My Awesomely Random Life (and Everything in Between)

In honor of National Dog Day, I thought it only fitting to write about the best man in my life: Mr. Thunder.

I’ve heard of couples who have been married for 30+ years–the adorable ones you see walking hand-in-hand through the mall looking so in love, so happy–eventually looking, talking, and thinking the same.

I’ve heard of fathers and sons, mothers and daughters who listen to the same music, cheer for the same sports teams/players, wear the same perfume and even share the same mannerisms (I can belch like a sailor–thanks dad–and have picked up on my mom’s uncanny ability to sense when someone is feeling a bit down, instantly jumping at the chance to make them laugh, turning that frown upside down. That expression is actually something that I learned from my mom as well!

These are all things that are sure to happen when one lives and spends time with another person over an extended period of time; in fact, it’d be weird if it didn’t. You begin to sense when the other is sad, hungry, excited or scared.  You learn and get accustomed to each others weird habits and hobbies (like eating peanut butter straight out of the jar and having to check inside the shower before stepping in because the movie Psycho scarred you for life. I mean, I don’t do these things but…)

But the one thing that I never took into consideration was how much you and your favorite four-legged and furry friend could just act like twinsies.

Case-in-point: Thunder from down under and yours truly.

I’m pretty convinced that if I had a tail and Thunder had boobs, people wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between us.

Okay.

Maybe his hair is a tad more blonde than mine, but other than that…

Here are just some of the things that prove just how in-sync we are with each other:

1. Thunder and I both appreciate great music and are never to shy away from breaking out in a mad karaoke session.t8

2. We LOVE to be active, whether it’s running, hiking, or kicking (or chewing) the soccer ball around.t1

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3. But as much as we love to get out sweat on, nothing is greater than kicking back after a long day, just a book, some trashy TV, and the couch.t11

4. And what goes better than some trashy TV/a good book and some serious couch time than with some junk food.  Drooling over freshly made chocolate-chip cookies is mandatory (and perhaps hereditary?)

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5. We both have bladders the size of a small pea. “When you gotta go, you gotta go.”

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6. Whenever someone mentions a “ROADTRIP!/CAR RIDE!”, we are the first to “SHOTGUN” that situation (again with the drooling! We should really get that looked at.)

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7. Every once in a while, we like to get all gussied up in our finest attire. And let me tell you, we know how to party.

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8. Nothing says summer than a day on the lake!

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9. We are THE CHEESIEST Packer and Brewers fan ever and won’t hesitate to jump on the couch with glee Tom Cruise style when a winning homerun or touchdown is made!

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9. We both try to live each day to the fullest, stopping to smell the turtles (?) and not taking advantage of any minute, any second that God has blessed us with.

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10. We are appreciative of the beauty all around us, whether that be in nature, in the kind hearts of people, or in ourselves.

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11. And lastly, and most importantly, we love to love. We don’t waste an opportunity to spend time with the ones we love, telling them and showing them how much they mean to us.

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Yep.

My Thunder and I go together like peas and carrot flavored chew toys.

Let’s just hope I don’t pick up on my pup’s habit of licking his friend’s butts. Somehow I don’t think that would go over very well the next time my pals and I get together ;)

If you’re lucky enough to share your life with [wo]man’s best friend, be sure to give them an extra dose of love today (and maybe a bone or five). And if you don’t have a dog, I urge you to consider adopting/rescuing one from your local animal shelter. There are so many lovable pooches out there who need a great home. You’ll be making a difference in the lives of these amazing animals, and they will most definitely be making a difference in yours.

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My grandma and I once watched an episode of MacGyver that ended up with the go-go gadget hero narrowly avoiding certain death in a boat explosion. After the show ended (and just before Jessica Fletcher began flapping her gums on Murder, She Wrote), my grandma turned off the TV and said, “Lindsay (My name is actually Wendi), it doesn’t get any better than this!” Well guess what, my friends, IT DOES. I’m pretty sure I looked silly to strangers (or, more silly than I usually am) by how much I’ve openly laughed while reading this book. It reeks of John Moe’s irascible wit (I think that’s a good thing) and has left me wanting more.

