Sunday, November 20, 2011

Vintage Fashion 101 with Mia Shannonhouse

From the couch of AC1 @ The Barbie Dream House, the headquarters of the Aquatic Cousins:

We present to you the darling and fabulous Mia Shannonhouse! Shop all of her fantastic vintage items on her Etsy site located here:

Friday, April 29, 2011

He just wants your nail care love, guys.

From the kitchen table of AC2, laden with thesis-writing-related items as she slowly and painfully finishes that bitch.

Some people have religion as a way of feeling connected to something bigger than they are, existing as some small part of a much larger and more important journey. I fail to see how comparing oneself with the universe- even as limited as we know and understand it- couldn't bring about the same feelings ("Isn't this enough?") but then again I really like my own fantasy stories.


July 7th.

I guess it's the idea of struggling against something that seems so impossible, knowing you are so insignificant and hoping you get you live out your own little life anyway, with whatever small happiness you're allowed. It may be small in the scheme of things, but damned if it won't light up your whole world, especially after having to look at Ralph Fiennes in that snake nose with those terrifying fingernails.

Voldemort is evil because nobody ever thought to buy him a mani-pedi.

I return to my own insignificant struggles, until 5am when I'll probably don a velvet hat and watch the Royal Wedding so my hat can see all of its hat friends. Sleep deprivation is said to be similar to being drunk (at least while operating motor vehicles) so it'll even be like I'm having themed cocktails instead of drinking my own tears of "why the fuck do I have two jobs right now".



Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Carl loves you all.

From the couch of AC2, Sparker.

When I'm feeling a bit lost and unsure of how to go about things*, I like to wade through the archives of The Rumpus, particularly the Sugar columns. Okay pretty much only The Sugar columns. I love her words. I love Tiny Beautiful Things so much that one night during a manic-thesis-writing phase, I sat down and wrote out all the little parts of it I love best in different colored permanent markers and tacked them up around my apartment. The first time someone asks about them should be interesting to explain, but Carl the Taxidermied Longhorn Head usually keeps people pretty distracted.

I decorate him for holidays.

Tonight I was reading The World Lit By Other People and especially loved the last question: What is love? As Sugar said, it takes more than one person to answer that kind of question and thankfully we live in an era of crowd-sourcing technology.


"What is love?

Love is so many things that it’s impossible for one person to answer that question, so instead of answering this one myself I decided to ask my readers. Here are the replies I received when I posed this question on my Facebook page and Twitter feed:

Spike Aroo: Love is the ability to be vulnerable.

Allison Mcg: Love is the opposite of fear.

Jennifer Ad Meliora Reeves: I think love, real love, means acceptance of the whole person—their faults, attributes, shortcomings, gifts, abilities, inabilities, etc. Love shouldn’t be based on hope or potential, which I am learning the hard way. We would never want someone to say to us, “I love you, but…” and then tick off the ways we could be better or different. We want someone to love us just as we are—here, today. And we need to love ourselves, and forgive ourselves, in this same way. Love is a state of grace.

@Miss___B: Love is something infinite and sublime that can only be made wrong or less-than when you try to box it into definitions.

Jan Cooper: Favorite quote: “To love a person is to learn the song that is in their heart, and to sing it to them when they have forgotten” (unknown author).

Sara Habein: I can’t be the only one who, despite seriously considering the subject, had visions of “A Night at the Roxbury” dancing through my head. (Woah-oh-oh-OH-oh-oh *ahem*) All right, I’ll go back to serious contemplation.

@RumpusPoetry: It’s a song that causes severe neck injury and won’t leave your head once it gets in there.

Terry N Teros: Love is the glue that holds the whole program together.

Carolynne Reina Mielke: Love is thinking of others before yourself!

Bill Mazza: Generosity without expectation and trust without judgment.

Joan Rogers: I tend to think of it as the profound knowledge that the equation is more important than either of its component parts.

@ayse: I just read a beautiful evocation of love by @tracyclarkflory. [ETA: My favorite line from this article was "I suppose that's one definition of love: You do something for someone else and it ends up feeling like a gift to yourself."]

