The Poor Girl’s Guide to Luxurious Substitution


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July is so stupid. It’s just so stupid. Stupid July, stupid month where I’ve lost my monthly subway pass not once, not twice, but three times in the last week and a half. And no I’m not going to take responsibility for that because the moon is probably in some weird phase. So while I wait for MTA to get their lives together and refund me approximately $220.00 (hoefully before the winter of 2016) I will go back to my poor, poor-girl roots. Not the literal ones, although those are rearing their mousy brown heads, but the metaphorical ones. I took a little time, made a budget, cried, had a cup of tea and resolved to make a list of all my financial lifestyle shortcuts which manage to retain that oh so endearing air of bougie. If you’re fearing for your financial well-being like myself, I also suggest taking a deep breath and acknowledging that none of us came out of our mother’s vagina holding fistfuls of hundred dollar bills. Not a one. Without further ado here is:


Poor girl’s avocado- Eggs in every possible way they can be prepared.

Poor girl’s dessert- White toast with butter, sugar sprinkled on top.

Poor girl’s steak tartar- Raw hamburger meat.

Poor girl’s cocktail- Diet coke and Chateau Diana (I prefer the Merlot) mixed together served in whatever you own which most closely resembles a goblet.

Poor girl’s kombucha- Old strawberries in your fridge muddled in lukewarm water.

Poor girl’s energy drink: Pour a whole Emergen-C packet in your mouth, add a little bit of water and swish it all around.

Poor girl’s whiskey- Now we don’t mess around here. Buy whatever you damn well please!


Poor girl’s botox- Bangs.


Poor girl’s facelift- A very severe, pulled back top knot.

Poor girl’s colonic- Coffee.

Poor girl’s manicure/pedicure- That $4 polish change from your favorite nail girl. Lest we forget Betty, remember?

Poor girl’s makeover- Sephora counter for a full beat, but buy ONLY the lip color.

Poor girl’s dry cleaning- 1 part rubbing alcohol 2 parts water in a spray bottle and go to town on anything that smells.

Poor girl’s itunes spree- SoundCloud.

Poor girl’s shopping spree- This blog.

Poor girl’s workout- Start a fight in a bar to the point where you run out fast for a few blocks (in heels).

Poor girl’s brunch- Diet coke and a cigarette.

Poor girl’s day out in NYC- Trip to go get a library card (DON’T forget that proof of address!)

Poor girl’s theatre date- YouTube the Kennedy Center Honors.

Poor girl’s movie date- Every Netflix documentary in the “Newly Added” section.

Poor girl’s fancy bar date- Wrap yourself in twinkly lights and spread a blanket on the floor and eat small pickles. This is what every bar in Brooklyn is like.

Poor girl’s Sara Bareilles concert- Drink a half box of pink wine and unabashedly cry and dance to the whole “Blessed Unrest” album.

Poor girl’s therapy session: Call a wise gay man.


My sweet sweet (first) guest blogger and India Arie enthusiast who needs YOUR help!



And nowwwww for something new and different and exciting! Here is a special blog from my very first guest blogger, and dear friend, yogi-uke-goddess, Kristen Garaffo! She’s raising money through an indiegogo campaign for her life coach certification and she has 60 hours left to make it happen! Read, then perhaps maybe donate? She’s a lovely creature, a badass teacher, and an overall inspiring person so if anything, give this a read and namasteeee!

“India.Arie is my soul sister. I wish she was my friend in real life. Her wisdom, her words, and her music are so inspiring, and when her album Songversation came out – it was all I listened to for weeks. Her music lit a little fire in my heart – it made me want to move my body around, practice yoga, and go change the world.

So naturally, I played her music in my yoga classes. I played her song, “I am Light” during savasana for a yoga class at Fords Theatre, for the cast and crew of A Christmas Carol. The song is so peaceful and beautiful – it just lends itself to yoga. And then y’all…magic happened.

I had NO IDEA the song would have such an impact. There were tears, emotional releases were happening and we were feeling ALL of our feelings. It became our mantra. It became the fam jam. (Bligh came up with the cutie name, duh) At the time, Bligh was performing weekly at LaTiDo here in DC – and she invited myself, and our friends Felicia and Kellee to sing the fam jam during her set. I’m pretty sure everyone at the cabaret OMed. We said Namaste before we sang. We listened to it every week. Along with Potbelly’s cookies, Ella’s pizzeria, and lots of Dunkin, I am Light kept us going through a 12 show week.

