God Bless the Monkey

Because ‘Follow Your Bliss’ was already taken.

A Fashion Blog November 25, 2009

Filed under: Fashion Posts — kateos @ 9:51 pm
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So I just discovered the wonders of Polyvore, but was dismayed to find that I would need to upgrade to Plus on Livejournal to be able to upload pictures. Then I remembered–I have a WordPress! Lo and behold, WordPress allows me to upload pictures. We are now friends again. Here’s my first few Polyvore sets, both inspired by Blair Waldorf from Gossip Girl.

Prep School Madness

Blouse (H&M, $), Skirt (topshop.com), Shoes (rupertsanderson.co.uk), Headband (net-a-porter.com), Tights (modcloth.com)

This outfit is a play on Blair’s prep school uniform with its feminine, classic look. I repeated the black detail on the blouse with the cream pumps and added a beautiful silver headband, since I adore headbands.

A Night at the Met

Dress (Herve Leger, net-a-porter.com), Cardigan (farfetch.com), Trench Coat (Burberry, net-a-porter.com), Shoes (Giuseppe Zanotti, chickdowntown.com), Clutch (Treesje Mortale, endless.com), Necklace (By Malene Birger, net-a-porter.com)

This is a more glam, rather than feminine outfit. I tend to fall in a rut of picking the same old ruffley blouses and safe skirts, so this was a challenge to myself to mix it up by picking things I wouldn’t normally pick. The Herve Leger dress was what inspired me to create the outfit in the first place. I knew I needed a cardigan to cover up skin, and I thought this dark pewter color complemented the gold in the dress so nicely. Since it is fall, I needed a coat, and what better coat than a classic, form-flattering trench? The necklace and shoes were extra touches to give the outfit even more shine.

So what do you think? Would you read more of these articles?


Here I Am, Back From The Dead May 31, 2009

Filed under: Average-Day Prose — kateos @ 9:03 pm
Tags: ,

I need to stop making these empty promises of how I’ll keep posting, because, honestly, I just won’t. It’s hard when it seems like I already broadcast every detail of my life in every other possible outlet (Livejournal,  Twitter, Facebook, Newspaper). Really, what is then left to write about? So in the end, my sad little WordPress is left dusty and largely unused, much like my Elliptical machine or Eric van der Woodsen’s character on Gossip Girl.

So why have I decided to update after all of this time? I’ll confess, it’s actually because I clicked the wrong bookmark.

WordPress: Oh, that’s real nice.

But I call it serendipity, because look where I am now. (It’s actually called procrastination, because I don’t want to write my newspaper column right now. Shh….) I still haven’t decided what I’m going to write about here. My Livejournal is where all of my emotional vomit and Gossip Girl crap winds up. Facebook is where I write when I want to appear cool. Twitter is where I write when I want to appear quirky and, wait for it…cool.  All bases are covered, are they not?

People ask if I am going to work at DD again this summer. Well, judging from how kindly the boss took it when I quit, I would hazard a no. But fear not, I won’t be the pathetic one who sits at home in front of a fan eating grape popsicles and watching Jerry Springer. I’ll be bopping around (with college visits in between) until the middle of July when, SURPRISE, I’m going to Acadia, where I shall be bopping around some more, but this time with moose and, you know, those Maine people. I’ll be back in August, but plenty busy all the same.

Here’s to the (almost) beginning of a fantastic summer!


Anyone Still Out There? December 8, 2008

Filed under: Average-Day Prose,Tales from the Shop — kateos @ 4:59 pm
Tags: , , ,

(Times Burned: 0; Wrong Orders: 0; Customers I Want to Slam Over the Head with a Skillet: 0, Major Catastrophes: 0)

In case you haven’t already deduced, I quit my job at DD. I had a whole slew of quitting-related blog posts to share, but as summer came to a close, I simply ran out of time. In case you were wondering, the only reason why I quit was because I knew that I simply could not juggle schoolwork, work, and my personal life. The boss didn’t fault me for it, just was a little displeased that two months of training was going to pot. I was a little sorry, but later learned from a friend that the boss left a few weeks later to focus on schoolwork as well.

Do I miss working there? I miss certain aspects of the job. I miss making coffees. Aside from the pay, I think baristas have it made. I miss feeling vital and independent. I miss the chocolate chip muffins (so bad for you, but so good!). I don’t miss the chronic foot pain (seriously, I could only hobble by the last few weeks). Nor do I particularly miss the people (not that they were mean; we just didn’t get along). I do sometimes find myself feeling nostalgic for the place.

