Sunday Morning Soliloquy - Musings of an Urbanite

Friday, December 19, 2014

5 Question Friday with Sara Altier

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5 Question Friday - the long awaited edition!

This is where I ask friends and interesting strangers to answer the same 5 questions and it happens on Fridays. However, it has been a while since I posted a 5 Question Friday, and my friend Sara was kind enough to write one back in October, so today we have a very special edition of 5 Question Friday -- the long awaited Pre-Holiday Sara Edition. 

The lovely Sara Altier

Sara Altier (in her own words)
I am on the Communications Team at Eventbrite, a self-service ticketing company based in San Francisco. I live in the Mission with my pug, Eleanor Roosevelt, but I fantasize daily about moving back to the Windy City. Leyla and I met when I was working for Eventbrite in Chicago because she was a power user and had used our platform for a social media scavenger hunt. I think I saw her tweet something about whiskey early on, so I liked her right away.

Sara Altier (in my words)
I too liked Sara right away... but I'm pretty sure we met shortly before the scavenger hunt days via the social media world and then IRL. I liked Sara because she was a tireless professional, a fantastic ambassador for her company, and she was tremendously helpful to me and to many others. In addition to her affinity for the king of brown spirits, bourbon, I thought Sara was quick-witted, a joy to be around and a great friend. 

Sara and Leyla
Sara Altier (and me) at my birthday party in 2012

1. What defines you? (Be descriptive, is it your job, family, a certain skill or talent you may have?) 

A few years ago I had this 'LIFE OF YES!' stage where I ran a marathon, moved across the country in a minivan, did improv in front of 800 people, went to a million events, and never said no to anyone. I always felt this pressure to be 'doing more!!1!' It was fun, sometimes ... but it was just totally exhausting and I was constantly stressed. After realizing how burnt out I was, I adopted a new mantra, a life of 'Ehhhm, no thanks!', which is not to say I don't do anything and never step outside of my comfort zone -- but I'm much better with boundaries now. I realized that it's ok not to take every coffee meeting and ok to spend the night in. Once I realized that it was ok to say no, I became a much happier person.

2. What song that energizes you when you are looking for motivation? (maybe it is more than one depending on what you need to get motivated for)

Two years ago I ran the Chicago Marathon (with bronchitis) and just about died at mile 18, so I played the following three songs on repeat for the last 8 miles. I crossed the finish line and I'm not dead, so you can make any assumptions you'd like about these song choices (or my taste in music in general).

  1. Only the Horses, Scissor Sisters
  2. Run Around, Blues Traveler
  3. Without Love, Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes 

3. If you were to show up to a potluck, what would you bring? (and why? And what kind of potluck is this?) 

I always make the same salad for dinner parties, and I stole the recipe from my friend Danielle, so I can't even take any credit for it. It's arugula, quinoa, butternut squash, and whatever other odds and ends I have in my fridge. I like bringing salads to potlucks because salads imply: I'm invested in this event because I didn't just bring a bottle of wine, but I also didn't spend all day in the kitchen, because, like, I'm a busy person who still hasn't read the manual on how to operate her oven.

4. Describe your perfect day. 

I would get up in time for my favorite instructor's class at Barry's Bootcamp in San Francisco (hi, Erica!). Then I'd meet all of my best friends for brunch at Lula Cafe in Chicago, wander around the Tate and Brick Lane Market in London with my pug, go catch a show in NYC (I am dying to see a Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder) and be back in my bed with freshly laundered sheets by 10pm.

5. What would you do if you won $1 million in the lottery? What would you do if you won $100 million? 

I'd probably buy my own place (back in Chicago), take my family on a crazy vacation, help Ray of Light Theatre get their own performance space in San Francisco, and donate the rest to various causes I care about. $100 million? Pretty much the same.

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Sunday, December 14, 2014

Wanted: Amish Hipster Boyfriend

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Seeking your assistance with this crucial request. 

