it works.

Now that your skin is stripped of all the oil (both good and bad) and you will have to put back some sort of water-based moisturizer so your skin doesn’t feel tight and start to over produce oil to make up for the dryness of your skin.

Now for the recipes I found.

Method #1

The recipe: Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Castor Oil. If you have dry skin, use more Olive Oil, and if you have oilier skin, use more Castor Oil.

The method: Take extra virgin olive oil, rub it into your face, and then using a warm wash cloth, gently rub and wash the skin, while slowly removing the oil. This is the decidedly messier option, as the oil may never completely rub off, they say.

Method #2

The recipe: Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

The method: Take extra virgin olive oil, rub it into your face to mix with the bad oil that produces pimples and clogs your pores. Gently rub it off with a warm wash cloth, and finish with a facial cleanser.

This last part never made much sense to me with the finish of the facial cleanser, but I suppose it’s like putting oil onto your skin FIRST, and then when you clean it off afterwards, the oil has somehow absorbed into your skin beforehand, and built up a little olive barrier?

Either way, I was finishing with a facial cleanser, and my whole goal was to NOT use a facial cleanser if this method worked.

The Verdict:

No go for me.

I broke out within the first week of trying method one. Pimples popped up on my cheeks, and on my forehead. No go.

Method two, felt the same as when I washed with a facial cleanser. Just with an extra, messy, oily step.

While it doesn’t work for me and my skin, I hear it does wonders for others. I guess my skin is just extra sensitive to oils, and olive oil is just too heavy for it to handle.

I think I will stick to what I have been doing before — if I don’t wear makeup, I’ll just wash my face with just plain ol’ water and dabbing it try.

If I wear makeup that day, I’ll just use a good facial cleanser with some baking soda mixed in it to get everything off my skin.

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Guys! The mystical powers over at Random.org have spoken, and of the 156 entries in the giveaway, the winner of my giveaway is #19: Dani, from She Laughs Too Easily & Cries Too Hard.

Congratulations, Dani! Email coming in a minute. I’ve got to admit, I’m dying of curiosity to find out whether Wodehouse, soap or sex toys will end up with the winning vote…

Also, thank you marvelous people so much for all the entries and wonderful comments! I was quite frankly overwhelmed by the quantity of submissions and especially with the quality of recommended NTKOGs! I’ll definitely be trying many of them in the coming months (and will remember to give credit where it’s due.)

***

Okay, that said, I have no NTKOG goodness for you today, but, because I am the most popular person on the internet, have TWO GUEST POSTS UP on wonderful blogs!

First: a guest post up at The Secret Society of List Addicts describing the top five headaches that regularly send me reaching for my Excedrin. My personal favorites? The “my ex-boyfriend’s new girlfriend” and the “holy shit, when was my last tetanus shot?!”. Two endearing migraine classics. Third favorite? The SHEER JOY-graine you’ll get when you inevitably read the rest of the archives over at Secret Society of List Addicts. Seriously, love it.

Second: an article about statement necklaces over at Her Southern Heart, which is a great site to check out if you love looking at pretty things. (Not that I would know. Currently: google imaging skin diseases and writing erotica about them.) I’m nobody’s fashionista, but seeing as how I regularly rock the meat cleaver necklace, felt it my duty to pass my love for statement necklaces onto the general pop.

I have no idea why it looks like I'm not wearing clothes in this photo. I am indeed wearing clothes. Well, a sundress and flipflops, in mid-December, with a meat cleaver necklace, while photographing myself in my bathroom. So. Maybe naked isn't actually the weirdest interpretation here.

Just to up the random factor on this grab-bag post, a blurry photo of said meat cleaver necklace. Isn't it magical?!

Happy Wednesday, kids!

[Edit: Just heard back from Dani, and she quite cleverly chose the sex toy! What would y’all have chosen?]