Whether or not I am going back is a wide open question. I already have summer plans for the next two years (busy busy), but I may find myself working there part-time sometime in the not-so-near future. Who knows?

I guess this must be the closure post or something, for me at least. It’s definitely not the end of this blog. I feel like jumping the shark by posting this, but I don’t think this blog will stay inactive for very long. Until then…


It’s Pretty Sweet August 11, 2008

Filed under: Tales from the Shop — kateos @ 2:31 pm
Tags: , , ,

(Times Burned: 1!; Wrong Orders: 3; Customers I Want to Slam Over the Head with a Skillet: 2, Major Catastrophes: 0!!)


It’s Sunday, and I check the position board upon arrival: the shift leaders have put me on front again. Not that I mind; I much prefer working at the front than as drive-thru cashier. There’s much more space, no annoying window, and the freedom to make the coffees myself. I help the previous shift’s front worker clear out the long line, then sit back and anticipate my 5 hours of relative boredom. Natasha is in today, along with Nicole and Irene, who usually works the night shift. After April and Britney leave at 2, it’s leaves just the four of us, and we make a stellar team.


With almost no customers at the front, I end up putting on some gloves and working the Sandwich Station as well, something new and utterly thrilling to me. While I still don’t know how to make breakfast sandwiches, I quickly pick up flats, pizzas, and bagels, only burning myself once in the process (as regular readers know, this is quite the improvement for me). 


An order pings in through the drive-thru. 


“What’s in the Southwest flatbread?” the man wants to know.


“Umm, well,” Natasha, says, looking at us with a HELP-ME expression on her face.


“Chicken, cheese, and peppers!” I’m shouting.


“There’s chicken and…cheese and…peppers…and a sauce.” she eventually says.


“What kind of sauce?”


“A…Southwest sauce?” she says hopefully. “It’s pretty sweet.” 


“Okay,” the man says, as the four of us burst with laughter, Natasha with her hands slapped over her mouth. “In that case then, I’ll take one of your breakfast sandwiches…”


Ten minutes later, we’re still poking fun at her.


“It’s pretty sweet,” I mimick, in an exaggerated laid-back tone. We all laugh again. Another order pings in.


“Hi, welcome to DD. How can I help you?” 


“Hi, is your Southwest flatbread any good? I mean, what’s in it?” We all look at each other. Didn’t the last guy just ask this? 


“I’ll take this one,” Irene says. “Well, first there’s the bread. Then, there’s the cheese. Then, there’s the chicken. Then, there’s this sauce.” I can’t tell if she’s saying all this to be funny, or if this is really her idea of a good response. “The sauce is sweet and really good, kind of like…kind of like teriyaki sauce. Like, if you’ve ever had the Teriyaki Chicken Sub at Subway, it’s like the sauce on that.” The woman drives away.


“Come on!” Irene yells to the room at large. “How can you not like teriyaki sauce?!?” 


“Cause teriyaki sauce is Asian and this flatbread is supposed to be Southwest. And Subway? What does Subway have to do with this?” Natasha counters good-naturedly. “I just came up with the best definition for the flat. We all have to use this one next: It’s like an Asian man who immigrates to Arizona…in your mouth!”


I can only imagine the amount of flats we would sell with that definition. But somewhere out there is a woman driving and munching on a Chicken Teriyaki Sub with its pretty sweet sauce and thinking, “So that’s what the Southwest sauce tastes like.” 🙂


Meet the Regulars August 6, 2008

Filed under: Average-Day Prose — kateos @ 10:53 am
Tags: ,

(This is just a few of the many colorful customers who wander into the place whenever I am there. I am covering them here, so when I mention them later on, I don’t have to divert from the main story to explain who they are.)


I. James Branch

His name isn’t really James Branch, but he reminds me so much of the Kissing in Manhattan character that that’s who I regularly refer to him as. Like his namesake, he is quiet, shy, humble, and modestly good-looking. He comes, without fail, every Saturday (and sometimes Sunday), ordering a coffee and two doughnuts to go along with the book he reads in his armchair by the fireplace.