When I was trying to figure out what to call my Indiegogo campaign, I wrestled with it. I wanted to include something with light…radiate, glow, shine, something like that…and honestly, it was rough. And then it dawned on me. Why try and come up with another name when we already have a mantra, and one that is already so simple and perfect! The I Am Light campaign was created.

My name is Kristen, and I am raising money for a karma yoga leadership retreat and life coach certification. I am light. You are light. I think we forget sometimes, and I just want to remind you. You are enough, and you are exactly where you need to be right now. For real🙂

…But…ya know what?

Sometimes I DONT feel like Light. (#Honesty08)

Sometimes, I don’t want to talk about LIGHT and happiness and chasing dreams. Sometimes, I want to hide under the covers and eat ice cream. Or yell at someone for being stupid. It’s not always happy feelings and magic. Sometimes it’s shit. Sometimes I feel like shit. And it sucks. It freaking blows. There are plenty of times I’ve called someone a name that was hurtful – and I immediately wish I could take it back. It sucks.

One of my biggest fears, especially as I dive into coaching, and even just doing this Indiegogo campaign in the first place, is that I will come off as knowing all of the answers, that I sit in this “light” and others don’t, and that we are divided into “those who offer help” and “those who need help”. It couldn’t be farther from the truth. The truth is – we are both!!

Feeling like shit once in a while is being human. Every single person on the planet makes mistakes. We are not alone, our imperfections make us whole. We are all doing the best we can, and when you know better – you do better. (That’s a Maya Angelou gem. Thank you thank you Maya!)

Life isn’t supposed to be all ups without downs. I’m not here to write about how the bar at Pride situation could have been handled differently by breathing or staying present or singing India.Arie. Sometimes you blurt something out you wish you could take back. And since we can’t go back in time, or put words back in our mouth as if we never said them – all we can do is own up to our actions. Brene Brown says whenever we take the time to share our feelings and experiences (good and bad) openly and honestly, that is courage. I think our girl Bligh is an honest, open and courageous woman for sharing the gems in her life, the good and the bad. I strive to practice courage everyday, and sometimes I succeed and sometimes I don’t. And that’s ok. But on the good days, when I dig deep and choose to be courageous and ask for what I need, or own up to a mistake, or stand up for what I believe in – whenever we choose courage, we make everyone around us a little better, and the world a little bit braver. And our world could stand to be a little kinder and braver.”

To donate to Kristen’s campaign click literally right here



For most of my life I’ve had the great fortune of being raised by drastically dissenting opinions on just about everything from religion to politics to education to art. Mama Voth is a all KINDS of liberal, Hillary Clinton is her spirit animal, while Daddy Voth is much more conservative. It used to make me very angry that there was rarely ONE topic of conversation that wasn’t argued to death, or over analyzed or picked apart and challenged. But in hindsight it’s allowed for the creation of my own very strong opinions without feeling the familial pressure to conform to a unified consensus. And so when I say I am one hundred percent behind gay rights and Equality, that is all me, all my choice.

I love gay men. Gay men are my best friends, and my coworkers, my confidantes, my family. A lot of gay men happen to be my ex-boyfriends. I love and admire anyone who possesses the courage to live their lives honestly, with integrity, perhaps even when it is difficult to do so knowing that others will ostracize you for that honesty.

All that being said: I called a gay bartender a queen in the derogatory sense during Pride Week and now I feel like a huge asshole. I guess…well, no no, I feel really horrid. I’ve never been one for intense name calling in moments of duress and anger, mostly because my brain and mouth have the blessing of only working in tandem when I’m on a happy, funny roll. (That’s a nice way of saying when I think I’m being happy and funny.) Fortunately or unfortunately I am a believer in the weight of words. Recently, when I’ve been angry, I’m going to call you a name. Probably a lot of names. Until I find the one that really bothers you. This seems to be a generational trend. If a woman doesn’t want to sleep with a man, she’s a bitch. If a man cheats on his girlfriend he’s an asshole or a dick. Or both. If a gay man reads the crap out of you, he’s a queen or a faggot or a slew of other names. And in the moment, when we’ve felt slighted or accosted, it seems absolutely acceptable and downright necessary to “protect” ourselves.