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So, the competition’s over. This is officially THE BEST POST that will ever grace my humble little blog. As a pre-Thanksgiving treat (posted early, ’cause who actually surfs the net on T-day?), MY MOTHER agreed to write me a little guest post. While, judging by her stellar comments on this blog, I knew it would be pretty fabulous, I didn’t really what a doozy it would be. What follows is, she claims, the Really Quite True story of my conception. I — I don’t even know what to say, except: 1) I can 100% vouch for her story in re: The Ex last Thanksgiving, and 2) can you just imagine how friggin’ wonderful and hilarious my family’s Thanksgiving table talk is?! ENJOY!
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The holidays are upon us, and as an empty nester I’ve become extremely sentimental: longing for the days one could zip off to Walmart and buy a carload of plastic Christmas toys, wrap them and that was that.  The simplicity of construction paper turkeys, baking cookies, trimming a tree, writing cards and hanging stockings was all so fun and the nostalgia makes me cry.  I will not bore you with stories of the “Unfair Christmas” etc.  Let me pop another Zoloft and make it a 200 mg day.  On a more personal note, Christmas and Immaculate Conception make me think of Sister (Sister does not like to discuss XES, so we told her she was conceived just like Baby Jesus), and Thanksgiving and the turkey baster reminds me of TKOG.

With Dad in the Amazon (Manaus to be exact) with no Internet connection, I can freely tell the story of TKOG’s conception.  Oh, yes, for years I told TKOG that she was conceived on the eve of Sister’s christening in England. That, however, was a lie and a big one at that! (A sidebar: guessing that Sister was bound to be an atheist, we insisted that she be christened Church of England. Now, to my delight, the guys in Rome say that she can be a Catholic to boot.)  But I digress and so the NTKOG conception story continues.

For years I’ve read the tabloids and tacky women’s magazines with storylines of “how to lose 40 pounds in two weeks,” “bright ideas” (use higher wattage light bulbs!), “how to de-clutter your house,” and my favorite: “cupcakes for every holiday.”  There was one story that always stood out in my mind.  There were two sisters: one had a child and the other could not get pregnant.  In-vitro fertilization was way too expensive, so the simple solution was to use the brother-in-law’s sperm in a turkey baster.  This involved a magazine, a turkey baster and brother-in-law.  Insert turkey baster in sister who is without child and viola: sister magically becomes pregnant without the hassle and expense of fertility doctors.

Since Dad was on the road most of the time, and Sister needed a playmate, one thing lead to another.  Occasionally I would go out to a club that featured comedians and variety acts.  On one occasion I came across this act who actually played music on a turkey baster.  No kidding.  He fascinated me and I thought if I could just have one more child, let it be from the sperm of a musical turkey baster man.  I guess I had drunk too much wine — in fact, I know I did.  My limit is two glasses; the third is a mistake and the fourth is like sodium pentathol (ask TKOG’s ex about last Thanksgiving Eve when at a deli in L.A. I asked him what his intentions were towards TKOG and then proceeded to chide him as to why he would order spaghetti in a world-famous deli).

My real father shows off his instruments...

Anyway, the Turkey Baster Musician and I hatched out a plan that he would send me a sample of his manliness via United States Express Mail (more cost effective than Federal Express)and that together we would create a NTKOG or NTKOB.  He was excited because no one would date him–ever–and I was excited because I was going to surprise TKOG’s “dad” with the news of my pregnancy, which was timed with his homecoming.  But, it was not to be.  When the postman delivered the specimen from TBM the little rat dogs (there were three at the time) grabbed the unsuspecting postman by the legs, jumped up, tackled him and ate most of the package: thus foiling our plan.

Foreplay?!

I was in despair, frantic, not on antidepressants and very, very angry.  I shouted at the postman, gave him a new turkey baster that I had bought for Thanksgiving and asked him to go to the side of the house and fill the thing up.  He did, and without giving further intimate details, TKOG was conceived.  We never told her “dad” the entire truth, but he always wondered why TKOG anxiously awaited the mailman, and commented that she looked a little bit Hawaiian and not much like Sister, who resembled BJ complete with halo.