Dear Luke, We Need to Talk, Darth: And Other Pop Culture Correspondences by John Moe is one of those books you look at and think, “Either this is a really, really brilliantly written book that will be jam packed full of side-splitting laughs and entertainment or it will be really stupid.” Well, I’m happy to report that this book was really, really brilliantly written book that was jam packed full of side-splitting laughs and entertainment. It was one of those reads that made me happy I wasn’t drinking anything at the time. You know, the whole milk through the nose laughing thing. We all know how Darth Vader shared his big secret with Luke Skywalker, but what if he had delivered the news in a handwritten note instead? And what if someone found that letter, as well as all of the drafts that landed in the Dark Lord’s trash can?

In this super funny collection, Dear Luke, We Need to Talk, Darth, John Moe finally reveals these lost notes alongside all the imagined letters, e-mails, text messages, and other correspondences your favorite pop culture icons never meant for you to see.   From The Walking Dead to The Wizard of Oz, from Billy Joel to Breaking Bad, no reference escapes Moe’s imaginative wit and keen sense of nostalgia. Read Captain James T. Kirk’s lost log entries and Yelp reviews of The Bates Motel and Cheers. Peruse top secret British intelligence files revealing the fates of Agents 001–006, or Don Draper’s cocktail recipe cards. Learn all of Jay-Z’s 99 problems (I bet you didn’t know he has an aversion to mushy grapes), as well as the complete rules of Fight Club, and then discover an all-points bulletin concerning Bon Jovi, wanted dead or alive—and much more.

Like a bonus track to a favorite CD or a deleted scene from a cult movie, Dear Luke, We Need to Talk, Darth offers a fresh twist on the pop culture classics we thought we knew by heart. You already know part of their story. Now find out the rest.

But please do watch that episode of MacGyver too. It was realllllly good. :)

I give this wise-cracking book 4 out of 5 stars.

*Disclaimer: I was asked to write an honest review of this book for Blogging For Books. All opinions and remarks are of my own accord.

Historically, I have not fared well on first dates. I blame shows like Friends and Gossip Girl for giving me the impression that all dates must be adorned with high heels, hilarious jokes, and a coy disposition that eases its way through conversation like a falling leaf. IRL, I look not unlike a cat walking in a puddle when wearing high heels, only manage to mumble out a few incredibly awkward and unintentionally sarcastic-aggressive jokes, and have the coyness of a fish out of water.

Smooth. Real smooth.

After a decade’s worth of good, bad, and terrible dates, I finally realized what I needed to survive my awkward nervousness: a task. Tasks helped me not focus on how I was acting or speaking or existing. They also helped me understand who I was on a date with and how they unfolded as we worked on something as a newly-formed team. To help other awkward folks enjoy themselves on a date I’ve come up with a list of date ideas that will have you saying “I do” in no time! Okay, maybe they won’t have anyone professing marriage, but I promise that you’ll have some serious fun, even if your actual date is a dud.

1. Thrift store celebrity dress up

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Nothing says romance like treasure hunting through thousands of people’s past lives! Choose celebrity and find clothing, accessories, and other various gems to dress up in and help give your date clues as to who you are. Once you’ve got yourself looking like Bruce Springsteen or Liza Minnelli, head out to dinner and try your best to stay in character, regardless of how much you do or don’t know about them. Whoever guesses correctly last, pays!

2. 12 Ingredients, one kitchen

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I am Chopped-obessed. f you haven’t seen this fun foodie competition show on Foodnetwork, do yourself a flavor (see what I did there?) and check it out! This date idea is actually inspired by the show. Ask your date to bring six totally random ingredients to cook with (but make sure s/he doesn’t tell you what they are). Collect six ingredients yourself and join forces to see what, exactly, you can conjure up. Maybe you’ll open a restaurant, or maybe you’ll end up eating stale pretzels and laughing about what terrible cooks you are. Either way, you’re sure to have a blast and do something out of the ordinary.

3. Get spooked

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Nothing says romance than getting pee-your-pants scared together, right?! Find an old ghost town near you (or make a day trip out of it!) and try to do as little research about it as possible. Spend the day speculating what existed there and how you think you would have lived had you been part of the town. Keep a souvenir and take lots of pictures and try to not get too spooked. The next date you go on, research what really happened!

4. Watch baby sea turtles hatch

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If you are lucky enough to live in a coastal state and the season is right, this is one of the most dreamy, magical, and exciting dates I can think of. Pack a blanket and some snacks and set out to watch little baby sea turtles start their new lives. Your hearts will be too mushy to feel nervous.

