What’s in my bag?

Over the years, boyfriends have asked me for things.

Like, you know, a tissue. Or a piece of gum. Perhaps a quarter for a vending machine or a parking meter. Inevitably, I’m distracted with something else — or reading (of course). I usually wave a hand dismissively, barely looking up from my cell phone or novel.

“It’s in my purse,” I’ll say, gesturing to my overflowing handbag nearby. “Just go in and get it.”

Inevitably, the boyfriend’s face will morph into a mask of unmitigated horror. “In your bag?” he’ll squawk. “I’m not going in your bag. That’s your girl stuff.”

While I’m not exactly sure what terrible devices of torture men expect to find in women’s handbags, I will say that I’ve had this exact conversation with at least three different boyfriends — and countless male friends, too. It’s like the purse is a vacuum of embarrassing girly products and they just don’t want any part of it.

And though I’m pleased to know that the men in my life aren’t, you know, wantonly pawing through my personal belongings, it is occasionally annoying to have to hoist myself out of a comfy chair in order to grab my purse and find that sliver of paper or pen they need.

But friends, it’s time to draw back the curtain. The lovely Erica recently asked me to reveal the contents of this, my hulking shoulder-breaker of a handbag . . . and since I love you guys, I’m just going to put it all out there.

Gentlemen, get ready.




1. Cupcake coupon holder — a little pouch I purchased on Etsy (where else?) and use to hold my coupons, gift cards and other random things I use to get stuff cheap or, occasionally, free.
2. A book — Like any steadfast reader, y’all know I don’t leave the house without a novel. At the moment, I’m heavy into Balancing Acts.
3. A pen and a Sharpie — because just having a pen isn’t enough. Sometimes I need to write on strange surfaces like, say, the top of a white styrofoam to-go box from a restaurant.
4. iPod Touch — which also functions as my personal calendar and way to keep in touch with the world! I’m lost without it. And, strangely, really don’t use it to hold any music . . . which is probably why I’m never without No. 6.
5. Cell phone — Have to be able to text, you know.
6. iPod Nano — which holds my music collection. And it’s pink, naturally. I listen to music a lot at work and feel pretty crazy when I accidentally forget it!
7. Lip gloss — I’m never without several different types of beauty products, but this Sephora clear lip gloss is my favorite!
8. Blog business cards — these are the little guys I got last year from Moo and have all my information for this here blog! I also give them out to dates because they give boys a way to contact me . . . but don’t actually have my phone number. Helps me screen out the crazies.
9. Advil
10. Anti-bacterial hand cream
11. Gum and mints
— I’m a freak about mints and chewing gum . . . in that I always have some, and am always popping one or the other. Pretty sure that’s not a bad thing!
12. Face powder — So I’m shiny. What?
13. Tissues
14. Wallet — money and ID are two things I wouldn’t leave home without!
15. Makeup pouch — where the rest of my six varieties of lip gloss are kept! I usually have a hair tie and a few bobby pins in there, too.
16. “Business” pouch — my work business cards, jump drives, a Tide To-Go Pen and other random little things are usually in here.

And what else is in my purse? The very pocket camera I used to take that photo! I don’t ever leave home without my Panasonic Lumix and love taking random shots on my lunch break. Like that one.

Hope this gives you a little more insight into the enigma that is Meg — and, if you’re a dude, that you won’t be quite as freaked out the next time I tell you to get your own piece of gum. Nothing will bite or humiliate you, promise.

Yes, Meg, there is a Nail Polish Claus (and he likes pink)

Something really exciting happened to me this week.

No, I haven’t yet found “The One” — or even “the one” of the moment. As of this posting, friends, I haven’t gotten to a third date with any of the gentlemen with whom I’ve been seeing recently. Casually. In a casual way.

I haven’t won the lottery or gotten a raise. And while I’m at it, I haven’t made great strides in finishing my fourth novel or returning to the infamous querying process in order to find someone who will value (and promote) my snark-tastic musings. I did win a heaping pile of books from The Book Studio — more on that later — but I’m so stressed and busy, I’m not sure when I’ll be able to crack the spine on any of them. Yes, things are insane — in a good way — and I’m feeling overwhelmed, but . . .

I found the perfect shade of
pink nail polish.

I’ve pranced around the planet for almost 25 years and polished up these pretty fingers more times than I can count. In terms of obsessions, I’m a bit of a nail polish junkie — and it doesn’t help that I frequent some fabulous fashion blogs which make me want to whip out the ol’ credit card and order everything in sight. If I’m strolling through Target, I have to detour into the makeup aisle — just to get a glimpse at all the tiny, pretty bottles, all perfectly lined up and promising I’ll become sassy or saucy or sexy while wearing these shades.

I’m pretty saucy on a daily basis — or try to be, anyway — but there’s something about those clear bottles promising me a mini-makeover that I find utterly irresistible.

But up until this week, I’d never been able to find the right shade of pink.

Because on top of being sassy and saucy, I’m very particular. My sister’s room is full of the pink cast-offs I’ve purchased over the years, trying to find the right color, only to decide that while it’s pretty or cute or whatevs, it’s not The One.