The reality is, there is absolutely nothing acceptable about using derogatory names. I just keep thinking how goddamn ignorant I was that night. For goodnesssake, I’ve gone to THREE fake colleges, I’m in a BOOK CLUB, I read the Washington Post (only the front page, and the Style section in its entirety) and I know better than that. No, but really, all humor aside, I do. This year, I just want to surround myself with intelligent, assertive, confident people and I (too often) am not one of them. I wouldn’t want to be around me sometimes. I sit and preach from my blog pulpit of self indulgence about why you shouldn’t call me a bitch (read this vintage blog post) and I profess to be enlightened enough to write my observations of people in this city and I have no fucking right. Not when I possess a wellspring of language that could intelligently articulate my feelings without stooping to lowest common denominator parlances.

One of the best parts of having a self-indulgent thing like a blog is that I can use it however I want. I want to say sorry. An honest, sarcasm free, sorry to Aaron the bartender. You called my friend a cunt. And I called you a queen. And none of that was necessary or mature. I’m sorry for not apologizing on the spot when I should have. I’m sorry for having the audacity to be offended when people call me names when I’m clearly no better. I don’t know where you stand on the weight of words, but I know where I do. And if I’m not smart enough to respond to you name calling with poise and intelligence, than I shouldn’t engage at all.

Should we allow racial or sexual epitaphs to have this amount of power? I don’t know. Maybe not. Maybe there is a lot of peace that needs to be made with the words and a lot of accountability that needs to be held over the action or impetus of the anger behind their use. I can only speak for myself. I will still falter, that much is true. I’ll still swear like a sailor, but to be fair, “fuck” is the Irish verb/adjective/pronoun of choice and that is a habit which (best case scenario) will die a slow, slow death. I’ll do the best I fucking can. And maybe, let’s all take a minute to assess if we are surrounding ourselves with people who challenge us to do the same.

Another gem of the Contra!



YOU GUYS. Here’s a rare picture of my beautiful “boy” Xena Warrior Princess Contra partner, Sam. I love her. The older woman I am holding hands with here…I think her name was Deidre? She had weak thumbs, or so she said…And maybe it’s too soon for Elizabeth Smart references BUT DOESN’T THAT BLONDE GIRL WITH THE BRAID LOOK LIKE ELIZABETH SMART?!?! Just. Saying. Also saying, it’s nice to be back sweet biddies:)




One time my friends Shannon and Vishal and I went contra-dancing with about 200 50-somethings in the west village. I’m not sure how to continue. I suppose explaining contra-dancing would be the next logical step…but…it’s hard to describe something that you yourself are uncertain of. Did it happen? Was everyone we encountered and touched in holy palmers’ kiss, real? I know the post dancing trip to Chipotle was real, that much is true because Shannon taught me that one can get half chicken and half veggies in your burrito bowl if one asks politely. So, I know it happened. Yes?

In 2014 I am trying to hold myself more accountable. That’s a fancy way of saying “be on time.” It’s very difficult for me to arrive places in a timely fashion, or, sometimes show up at all. Not because I don’t care or lack respect for you: it’s a deeply ingrained belief that I can do all the things at once and it only takes five minutes to get anywhere from my apartment. This belief is rooted in my penchant for bullshit. I am all kinds of aware it needs to change and so, when Shannon texted me and asked if I would like to go Contra-dancing with him and Vishal I said, “yes, and what time?”

It’s important to start by saying I was still late to meet them. No matter that the dance had started, Stephanie told me as she greeted me at the front desk with her patchwork skirt and silver plaited hair. “Find someone wearing a button and ask them to dance! They’ll catch you up! Oh, and tell them I sent you,” she finishes with a wink and a warm smile. THANK YOU STEPHANIE! What a doll of Christ you are! I proceed down the stairs of the church basement to what, I assume will be a couple dozen people dancing and perhaps a celebratory sheet cake. THAT WAS VERY WRONG. I walk into the most luxury of indoor basketball courts filled with hundreds of people who find deodorant optional and not an air conditioning system to be found! BUT THE SPIRIT! In the far opposite corner I spot a five-piece band playing the most jovial of folk music. Next to them is a man with a feather in his cap (real life) speaking into a microphone and shouting out phrases that mean nothing to me. He is what we call in the contra-dance world, the Caller. I know this now sounds like a character from The Giver, but this shit is real. Amidst the chaos of eight lines of 40-odd people facing their partners, I finally spot my friends. Vishal! Shannon! WHY ARE YA’LL SO SWEATY?! I mean, I’m only about 20 minutes late and, to me, that’s fairly on time. How did they get so worked up in such a short amount of time??