5. Go see a band you know nothing about

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Find a local show touting a band name or solo artist you and your date have never heard of. A change of pace helps you feel new and reminds you that there are things you will always be learning and discovering that you never knew you liked.

6. Go on some architecture tours

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Buildings don’t care if you’re awkward or not. Find an interesting or historical building in your town that offers tours. You’ll learn a little history about the community you live in and have a brain full of ideas to talk about together later.

7. Go pick some apples

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Fall is coming up and that means farms will be hosting all sorts of charming and fun events and festivals. Pick apples! Choose pumpkins! Go in a corn maze (but don’t get lost and call 911 like that one family). You and your date can ride a wagon and ease those nerves while searching for the perfect crop.

All-in-all a first date is likely going to be a little awkward for everyone. Just remember that the best dates don’t need fancy dinners or crazy schemes. Sincerity and a healthy dose of vulnerability go a long way.

It’s your turn, guys! What are some of your ideas for great first-dates? Any good, bad or terribly funny first date stories you want to share?

Friday Fav’s

Hey guys (and gals)!

Happy Friday!

So super important question for ya: How is it that the days seem to keep along like a turtle in a snails costume yet the weeks go by faster than a Superman on a speeding bullet?

Yikes. That was almost too many analogies even for me.

See, this is what happens when it’s a Friday afternoon and your brain is complete mush.

Mush, I tell you.

Thankfully I have two whole days to relax and de-mushify, as do you my dear friends. Any fun plans?

I’m pet sitting for my aunt and uncle which I’m tres excited about. I need to get my pet fix in whenever and however much I can. They have two cats; one who’s kleptomania makes Wynona Ryder look like a saint (her favorite thing to steal is hair ties which she keeps hidden in her not-so-secret stash down in the basement) and one who growls. I never even knew that cats could do that!! They also have a dog, Bodie, who is the sweetest thing that you ever did see, with the exception of my pup Thunder of course. He’s getting to that age now where it takes him a bit longer to do the things he loves to do (go for walks, terrify the cats, etc.) but every once in a while I will catch a mischievous spark in his eye, a glimpse of the young puppy he once was.

Other than that, I don’t really have all that much on the docket. I’m conserving my energy for next weekend when I fly down to Georgia (my home away from home away from home) to surprise my family over the Labor Day weekend. Work has been a pain in my bum lately and I figured it would be a great chance to get out of town, clear my head and see my family, my pooch, and my wonderful southern pals that I haven’t seen since making the move to Colorado and that I miss oh so mucho.

Whatever you have planned for this weekend, I hope that you are able to squeeze in some fun and relaxation, but until then, be sure to check out my favorites from around the web and more in this week’s Friday Fav’s :)

Favorite jam: Bang, Bang. Just try not to shake what your momma gave you to this new song from my girls Nicki, Jessie and Ariana.

Favorite pick-up line: Like, SO hard.

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Favorite slurp: White Chicken Chili. Ahhh, can you feel it? Can you smell it? Okay, maybe not yet seeing as it was a balmy 96 degrees yesterday. But I promise, fall is right around the corner. And one of my favorite things to do once the temperatures drop and the air gets crisp is to make a giant vat of this delicious chili. And it’s an easy dump-and-cook crock pot meal! And you know how much this girl loves her crock pot. Actually, I pretty much live and die by my crock pot in the fall/winter months. YUMM-O.

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Favorite scrub-a-dub-dub: A book shower curtain?!?! I need. I want. I must have!!!

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Favorite dating dilemma: I mean, I am quite the catch ;)

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Favorite funny: Chandler Bing dancing on things. I think I just laughed uncontrollably for ten minutes.

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Favorite treat: Golden Graham S’mores bars. The classic campfire treat in bar-form? I’m sold!

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Favorite photo: Outside of a giant library full of my favorite books, this is a lot what I imagine heaven to look  like. Stunning.

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Favorite take-me-there: Mont St. Michel, France. And THIS is what I imagine the real-life Hogwarts to look like. AHHHmazing!

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Favorite pooch: Noms. Just all of the cuteness.

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Favorite drool: White Chocolate Ritz Fluffernutter Bars. Um….holy sweet and salty goodness, Batman! I’ve just added something to my to-do list this weekend!

