My Awesomely Random Life (and Everything in Between)

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1. They know exactly how you like your eggs cooked (scrambled with maple syrup).

2. And how you take your coffee in the morning (milk with just all of the sugar).

3. They buy you dusty copies of your favorite book for your birthday (or just because it’s a Tuesday).

4. And sing along with you to your favorite songs (anything by Styx or Third Eye Blind) while you’re both hilariously, horribly off-key.

5. They ask you about your childhood, how you got that scar on your right knee and the one movie that really moves you/makes you cry ugly tears (Lion King, I’m looking at you buddy).

6. They ask about how your day was; the drive into work, the ridiculously amazing Smashburger you had for lunch and what Jess and Nick were up to in that night’s episode of New Girl.

7. Basically, all the little moments in life that are seemingly irrelevant, they care about.

8. You think to yourself and actually tell them that they are the best person in the world…and you really mean it.

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9. They’re the person you want to call when you’ve just seen something amusing only they would find the hilarity in (All right I’m done with this. Let’s go to Denny’s!)

10. And when you’ve found a passage in a book that made you stop for a moment and think, you want to tell them instantly and get their take on the powerful words.

11. You’re not sure how they do it (there has just GOT to be some Harry Potter magic going on!) but they seem to take notice of all the little things (the way you freak the beans out every time you get stopped on a hill when driving your stick-shift and how you have to have a handful of peanut M&M’s after every time you brush your teeth).

12. And they somehow like you all the more for those things.

13. They know just the thing to say or do to make you laugh on the regular.

14. And know your favorite food orders to bring you in times of great stress (or when you are just plain hangry–pretty much anything in the ice cream and/or chocolate family. Or French toast. Or pizza. Or, well, food basically because yum. Except for fish because you both agree that no one should eat anything that smells so….fishy).

15. The absolute best moments with them aren’t in the pre-planned nights out, but instead are found within the unexpected.

16. Like eating pizza on the couch, watching New Radio and laughing till it hurts.

17. Or confessing your guilty music pleasures (Hanson) on a road trip.

18. They’re the first person you think about when you wake up, and the last person before you go to sleep.

19. They’re the person you have the most fun with, the person that makes you smile from ear to ear, the person who makes all of the trouble and stress and worry of the day/week/month seem to disappear whenever you’re around them. They’re the person who brings out the best in you, the confident, funny, brave and all-the-time giant goofball of a person.

20. How do you know that you’ve found your person? You look at them and just know. You feel it in your gut. You feel in your heart. This is my person. If and when you are lucky enough to find this special someone, there really is no greater feeling in the world.

Whether it be a sister or brother, a mom or a dad, a best friend or boyfriend/girlfriend, finding a person, your person, is a very rare thing. Don’t take for granted, not even for an instant, the smiles, the laughs, the ridiculous car karaoke sessions and late-night Netflix marathons. Let your person know how much you care about and appreciate them every chance you get.

Book Ending Crankerdom

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I’ve basically hated the endings of the last few books I’ve read, and I am cranky about it. Like being stuck in bumper to bumper traffic cranky. Like not having eaten in five hours cranky. Like being stuck in traffic WHILE also being hungry hangry cranky. I don’t know what your maximum capacity for crankerdom is, but I’m just about hitting the ceiling on mine.

Let me clarify my stance on endings. I don’t need them to be happy. I’m actually not the number one fan of happy endings, because with the kinds of complicated stories I kind of gravitate towards, a truly happy ending, more often than not, feels oversimplified and tacked on.  I don’t want all the strings hanging loose at the end, but I equally don’t want all those strings tied up into neat and pretty birthday package bows. I don’t live in a world of bows (or at least, I don’t live in a world that’s ONLY bows) and I want to see the irony and tragedy of life reflected on the page in a way that’s at once both familiar and surprising.

OH MY GOODNESS GRACIOUS IS THAT SO MUCH TO ASK FOR?!

Phew. Sorry guys. I told you.

Major crankerdom.

I don’t care that I’m basically the Veruca Salt of Readers, I want my mindblowing ending and I WANT IT NOW.

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So I don’t need my endings to be happy. What I do need them to be is satisfying. For some people, a satisfying ending is synonymous with a happy one. Fans of the romance genre expect their endings to be happy, and rightfully so. Happy endings are a component of that genre, fans feel cheated if they don’t get to see Fabio carry off his lady into the sunset at the end.

