My Awesomely Random Life (and Everything in Between)

Posts tagged ‘Family’

I’ll Stand By You

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As a little kid, I quickly earned the title of Playground Defender – which I get totally makes me sound like a mini Buffy, but if you’re imagining some bouncer-to-be or heavy weight champ, I’m gonna stop you right there. I was puny, y’all. I was tall and gangly with sticks for legs and blunt, uneven bangs (thank you mom for that one) that always clung together in a sweaty, hot mess. Nothing about me screamed, “Oofta, better watch out for that one!”

…But don’t let that fool you, my friends. Yeahhhh sure you betcha I was every bully’s worst nightmare. I was a Robin Hood: 2nd Grader in Tights, swooping in out of nowhere to help the poor and downtrodden. I’d appear with my tiny fists in the air as a warning, yelling to leave whoever was being picked on alone. I roamed the halls like an elementary school sheriff. No kid was going to get their Little Debbie Swiss Cake Roll stolen at the lunch table, or be stuffed in a garbage can. Not on my watch!

No one really knows for sure how it started. My parents said I was always feisty and full of sass. But when my kindergarten best friend started routinely getting teased by one of the more aggressive boys in class (Bobby Stinholf I’m looking you, buddy), I wasn’t having it. I’d demand that he stop. I started off using my words, like everyone suggested. And when that didn’t work, I channeled all my miniature rage and smacked the boy with a wooden building block, leaving am impressive welt on his mean, smug face.

I still remember the ride home after that incident, worried about the reaction and punishment for my actions that was inevitable, only to have instead my mom and dad secretly sneaking me high-fives from the front seat.

People soon learned if you were going to mess with the people I loved, I was going to make them wish they didn’t. Small or not, I could pack a punch. Sure, I (thankfully) graduated past the physical–the block to the face incident was the one and only–and now, as a fully-formed adult (or at least fully-formed adult adjacent), I’m not likely to pull at your hair for being mean to my friend or other loved one. I’m not going to smack you with a library book (because that would just be book abuse) or a wooden building block (though Mr. Stinholf stopped making fun of kids after that incident sooooo….). But that doesn’t mean that protective instinct doesn’t still exist inside me. The Playground Defender, the Robin Hood is a part of me. A very real, instinctual part.

There are very few things that get my blood boiling: mean people, the Cubs, mean people, paying full price for a pair of jeans only to have them go on sale the very next day, mean people, a bag of chips that 99.9999% air and mean people.

Especially mean people who are mean to the ones I love. As weird as this may sound, I don’t like confrontation. I’ve never liked confrontation. In fact, I avoid it like the plaque. I don’t like seeing people upset, hurt or in any kind of pain. I get very uncomfortable, start sweating and break out in hives. It’s not an attractive look, guys.

But there’s something different that comes over me when the ones I love are in the line of fire. My Mike Tyson patronus comes out and is ready and willing to defend, stand up for and protect. I would literally do anything for my friends and family (okay mayyyybe not anything—my hair is epically on point today so anything having to do with wind or humidity is off the table).

To those I love (you know who you are):

I know I can’t save you from this world.

Rationally, I know that. No matter how hard I try, something out there is going to hurt. You’ll have your moments of disappointment, discouragement, when you feel like everything is stacked against you. A failed relationship, the loss of a loved one, job stress or challenges to your health. I can’t stop those things from happening. My love isn’t enough to keep you forever safe from all the things.

But that doesn’t mean I’ll ever stop wanting to try. I love you, so that means I’m going to do what I can to help you, to encourage you, to be by your side and fight with you. The Defender has your back. Even when you feel alone, I will be in the background. You just have to look in my direction. I’ll still be there. I’ll still be doing what I can to protect you.

Because that’s just what I do.

Because I love you.

Because you weaseled your damn way into my heart and there’s no turning back now.

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To the Greatest, Most Amazing, Kick-Ass Woman I Know—HAPPIEST BURFFDAY ;)

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Hey mom. I know you didn’t want me to do anything special for your birthday (30! Again!), but there’s no way I could not do anything for you. IT’S YOUR BIRTHDAY, SILLY! Of course I’m going to celebrate the awesome and amazing and beautiful and one-of-a-kind woman you are. So go grab those tissues from your coat pocket, dammit! I know you way too well, which is why I think you might most definitely will need them.

From the time I was born, there has always been one person who has been totally, completely, 110% invested in my (and Lindsay’s) happiness: you.

Evidenced by the fact that mini me never left your side (remember the tantrums I threw when the babysitter came?), you were truly my first and best friend.

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You kept me entertained when I was little by playing with toys decades too young for you to enjoy (Oh. Polly Pocket again? Sure, honey.) You picked me up from school everyday just to make sure you were the first to be updated on my life. And even now you demand to know every single detail. *Bee tee dubs, the cats are great, no word on any possible jobs yet, that date I had the other night was just all of the worst, and I have been eating my veggies–potato chips count, no?