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One Little Thing

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I don’t know why I do it, but every day, at some point, I find myself going through my ongoing list of things I should be doing to improve myself. Relax more. Worry less. Eat healthy (ish). Call my parents. Pack my lunches. Journal. Go see things. Write. Quickly the list disintegrates from small improvements to impossibly large undertakings. Be a better person. Figure out what you’re going to do with your life. Reach financial stability. Be useful. Be happy. And as the list continues, my confidence wanes. How will I ever be all those things? The truth is I won’t, at least not tomorrow.

Lately I’ve been learning the value of one little thing, a unit of measure that is so often ignored. One little thing; why even bother? What good is one little thing when you’re trying to move mountains, make waves— change?

Change is a funny thing, it either happens all at once, some outside event forces you to be different, or it happens so subtly that you hardly even notice it’s happening. Until one day, for no reason at all, you step back to take a look at yourself and realize how far you come. They say as humans we overestimate what we can do in a day, and underestimate what we can do in ten years. And that’s why one little thing matters so much.

The truth is: what you’ll be able to do with your tomorrow probably isn’t much. You won’t visit all the places you been dying to cross off your bucket list. You won’t lose the extra twenty pounds you’ve been carting around. You won’t be the person you’ve always wanted to be, but there is something you can do. Yes, you guessed it, one little thing. You can do one little thing.

Tomorrow I am going to try and do one little thing that I didn’t do today, and though I can’t guarantee that it will change everything, it might just change my tomorrow.

Happy Thursday, friends.

What’s Your Trademark?

“Dude, I am going to go full-on beast mode on this burrito!”

“Heading to the gym, babe. Gonna beast-mode it up.”

“Did you see what that guy was wearing?! He was totally rocking that polyester suit beast-mode style.”

Beast mode (adj.): A mode of awesomeness; A pure blank state of mind, in which you become greater (more beastly) than anything else that stands before you. Derived from the original beast: Prince Fielder (when he played for the Milwaukee Brewers).

Okay. Maybe he wasn’t the original beast, but he was definitely my favorite. Let us take a moment to remember and respect how amazing this was. The Brewers may be down one of their beasts, but we definitely have a host of others who are about to do a repeat on 2011’s National Championship run. But this time we’re going all the way. World Series, baby.

Beast-mode style.imagesCA6ZIGUUBut back to my story.

I have a dear, dear friend, let’s call him Joe, who insists on beast-moding his conversations as often/much as he can. In fact, I don’t there is ever a time when he doesn’t use the beastly phrase.

“I went all beast-mode vacuuming today.”

“Pumped my gas like a beast!”

“Decided to beast-mode it up on that Harry Potter book. 787 pages ain’t got nothing on me!”

See what I mean?

Now I’ve seen and heard other people use this phrase. Heck, even I have been known to beast-mode it up from time to time, but my good friend Joe does it all. of. the.time.

Seriously.

It’s almost like it’s his signature thing, his trademark if you will.

This got me thinking (like a beast)…

Do I have a signature thing? A trademark?

And if so, what is it?

Tina Fey has her glasses.

Jerry Seinfeld is known to have quite the Superman collection. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.)

Lindsay Lohan has an affinity for mug shots.

Garfield has his lasagna.

But me?

I’m not quite sure what my trademark would be.

I do have the tendancy to reveal my Midwestern upbringing, sprouting out phrases like, “Oh yah knooowww” and “Furrr shurrrre.” The more I surround myself with my Minnesota/Wisconsin people, the more it comes out.

And strong, doooon’t yah knowww?!

Strong as, say, a beast?

I also am known to knock back a pint….of ice cream.

But I’ve got to say, I think that if I could trademark myself in anyway, it would definitely have something to do with books. I’m never without one, am reading at least two at three at once, and have an apartment that is currently imploding on itself for shear lack of space due to said books. Not to mention the fact that everyone over at Tattered Cover knows me by name (think Norm from Cheers, but instead of chugging back beers, it’s books).

Some would venture to say that I am even a bit of a book hoarder, but I would just like to think of myself as an avid booklover, bookworm, book collector, book…well, yes, maybe a bit of a hoarder.

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But that’s okay.

After all, it’s my trademark ;)

So tell me, friends. What is your signature? Your trademark?

 

 

It’s safe to say that no matter what I’m doing–working, driving, brushing my teeth, cooking defrosting a pizza or hanging out at a bar/club–I most often than not would always rather be reading.

Okay.

I would always rather be reading.