This is a true story (although Sister may have her doubts about looking like BJ) and I wish all the readers of NTKOG and my dear family a very Happy Thanksgiving.  Rest assured that the little beastie rat dogs will be feasting on non-basted turkey drumsticks.
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Amazing, right?! Also, dude: turkey basters, illegitimate children, sperm-eating dogs — ohhh you better believe this is TMI Thursday bound. Check out Livit, Luvit for more amazing TMI Thursday goodness! Although probably not written by people’s mothers…

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You guys! I’m so psyched! While I’m getting over yesterday’s odd depression with my Loretta Lynn “he done me wrong” playlist, one of my VERY FAVORITE bloggers has agreed to write a guest post! And oh em gee, guys, what a guest post it is. Said blogger is the inimitable sandyb, another woman on a self-reinvention quest to cross off items on Her List before her 30th birthday. Her blog, reinventing sandyb, is by turns hilarious, poignant, and deeply inspiring, and your RSS feed is absolutely craving it.


NTKOG: The kind of girl who walks into a strip club and says, “How much for a dance, Beefcake?”

I am: a gal who will do anything in the name of “research”. Just pass me a martini, please.

I am not: the kind of girl who has ever used the words “cock” “Beefcake” or “Poutine” in a single post. Until now. Only the best for my girl blogcrush, NTKOG. Read on, my friends. Read on.

The Scene
: Montreal. 2003. Me – the eager young journalist on an all-expenses paid conference for young journalist types. I’m in a city that, on top of being the birthplace of Poutine, has more boy-girl strip clubs than any other city in the country. It also sells booze in grocery stores, has declared eating cheese a pastime, and has the hottest gay men. Ever. And all of them happened to be dancing at the strip club I walked into in the name of “research” late one night in 2003.

“I can do this,” I say to my photographer-friend who agrees to accompany me on my escapade to “Sex World” (although, it doesn’t take much convincing, just the promise of free beer and a gratis titty show from a dancer of his choice. Done deal.)

As we stand outside the club, the “Sex World” sign flashing fluorescently above our heads, we are like two pioneers on the edge of discovery, armed with nothing more than the hunger to learn. And see naked people dance, dance, dance.

I have it all planned out: Walk in, all cool and mature-like, giving off the vibe that I’ve done this before, sit down and order a martini (request it be “stiff”, just for fun) and then order me a side of Beefcake – my very own private dancer.

The martini comes and I down it, fast. I order my photog-friend a beer, then boobs. As he enjoys the last few minutes of my thanks-for-coming-out-gift (5’9”, sporting D-cup store-boughts and blonde hair), I scout the stage, which is flanked by poles, glittery curtains and curls of smoke, for my man-meat.

Here’s what I quickly realize: There’s something about a penis surrounded by 250 pounds of muscle, spray tan and neatly coiffed pubes that just screams “Porn!” And although I’ve seen a nudie flick or two by this time in my life, I assure you nothing – NOTHING –prepared me for the real thing. But I press on.

For research.

At the very least I figure the story will be something I sell for a few cents a word to some indie publication back at home. “Someday,” I think to myself, “this will be something to share”.

(And so here I am, six years later sharing it with you all. Don’t sweat it though, this one’s on me.)

My photog-friend points out that for him the female strippers represent the “unattainable”; a chance to stare, to gawk, and to enjoy the female form without being judged or relegated to “pervert”. This is a place, he tells me, where he can just “appreciate the female body”, and I believe him. He is a photographer after all – a lover of pretty things.

But what does this mean for me? Why am I here?

Once the female dancer is done trotting and spinning atop her stilettos (such an athlete she was!) for my photog-friend, he summons the Beefcake my way with a $20 bill.

The Beefcake looks at me (“Porn!”) and makes his way to my side, glistening in a mixture of olive oil with a coconut twist.  Delish.

He dances. He flexes. He undulates through the hips. His penis flaps and bops about, like a kid jacked on sugar, trying to high-five me, but missing.

It. Just. Keeps. Flailing.

Like a solar eclipse, I can’t stare directly at it. I sort of look at it sideways, all peripheral like, hoping that my face doesn’t look as awkward as it feels. Although I think it does. Probably worse.

Finally, the song is over, the flailing stops, and I realize I have survived the dance and taken one for the team. Victory! My research is complete. But then, wait.. Beefcake grabs… no, no GRIPS my hair, thrusts back my head, looks right at me and says, “You like my cock?” and kisses me hard. Wet and warm. Slimy and fast.

He KISSES me. And I don’t stop him at all.

For research.

The Verdict: I am the kind of girl who will do anything for a good story. (And a stiff martini.)