But romance isn’t my genre. My genre is literary fiction (and narrative non-fiction, and YA that skews literary, and, okay, I have a lot of genres, but the genre that this crankmonster rant-growling focuses on is literary fiction).

For me, a satisfying ending is when a dramatic question has been thoroughly explored throughout the course of a story (Can Anna Karenina find happiness with Count Vronsky? Can Peter Pan convince the Darling children to stay with him in Neverland? Can Hamlet avenge his father’s death?) and an answer that makes sense has been reached. Often the answer to the dramatic question in question is NO, because it was always SUPPOSED to be NO. It’s not the ending that feels GOOD, but it is the ending that feels RIGHT. If Anna ran off with Vronsky with no consequences, if the Darling children stayed in Neverland forever, if Hamlet was just like “To heck and an handbag with this Elsinore noise, I’m getting out of this crazy castle and maybe also Denmark,” yes, those characters might be happier, but we the readers wouldn’t. At least I as a reader wouldn’t. I’d feel like the honest, hard, sad ending was ripped off the end of the story and replaced with the tail of a different species of book. The story would no longer feel like its own animal. It would feel Frankensteined, and we all know what happened to Frankenstein (he murders a bunch of people and then moves to the North Pole).

That’s been my problem with the endings of the last few books I’ve read. They don’t feel like the inevitable endings of these stories, what I believe, within the world the author has set up in the beginning and developed in the middle, would really happen. They feel like “This book is about to end so I better wrap things up, okay, the conflict that had been going on the entire book is resolved and the characters that were in danger aren’t anymore and, okay, we’re done.”

These endings don’t work for ME, but I’ve talked to people about the books in question for whom these endings absolutely work. So I don’t know. Maybe I am just nothing but a cuddly as a cactus, charming as an eel Last Page Grinch. I might just be too picky about my endings. But usually, the reason I’m so hard on endings is because I loved the beginning/middle of the book in question SO GOSHDARN MUCH!

My real problem isn’t that I hate these endings, but that hating these endings makes me hate the entire book even if I loved the beginning and middle. And that’s not fair. An awesome two-thirds of the book shouldn’t lose to the lame last third, a rockstar three-quarters shouldn’t lose to the disappointing last quarter, but they do, for me, once I get pissed about an ending, it’s just so hard for me to love the beginning and middle in the same way.

What about you guys? How does a disappointing/unsatisfying affect you? Are you like “Cool, whatever, brah” or are you like “RRRRAAUUUUGGGGHHH!”

Tell a girl a story.

Friday Favs

Well hey there, guys!

I hope you all are having a smashing Friday so far! It has been such a long week on my end. Winter has officially arrived here in Denver (I knew those 70 degree days would come back to bite us in the keester) and I don’t like it one bit. I know I shouldn’t be complaining as it is winter after all, and it’s supposed to snow and get colder than a well-digger’s hinny every once in a while, but good gracious…I want me some summer.

Anywhoo, other than the royal beating Mother Nature surprised us with this past week, things have been good. Like, really good. I’m kicking butt and taking names at the library and while it has only been two weeks since I started, I really feel like I am becoming a part of the campus community. I’ve gotten to know the amazing and inspiring students and the faculty/staff are the bee’s knees. I can honestly and for the first time say that I love my job. That is a pretty amazing feeling and I am so incredibly lucky and grateful.

This weekend it’s supposed to be cold and snowy out, perfect weather to stay in and snuggle up with your favorite person, have a ravenous Netflix marathon and eat all of the pizza. At least that’s what’s on the docket for me. ;)

Whatever your plans are, I hope you have a splendiferious Saturday and Sunday but before you head off to Fun Town, be sure to check out my finds from around the web and more in this week’s edition of Friday Favs.

Favorite What the What???: Say yes to the #dressgate. This had me, as well as everyone’s second cousin’s twice removed husband’s grandmother’s uncle’s wife going completely crazy last night. But this tweet from Jaden Smith might have been the thing to put me over the edge. So the question is: Are you team white/gold or blue/black? Just in case you were wondering, the dress is TOTALLY WHITE AND GOLD!!!