April just dotes on him. She’ll put on her brightest smile and ask in a voice dripping with honey, “So, what’s the book this week?” He’ll give her his shy smile, but never reciprocates, and so we love him all the more. I think everyone knows a James Branch, or wishes they knew one. In all honesty, I hardly know the guy. Maybe I’ve been cornering him into a character he doesn’t fit. But none of that matters, except that he is our resident aloof man-candy, and we wouldn’t want it any other way. 🙂


II. Ron

If DD was Le Cirque (Le Cirque will probably sue me now, just for making this analogy.), he would be the VIP. He has his own special plastic tray (a relic from when DD must have used trays like McDonald’s), and always expects top-notch service. A French cruller, or sometimes a croissant, toasted for five seconds and a coffee with five sugars and three creamers on the side. From the description thus far, Ron seems like a terrible hypocritical elitist, but really, he’s a harmless old man in a scratchy vest, who we love and never tire of serving.


The very first time I met him, he peered at me and asked me why he didn’t know me.


“I’m new,” I said.


“New?” he replied, positively alarmed. “Every time I walk in here now, everyone is new!”


I apologized, and shuffled out of there with his croissant.


“There’s a guy who wants his croissant toasted for FIVE seconds,” I whispered to Josh with fear plainly written across my face.


“Oh, you mean Ron,” he said, walking up to the front. They greeted each other like long-lost friends, and I couldn’t help but fight back my jealousy. You see, Ron is the kind of person you can’t help but want to impress. He’s a tough critic, but a softie when he’s finally come to appreciate you.


Last Sunday, he walked in and I had his usual there for him without him having to utter a single word.


“Hey, you’re coming along there!” he said, before taking his seat next to the window. Coming from him, it was possibly the greatest compliment he could give.

A thousand “yes!”s seemed to sound off in my head and under his stern gaze, I couldn’t help but beam.


Sorry, We’re a Chicken-Free Zone July 29, 2008

Filed under: Tales from the Shop — kateos @ 6:50 pm
Tags: , ,

(Times Burned: 2; Wrong Orders: 3; Customers I Want to Slam Over the Head with a Skillet: 1, Major Catastrophes: 2)


It’s Sunday, and I’m working the afternoon shift from 12-6, something I despise doing but just have to learn to live with, like waiting in line and finding soggy tomatoes in my salads. Ariana, who is even greener than I am (yeah, not possible, right?) is busy manning the drive-thru, though, like me, her eye never strays from the clock. As April heads out the door, Josh hands me her drive-thru headset, which I eagerly slip on. I’m just about ready to explode with excitement after my weeks of training on the headset-less front line.

Of all the times I’ve been through a drive-thru, I’ve never once thought too deeply into how they work. It never occurred to me that while I was ordering, there was a tiny army of human workers listening carefully and assembling my order as I spoke. But that’s exactly how it works.


It doesn’t take me long to figure out how the headset works either. Push the first button and you can listen to the customer and the speaker. Push it again and you can speak with the customer. Push and hold the second button to talk to your drive-thru coworkers. I have no idea what the third button does. Pushing it uncovers no noticeable function. I press it for a little while, then quickly move on.


One major problem is that the headset wire is long and dangling. It’s not too hard for klutzy, uncoordinated me to trip over it as I bend down to pack boxes of Munchkins from time to time. After the third time I’ve tripped and sent the fist-sized machine flying to the ground, I decide it must be made from some sort of elf magic, as it barely leaves a scratch.


Josh ambles over to talk. He’s a nice guy, nearly out of college (Damn, I seem to be meeting an awful lot of those lately.). I glance up at him (he’s very tall) and decide I must have misjudged him when he walked through the door earlier in the morning. He may be gangly and his complexion a little spotty, but from the way he walks and talks, this is clearly his domain.


An order pings in through our headsets, and Josh quickly hurries over to the drive-thru coffee station.


“Hi, welcome to DD. How can I help you?”


“Yeah, I’d like an order of chicken tenders.” We look around at each other, then at the drive-thru camera.


“I’m sorry, we don’t carry chicken tenders.”


“Well, do you guys have anything like chicken nuggets?”


“Uh, no. This is DD. Maybe you want to try McDonald’s.” Josh is struggling to keep the sarcasm out of his voice at this point. The woman drives away without another word, as we shake with laughter and grip the granite countertop to keep from falling over.


“Hey, you got someone up front,” Josh says, and I hurry over to take their order. Before we know it, we’re in the weeds, as car after car lines up at the drive-thru and at the front. I hand the family at the front their change and slam the register shut. Josh yells for me to bring over two donuts for the car at the window, and I’m on it until I feel a tug at my hip, and realize that I’ve locked the register on my headset wire. I pull on it desperately (shit, shit, shit!!) , but I’m stuck as a fly in a spiderweb.