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Guys! I am at a perilous level of psychitude right now! Today is TMI Thursday, which is hosted, of course, by the lovely and hilarious LiLu of Livit, Luvit — but instead of dazzling you with my tales of head-butting guys in the crotch or accidentally menstruating on not-pregnant women, I take a day off to present you with A VERY EXCITING GUEST BLOG!

LiLu herself, the tsarina of TMI, is here today to share her own tale of awkward, awkward woe. And, just in case that isn’t enough for you delightful vultures, allow me to disclaim — to your friggin’ delight! — that NUDITY IS INVOLVED.

***

So. Hi there. I’m LiLu from Livit, Luvit, and I’m about to dirty up this place a bit with a Thursday Tale of TMI. (Check ’em all out here, if you’re not, yanno, a total Wuss with a capital W.)

“That Kind of Girl” is one of my very favoritest new blog discoveries, because her format is so different and adorable and well-written and, as Family Guy has said about Hugh Grant, “charmingly befuddled”. Though she is just a tad (coughcoughWAYcough) more sophisticated than I, we undeniably share one thing in common…

Making a jackass out of ourselves. Preferably in public.

The only difference?

She does it for sport. And blog fodder.

I do it because I can’t help it.

Life is hard.

Anytwaddle, when she asked me if I would guest post an experience in her format, where I do something outside of my natural instincts, I thought long and hard (TWSS)…

And then realized the one thing I have left, the one secret, the one characteristic none of you would guess about me, especially considering all the times I’ve joked about stripping for Jesus or openly discussed things of sexual and/or personal womanly nature in my TMI Thursdays…

I cannot STAND being naked in front of strangers.

Wait, when I say it that way, it doesn’t sound so weird. Okay, let me rephrase.

I cannot STAND being naked in the locker room at work where I am constantly surrounded by 50 something women who could care less that their dirty pillows and baby caves are freeballing in the wind, while I’m frantically scurrying next to them to pull my underoos up under the towel I’m awkwardly hunched underneath while sort of trying to hide IN my locker.

Yeah. I’m that girl.

The Kind of Girl Who cannot bear to be naked in front of other women in a locker room.

I know, I know! It makes no sense. ME, of all people. ME, who is beginning to think “shame” must be a foreign word, because it means nothing to me.

I can’t help it… somewhere deep in my DNA is written “be deathly afraid of strange women who might judgeth thou’s back jiggle”. And it sure doesn’t help that, since my gym is in my office building, I have to see the majority of these ladies in the halls at some point, and desperately try NOT to recall what they looked like an hour ago as they strolllllllllled from the shower to their locker in the birthday suit, towel wrapped ILLOGICALLY around their head instead of their torso (What. The. EFF!!!!!) I don’t know why… it’s not that I’m ashamed. I look pretty damn good, especially compared to most of them. It’s just… I don’t know. In the words of Charlotte York, I DID NOT COME FROM A NAKED FAMILY.

So, this brings us to my little (personal) social experiment. In order to overcome this Self Truism, I would have to do the unthinkable…

And walk across the locker room nekkid as a jaybird.

LiLu has a name and it’s P-E-T-R-I-F-I-E-D.

So, yesterday, it was down to the wire. I’d promised That Kind of Girl the post and I’m no post-wencher. I hit the gym, worked out extraaaa long in a futile attempt to postpone the inevitable, and finally walked into the locker room- trembling, and not just from the workout- to Do The Deed.

I got out of the shower, toweled off, sighed dramatically even though no one could hear me, wadded up my belongings with optimal positioning in front of my hooha and funbags (it’s not cheating, says ME)…

And sauntered to my locker like it was just another damn day.

(Okay, so it was more like “skedaddled” than “sauntered”. CUT ME SOME SLACK. NUDE GIRL WITH THE PURPLEY HUE OF EMBARRASSMENT ACROSS HER FACE COMING THROUGH.)

I was halfway to safety when, I shit you not…

The fucking lights went out.

At first I was terrified. Naked in the dark surrounded by strangers? Notsomuch. But then I realized I had inadvertently beaten my assignment, as I was now shrouded in darkness, and I scuttled over to my locker with glee.

It would have been great if I hadn’t bumped into my office manager on the way.

Sigh. It ain’t easy bein’ green me.

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