Sunday, December 20, 2015

My Entirely Reasonable Christmas List

Friends, Christmas is a mere five days away. I'm sure most of you have your presents for me this year already selected, purchased, and, most importantly, impeccably wrapped, and I congratulate you for that. But for those of you who've been busy bees this holiday season and have not yet found me a gift, worry not. I know what to get me.

In addition to the normal things that everyone wants for Christmas—socks, some candy, an end to the Donald Trump presidential campaign—I have a small list of suggestions. What should you get for the enigmatic Sarah Cahalan this year if, for some reason, you can't get your hands on a gift card to Red Lobster? Get me one of these.

Suggestion #1: Soundproofing for my apartment walls, so I can sing along to Kerrigan-Lowdermilk videos on YouTube to my heart's content without feeling the slight twinge of guilt that my neighbors may not want to hear power ballads about teen angst while they eat their lunch. Alternatively, if you cannot find an adequate soundproofer by Friday, I would also accept a neighbor who is an executive in the music industry, hears my singing, and would like to make me very famous.

Suggestion #2: A hand-written invitation from Lin-Manuel Miranda asking me to come play Angelica Schuyler on Broadway for the rest of my days.

Suggestion #3: The ability to Apparate. Or a date with Daniel Radcliffe. Either one. 

Suggestion #4: A job. Maybe even a job with health insurance! 

Suggestion #5: Some kind of magic pet rabbit that I could have to look at or play with when I want to because it's cute, but which otherwise I don't have to pay attention to or put any effort into feeding or keeping alive.

Suggestion #5B: A boyfriend with those same qualities. 

Suggestion #6: Just enough money—in perpetuity—that I never have to feel bad when I have plenty of food in my house but am bored with it and choose to instead go to the grocery store and buy myself something microwaveable. 

Suggestion #7: Every kitchen appliance ever used on The Barefoot Contessa. 

Suggestion #8: A bottomless, self-refilling snack drawer in my desk at work. Sure, most of the time it would have easy things like chocolate covered cranberries or pretzels, but it would also occasionally serve up pierogies or, I don't know, a ham. 

Suggestion #9: A Freaky Friday-style life swap with Joanna Gaines from HGTV's Fixer Upper for one day, but then also a contract where she and her husband would decorate every place that I live in for the rest of my life, but in the style of an Urban Outfitters catalog rather than the rustic chic thing she normally does which is great in Waco, Texas, but would look absurd anywhere that I ever plan to live.

Suggestion #10: A lifetime supply of leftie-oriented calligraphy tools.

Suggestion #11: 25 or more likes on all of my Instagram pictures forever. 

Suggestion #12: Stanley Tucci.

So there are a few ideas! Grab your minimalist wrapping paper and get to work. If you need me, I'll be off somewhere listening to the Justin Bieber Christmas CD. Happy holidays! 

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Domerberry Album Review: 25

This week, all of you lucky readers are getting two doses of Domerberry. I published a post on Friday about adult coloring books because I'd been holding that anger in for a long time and something needed to be said, but I also bought Adele's new album on Friday.

Friends, this has been a good year for Domerberry Review-able albums. I've finally discovered Hamilton in the past couple of weeks and could easily write about that. (Sparknotes version of that review: Angelica Schuyler is me.) I listened to The Weeknd's Beauty Behind the Madness like I was getting paid for it for about two months after that came out, which I could rant about for several straight days. A week ago, my boyfriend, Justin Bieber, released a new album, and whenever I get around to listening to that, I could surely write a small book of sonnets in its honor.

Ultimately, though, there is only one album that matters in this Year of Our Lord 2015, and that is Adele's 25. 

Our queen finally emerged from her four-year hibernation this weekend to drop 25, and with it, to slay all seven billion of her unworthy servants here on earth.

I have basically no general remarks to make on this album. I certainly don't have the kind of measured criticism I laid out for Tay Tay's 1989, because either A) this album is literally free of flaws, which is what I'm inclined to believe, or B) I am so entirely blinded by my glee over Adele's return that I am incapable of seeing problems in the album, in my fellow man, or, in fact, in anything at all.

With that entirely reasonable introduction, let us dive in to analysis of some key tracks. First, we have the album's opening track and ubiquitous first single:

Hello. I still have no idea what order the lyrics come in for the chorus of this song. Is she on the outside? Is she on the other side? I don't know. I don't care. Adele can be where she wants. I will continue to sing along with lyrics like, "Hello from the othoutside."

Send My Love (To Your New Lover). This is the upbeat Adele pop number slash vocal warmup I never knew I needed. Oddly, this is also the only song on the album that I really identify with. I expected to cry a lot over this album thinking of guys I've dated or, more realistically, had overwrought, futile crushes on, but none of the songs really called to mind any of my former beaux/obsessions. This one, though, I dig. Send my love to whatever chick you're with now and please be nice to her. Let's not be children.