Roberta DiBisceglie : For me, love means caring for someone not despite their flaws but because of them. Love transports us to a better place, not always a happier one, but one that helps us to grow and find balance. Love is truth and it will set you free.

@blandroid (Jason Asher): Acceptance, faith, patience, healing, openness, honesty, cherishing, giving, receiving, growing, and being vulnerable.

SonYa Eick: Love is when you’ve found someone who makes you want to be the best version of yourself possible. To fix all your flaws, yet accept them at the same time. It’s when you’ve found the one who inspires you and motivates you especially when you’re weak and unable to do so on your own.

Denise L. Moore: Love is a relationship without apathy, honesty without judgment, laughter without embarrassment, belief without proof, compassion without end on a road traveling both ways.

@saribotton (Sari Botton): Whatever love is, you can’t experience it until you stop confusing validation with satisfaction. Awesome when you do, but so many don’t.

April Cooper: I have always liked this definition: “Love is the will to extend one’s self for the purpose of nurturing one’s own or another’s spiritual growth.” Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled. I also think love is the energy that powers the Universe (all of reality) and that it is our life purpose to lose our fearful perceptions of separation and experience Oneness with All That Is as fully as possible.

Brenda Lehman Gorenc: Love is the act of putting someone else first, even when your heart doesn’t feel like doing it.

Ryan Nance: Love is what we have decided to call the world lit by other people.

Amen to that."


I started thinking about all the other various ways to define love ("I wanna know what love iiissss/I want you to shoooow meeeee")-- my first thought (okay second) going back to Tiny Beautiful Things: "Real love moves freely in both directions. Don't waste your time on anything else." That can take a surprisingly long time to learn in life. For so many people it's easier to wait, to hope, to stay beyond all reason for something that was once true but no longer is. Be brave enough to break your own heart. It's not an easy thing to do. I've watched it. I've lived it.

My own definition is still forming, it would seem; for things such as this I believe the best works are a lifelong revision process. I know it has a lot to do with patience and giving, with being a whole woman who acknowledges I still have much room to learn and grow. That you should spend time with those you can learn and grow from and with. To never compromise the parts of you that are silly or loud or outrageous and never expect anyone else to do the same. To understand that even the most silly, loud and outrageous person also wants to be quiet sometimes and wants you to share in all those parts of them, and they in you.

It is something we all have the deepest longing for and often, the least understanding. That is what makes it so beautiful and frustrating and exciting in all its many forms. Love isn't just romantic; it is food. We must learn to feed ourselves before we can feed others.


*This thesis is a labor of love that is the closest I want to come to children for about the next decade or so.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

So I may have some baggage...

From the keyboard of AC1, Manda.

Recently, but then again not so recently, it has been pointed out to me that (in addition to never posting on this blog here) I have some barriers built up.

So, I asked myself...What is a barrier? By definition a barrier is a noun, an obstacle, something that is built up to bar passage. Alright then, self, what are your "barriers"? I asked (definitely allowed, and maaaybe in a Russian accent). Do I have a hypothetical glacier which I refuse to melt? Or if you prefer it, picture an image of me sitting in a martini glass so large and tall that you just can't reach me way up there.

After a long conversation with self (not good friends Michael and Rebs, but the inner self), she told me it is neither of these things. "Amanda," said self (in a small French accented voice) "you are not an Ice-Princess or an emotional shut it, you are more of a layer cake, or an onion if you will do kind of smell today, you should shower."

During my shower I thought about what I had been told and after the water ran cold it came to me: knowing me takes time and like Lady Gaga said "Loving me is like chewing on pearls". And while I may have my very own matching luggage set that I drag around to every place I go, I don't have barriers; I have layers. These layers I've got just take time to peel back. Most people don't get past them, but the ones who stick around, the ones I love see my core and truly love me for me (even if it is painful and crunchy).


Friday, April 8, 2011


From the couch of AC2.