ME: You guys are sweaty.
VISHAL: Bligh, get ready for the next dance, this is Sam, she’s awesome, she’ll be the boy don’t worry.

…it’s at this moment I look up (quite literally) to meet the gaze of a six-feet tall gazelle/Amazon/Xena Warrior Princess redhead. Her wavy tresses cascade down her back in a wild mess of curls. I immediately want to straighten them for her. She’s wearing what appears to be a bolt of lace held together by ribbons left over from the last Maypole Dance. She is also sporting a gigantic pin that reads, “I SWING BOTH WAYS.” ….I couldn’t make this up if I tried. “Hi I’m Sam, I’ll be the boy.” OK girllll, you be the boy. I’m just gonna follow YOU. Her hands are sweaty. She’s just told me she’s a boy. I decide to breathe and trust.

“Bow to your partner and handy-hand to the left!” the Caller announces…The fuck is the Handy-Hand? The next move is called “Box the Gnat.” I am trying to listen to the Caller and execute these moves I have never head of before but I can’t! It’s too much! I’m getting so sweaty so fast! Sam must have noticed my mounting fear. “Listen, I got you,” she says, “The next step is just a fancy name for a do-si-do so just relax and have fun!” OKAY Sam. You’re right. I will! To my surprise, the minute I stopped trying to perfect the dances, I got them. And, I’m not one for bragging…but…I got kinda good. Real fast. The next partnered dance had an “advanced” move called the “Courtesy Turn” which was EXPERTLY executed by Vish, Shannon, and myself to such an extent that seasoned veterans took notice. And complimented us. In our third set, a Caller chose me to dance with him. I think his name was Jim and he was about sixty and he twirled me around a lot more than was necessary. He told me I must be a professional. He also sai—you know, actually I’d prefer to keep this bit to myself as to preserve it’s sanctity.

About an hour in, Anne (the head of this whole delicious Contra dance night) got on the microphone.”OK guys heyyyyyy! What an awesome event, huh? It makes my heart swell to see all these new faces. Brought together by the love of dance! Thank you all for coming, this is a very old established community and it’s just all about meeting people and making new friends, huh yeah? But, set to music. Lovely. Beautiful night. Now ok so Jerry and I talked and we thought, you know, let’s just order some pizzas, yeah? So ok, raise your hand if you want pizza. We’re just getting cheese. Just cheese. So raise your hand. Okay….I think like, I have about, it looks like around 100 of you want pizza. So I’ll go order those pizza pies, ok guys? Awesome wonderful. And listen, just pay me a few dollars when you can, ok? Thanks guys, ok dance! Pizza later, dance now!”

SHANNON: That’s not the most organized way to have done that.
ME: Agreed.
VISHAL: We are sweaty.

And we were. We were sweaty and happy. It’s impossible to not giggle your way through a beautiful, sweaty night, perfecting the art of the Contra dance amongst friends. I love New York for moments like this, where something totally random and a bit odd happens that you couldn’t do anywhere else. Like the time I made a frittata out of an ostrich egg, or that time I took a yoga class next to Uma Thurman and cried. THINGS LIKE THAT. As Vishal and Shannon and I enjoyed our burrito bowls after a strong, long night of dancing I was reminded how much I love them! And how, it’s okay to be a tad late to everything, people will still love you back. And sometimes, they’ll love you so much that they buy you pizza. But just cheese pizza. Love ain’t that fancy.

Hashtag Perspective


Today, I lost my ID. This might not seem like a big deal to you, dear reader, but my ID was the only article that I’ve SOMEHOW been able to keep ahold of for the last ten years of my life. I’ve lost two cell phones, a half dozen clutches, my favorite romper EVER en route to the dry cleaners on a windy day, and years of my life and brain cells to the Real Housewives franchise. But I’ve never lost my ID. I took pride in that. It was always like, “My dignity has been lost in Bethesda, Maryland but I STILL HAVE MY ID!” And now? Now I can’t even brag about that menial success.