I am on the hunt for an Amish Hipster for a short-to-long term relationship, if you are able to help, that would be great. Please read below for the conditions and/or preferences required of my Amish Hipster boyfriend-to-be.  

Photo courtesy of  Personal Shoplifter

Leyla, Why An Amish Hipster? 
That's a good question. A few months ago I was in Las Vegas with the lovely and talented Monica Samuels, and our equally lovely friend Katie G., where I happened upon a mysterious man at the blackjack table. He was wearing a plaid shirt, he had a thick, dark beard, skinny jeans and vans - he was part backwoods lumber-jack, part skateboarder, part brooding thug - an Amish Hipster, a concise and apt description. 

I watched my Amish Hipster flit about the room from nickel slot to the quarter machines, it was evident he was waiting for his friends and not really gambling. I played it cool and I did the dance - making eye contact for just a moment longer than one should... if one were not intentionally trying to make eye contact. I was about to go in for the kill and suddenly I felt silly. What was I going to do with one of those Amish Hipsters? What would we talk about? He was probably too young and his friends were "total bros" (as the kids say these days). I aborted the mission - no Amish Hipster in Vegas for Leyla. 

However, since that night, I haven't been able to stop thinking about this newer genre of males. And, unlike that night in Vegas, I do believe I could have enough in common with the RIGHT Amish Hipster. So, what's the problem? You ask. I am a homebody and I have no clue where the kids hangout these days, but I believe it's some shitty bar with an arcade. This is why I need your help! Help me find the Amish Hipster of my dreams.  

What An Amish Hipster Boyfriend Looks Like (for me) 
In your quest, please be considerate of the criteria I have outlined below. I worry about a man who has put extreme thought into his appearance and made such a concerted effort to conform (as he pretends not to conform). Therefore, to best ensure that this Amish Hipster and I will "click", a certain set of criteria should be met. Well, unless you get me Ricki Hall, I will have zero standards for him, he can pee on the rug for all I care. I mean look at him! 

Ricki Hall photo courtesy of Mens Style Fashion 
Keep scrolling for the criteria, do not get distracted by Ricki Hall.

Criteria - In No Order of Importance
  1. He must be gainfully employed. Preferably, as a professional with some sort of a boring desk job. He can be a writer or artists, so long as he truly works. Many guys out there embrace the Amish Hipster look, but they're bartenders - experience has proven that will not work for me. Nothing wrong with bartenders, I love them, I used to be one, but I am too old to date a bartender. I need to relate to my Amish Hipster when we talk about our day, the conversation should include a lateral exchange of experiences.  
  2. He should be smart. I would like my Amish Hipster to be informed and have the ability to hold a conversation on a number of topics. Whether it is politics, religion, civil rights, fashion, science, history, current events, or all of the above. I would like this fellow to be well-rounded and witty. 
  3. He has to be age appropriate. I fear this might be the toughest ask of all. I just don't think there are very many Amish Hipsters out there who fall into my target age-range of men. I prefer an Amish Hipster between the ages of 37 and 45. I am willing to go older, but seeking a 47 yr old amish Hipster is like looking for a purple squirrel. 
  4. He needs fashion sense and appreciate quality goods. I think a lot of these Amish Hipster types shop at the same store, they're like copycats of each other, but I want my Amish Hipster to be slightly more evolved from a fashion perspective. T-shirts are fine, so long as he is able to couple the look with something more significant in the pant and footwear department.
  5. He is open to dating regular girls. Be sure to ask this question, because I don't want to disappoint the Amish Hipster, as he will surmise rather quickly that I am NOT a female Amish Hipster. If he is open-minded, he should be OK with it, but be warned finding an open-minded Amish Hipster will be difficult. Someone who works hard at establishing a fashionable persona will want to complete the "look" with his partner.

There you have it folks! This is what I am looking for, please leave a comment if you have any recommendations. You can also TWEET me or tag me on Instagram with your recommendations. Be sure to share this post with your friends who have aging hipster-y friends. And if you are unable to find an Amish Hipster, I will also accept suggestions for the Elegant Dandy Hipster boyfriend.