I found this video this morning on YouTube. God posted it. (No really.) It is completely amazing and you should watch it.

My favorite bit:

"Isn't this enough? Just this. . .world? Just this beautiful, complex, wonderfully unfathomable natural world? How does it so fail to hold our attention that we have to diminish it with the invention of cheap, man-made myths and monsters?"

And for those of you who will disagree with me:

"But here's what gives me a hard-on: I am a tiny, insignificant, ignorant bit of carbon. I have one life and it is short and unimportant. But thanks to recent scientific advances, I get to live twice as long as my great-great-great-great-uncleses and auntses. Twice as long. To live this life of mine. Twice as long to love this wife of mine. Twice as many years of friends and wine, of sharing curries and getting shitty at good-looking hippies with fairies on their spines and butterflies on their titties.

And if, perchance, I have offended think but this and all is mended: may as well be ten minutes back in time for all the chance you'll change your mind."

Brilliant spoken word performance.


Sunday, April 3, 2011


From the couch of AC2, on a grey Sunday afternoon:

In case you ever wondered what English sounds like to those who don't speak it:

That certainly could have been weirder. (Sourced from Bakadesuyo where all the best things are.)


Thursday, March 31, 2011

Dear Sugar, You Deserve Tiny Beautiful Things.

From the couch of AC2, during a manic phase.

I always find the best things when I am supposed to be working. This is a letter of advice, from a writer in her forties to a writer in her twenties who asked for wisdom. It is beautiful. It is exactly what I needed today. It is from Dear Sugar (The Rumpus) which I will be a devoted reader of from now on. (I bolded the bits that particularly resonated with me because it's the equivalent of my mother highlighting the bits of books she likes and we all have to start becoming our mothers sometime.)


Dear Seeking Wisdom,

Stop worrying about whether you’re fat. You’re not fat. Or rather, you’re sometimes a little bit fat, but who gives a shit? There is nothing more boring and fruitless than a woman lamenting the fact that her stomach is round. Feed yourself. Literally. The sort of people worthy of your love will love you more for this, sweet pea.

In the middle of the night in the middle of your twenties when your best woman friend crawls naked into your bed, straddles you, and says, You should run away from me before I devour you, believe her.

You are not a terrible person for wanting to break up with someone you love. You don’t need a reason to leave. Wanting to leave is enough. Leaving doesn’t mean you’re incapable of real love or that you’ll never love anyone else again. It doesn’t mean you’re morally bankrupt or psychologically demented or a nymphomaniac. It means you wish to change the terms of one particular relationship. That’s all. Be brave enough to break your own heart.

When that really sweet but fucked up gay couple invites you over to their cool apartment to do ecstasy with them, say no.

There are some things you can’t understand yet. Your life will be a great and continuous unfolding. It’s good you’ve worked hard to resolve childhood issues while in your twenties, but understand that what you resolve will need to be resolved again. And again. You will come to know things that can only be known with the wisdom of age and the grace of years. Most of those things will have to do with forgiveness.

One evening you will be rolling around on the wooden floor of your apartment with a man who will tell you he doesn’t have a condom. You will smile in this spunky way that you think is hot and tell him to fuck you anyway. This will be a mistake for which you alone will pay.

Don’t lament so much about how your career is going to turn out. You don’t have a career. You have a life. Do the work. Keep the faith. Be true blue. You are a writer because you write. Keep writing and quit your bitching. Your book has a birthday. You don’t know what it is yet.

You cannot convince people to love you. This is an absolute rule. No one will ever give you love because you want him or her to give it. Real love moves freely in both directions. Don’t waste your time on anything else.

Most things will be okay eventually, but not everything will be. Sometimes you’ll put up a good fight and lose. Sometimes you’ll hold on really hard and realize there is no choice but to let go. Acceptance is a small, quiet room.

One hot afternoon during the era in which you’ve gotten yourself ridiculously tangled up with heroin you will be riding the bus and thinking what a worthless piece of crap you are when a little girl will get on the bus holding the strings of two purple balloons. She’ll offer you one of the balloons, but you won’t take it because you believe you no longer have a right to such tiny beautiful things. You’re wrong. You do.