But it’s a brand-new day.

It’s called “Party In My Cabana” and is made by none other than OPI, that most fabulous (and, er, costly) of nail companies. Since I cycle through so many bottles of polish on a regular basis, I usually can’t see paying $8 or $10 a bottle for something I’ll probably wear once and then shove in a bin, but let me say this: I’d pay every cent of that $8 for this hue (and did), and I think you’ll see why. Glance to the very top.

It’s dark. It’s a fun, dark pink. It’s not bubblegum, but it’s not salmon. It’s bold and bright and fun, while still being sophisticated and work-appropriate.

Basically, it’s Heaven In A Tiny, Black-Capped Bottle.

I was about to stop believing, but my faith in cosmetics has been restored. Yes, Meg, there is a Nail Polish Claus — available on the OPI site — and it knew what I wanted even before I did. Once there, click “Try On This Color” and, you know, spend a few minutes (er, hours?) finding the shade that works best for you. Then head over to Amazon or your favorite retailer, find it cheap and go for it. Paint those nails. Or, in my case, come have a “party in my cabana”!

Not sure that sounds right. But, ladies, you know what I mean.

Cover art: The pinker, the better

Standing in a bookstore with shelves of paperbacks lined up neatly before me, I can tell you something with absolute certainty: my eye is professionally (er, habitually?) trained to seek out pink.

During yesterday’s LitChat, a Twitter-based chat for book lovers happening at 4 p.m. EST on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, the subject was chick lit — that occasionally controversial, usually light and fun genre. It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of chick lit — or women’s fiction, a term which is sometimes used interchangeably, sometimes not — and spend a good deal of my time reading authors like Jennifer Weiner, Emily Giffin and Meg Cabot.

Getting into what defines “chick lit” is a topic unto itself, and I’m not here to get up on my literary soapbox and debate the general merits of a subgenre I really enjoy. Some folks dig it; others don’t. That’s perfectly fine. Should those who enjoy chick lit novels be derided? Of course not — just as those who enjoy graphic novels, romance, science fiction or any other type of literature shouldn’t be criticized. We like what we like, and I don’t judge. (Too much.) We’re all reading, and that’s what’s really important here.

No, friends, I’m here today to talk about pink books — and, specifically, how quickly my eye falls to them. During LitChat, some folks mentioned a book having a pink cover is actually a major deterrent — and that they might miss a great book simply because it has a silly or “frothy” cover. I can definitely relate and see where they’re coming from, though I’m on the opposite end of the spectrum: I tend to shy away from books without pink covers. Or ones with “boring” covers, at least.

And I’m sure I’m not alone in that. Some really fun stories I’ve read had very “girly,” chick-lit covers — the ones you can spot a mile away. As readers mentioned on Twitter yesterday, the types of covers you can spot immediately: maybe with a giant, overflowing purse, or a spike-heel shoe, or a gaggle of cartoonish women gathered together. Usually the colors are bright with a healthy dash of pink thrown in there. And who do they attract? Ladies like me, apparently.

Want some pink, girly book eye candy? I have plenty to share. And I know that for every book with a “frothy” cover I love, someone else will dislike the look of a novel for just that reason. Again, no worries — I can see both sides of the issue! And just because a novel features my favorite hue doesn’t mean it’s pure froth — quite the opposite, usually. Many of the books with seemingly innocent covers have some pretty heavy content, which is another criticism of some of the cover art. False advertising, if you will.

But for me? The pinker, the better.


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How I spent my rainy Friday

After failing to properly budget my leave this year, I’ve actually found myself with . . . extra leave. I know, it’s a terrible dilemma! Except it actually has been hard to figure out when I could leave work without my projects crumbling up before the holidays. Thankfully I have some great co-workers and we’ve all reached a peaceful resolution!

I left work at noon today, got home and promptly pulled on a hoodie. Then I set about doing . . . whatever. I watched back-to-back episodes of “Divorce Court,” “Judge David Young,” “Judge Alex,” “Judge Joe Brown” and, of course, “Judge Judy.” I’m clearly a sucker for court shows! And I can’t even remember the last time I was able to spend a whole afternoon lounging around watching crazy people squabble over rent and car accidents.

And I got to work on a few other projects, like . . .

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sending out mail and . . .

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crocheting a secret gift!
(That hopefully remains secret a little longer.)

And I was incredibly excited when my dad brought in the mail today! An enormous package with my name on it arrived from Louisiana. Palmer’s father and stepmother sent gorgeous gifts, and they came at the perfect time — it’s been a really dark, dreary week. I was going to wait until Christmas to open them, per my boyfriend’s instructions, but decided my life needed a spot of sunshine and tore them open!

Well, I didn’t tear them open. The package was too pretty!

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And everything in it was . . . pink! My favorite color in the world. They know me too well!

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Very exciting. Thank you so much!

Everyone have a great weekend! If you’re anywhere along the Eastern Seaboard, it’s promising to be quite wet. Be careful!