Yeah, I'm as surprised as you are by this reaction. I have achieved self-actualization, and Adele has provided me with my new, self-actualized anthem.

When We Were Young. Okay, I like this song, but I have a conspiracy theory to put forth: there's literally no way that Adele is 27. That is what she and the Internet claim. Less than four years older than me. Ha. That's an utter lie; Adele is several millenia old and masquerading as a twenty-something. This song, which sounds from start to finish like something a seventy year old person would say, is a barely-concealed reference to her true age.

Remedy. Every time that the title word comes up, I think she is going to say "Enemy." This is probably proof that I am incapable of love.

River Lea. I eagerly await a Logansport-themed parody of this song entitled "River Eel." "There was something in the water, now that something's in's meth."

Million Years Ago. Further proof of Adele's agelessness. That title ain't hyperbole, folks.

All I Ask. This piano-driven power ballad is Adele's official application for acceptance in the Diva Hall of Fame. It is a good old fashioned belt-it-out banger. If Glee and Smash are still on television, they will cover this within the month. If they're not still on television, they'll return just to cover this song. If you listen closely, you can hear the great divas silently weeping in the background of this track over the fact that it wasn't written for them. That key change. That over-dramatic closing line, "What if I never love again?" At the Grammys next year, I want Adele, Celine Dion, Barbra Streisand, and a back-from-the-grave Whitney Houston to sing this together. And I want someone to record it so it can be performed via hologram at my funeral.

No, you can't stream this album, but $10.99 is a small price to pay for it. Go present your dues to your queen.

Friday, November 20, 2015

My Unabridged Thoughts on Adult Coloring Books

By this point, we are all well aware that I buy whole-heartedly into trendy stuff. I spent roughly 24 hours in London this summer and dedicated two of them in a cat cafe. I've been to a breakfast rave. My lunch yesterday consisted of leftover rattlesnake chorizo guacamole (seriously), which, yes, I repeatedly referred to as "guac."

Naturally, then, I decided a couple of weeks ago that I needed an adult coloring book.

I was sifting through job applications and realized I needed something to entertain me on my breaks other than mindless Netflix viewing and stuffing my face with Chips Ahoy. The image of the adult coloring book was seared into my brain since I'd, you know, been on the Internet in the past year, and it seemed that this was the perfect solution. It's creative (barely, but whatever, it requires art supplies at least), it's ostensibly good for brain and fine motor function, and most importantly, it's enormously, stupidly popular at the moment. Sold.

I went to Walmart—yes, Walmart; I may be a slave to trends but I also make $8 an hour—and picked up Calming Patterns: Portable Coloring for Creative Adults. This title confused me somewhat given that I can't think of a whole lot of coloring books that aren't portable, but I went with it and made my way to the craft supplies department. Visions of fresh colored pencils dancing in my head, I hit the wall of Crayola to find that all the colored pencils were sold out except the 24-pack of "Preferred by Teachers!" erasables. I wasn't about to make another trip to enable my coloring habit, so I embraced my full child status and bought them.

Long story short, I've now had the book and the pencils for about two weeks, and I've decided that this entire concept of adult coloring books as fun and stress-relieving is an absolute load of crap.

I won't pretend I don't enjoy breaking out my worthless, perpetually not-quite-sharp pencils and coloring my way through an episode of Orange Is The New Black Cupcake Wars. It's a nice change of pace from my normal leisure habits of colored pencil-free Cupcake Wars and sleeping. But STRESS RELIEVING? ON WHAT PLANET IS THIS STRESS RELIEVING?

I guarantee that no one with enough disposable income to drop $20 on a literal child's toy and elementary school art supplies and enough time to voluntarily color for fun has a life so chaotic that the act of filling in every single one of those millimeter-wide spaces is LESS stressful than their normal routine. 

Since buying this stupid contraption, I have finished exactly two full pages. Each one took me between two and three hours. This is not stress relief. 

Sympathizers to this inane hobby will undoubtedly argue that I'm simply not doing it right. "The point of adult coloring books isn't to create a perfect image—it's to unwind while embracing your inner creative spirit" or some nonsense, right? 


First of all, as someone who's both already fairly creative and is unrelentingly type A, the point of every creative endeavor is to create a perfect image, you cretin. 

But secondly (and here's the important part), if you've adapted this habit to unwind without the pressure to be perfect, I have a newsflash for you: coloring books are literally your worst possible medium.

Coloring books were created with the express purpose of allowing kids to create picture-perfect images without the ability or brain cells to draw an anatomically correct Elsa from memory. The whole point is to stay inside the lines. Sure, you can always give Ariel purple hair when you know darn well her hair is red, you rebel, but ultimately, filling in the spaces of a coloring book is about the least creative "art" you can do. (With the possible exception of going with your friends to paint six identical sunsets at some wine and canvas place. Don't get me started.)

If you really want to de-stress by way of art, invest in some watercolors or something. And dear God, don't restrict yourself to the microscopic coloring spaces like the ones in my Walmart book. You know what's most assuredly not stress relieving? Carpal tunnel.

