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The weekend is nigh, and if you’re about to send a big ole fat check to Uncle Sam on Tax Day, you’ll be looking for some affordable fun to keep your spirits up. Here’s a big ole fat list of things to do this weekend, and they’re all FREE!

Thursday, April 10

Jasper Salon with Ed Madden / Jasper Studios at The Arcade / 7 pm

Dr. Ed Madden, poet and faculty in the English Department at USC, will speak about his most recent collection of poems, Nest, and read selections from it.

Friday, April 11

2014 James Clyburn Health Disparities Lecture by Dr. Donna M. Christensen / Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center / 9:30 am

Discover new and intriguing information about how health care impacts a variety of demographic groups in the US.


Opening Party of Indy Grits Film Festival / Nickelodeon Back Parking Lot / 6-11 pm

Rachel Kate and Shantih Shantih will provide the music. Your favorite local pub The Whig will provide drinks. It’s a great way to kick off one of the best extended festivals Columbia has to offer. Visit the link for details on the opening party and other events that are part of the festival.

Opera at USC presents An Evening of One Acts / School of Music Recital Hall / 7:30 pm

Sung completely in French, these performances will be sure to excite and delight.

Saturday, April 12

Our Journey Forward / Koger Center / 7:30 pm

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of desegration for the past year, One Columbia offers this opportunity to see where we’ve been and where we’re going as a society.

Indie Grits’ Hip Hop Family Day / 1700 Block Main St. / 11 am – 5 pm

Part of the initial festivities of Indie Grits, this event is a family-friendly way to gather and experience Southeastern Hip Hop culture.

Monday, April 14

USC Wind Ensemble / Koger Center / 7:30 pm

Come listen to some of the most talented musicians at USC showcase their skills.

Elise Blackwell discusses Time’s Arrow / Thomas Cooper Library / 6 pm

The Open Book series at USC continues with faculty member Elise Blackwell discussing her book, Time’s Arrow.

Tuesday, April 15

Dr. Chanita Hughes-Halbert in the Science Café Series / Speakeasy / 8 pm

The good Dr. will present her talk “Improving Health Outcomes in Racial and Ethnic Minorities.”



How many of these fine events will you attend? What did we miss? Sound off in the comments!

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How I Learned to Stop Slacking and Love the Gym

Hello fellow Broke Ones!  I have a confession to make.  I have been in a total fitness rut.  When I last visited the Doc in a Box for a sinus infection, she noticed what every doctor notices and realllllly wants to talk about:  My spine is as crooked as a question mark.  I have double scoliosis and always have.  She failed to prescribe antibiotics (Why have doctors gotten so stingy about this?), but succeeded in making me feel like a self-destructive dolt for  not taking care of my junkyard of a back.  “You really should be exercising at least an hour a day…preferably yoga.  Your condition is going to get much worse if you don’t.”

Something like this, I assume.

Something like this, I assume.

I’ve heard this before.  I usually get pissier than a Thin Privilege blogger whose doctor tells them they should probably drop a pound or two about it, but I know they’re right.  I just don’t like to think of myself as a person with medical issues.  I don’t want to feel weak or broken.  It’s much easier to just come home after work, hunch over my sewing machine, and self-medicate that back pain with a few glasses of wine.

I finally realized that this is stupid.

I knew I needed to start working out, but I kept coming up with some incredibly brilliant and a couple of ridiculous excuses to avoid it.  Then, I came up with clever arguments for my excuses.

And I’m going to share some of them with you!

Excuse #1:  I look fine.

I don’t mean this in that “DAMN!  That girl is FIIIINE!” sense.  When I look in the mirror naked, I think, “Meh.  I’m alright”.  I look okay. I’m thin, and have a naturally okay body without really having to try very hard.  Nobody’s going to write a graphic romance novel about it, and I don’t relish wearing shorts, but my body is generally tolerable-looking.

Reality:  This isn’t about appearance.  This is about my health.  I need to be in better shape in order to have a happy & fulfilling life when I’m older.  This is an investment in my future.  Having more energy and not having to constantly ask strapping young men to do my heavy lifting for me would be nice too.

Just put that right over there, will ya?

Just put that right over there, will ya?

Excuse #2:  I Can’t Afford a Gym Membership.