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Favorite Wild Goose Llama Chase: I’m not gonna lie; I was captivated by this yesterday. CAPTIVATED! Who knew llamas were so bad-ass?! Speaking of llamas…my friend Chris introduced me to this amazingness and  I haven’t stopped thanking him yet. So ridiculously ridiculous. CARRRRRLLLLL!

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Favorite Jam: I love me some Ed Sheeran and this tune is currently on repeat! P.S. He obviously learned his dance moves from me. Obviously. Or not.

Favorite bite: Cookies & Cream Popcorn. One of my best friends and I used to hoard Hershey’s Cookies & Cream mini chocolate bars in our lockers, which were right next to each other, freshman year of high school. It was all fun and games until the boys on either side of us discovered our locker combinations and stole our entire stash. ‘Twas a sad day indeed. I would keep this stuff under lock and KEY!

Favorite vantage point. I don’t think I’ve ever seen this super-cool wedding shot before. Ladies – keep this one in mind for any impending nuptials!

Favorite indulge: Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies with Sea Salt. So simple. So divine. So want dozens and dozens of them right now…

Favorite pooch. Rawr. ;)

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Favorite view: Montalcino, Tuscany, Italy. I. want. to. go. to. there.

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Favorite sweet: Slutty Blondies. If craving promiscuous blondies is wrong, I don’t want to be right!

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Favorite Funny: Just a normal, everyday text convo with the sis. Sometimes we are too much even for me! #ImActuallyJesus

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February 22 through February 28 is National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, something that is very near and dear to my heart.

In today’s age of media and unbelievably unrealistic and preposterous (bringing it back to 1700 with my word of the day calendar on this one!) cultural expectations, the never-ending stream of TV shows and ads about losing more weight, getting smaller waists and achieving skinnier legs makes it seem as if you aren’t beautiful until you’ve tried the latest fad diet and managed to squeeze into a size negative two dress (the fact that there is a size negative anything makes me want to karate chop a mango and throw said mango at whoever created a size negative anything!) Let’s admit it: the constant pressure for self-improvement can get a bit exhausting! Okay. It’s all of the exhausting and completely and 110% unnecessary! Good Goobers (mmmm…Goobers)! What happened to appreciating your body just the way it is?

It’s so easy to forget about all the amazing things your body is doing every moment you talk, walk, think and breathe. Believe me, I have been there. In fact, I still am trying to remember these things. It’s often times an ‘every day I have to try and remind myself’ kind of thing. But that’s okay.

The fact is, our bodies work hard around the clock to keep you and I functioning so we’re able to get down with our bad selves on the dance floor, attend that concert or baseball game, give your bestie a big ‘ol bear hug and do so many of the other fun things we love and are passionate about doing. So instead of striving to make your body look impossibly perfect, let’s show ourselves some love by appreciating our body’s strength, functionality and beauty.

In honor of this week, I wanted to take some time and remind you, yes YOU, of just some of the many reasons why you are the amazing and beautiful person you.

More importantly, I want to remind you, yes YOU, why you should CELEBRATE how amazing and beautiful you are!

1. Your Eyes

Your eyes can process 36,000 bits of information every hour, distinguish about 10 million colors and also express your colorful personality—those are definitely some eye-catching qualities if I do say so myself!

2. Your Nose

Your nose lends character to your face and makes you recognizable. You wouldn’t look your beautiful self without the one that you have right now! Your nose can also remember 50,000 different scents (an excuse to go perfume shopping or wax-on, wax-off with some sinfully aromatic candles)! Let’s also not forget that your nose makes it possible for you to experience all of those amazingly delicious flavors whenever you dig into a meal, since flavors result from a combination from both taste and smell. Loving your nose makes perfect scents (pun intended)!

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3. Your Arms

Tickets to the gun show, please. ;) Your strong arms allow you to do everything from hugging and playing tug of war with your pup, to carrying in all of your groceries in one trip and kicking your boyfriend’s bum at the batting cages.

4. Your Chest

Has any other body part ever been so celebrated in art, literature, pop culture or life in general? From paintings of Greek goddesses and pictures of pin-up girls to modern-day lingerie ads, there’s a lot of hype about that region of our bodies. No matter which bra size you wear, be proud of your girls–or in my case, lack there of ;).

5. Your Stomach/Waist

Women have a lot of guts—literally! The lower portion of the colon, called the sigmoid colon (try saying that five times fast), tends to be longer in women than in men. Also, about 80 percent of your immune system resides in your gut, so you can thank your stomach for keeping you strong and healthy.

