My Awesomely Random Life (and Everything in Between)

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As 2015 gets ever so near (how is that even possible?! I just got used to writing 2014 on everything!), I thought it would be nice to take a hot minute to stop and reflect on some of the things I have learned and were reminded of this year. Looking back on the last 365ish days or so, I can’t help but be amazed at everything that has happened in my life, everything that I got to experience, places I got to go, people I was fortunate enough to meet and memories I was lucky to have made.

Here’s the 10-second Tom version of what’s gone down so far…

I completed grad school and finally, FINALLY got my Master’s Degree, moved across the country, got a new job, settled into a smashing new apartment (if I do say so myself), published a book (WHAT?! Still trying to wrap my head around that one), became a contributor for HelloGiggles (WHAT?! Still trying to wrap my head around that one as well!), joined an amazing new church, met some incredible new friends and reconnected with old ones. I’ve shared a million laughs, shed a few tears and gave a lot of hugs. Phew. Is that all?

This past year, I’ve also learned and have been reminded of just a few things in particular….

1. Nothing is ever completely as it seems. (I think in today’s age of social media, it’s even more important to remind ourselves of this on the regular.)

2. Always, always remember to take the cardboard out from under your DiGiorno before you stick it in the oven. Not that I know from experience or anything…

3. There is so much good in this world. The news and the media can sometimes make it a little difficult to find, but my goodness, once you start looking for it, you’ll see it everywhere.

4. Friendships are fluid. They change and take on different shapes and meanings, and that’s okay. It’s so wonderful to let old friends back in, and it really is okay to let the unhealthy ones go.

5. There will never again be music like 90s music. Sorry, 2014.

6. The size of your body, the clothes your wear, and the amount of makeup you have on (or don’t) does not determine your self-worth (like, it really, really doesn’t.)

7. Abandoning the “should mentality” is one of the best things you can do for yourself.

8. As George Michael so iconically put it, “You’ve got to have faith [faith, faith.]

9. Sometimes being a Milwaukee Brewers fan is hard. But I have a feeling 2015 is going to be our year. (Like I said, you’ve got to have faith [faith, faith.]

10. Adopting “F the Bullfunky” as one of my life mottos has served me well this past year. Life is way too short to sweat the small stuff.

11. I’ll never be cool. And I’m 110% okay with that.

12. Going after your dreams takes work. It’s hard. Like, the hardest. But you can’t stop. You can’t give up. (Again with the faith thing.)

13. I want to be BFF’s with Jimmy Fallon. And Emma Stone. Can my people talk to their people and make that happen?

14. Make sure you understand the basic principles of personal finance (I may have fallen asleep while it was being explained to me, but I finally know about–and have my very own–401K plan. I’m getting so old, guys.)

15. There is no growth in the comfort zone, and no comfort in the growth zone.

16. It’s scary, and often difficult, to admit when you’re ready to make a major life change.

17. Dating is ALL of the worst. But it’s also kind of ALL of the best. How can that be?!

18. It’s important to surround yourself with positive, passionate people.

19. Asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness.

20. Try not to take life–or yourself–too seriously.

21. Nothing is coincidence.

22. it’s critical to pull your head out of your arse and listen to what God and/or the Universe are telling you. (See #21)

23. Never, ever apologize for being a “heart thinker.”

24. Forgive.

25. Make a point everyday to have a positive impact on someone else. It can be as simple as saying hello, holding the door open for them, or sharing a smile. You never know how these simplest of actions can turn someone’s day around and make them feel loved/appreciated.

26. Make a point everyday to give thanks.

27. Write love notes.

28. Give compliments. Accept compliments.

29. Encourage and uplift others.

30. And lastly, I think the most important thing I have learned this year is that there is still so much left to learn.

I’ve been so extremely blessed this past year and can’t wait to see what God has in store for me next! Here’s to finishing off 2014 with a bang!

Question of the day: What are some things you learned this year?!

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Imagine this.

You’re at a family member’s house. They’re throwing a grand Chrismakwanukkah/New Year’s shindig, and because you don’t want to look completely anti-social, sitting alone in a corner talking to yourself about bills that are due and clothes that need to be washed, you attempt to make small talk. You approach your aunt or second cousin once removed, and after brief introductory conversation, the first thing that comes out of one of their mouth is,

“So…are you seeing anyone?”

There it is.

You knew it was inevitable.

It’s that one question that everyone may not want to ask per say, but it’s the one question that they seem to always want the answer to.

I hate this question. Like, enough-to-spit-out-a-quick-answer-or-circle-around-it-altogether-moving-onto-the-next-forced-question-which-is-most-likely-something-like- “Hasn’t this weather been crazy?”-or-“How about that Aaron Rodgers?”-hate.