When you don’t have much cash to spare for basics like top-shelf liquor, it’s really hard to justify forking over a monthly fee to sweat around a bunch of strangers while awkwardly wearing spandex.

Reality:  Oh puh-leeze.  First of all, you don’t have to join a gym.  You can go running or check out workout DVDs for free from the public library.  And guess what?  There are free gyms out there!  Check out your friends’ apartment complexes and churches (even if you’re a non-believer/non-parishioner, some churches have workout facilities that are open to the community).

You can haggle with the salesperson at a gym.  If their membership numbers are low at the moment, they’ll probably work with you.  The worst thing they can say is no.

Also, don’t forget the power of that decade-old student ID!  I actually used mine to get a significant discount at a really nice gym that I wouldn’t be able to afford otherwise.

Seems Legit.

Seems Legit.

EXCUSE #3:  I Don’t Have Time.

I’m busy!  I have another blog to maintain and tons of sewing to do so I have something to post on said blog!  It’s like having a second job!  I have a social life and relationships to cultivate.  I have housework to do!  And that lawn isn’t going to mow itself!

Reality:  This is such B.S.  How much time do you spend watching TV?  How much time do you spend oversleeping?  How much time do you spend reading stupid blogs? I recently completed a grueling 366 day project.  I made time for that.  I can make time for this.  Find out what is sucking up what could be productive time and stop doing that thing.

Always make time for the love.

Always make time for the love.

EXCUSE #4:  My hair looks too nice today and I don’t want to mess it up.

I mean…I washed it and everything.

Reality:  No it doesn’t.  I’m not saying it looks like crap, but it’s probably not all that great.  Are you a supermodel?  If not, your hair probably looks okay and once you spray on some dry shampoo post-workout it will look okay again.   If you are a supermodel, you probably have a staff person to style your hair for you (and you probably also already work out).

I usually wear my hair like this, so why do I even try to use this excuse?

With this humidity your hair isn't leaving that scarf/messy bun for at least 2 months!

With this humidity your hair isn’t leaving that scarf/messy bun for at least 2 months!

So, these are my top excuses for avoiding working out.  I’m not going to listen to them anymore.  This is the last anyone will hear of them.  :)

What are your excuses?  Can you come up with your own arguments against them?  Hmmmmmnnnn????

Rich Lady Bloggers Can Bite Me on the Ear

No wonder I’m broke!  I clearly lack the initiative and determination to follow through when I start a new blog!  What does this say about other areas of my life?  Hmmmmnnnn…

Anywho.  Hi.  Have you missed me?  I kind of hope so.  It’s good to missed/wanted!

Now…for a random rant!

The other day, I came home from a long day of work after driving my car with no A/C for my 30 minute commute in the 105 degree heat.  It’s not that I don’t want A/C or don’t use it.  My mechanic cannot find a new blower motor for my car.  They don’t make them anymore, and unless I can find a 1986 Sirocco which is the only other car to have this particular part other than my super-rare boutique edition Cabriolet, I’m stuck with my portable sauna.  :/

Hey guy!  I'll do lewd things to you for that blower motor you've got there (not a euphemism).

Hey guy! I really dig that blower motor you’ve got there (not a euphemism)!

I fired up my laptop to check out the facebook news of the day, and saw something in my feed that made me deeply angry for no reason.

A rich lady blogger that I must have clicked “like” upon at some point had posted something like, “Ahhhhh!  Housewife Sangria on the new porch!” with a pic that looked something like this.

(only hers was instagrammmed)

(only hers was instagrammmed)

“Bite me, Lady.” I said.  “Bite me!” I said again, this time with a deep seething resentment.  And in that moment, I realized something:  I hate rich lady bloggers.

Go eat bags of rancid cat testicles, you beautiful bitch.

Go eat bags of rancid cat testicles, you beautiful bitch.

I hate that all they write about is the expensive stuff they’re able to afford with their husband’s money.  I hate that they’ve managed to marry well, while I only manage to break off ill-conceived engagements.  I hate that their skincare regime costs more to maintain than the military of a small country.  I hate that their rearview mirror didn’t fall off that day, smacking them on the forehead in the process. I hate that they get to have fancy dinners all the time while I…uh…er…okay I actually do splurge on food and booze so I can’t complain here.  I hate that they can afford to have logos made for their blogs, while I’ve been using this pic for the last three years:

It's actually pretty awesome.