6. Your Hips

As Shakira famously once said, the hips don’t lie. It’s basically historically proven that curves are beautiful. And if you don’t happen to have apple-bottom jeans [boots with the fur] hips, don’t you fret! As Shakira famously once did, don’t be afraid to shake what your momma gave you and own it! You’re beautiful, girl!

7. Your Butt, Booty, Bum, Tush, Fanny

Baby Got Back! Your glutes are a powerful muscle group that represents both power and longevity. The gluteus maximus is the biggest muscle in your entire body and allows you to walk and run upright. It also doesn’t hurt that your assets make your new pair of jeans look amazing! It’s no wonder that both Jennifer Lopez and Kylie Minogue have insured their backsides for millions (apparently this is a very real thing–a very real[ly] weird thing, but a thing nonetheless). Whether your derriere is big or small, round or flat, your seat is perfect just the way it is.

8. Your Thighs/Legs

Check this stat out! It takes 200 muscles to take just a single step, so your legs are a real powerhouse! Your thighbone is stronger than concrete and is the longest bone in your body, measuring about a quarter of your height. Bigger thighs have also been linked to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease later in life. Strong legs are so in! Just look at Queen Bey—she doesn’t have a thigh gap, but she’s considered one of the most beautiful women in the world. Her thighs even have their own Facebook fan page! WHAT?!

9. Your Skin

Your skin does so much more than make you look presentable—without it, you’d just evaporate! It also guards the body against extreme temperatures, sunlight, chemicals and infections. It’s magically recuperative and elastic; humans shed about 600,000 particles of skin per hour (kind of gross yes, but also SO FROGGIN COOL!!), so your entire outer layer of skin replaces itself once a month like a waterproof, self-cleaning fortress (talk about a new you!).

So the next time that little negative voice in your head starts to say mean things about your body, remember all the wonderful things your body does for you. Admire all your body parts equally, because each is an extension of who you are. Love and respect your body, and it will love and respect you back!

Go ahead and treat yourself to some pizza, indulge in some chocolate or take a nice, long bubble bath (or all three!) —your body deserves it.

Beauty comes in all sizes, shapes and forms; always remember that your body is already beautiful just the way it is.

For more information on eating disorders, or how to become a part of spreading awareness and raising support, please check out the National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA). Let’s stand together (on our beautiful and strong thighs, legs, hips and bums) and do our part to help millions of women and men, girls and boys kick ED to the curb, once and for all!

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For a moment, a brief and fleeting second, it looks as if they might burst.

Lips clenched, eyebrows raised, they’re shaking their head and looking away to avoid choking or spraying burrito guts all over the table. You know you dropped a good line when their face turns red and they start frantically waving the “Please stop! Please stop!” signal with both hands.

AWESOME!

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Your palms start to sweat, your face turns a lovely shade of Shebastian and your stomach starts doing crazy Cirque de Soleil acrobatics.

You can WebMD all you want my friends, but all signs and symptoms point to one thing: you’ve got a serious case of the butterflies.

Or in certain cases, pterodactyls.

There are many ways that you can contract these aforementioned butterflies; starting a new job, preparing for an interview, or even right before you get up on stage to Beyoncé your heart out in front of a crowd at karaoke night.

The most common culprit however, the one thing that gives you all the feels while tying your stomach up in knots simultaneously?

Love.

It’s the most terrifying and amazing feeling in the world, and if you happen to have been struck by Cupid’s arrow, there is a good chance that those butterflies are in full-on beast mode.

I tell you this, because I happen to be experiencing a very bad case of the ‘flies myself.

Darn you, you chubby-winged flying baby!

I think we all have felt those butterflies at some point, especially when a relationship is new; you’re still getting to know one another and get a sense of what you really think of the other person. The first few weeks and months of dating are terribly exciting and nerve-wracking all at once. But I think that’s the way it should be. If you’re not even the teeny tiniest bit nervous, you more than likely don’t think too highly of the other person.

At some point, many will say that those butterflies will start to fade away–or even disappear all together–as you get more comfortable with each other. I am here to tell you otherwise, however.

I don’t think those butterflies should ever go away. In fact, I think a great way to tell if you are falling in love with someone is by how nervous they make you feel. Nervousness in a way is a biological and physiological reaction to our need to protect, identifying what it is that truly means a lot to us.