“Joshhhhhh!” I cry out. He surveys the situation with a grave look as he takes a car’s order.


“Do you have the key to the register?”


“No, the manager went home already.” Two more cars drive up, and Josh needs to take them. “Look,” he says. “Take it off. I’ll deal with it later.” I do as he says, but as luck may have it, more customers have appeared at the front. I hope ringing up their orders will help open it, but it stays firmly shut. Josh is back now, and, like our caveman ancestors, resorts to a combination of hitting the cash register and tugging hard on the wire. And then, to our amazement, it’s free. We give an exhausted cheer, and nearly collapse, then and there, on the floor.


I have a newfound respect for my shift-leaders as, everyday, they must think quick on their feet to smooth out my problems. My first instinct when confronted with a crisis is to wring my hands and run around in circles like a headless chicken. Though it doesn’t look too likely, I’m working on it.


Until then, all I have to say is: Thanks, Josh.


Damn Those Filters! July 18, 2008

Filed under: Tales from the Shop — kateos @ 11:29 am
Tags: , ,

(Times Burned: 3; Wrong Orders: 5; Customers I Want to Slam Over the Head with a Skillet: 2, Major Catastrophes: 1)


12PM-2PM is always lots of fun. This is when most of the early morning workers are still here, but business is slow enough for us all to just fool around. April and AJ are throwing towels at each other, laughing and flirting like only best friends/exes can do. He slips an ice cube down the back of her shirt and wriggling like mad, she knocks off his name tag, which falls at my feet. AJ mock-yells at her, so I bend down to pick it up, but he tells me to just leave it. The two are just too cute.


Once I’m done sanitizing everything and refilling the three-compartment sink, I brew a fresh batch of coffee and watch April and AJ rationing the pre-sliced American cheese. It is a mountain of cheese, skyscrapers that tower over all the little people I imagine who live in this Dairytown. They look like Honey, I Shrunk the Kids and they nosh on their own cheesy houses when they’re feeling a little peckish. It’s like those insanely orange Kraft Macaroni n’ Cheese commericals with the dinosaur and the jingle that tries to rhyme everything with “macaroni”. Imagine that without all the noodles dancing around and whatever (now you have a glimpse of what goes on in my head everyday).


I feel like I’m finally on top of things. After an embarrassing morning (the first day of work after skipping a weekend to go to Toronto with family), I’ve really got the hang of things. I can make coffees in record time, and donut disasters are rare (Donut disasters are when I plop a donut into a bag and it lands frosting-side down. Donut disasters = very unhappy customers). I’ve reached the last page of my book of humiliating failures. That is, until I notice coffee is spilling over the sides of the coffee brewer. It isn’t just coffee; the grinds, which have clumped together now, are also seeping out, and for some reason, it looks as if the hole in which the coffee is supposed to drip into the tank is blocked shut. I call over April and AJ, and the look on their faces could not be graver.


“Oh, crap, not again. No no no no noooooo. I want to cry,” says AJ.


“Should I turn it off?” I ask, meekly.


“No, you can’t turn this thing off. It’ll just keep brewing.


“Remember Rachel?” Chelsea says, as she surveys the situation. “The same thing happened to her. She was so stupid. She forgot the filter!” I pray to God that I didn’t forget the filter, but upon racking my brains, I’m not entirely sure I didn’t make the same mistake.


So while AJ and April leave to go fill drive-thru orders, I stand there and watch as the grinds/coffee mixture seeps underneath all the other machines on the countertop and onto the floor. It is a miserable sight.


Once the brewer finally stops, I slide the grinds holder out and, confirming my worst fears, see no filter. By now, I feel like April, who trained me on my first day and has only ever seen me fumble, is just about ready to throw me out of the place. She puts on her I-wish-I-could-hit-you-but-will-try-to-remain-sweet face, and reminds me that it’s only my second week. She points out that it was poor Rachel’s fourth. This cheers me up slightly, but we’re still a miserable bunch as the three of us have to stay past the end of our shift to clean up the soggy mess. I thank my lucky stars the manager left an hour ago, but I know my blunder will surely be fodder for the next week’s DD gossip circles. And months later when this happens again to some poor newbie, it’ll be, “Remember Lena? She was so stupid! She forgot the filter!” Think I’m overreacting? Maybe. But I now have an internal filter alarm installed and fully functional, and not one grind cup has gone into the brewer filter-free ever since.