Your assumptions about the lives of others are in direct relation to your naïve pomposity. Many people you believe to be rich are not rich. Many people you think have it easy worked hard for what they got. Many people who seem to be gliding right along have suffered and are suffering. Many people who appear to you to be old and stupidly saddled down with kids and cars and houses were once every bit as hip and pompous as you.

When you meet a man in the doorway of a Mexican restaurant who later kisses you while explaining that this kiss doesn’t “mean anything” because, much as he likes you, he is not interested in having a relationship with you or anyone right now, just laugh and kiss him back. Your daughter will have his sense of humor. Your son will have his eyes.

The useless days will add up to something. The shitty waitressing jobs. The hours writing in your journal. The long meandering walks. The hours reading poetry and story collections and novels and dead people’s diaries and wondering about sex and God and whether you should shave under your arms or not. These things are your becoming.

One Christmas at the very beginning of your twenties when your mother gives you a warm coat that she saved for months to buy, don’t look at her skeptically after she tells you she thought the coat was perfect for you. Don’t hold it up and say it’s longer than you like your coats to be and too puffy and possibly even too warm. Your mother will be dead by spring. That coat will be the last gift she gave you. You will regret the small thing you didn’t say for the rest of your life.

Say thank you.



I would paint that on my walls, were they big enough and I wasn't renting.


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Bad Cat reminds us why she's named that. Constantly.

And ye, the Mighty Bad Cat was vanquished from the yoga mat, where she did desire to claw all that was dear to the practitioner, climb upon her contorted body and generally make a goddamn noisy nuisance of herself.


PS: I (that's AC2) am in the midst of a 40-Day Yoga Challenge. Mostly I've been practicing at home because with two jobs (part-time obviously or I would already be rooming with Andrea Yates in the hill country) and the thesis deadlines looming ever closer, making it to public classes suitable to my practice level is something of a job in and of itself.

Enter YogaGlo, who have an amazing 15-Day Free Trial. I'm falling in love. It's dangerous. I've warned you.

It would be perfect, except for the damn cat deciding yoga time means cat time.

My life is hard.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Daniel Craig would like to drag your attention to a matter

From the kitchen table of AC2.

Today is International Women's Day (I'd never know anything if it wasn't for Twitter. . .no really, I follow several news sources there, in addition to P. Diddy) and is, in fact, the centenial celebration of the first one held in 1911.

What's sad is how far we are from the hopes expressed for equality 100 years ago. Daniel Craig would like you to think about that.

I want to be the person who had to find those shoes for him.


Thursday, March 3, 2011

Single White Feline.

From the couch of AC1 writes AC2. That's not confusing at all.

BBC Comedy reveals the startling truth as to why so many cat-owning women remain single:

Oh dear. And here he's just been proclaiming himself as my thesis coach.


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Free Jams! And not the kind you put on bread either. Because they're intangible files.

From the couch of AC2, Sparker.

As evidenced by my last post, I am Not Hip. I usually listen to music that was popular when I was seven (ACE OF BASE 4EVA) pretty unapologetically and when one of my hipper friends gives me a CD or something I tend to leave it in my car for 12-24 months on repeat, punctuated by periods of me yelling at the radio for being horrible.

True story: once in my old car the CD player was broken so I was listening to the radio and one song was so horrible I started laughing and immediately Shazamed it to see who it was. Answer? Miley Cyrus. There's your safe driving PSA, Texas. Don't play that shit on the airwaves and I won't endanger other drivers trying to Shazam the awfulness through my laughter.

Anyway, aside from Twitter being a virtual goldmine of unintentional hilarity from P. Diddy and grounds for the millions of fights among sexually frustrated thirteen-year-olds who love teh Biebz, it also sometimes has actual useful information.

SUCH AS: This post from Mashable which lists for you ten resources for getting your un-hip self some free mp3s so you're not reduced to playing your one passable Pandora station (I haven't even set up a Grooveshark account yet, I know) whenever anyone comes over.