I’m not gonna lie, guys. I kind of wished everyone felt this way, this mad and sometimes obsessive need to read (hey, that rhymed!). And not just so folks would understand not to try and strike up a conversation with yours truly when I’ve got my nose buried knee-deep in a book on the bus. No, I also want people to become manic bookworms such as myself because reading for pleasure is, get this, linked directly to future success in children and teenagers, and increases the level of overall empathy in people of all ages.

I mean, how cool is that?!

And how necessary.

Plus, reading doesn’t only actually make you smarter, it also makes you look smarter, which is helpful if someone is on an interview trying to land that dream job, or perhaps on a date tying to land that dream guy/gal (a great ice breaker is to ask about what your date is reading/has just read/wants to read!)

I’ve noticed in my experiences, both while working at the library and in general interactions with my friends and family, that some people aren’t born with a book in their tiny baby hands like I was. No, some people don’t discover the love of reading until well into their adulthood years. On the other hand, some may have loved books at one point, but switched to streaming live videos of cats when the Internet came along.

If you fall into one of those categories, get excited–YOU HAVE SO MUCH DISCOVERY AHEAD OF YOU!!!!

Starting out on this adventure might seem intimidating at first, but don’t worry–mama’s got your back. Reading is essential, but it’s also A LOT OF FUN! Like, THE MOST FUN! Here are some ways to start reading for pleasure that won’t make you want to tear your hair out. Or worse, the pages of a book!

1. Sample lots of genres.

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Start with contemporary fiction–it’s super accessible and unbelievably varied, so no matter  who you are, there’s a book out there for you. Don’t worry about what may or may not be “useful” or what may or may not impress people. Read what looks interesting to you. My favorite genres are realistic (sometimes called literary fiction), fantasy and young adult (which, yes, is totally worth reading even if you’re no longer a teenager.) Other types of novels include mystery, science fiction and romance. I’ve pretty much found something to enjoy in every section. Don’t reject an entire genre based on your perception of it. You could be pleasantly surprised if you take a chance.

2. Read what you said you read in high school

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Classics are usually classics for a reason: they tap into human experiences, desires and emotions that transcend time and space. If great literature seems daunting, it shouldn’t. At one point, even plays written by the late and great William Shakespeare were just considered entertainment for the masses. Today, the only differences between the Bard and the MTV reality show are rhyme, meter and some depth of feeling. If the idea of reading “older” English intimidates you, start with something from the 20th Century, like The Great Gatsby, or Catcher in the Rye (one of my fav’s) and work your way back.

Have you ever noticed too how many people claim to have read a book (“Oh yeah, I remember reading Huckleberry Finn. Such a great book! What was it about? Well, uh, there was this guy named Huckleberry? And he, uh…..well…it’s been so long since I’ve read it…”) to maybe sound cool or smart but didn’t actually read the darned thing? This is your chance, my friends! Go back and actually read the darned thing!

3. Get some perspective

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Read books written by men, and books written by women. Read books written by people of every race and nationality and sexuality and gender identity and any other identifying characteristic you can think of. Don’t do this just to check off items on some diversity itinerary. Do it because all human stories are different from each other, and they are also all the same, and both of those things are vitally important to understand.

4. Go back to basics

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The children’s section of any bookstore is home to some of the best stories you’ll find anywhere. As C. S. Lewis, author of The Chronicles of Narnia (another one of my fav’s), once said, “No book is really worth reading at the age of ten which is not equally—and often far more—worth reading at the age of fifty and beyond.” Reread your old favorites, and then discover some new ones.

5. Be a rebel.

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Banned books are some of the most important books you can read, because if something upsets people, it is likely worth a lot of thought. Some people jump at the chance to read banned books (“CONTROVERSY! ALL RIGHT!”), but others are a little more hesitant. If you’re in the second group, consider that before you disagree with something, you should probably find out exactly what it is you’re disagreeing with—and that involves digging a little deeper than reading a warning label.

Reading banned books gives you the opportunity to decide how you feel about an issue—whether that’s profanity, prejudice or pornography—without having to rely on the opinions of a politician or a PTA member. As you’re reading, see if you can find out why the book got banned. Considering the work as a whole, think about what the author was trying to say with the contested parts of the book. Should the entirety of the novel be lost because a part of it offended someone? If you read it, that becomes your call and not someone else’s.

6. For the love of Dumbledore, read Harry Potter.

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In fact, just go ahead and start with that.

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