It’s actually pretty awesome.

So…while they’re feeling like this:

I can buy all the things!!!!

I can buy ALL THE THINGS!!!!

I’m feeling like this:


I have to budget for the Target brand version of Oil of Olay.

When that lady wrote about coming home from a day of shopping (which I don’t even enjoy) to chill on the porch of her fabulous new house, it felt like a slap on the face.  I can’t even sit on my rental’s porch without random drifters coming by and asking for money.  :/

Okay!  I'll give you a dollar!  But just this once!

Okay! I’ll give you a dollar! But just this once!

But why was I upset?  She’s just doing her thing…not hurting anyone.  I even know her, and it’s not like I dislike her as a person.  She’s actually really nice.

I could only come up with one conclusion, and it’s pretty damn embarrassing.  I was jealous.  ME!  Jealous!  And that made me feel like an idiot.  I have an awesome life with awesome friends and I probably have more fun than most people (and yes…even her).

Thanks to Amanda Danielson for the pic!

Photo evidence of fun!

Begrudging someone else of their success is just tacky.  Calling someone else overprivileged smacks of a lack of drive and personal responsibility on your part.  I know this.

So…I took a moment…muddled some mint from my garden with a lime, and added in a few fresh strawberries, some rum, and soda water…

Actual pic of my Actual Mojito!

Actual pic of my Actual Mojito!

…and clicked “unlike” until I can evolve to be less of a jerk.


My Broke Weekend

If you’re going to be broke (haha! as if you chose this life), Columbia is a great place for it!  There’s all sorts of fun/cheap/free things to do on the weekends.  I’m saving my cash for a new laptop (the screen on mine is about to go buh bye), so I really couldn’t afford to be spendy this weekend.

Luckily…I didn’t have to be!  :)

I woke up Saturday just in time to head out the door for my favorite afternoon activity…tasting lots of wonderful wine!



But wait...there's MORE!

But wait…there’s MORE!

Where is this magical place, you ask?  Cellar on Greene!  By day, it’s a wine shop;  By night, it’s a restaurant/wine bar.  Any time of day, it’s one of my favorite places to be!  :)

Every other Saturday afternoon from 12:00-2:00, they host a giant wine tasting. You can try 30 or so different wines from all over the world for $5.  The charge is waived if you buy 2 bottles…and trust me, you’ll want to leave with at least two.  The good news is, a lot of the featured bottles are fairly inexpensive, with some priced at a mere $9.

Meet Kaitlin, the Manager/Wine Snob!  :)

Meet Kaitlin, the lovely Manager/Wine Snob! :)

The staff is super-knowledgeable and is more than happy to help you pick out your new fave vino!

...anyone can use a little help with a list this long!  :)

Anyone can use a little help with a list this long! :)



Wine Buddies!

Wine Buddies!

After getting my early afternoon drink on, I mosied on over to Drip Coffee to finish my review of Boeing Boeing for Jasper Magazine.   This is one of my favorite places to hang out and blog/write.  :)

Ahhhh...the life of a theatre critic!

Ahhhh…the life of a theatre critic!

Looooook at the delicious beverage I happily consumed.  LOOK AT IT!  :)

Nonfat Vanilla Latte of the Gods!

Nonfat Vanilla Latte of the Gods!

With my review written and my editor pleased, I had to hurry up and get ready for my monthly Supper Club.

Here’s the dealio:   Once a month, my closest group of friends gets together at someone’s house (it rotates every month).  The host/s get to choose whatever theme they want, and everyone has to cook a dish that goes with said theme.  The weirdest ones to date are:  Must have the letter Q in the name, Squares, and Fancy Sandwiches.  :)

This month’s theme was Vegetarian (in honor of our herbivore out-of-town guests!).

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There’s a lot to love about this arrangement.  Once a month, we’re all guaranteed a MASSIVE delicious meal, and all we have to do is make one dish/bring our own booze.  This is waaaay cheaper/more fun than going to a restaurant!  :)

Sunday was lovely and laid-back with an afternoon visit to USC’s Horseshoe.  A puppy play date with pals was in order!  :)

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The University of South Carolina campus is really pretty.  Since I’m now majorly in debt from the education I received there, I feel totally free to loiter at will.  :)  A completely free fun afternoon?  Yes please!  :)