Do the creep. With my Pandora.

At least that's what I'm hoping for here. So far I have frightened at least one of my friends by excitedly playing loud music at her when she called me earlier.

"Are you at a club?"

I look down at the tights I slept in last night, through the lenses of my dirty glasses and the haze of the sugar snacks I've been eating all day. "Uh. No. I'm dancing. At my kitchen table."

"Oh. Okay. I'll talk to you later?"

"Yeah. Okay bye!"


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Winter is Coming.

Oh hell I'm writing about fantasy. You know it's AC2 (Sparker).

Let's just gloss over the fact that it's now February and move right into something I'm waiting to happen on April 17th- HBO's mini-series adaptation of George R.R. Martin's Game of Thrones.

The Song of Ice and Fire series has been sitting on my to-read list for absolute ages and news of this going into production spurred me to finally order the books and read them, aside from the bit I read and don't remember from when I was 14 or so.

Whether you've read them or not, if you're into fantasy this looks promising. The casting for my favorite character- fierce little Arya- looks dead freaking on, I am so excited.

Who's my little BAMF?!

I will try to restrain myself at this point from yelling about how much I hate the character of her sister, who is a dumb, dumb bitch. Ah. . .that was my restraint. Ahem. They seem to have aged some of the children, which I honestly expected due to some of the content of the story; it would be difficult finding child actors to handle some of the things that would have to happen to them (Chloe Moretz cannot be in all of the things). I mean damn, this series is dark-- a reason I love it so. Beheadings! Incest! Rape! Murder! Betrayal! No one is safe; it's not black-and-white fantasy where you can line up all the characters on either side, with maybe one dude dawdling in the grey area. In this, everyone has their own agenda and also many of them HAVE THEIR OWN LITERAL GIANT WOLVES, HOW AWESOME IS THAT?! Ahem.

The cazzine* will be excited to find me on her couch for this come April, I am sure.

Further selling points? DRAGONS AND MAY I AGAIN MENTION GIANT FUCKING WOLVES. Where is my direworlf I want one.

Characters of Jon Snow (the bastard son!) & Bran (the middle son!) with their direwolf pups. Oh hai dad look what we found in the snow CAN WE KEEP THEM?!

My favorite dumb, dumb bitch Sansa (Arya's sister, who they appear to have aged a bit from eleven) with her direwolf. 'Sup. Just takin' my wolf for a stroll.


*Cazzine=childhood interpretation of cousin, which has recently come back into vogue for us

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The More You Know.

From the kitchen table of AC2, Sparker. (There is still Christmas stuff on it. On the table. Not on AC2.)

Well then. More than halfway into that first month of the New Year, aren't we? And it has already been pretty eventful (not even counting both Aquatic Cousins being infected with some sort of long-lasting plague disease).


  1. Tragedy did not stay behind in 2010, as was proven by an unstable young man attempting to assassinate Congresswoman Giffords of AZ. A nine-year-old girl and five other people present at the time weren't so lucky in their escape. Nine years. Far too short a time to live.
  2. Okay. Let's take a second. I'm crying everywhere. Pause. Pause pause pause. Breathe. Okay.
  3. The world needs to remember: mental illness isn't an explanation for violence.
  4. People will go bonkers over the Zodiac. And we are not talking about the serial killer.
  5. Cabbage sauteed in butter is DELICIOUS. Less so when you leave the Tupperware in your fridge for two weeks.
  6. Calphalon pans are not the same as cast iron and your Paula Deen biscuits won't be fluffy. Also touching that pan will result in an enormous and terrifying blister on the side of your hand. Great job there, freakshow.
  7. Gorilla suits. . .molt. . .a lot. Also you can totally manicure gorilla hand gloves.
I think that about wraps it up. I'm sure as I attempt to (FINALLY) finish my thesis and graduate from grad school this semester, I will learn some other things.

Until then, kids: ~*The More You Know!*~