Here are just some of the reasons how the right person should give you those pesky (but oh so great) butterflies–and why they should never go away.

1. You can’t wait until the next time you hear from or see him/her.

We’ve all been there before. You send a text and while you tell yourself that you’re not waiting for a reply, you’re secretly reprising Jack Nicolson’s role in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Just when you think you can’t get any more crazy-applesauce, your Blankspace ringtone goes off, sending you to the ceiling with glee as he/she finally (FINALLY!!) responded.

Texting and talking on the phone is great, but you find yourself constantly thinking about the next time you will see him/her. You miss their laugh, their smile, the way your hand fits ever so perfectly in theirs (excuse the mushie gushies—I told you, I’ve got a very bad case!). You can’t help but anxiously await the next time you’ll get to be with the other person. Oh those butterflies.

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2. You still get embarrassed every time you burp…

Or snort while laughing. Or the sound you make when sneezing. Or how you tend to trip while walking up the steps. You could have been together for a day or ten years, but somehow the thought of these little idiosyncrasies, these unique quarks that you have are still cause for embarrassment. But you know what? I think it’s these very things, the burping and snorting and sneezing and tripping, that make your significant other all the more attracted to you.

3. You’re nervous about how much you like/love him/her.

You like this person. You really like this person.

Nope.

Crap.

You love this person. You really love this person.

Having such strong and incredible feelings towards another person is amazing. Like, it’s the best thing in the history of ever. But having these strong and incredible feelings can also be just all of the terrifying. This may be the first time you’ve ever truly been in love before so everything is so new and unfamiliar. You may be scared of not having the feelings be reciprocated. Or worse, you may fear your heart being broken. This is all very normal and part of a healthy relationship. Your brain and heart are can often be in a constant battle, but finding the person, your person who feels the same way about you? I think it makes everything worth it.

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4. You’re both nervous and excited for what the future will hold for the both of you…together.

Thinking about the future when you’re in love takes on a whole different meaning. Now instead of just thinking what your life will look like 5 or 10 years down the road, you think about what your lives will look like. You’ve found the person, your person and you’re both nervous and excited about what that picture will look like with both of you…together. Traveling, moving in together, marriage and kids. These are all things that bring life so much joy, so much happiness. When you find that person, your person, you can’t help but look forward to sharing these experiences with one another.

5. The chance of having to say goodbye.

In every relationship, there is always that change of it not working out for whatever reason. When you’re in love, you don’t ever want to think about something like that happening. The thought of not being with the other person is definite cause for butterflies, but in this case, they’re not the good kind. I think in cases like this, it makes you appreciate the other person even more, not taking for granted each hug, each kiss, each time you are together.

Your palms start to sweat, your face turns a lovely shade of Shebastian and your stomach starts doing crazy Cirque de Soleil acrobatics.

They may be pesky little guys, but if and when you find the person, your person, they will be a constant reminder of how much you respect, adore, like and love him/her.

All thanks to that darn chubby-winged flying baby.

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Things Late-20 Somethings Say

Maybe it’s because my friends and I are closer to 30 than we are to 20, but recently, I’ve caught us saying things that make me feel like I deserve to wear orthopedic shoes. Tell me we’re not the only ones…

1. “Kids these days.” 

2. “Why does this concert start so late?”

3. “Are we supposed to stand for the entirety of said concert?”

4. “No more drinks tonight, I’ve got errands to run in the morning.”

5. “Want to come over on Friday? We can order takeout and watch Dateline.”

6. “Did her parents really let her out of the house dressed like that?!”

7.”My kids won’t have iPhones until high school.”

8.  “These shoes are really comfortable”

9. “Please don’t call me ma’am.”

10. “Back when I was in college…”

11. “I did 15 pushups yesterday and there’s a very high chance I am never going to be able to feel my arms again.”

12. “So I was listening to NPR on my way into work….”

We also discuss things like 401k’s and taxes and investing and it’s weird. I also chose to purchase a sophisticated bar of chocolate with sea salt caramel instead of a Kit Kat the other night and I almost wanted to slap myself.

But so help me, Pete. If I ever, EVER turn into one of those old people who complain about their baked potato being too cold at a restaurant or who regularly talk about their bowel movements (especially when they are not regular–if you know what I mean), just end me right then and there.

Please and thank you.

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