All you have ever wished for in life was to provide for both Lindsay and I, to protect us and not forget to buy those juice packs that you know we loved so much the next time you went to the store. Your unconditional love is truly unmatched.

You appreciate my ridiculously nerdy and dad-joke humor, and remind me not to bite my nails. You do things for me–and for anyone else–without any benefit for yourself. You are one of the most selfless, genuinely kind, big-hearted, caring and most amazing person I know, and I am proud to not only call you my mom and best friend, but my hero.

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Here are just some of the ways you are just all of the best:

  1. You always come to my defense

When I was younger, this meant fighting my elementary school principal for not understanding my form of “advanced creative expression” during art class.Now, you even boldly offer to talk to my boss after I’ve had a bad day at work (which is something I would never actually consider). Regardless, your power to use your words in my defense has never failed me.

  1. You genuinely care about what I’m doing with my life

You: What do you want for dinner tonight, love?

Me: Geez Mom, I can’t think about my future right now!

You always dreamed big for me.

3. You’re the only one who cares if I wore a sweater

…Or brought an umbrella, or needed a tissue, or had a bad dream, or ate enough for dinner. You think about all the little stuff that has a big impact on my wellbeing. Without you, I’d probably still be wearing 5-year-old socks and surviving off stale cereal. Okay this week has been an exception, but to my defense, laundry and grocery shopping? Ain’t nobody got time for that!

4. You’ll always try to “get it,” even when you don’t

I can’t fault you for being older (30! Again!) and a little out-of-touch with my generation (despite your protests that you’re on Facebook and know how to text, badly. Just so bad).

In fact, your old school attitude is what keeps me grounded when I’m trying to explain Millennial-age practices, like why the boy I’ve been talking to for a month just ghosted me.

You might not fully understand me (What the heck is ghosting?!), but you still always try to give me the best advice (You don’t need him. You deserve better. Your “special one” is out there!)

5. You’ll always be the most fun person to get drunk with

Watching you get wasted is the parent-child equivalent of you watching me graduate from college or grad school — I’ve never felt prouder.

I kinda really love seeing you cut loose and then listening to you spill all the family secrets to me. Plus, I finally have a shared hobby that doesn’t involve watching “The Bachelor” or anything on the ID channel.

6. You’ll always give me the benefit of the doubt

You: Where did this crazy Barnes and Noble’s charge come from?

Me: It must have been that early birthday present you got me.

You: I am so thoughtful!

Yeahhh surrrre you betcha you are, mom!

7. You want to see me succeed without any reward to yourself

…Except maybe bragging rights at Bunko. There’s a reason you always made me do my homework — so that I would become a doctor/lawyer/CEO/kickass librarian and you could drive around the neighborhood with a bumper sticker.

8. You make me feel special

You’ll keep me on the phone for hours just to listen to the most trivial parts of my day (so Linda from Accounting brought tuna salad for lunch today and I’m still smelling it!) and take the time to stock up on my favorite foods (anything in the cookie/ice cream group, basically) when I’m come home.

You feel honored when I bring back my laundry for you to do and get weirdly excited when you get the chance to clean my apartment whenever you come out to visit me. I know I don’t say it enough, but thank you mom. These may seem like the littlest of things, but to me, they’re big. HUGE!

9. You were with me every single time I did something stupid

…If only because you were my first phone call. I still don’t know how my car ended up in the neighbor’s backyard!

10. You’ve seen it all

From my most embarrassing moments (like the time I flashed my Strawberry Shortcake skivvies during my fifth grade Christmas recital) to taking care of me when I’m grossly sick, I can really do anything in front of you and you won’t love me any less.

11. You won’t judge me for wearing my pajamas outside the house

But you’ll make sure I wash them before I (Heaven forbid!) get back into bed with the same pair on. Because #Priorities.

12. You want to know the bad news, too

You’re like Columbo, or a really cool Angela Landsbury — you’ll figure out what’s wrong no matter how many times I tell you that “it’s nothing.” You know just what to say or do to make me feel better, even if it’s just the warmest and greatest of bear hugs.

13. You’re the only person who knows how to shop for me

You were the first celebrity in my eyes. And while your style hasn’t influenced my own all that much, yet (there’s still a few years before I start wearing teacher sweaters and spritzing on the White Diamonds), I’ve always looked up to you for your ability to just be yourself, to create your own style, no matter what everyone else is or was doing.

You’re probably one of the only people in my life who buys me exactly what I want (*cough BOOKS cough*) — even if it’s some extra toilet paper and plastic Tupperware.

14. You’ve got stories that rival my stories

I may think I’m a total badass, but you will be quick to remind me that you’re way bad-asser.  I’ll never, ever, never ever forget where I got that shining personality from (I got it from my momma! I got it from my momma!).