Here’s what I’d like to say:

Actually, I’m very happy being single at the moment. I recently started a new job and am living in a new city; it’s been a blast just being able to meet people and make new friends. I’m not on the hunt for a boyfriend right now, but if a guy with the personality of Jimmy Fallon and the looks of Chris Hemsworth walks into my life (or bookstore—there’s nothing more sexy than a guy who reads, am I right, ladies?), I am totally open to seeing where things go.

Here’s what I actually end up saying:

Um…uh..well…the thing is…

Smooth, Wendi. Real smooth.

I hate this question because one, I don’t really have a one-word answer. And two, since when has my singledom, or anyone else’s for that matter, defined who I am? Who anyone is?

I’m turning the big 2-8 in a few months and realize that I am at the age now where a lot most of my friends from grade school, high school and college are getting married or popping out little kiddos. And honestly, I couldn’t be happier for them. I actually cannot wait till I get to that point in my life when I find the man of my dreams, settle down, and start a family.

It’s also a time of year where everywhere you look, couples are sharing cups of hot chocolate, cozzying up by the fireplace, and kissing under the mistletoe. The holidays do bring about an air of romance and love, if not for the super sexy onesie pajamas that are a must-wear, then it’s the beautiful snow landscapes that are reminiscent of any Fabio book cover.

Plus, the with the holidays comes many a party and get-together. And with these parties and get-togethers comes the opportunity to reconnect with old friends and meet some really great new people. You never know what could happen (especially if you happen to be wearing one of those super cute onesies). I think you should always be open to meeting someone special, to forming a relationship and maybe even falling in the “L” word.

But I also think it’s okay to be a bit selfish.

You need and deserve time to focus on yourself.

To discover your passions and talents and goals and dreams outside of anybody else.

After all, you want to make sure that when you do enter a relationship, you’re the best possible version of yourself that you can be.

Right?

Right.

So ladies–and gents–this year, I give you full permission to be single and ready to mingle (and jingle all the way)!

But if you happen to run into a Jimmy Fallon/Chris Hemsworth mashup in your local bookstore…give me directions to that bookstore STAT!

Old-School-TV

I don’t know about you guys, but I am all about [that bass] and my fave TV shows.

And this year, they are goooood.

I mean, really gooood.

I mean, you’ve got your breakout hits like Shonda Rhimes’ scandalous and hold-on-to-the-edge-of-your seat drama How to Get Away With Murder, the hilarious comedy Marry Me starring the charming Casey Wilson, and my favorite fan-girl series of the moment, The Flash (which, coincidentally is what my co-workers call me after that unfortunate ‘very strong wind while wearing a summer dress’ incident). You’ve also got your standby amazingly amazing hits like New Girl starring my girl Zooey Deschanel, the best family drama (in my opinion), Parenthood (does anyone else cry just all of the ugly tears while watching that show?!), Revenge and of course, Once Upon a Time.

Woofta.

With all of that high-quality couch time during the week, one has barely enough time to eat.

Hahahahaha. I kid, I kid.

Because how can one possibly binge-watch without the proper fuel (and by fuel I mean anything in the ‘ito family, chocolate, chocolate, and more chocolate.)

As most of us are getting ready to merrily head off on our holiday vacations, unfortunately so are our fave TV shows (if they haven’t already done so.) This can be a very hard time for many people. Like any break or break up in a relationship, there are often feelings of denial, depression, anger, frustration and sadness–especially after a shocking and jaw-dropping cliff hanger.

What?! I have to wait until March to find out what happens to [plug in pretty much any character from any of the aforementioned shows]?! In the words of my favorite Tanner, “How rude.”

I know. It can be hard. But you know what? It can also be kind of awesome.

Think about it. You literally have hours upon hours upon hours during the week that are now free to do whatever you want. The possibilities are endless, really. Here are just some suggestions on what you can do with that spare time:

1. Pick up a book. I know what you’re thinking. A book? But that’s so 1999. Here is where you are wrong, my friends. Books are the OG of TV shows. They come in all genres, tell captivating stories, and don’t require a WiFi connection. Bonus points for giving the ‘ol brain some exercise.

2. Get together with friends. Instead of watching a group of Friends on the telly get into crazy shenanigans, call up your own besties IRL and create some shenanigans of your own. Dedicate a night of the week where you get together and catch up, let your hair down and have some good-quality FUN! Have an epic karaoke battle, grab drinks a that funky new bar downtown or even just relax at home with some wine, pizza and board games.

3. Go for a walk. It might be a tad chilly outside, but there is something magical about taking a stroll on an early December eve, the stars above you and the crunch of the snow underneath your boots. Plus, it makes it all the more special when you have that warm fire and steaming cup of hot chocolate waiting for you when you get back.