I was feeling pretty poorly about myself, about how I’m a shoddy excuse for an adult and I will probably die alone surrounded by empty containers of chocolate frosting and 17 cats, still sans ID, when I realized: this is ridiculous. There are real problems. This surely cannot be a real problem. I mean, yes it is, because it’s an inconvenience. And I guess I’ll have to bring my passport to Trader Joe’s Wine Shop now. But it’ll be fine. And there are PLENTY of things I haven’t lost in my 25 years on this earth! Like, important things that make me happy! That matter more than a picture of me that had my weight (which I DID NOT sanction) and height written underneath a shot which made me look like I was in women’s prison. Let me tell you something. The secret to being a happy person? Lists. I swear to you. Make em biddies, they will never let you down. So without further ado, here is:


1) My last name.
-Still got it! Not married! Still mine! And it’s scary to look at, so the fact that I’ve never discarded it is nothing to scoff at. Voth. It’s strong, it makes a guttural sound when spoken aloud, and people pronounce it two different ways which gives me an air of mystery…in my head…after wine.

2) My grandmother’s gold charm bracelet.
– I love that thing, but that thing has also been a great many places it shouldn’t have. Like Cabo. And college. Aside from any monetary value, that charm bracelet makes me feel very elegant and lady like and genteel and it reminds me of my grandmother. It should come out on special occasions like Christmas and the day Peeps become seasonally appropriate to carry in your local CVS. Not for girl’s trips to Mexico. No.

3) My Shoe.
-I have never ever been THAT girl who’s like, “I lost a shoe somewhereeeeeelikkeeeeeat like, Bowery and Houston?!?” She says this when you are absolutely nowhere near Bowery and Houston. I have never been that girl. I’ve done silly (read: moronic) things LIKE this, but never this…..please let me claim my small victory.

4) My IPad.
-Now this is a true triumph because many a many a MANY a time I have left my iPad places but I always remember where it is and quickly retrieve! Just mere months ago I left my iPad on a Megabus and the minute I realized, ran through Union Station like Holly Golightly trying to save that cat in the rain! (Side note: I had to google “top ten famous romantic movies” to find a reference I liked most. And like, A LOT of romantic movies end with a run-back-to-the-one-you-love scene! Except for A Walk to Remember….so…there’s that.)

5.) My keys.
-Boom. That’s a big one. Lots of people lose their keys! NOT ME MOTHERSSSSS. I mean, they’re impossible to lose because I carry a key to almost every place I’ve ever lived, everyone I work for, and at least three copies of my home key in Virginia. Daddy Voth likes to make spares for me because I tend to lose them and well shit I guess this doesn’t really count now.

6.) Bobby pins.
-Listen. Bobby pins are like a modern-day girl’s calling card. I leave these things EVERYWHERE. Bligh’s been here. Look. There are those annoyingly blonde bobby pins. (SECOND Side note: WHY HASN’T ANYONE INVENTED BOBBY PINS THAT HAVE A BIT OF A BRUNETTE ROOT?!? You know, just inquiring for a friend.) Yes, I leave bobby pins all over the place but I always have the necessary amount with me. Always. Every time. And I can’t remember buying any new bobby pins since 2006, so either I’m stealing them and blocking it out or I’ve managed to retain a large quantity through osmosis and prayer.

7.) My credit card(s).
-Many many moons ago a younger, smarter me decided to get a credit card that depicted one of those creepy/annoying Anne Geddes portraits of a baby dressed as a strawberry on a pepto bismol pink background. I love that credit card. I have NEVER lost it. The original intention behind getting one of these Anne Geddes homage credit cards was twofold. 1) She did that HYSTERICAL and uncomfortable photo shoot with Celine Dion (my spirit animal) holding babies disguised as fruits and vegetables that really spoke to me. I equal parts love and hate those photographs. I’ll never forget the Anne Geddes coffee table book in my gynecologist’s office that (I believe) single-handedly prevented me from being a teen pregnancy statistic. 2) THE CARD WAS OBNOXIOUSLY PINK. I thought it would always be easiest to find in a pile of cards. And, my sweet biddie readers, I was right.

I’d like to end this post by coming clean and saying it was originally intended to be a list of 10 things I had managed to not lose. But the truth is, I can only think of 7. And you know what? That’s enough. I’m tired of beating myself for not being perfect, or having all the things all the times, or making sure everything is just right. Sometimes you lose things. And that’s ok. Things can be replaced. Life is about the silver lining, no? So here’s mine: no longer will I have to endure that almost ten year-old picture of me with flat ironed hair and sparkle glitter eye-shadow. See? Perspective is a beautiful thing. And I have no intention of losing that.