I'm going to keep using this coloring book, because while it does just increase my stress tenfold rather than reduce it, I'm the most high-strung person I know anyway, so it really fits right in to my aesthetic. But let's be honest with ourselves: if you want stress relief, save your $20 and put it towards a massage.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Random Friday Night Vlog

Here's a rant about some stuff that I like and don't like, for your viewing pleasure. The samosas were delicious; thank you for asking. 

Saturday, September 26, 2015

The Lonerberry

One of the best pictures of me to emerge from my four years of college is this one.

I say this partially because the picture is funny but mostly because of the jokes that went with it. Someone - it may or may not have been me, but I'll take the credit for it - christened this photo "The Lonerberry." 

You're welcome, Nash. 

It's hardly news that I think I'm great. I've written about it on the blog at least a half a dozen times, and I tell everyone I meet. I have the self-confidence of a supermodel with an IQ of 180. We're all aware. 

This has led, over the years, to quite the interest in solo travel, dining, and sightseeing. You may have thought that would end now that I don't live in Europe any more and I am surely too terrified of automobiles to go on any solo road trips. Well, you thought wrong. 

I am intrinsically very bad at basically everything that Coloradans love, but, since I'm only guaranteed to be in this neck of the woods for a few months, I've been trying to get out there and make attempts at the outdoorsy nonsense that people in this state enjoy. My success in this venture has been mixed. 

Today, I went to Boulder to visit the farmers market and go on a hike so I could trick people into thinking I didn't drive an hour just for food from a tent. This was largely a success. If you'd been watching me take this hike from afar, you would probably have assumed I'd developed some kind of epileptic tic from all the lurching freak outs I kept having, but no worries; it just turns out there are a lot of bugs outdoors. I managed to not get a sunburn, not encounter any snakes or other frightening wildlife, and (I'll explain this later) not lose any of my belongings, so, overall, I did pretty well. 

A cool girl on a run did catch me taking this selfie when I thought no one was looking. Worth it? Probably not. But at least I have proof I went outside. 

Unsurprisingly, the farmers market was a success, too. I had some pupusas and waited ten minutes in line for some solid B+ gelato amid a group of thirty annoying kids who were all probably whispering to their parents, "Mommy, what is that sweaty lady doing in this line of five-year-olds?" I will say that, for a farmers market USA Today calls the best in the country, it could have been better. But we can't all be Mathallen...or Mercado San Miguel...or any of about fifteen different markets in London that will permanently change your life from a single visit...

Okay, yeah, America, step up your market game. 

In any case, moving on. My most successful Colorado solo excursion thus far was (surprise) the one where I didn't do any driving or hiking. One Thursday a couple of weeks ago, I went for a lovely solo dinner at a very expensive seafood restaurant (turns out they can actually make decent fish this far from the ocean as long as you're willing to personally pay for your halibut's cross-country plane ticket), sat out on the restaurant patio reading a trendy novel that I bought a few months ago because the cover design was cool-looking, and went to see a national tour performance of Matilda. This was definitely the best date I've ever been on. Ladies, you don't need a man. You just need a $13 margarita with a slice of jalapeno floating on top of it. 

My least successful solo excursion thus far was my first one, which is why I've structured this post with a confusingly backwards chronology. At first, all seemed well. I drove on highways where the speed limit is 75 and no one died. I went on a hike and actually had a very nice time. But then, as I was looping around to finish my outdoorsing for the morning, I realized that, somehow, my driver's license and my $140 public transportation pass for the month of September had fallen out of my ID pocket and were totally gone. I retraced my steps and had no luck. I drove the hour back from Colorado Springs at a pace that I am certain made people assume I was 90 years old, because, with my luck, I had an unshakeable feeling I was going to get pulled over by the cops as soon as my license was misplaced. 

I drowned my sorrows in some chocolate chip pancakes on the way home and moped. I'd thought that surely someone would have found the cards and returned them to the park's lost and found, but, when I called a few hours later that afternoon for my second check-in on their whereabouts, there was no luck. 

I had just resigned myself to a life of buying individual transport passes like a peasant and explaining to bouncers where to find my birthday in a 30-page passport when the lost and found center called me back. Someone had found my stuff! 

In a happy coincidence, I'd made this trip on the Sunday of Labor Day weekend, so I was able to go back down to retrieve the cards the next day. So this is ultimately a rather anti-climactic story because it ends perfectly normally with me just having a driver's license and a public rail pass. 

In any case, though, the Lonerberry lifestyle is alive and well here in Colorado. If I'm going to be peer pressured into going outdoors, going alone is the perfect way to do it, because unless you are a literal snail, I cannot keep pace with you and I will not try. 

That said, if you want to do indoor stuff with me, you're welcome to at least try to see if I'll let you. After all, even Tina occasionally needs her Amy. Applications open now.