4. Let your crafting freak flag fly. There is nothing I love more than getting my hands dirty. And by dirty, I mean covered in paper mache, hot glue and glitter. Spend some time perusing Pinterest or the aisles of any craft store to get inspiration , find a fun project to do and get to crafting!

5. Channel your inner Martha Stewart and get your cooking on. Throw that ramen noodle cup away, get rid of that stale Chinese food in your fridge and tell the pizza delivery guy you’ve made other plans. Tonight, you’re making dinner! The kitchen can be a scary and unfamiliar place, especially if you use your oven as a place to store your shoes and live and die by the “reheat” button on your microwave. But have no fear! It can easily be tamed. Grab some of your favorite cookbooks, a recipe or two from your mom/grandma and give it a whirl (or a swirl, or a bake or a broil.)

6. Volunteer. There are so many organizations out there, especially this time of year, who are always looking for an extra helping hand (or two). Spend some time at your local rescue shelter walking and playing with the animals, donate a few hours a week cleaning up parks an other community areas, help with donations and food delivery at your nearest Red Cross. Nothing compares to the feeling you get from making a positive impact on others.

7. Call your mom/dad/sister/brother/Aunt Martha. You know that thing you use to play Words With Friends, take selfies and occasionally text your friends with? Did you know you can actually–wait for it–call people too?! It’s kind of a crazy concept, I know. But sometimes, picking up your phone and giving someone you love a ring can be pretty spectacular. Fill them in on your latest relationship drama, see how their new job is going, and most importantly, let them knowhow much you love them.

So there you have it, folks. Just a few ideas to help get you over those post-TV show hiatus blues. Now if you’ll excuse me, my mom is on the other line and I’ve got a pan of lasagna in the oven that needs to be taken out.

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Friday Fav’s

Well hello there, friends and a very happy Friday to ya!

Cliché as it may sound, this week has flown by. Like, ‘Superman who just drank five Redbulls’ fast! And I’m really not complaining. Work has been slower than a turtle in a sloth’s costume sitting in Denver traffic lately (overkill on the analogies?) and it’s really just all of the worst. Luckily, there are now only 9 more days until I have two whole weeks of sweet, sweet vacation! Only nine more days until I am reunited with my crazy family. Only nine more days until I kick off the most epic of Christmas celebrations to date! ONLY NINE MORE DAYS!!!!

But who’s counting, really?

Because there are only nine more days until I am gone for two whole weeks, I have a feeling that this weekend will be spent packing my life away. I’m one of those weirdos who likes to have everything ready to go well ahead of time (I know, right. So annoying.) Plus, when it comes to packing, I suck. I mean, how does one fit only 4 9 books into a carry-on suitcase?! And I guess I should pack some clothes and maybe a toothbrush too, huh? Ugh. The whole process is just so stressful!

So when you’re out and about this weekend doing some last minute Christmas shopping and cookie baking eating, think of me, knee-deep in jeans and paperbacks.

But in the meantime, please check out my finds from around the web and more in this week’s Friday Fav’s!

P.S. I wanted to share some exciting new with y’all!! A blog post of mine was recently featured on one of the coolest sites around, Hellogiggles.com! You can check it out here. The other exciting news? They asked me to be a regular contributor to the site!!! I’m still trying to process it all, but I am pretty darn excited! And honored! And oh so grateful!

Favorite funny: 21 Actual Analogies Used by High School Students in English Essays.  Speaking of analogies…I found this floating around Facebook the other day and was dyying. #14…I can’t even.

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Favorite Christmas breakfast: Cinnamon-Pumpkin Waffles with a Caramel Syrup. I saw this photo on my Instagram feed a few days ago and my mouth instantly began to water. I want to take a swim in that caramel syrup!

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Favorite steal/obsession: How I am just finding out about Thriftbooks.com now is a travesty because let me tell you, it’s the best thing since sliced bread! You can find all of your favorite books (gently used) for under $8! I KNOW! I just got myself a couple of early Christmas presents yesterday (okay, it was more like 12). I have a feeling this website is going to be dangerous. Great Christmas gift idea for all book lovers in your life!

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Favorite Bookish Find: On those cold winter nights, you can read in bed while bundled up in your fuzzy book blanket! Need. Want. Must have.

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Favorite Seasonal Slurp: Homemade White Hot Chocolate. Yummazing. I’m a fan of all things hot chocolate, but white hot chocolate?! Now you’re speaking my language!