Francois Verkerk Photo Courtesy of Beards & Barbers

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Sunday, November 30, 2014

It's That Time of Year Again - Holiday Shopping Time! Black Friday! Cyber Monday! OMG!!

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It's my annual Black Friday and Cyber Monday post - Yipeee!!  

This is my favorite time of the year to hate everything about the thing I love more than anything - shopping. The madness around Black Friday and Cyber Monday is completely absurd, so let's get lost in a little absurdity, shall we? 

Leyla's Closet Clean Out
Wanna buy my shoes?

Black Friday and Cyber Monday - two (2!) great posts this year! 
This year I decided to have a little fun and write TWO posts dedicated to holiday shopping deals. The first post (this one you're reading now) will be filled with some useful items you may actually want. And the second post, the one I will write and post tomorrow, will be absolutely ridiculous (kind of like the Cyber Monday - Get Your Zentai Suits NOW! post I wrote back in 2012). However, both posts will be filled with specials, offers, good deals, coupon codes, etc., oh, and affiliate links to advertisers. So feel free to make a purchase! 

Useful things to put on your Christmas list

Is it electronics you need this year? Whether it is accessories for your new iPhone, hair-care, clothes, or that thingy that you saw in that one random store when you were visiting Minneapolis, I found some good deals and some fun things too. AND... don't forget to check back tomorrow for my Cyber Monday post filled with absurd items.

1. Mini In The Box* is a virtual mall superstore (located some place in Asia, I think) and they're having a "Black Friday Crazy Sale" with a bunch of mobile phone accessories for Apple / iPhone devices. CyberMITB promo code will get you $4 off a purchase of $40 at Mini In The Box

iphone 5 cases
iPhone 5 Cases in a variety of colors

Watermelon monster Case for iPhone 6
I mean, where else can you get a watermelon case for your iPhone 6? 

2. if you're looking for pajamas, you'll find anything from Hello Kitty pajamas (for grown women), to footy pajamas (for the whole family) and even nice pajamas by brands like Cosabella. You can shop by size, color, price or brand AND use promo code GIFT10 to get $10 off when you spend $50. 

Women's Hello Kitty Pajamas
Hello Kitty PJs

3. has almost anything you would ever want or need related to beauty. If you, or someone you know, is like me, and they blow-dry and flat iron their hair, they probably need some nutrients or deep conditioners. My hairdresser is constantly selling me stuff that's super expensive because my hair is so dry... well, no more! This site has salon quality goods for less... and now, you can save even more -- 26% off and get free shipping when you shop at Why 26% and not 25% off, I can't say, I don't make the Black Friday deals, I just share them. 

Phyto Secret de Nuit
Phyto Secret de Nuit - hair treatment

4. AllSaints is great for those cutting-edge fashions you love. I am not really sure how to talk about "fashion" without making is sound silly, but I truly do love All Saints. They have great leather goods, including cute leather mini-skirts, funky party dresses and interesting tops you won't find elsewhere. AND you can save 20% Off ALL Styles! Code: THANKS. Offer Valid November 26th- December 1st when you Shop AllSaints.

Leather Mini Skirt Pleated
All Saints burgundy leather mini skirt

5. is a site that delivers a weekly email with interesting gifts and unique items you would be hard pressed to find elsewhere. They pool items from smaller boutiques and shops across the country and curate a fun shopping experience. Use the code SPREADCHEER until midnight tonight (Sunday) and save 26%. There is that weird 26% again, what am I missing? Otherwise, you can 21% site wide + FREE shipping when you use promo Code: CHEER21 through December 3rd.

Love Grenade Coin Bank
Love Grenade
Cool Gifts for Everyone

Don't forget to come back tomorrow for post number 2! 

More Holiday Shopping Posts: 

p.s. don't forget to leave a comment... i get really sad when you don't.