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Favorite Chrismas Coooookie: Classic. Simple. Tradition. A perfect dunking vessel for that cup of White Hot Chocolate. :)

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Favorite Take Me There: The spot of the world’s first Christmas tree, the Tallinn Square Market in Estonia is one of the most picturesque holiday locales I have seen! Stunning!

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Favorite Lesson: THIS is what Christmas is really all about. The little dude with the blanket was wise beyond his years.

Favorite Fur Ball: Santa Pup! Too much cuteness!

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Have a great weekend, guys!

Life goal.

Life goal.

I have a lot of random bookish ideas running around in my head, guys (along with thoughts about lunch. And dinner. And eating said lunch and dinner with Chris Hemsworth while he serenades me with a back rub and a mad game of Scattegories…)

Ahem.

Sorry about that.

With the holidays right around the corner, I thought I would share some of these bookish ideas with you all. Consider this a wish list if you’d like. Some of these ideas might not make much sense. Others may seem downright insane in the membrain. But hey, I got big dreams.

BIG, I tell ya!

One of these days I’m gonna grow a mustache to rival Tom Selleck, you just wait.

Okay. No. That would be weird. Because he’s a dude and I’m, well, not.

But his ‘stache is pretty darn impressive.

1. Scratch and sniff cookbooks. Are you curious what aroma is going to fill your kitchen when you start making that scrumptious lasagna recipe? What about that chocolate cake? C’mon science, catch up. Find a way for me to smell my food before committing. After all, taste is tied to our olfactory senses, right? Deciding what I want to make for dinner would be a lot easier if I could give it a good sniff first.

2. Books that punish you for making bad life decisions. I am a book fiend, and when I skip out on a few hours of sleep (and by few I mean four. Or six.) to lie in bed and plow through 100 pages of Gone Girl, I get mad at myself the day after for not being a fully-functioning adult. Oh who am I kidding? Books > sleep any day! However it does make for a rather longgggg next day. And I’m sure my boss doesn’t appreciate the snores and drooling coming from my office. Just kidding. I don’t snore. Or drool. Just kidding. I totally do. If there were reasonably priced hardcover books that tied into the health feature on my smartphone and only opened if I had gotten my eight hours of zzzz’s the previous night,  I’d buy them in a heartbeat. Again, where you at, science?

3.  A business that competed with Amazon drones based around a system of toy remote control cars that delivered books right to your doorstep. My official Roomba literary army. Bring it, Bezos.

4. Edible books made from some type of sugar paper that you could take on camping trips. That way, your pack is a little lighter by day five, and you have a back up source of sustenance if something’s off with your food supply. I would start with Julie and Julia.

5. A thing kind of like an Advent chocolate calendar where you punch the candy out of the little box each day. Except instead it’s a reward for finishing chapters of War and Peace. I’ve been stuck somewhere around page 400 for about two five years now.

6. A magical bookshelf that would grow and expand as you acquired more books to it. That’s feasible, right?

Like I said, kind of insane.

But totally and 110% awesome!

I Believe

I believe there is good in everyone.

I believe dogs make life happier.

I believe that confident people are the most attractive people.

I believe that every. single. thing. happens for a reason.

I believe happiness is a choice, not a circumstance.

I believe that everyone deserves kindness and compassion.

I believe that ice cream has healing properties.

I believe in taking chances.

I believe that bear hugs from your favorite people are the best things ever.

I believe in the power of a new outfit.

I believe that one can never have too many books. Ever.

I believe that when it comes to siblings, you defend first and ask questions second.

I believe realistic expectations are the secret to maintaining sanity (and low blood pressure.)

I believe asking for help is a sign of strength.

I believe there is no growth in the comfort zone, and no comfort in the growth zone.

I believe moms have super powers.

I believe in following your dreams, not matter what.

I believe in soul mates.

I believe that life is as good as we make it.

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They’re on every bus we ride, sitting in every doctor’s office, and standing behind every take-out counter. They’re beside us on the sidewalk, in front of us at the ballgame, and behind us at the movies.

Yes, you all know who I’m talking about.

Weirdos.

Weirdos are holding kittens on leashes on the bus wearing giant fur hats, weirdos are talking gossip on their cell phones in the library, weirdos are wearing headphones and singing the Step By Step theme song.

And you know how I know weirdos are everywhere?

Because we’re weirdos too, my friends.

I’m a weirdo. You’re a weirdo. So let’s just accept it and move on.

Nothing’s more fun than spotting a weirdo and trading the classic “Do you see what I see?” look with another stranger. When that connection snaps, it’s like you’re suddenly surrounded by a close friend and chuckling at a little absurdity in the middle of the big absurdity of it all. Laughing at a stranger with another stranger makes your sighting a little more real, a little more funny, and a lot more…

AWESOME!

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