15. You feel the feels

You have probably the biggest heart of anyone I know. You continually put others before yourself, you give, you worry, you care, you love. You’ve shown me through example that feeling all the feels isn’t a weakness, but a sign of strength. And for that I’ll be forever grateful.

On this, the eve of your birthday (30! AGAIN!), I want you to know just how much you mean, not only to me, but to everyone who is lucky and blessed enough to know you, to call you a friend, sister, daughter, co-worker, confidant, mentor, mom.

Words will never be able to do justice just how much I care about you, appreciate you, respect you, am impressed by you, just love you so damn much!

Happy birthday, mama!

I can’t wait to celebrate with you in just a few short weeks! 🙂

 

 

 

 

Unlimited ice cream, hugs, and other things my dad has given me

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Some may call him Colonel, CB, brother and son. But to me, he is and always will be, dad.

If you have been or are lucky enough to have a great relationship with your dad, one very much like the one I have, you know how special they truly are, what they add to your life, the knowledge they give and the unconditional love and support they provide. My dad has given me ample amounts of ice cream sundaes (our weekly tradition of getting ice cream-wasted at our favorite Briq’s Soft Serve summer haunt is one of my sweetest memories) and has been my own personal cheering section during countless track meets and softball games. My dad taught me how to change the oil in my car, how to throw the perfect curve ball,  make a mean pot of chili, and has had more patience that I probably deserve.

He’s given me a few other things along the way too.

First and foremost, my dad taught me the value in a good sense of humor. The only downside to life is that there will be tough moments, hard moments, and no amount of planning or luck can impede them forever. My dad showed me that even in the most difficult situations–trips to the ER, a botched interview, a broken heart–having a sense of humor about it all can dissolve any tension, fear or sadness in an instant. I especially love the way my dad’s eyes light up when he smiles and how his laugh can carry through all floors of the house. My uncanny punability and affinity for corny dad-jokes are all because of this guy.

As cliché as it sounds, my dad also showed me how to appreciate the little things. One cold and rainy night when I was 12, my dad brought out a deck of cards and a strange looking board with pegged holes aligned all around it. He told me to turn the TV off and pull up a seat next to him at the kitchen table because “It’s high time I taught you how to play Cribbage.” Four hours and eight games, a bowl of my dad’s famous stovetop popcorn and two glasses of chocolate milk later, I had not only mastered the game, but I had, more importantly, gotten to spend a night with my dad that I would remember forever. The stories we shared, the belly-laughs that were exchanged and the high-fives that were given across the table that night are things that I will never forget, a moment that no TV show or movie or expensive toy could ever replicate. To this day, playing Cribbage with him is one of my favorite things to do, “our thing”.

I also remember all of the times my dad would take me for hikes, pointing out all of the trees, flowers and varying animal tracks. Or when we would go out on his fishing boat; he’d show me what areas of the lake the fish liked to live, how the wind and rip tides affected the water and the best kinds of bait to use for different fish. I was never overly excited about the wildlife personally, but his excitement was so infectious that I looked forward to those walks in the woods and boat rides, jumping at the chance to grab my coat and go on an adventure. I looked forward to the day when I would find my own simple things to find joy in, and I have. I find mine in the bright lights of a new city, in the pages of a good book, and in a new pair of fresh-out-of-the-dryer pants (among other things). As I get older, my favorite things will evolve and change, but I hope that my excitement for them never fades.

My dad taught me how to show love with a simple gesture. One day I broke my favorite blue crayon and immediately burst into tears. My dad took the crayon from me and worked on it for at least ten minutes before declaring it was “Good as new!” He superglued the pieces together so it lasted for as long as it was still my favorite crayon (probably only a few hours in all honesty). On the rare days that he would pack my school lunches, he would sneak in a full pack of Little Debbie Swiss Cake Rolls (instead of just the one that my mom would put in), he let me sit on his lap and “drive” his truck down our driveway, and he knew those times when I just really  needed one of his giant bear hugs.

My dad has shown me the power of faith, of hope and of love. He’s proved that there is strength in forgiveness, in facing our fears, and standing up for what we believe in. He’s taught me that you should never stop learning, stop challenging yourself or making mistakes. After all, it’s in these three things that you will grow the most.

I am so very lucky and grateful for my dad, not only because of the unlimited ice cream sundaes and operable blue crayons,  but because he has helped shape my character for the better. I’m an even greater me because of him.

To my dad, and all other dads, step-dads, and grandfathers this Father’s Day (and everyday), thank you.

We love you.

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Snow much to talk about

Monday.

Ish.

How’s everyone doing? Hanging in there? We all know that the start to the week can be a bit rough, especially after a fantastic weekend (or one too many drinks–and by drinks I mean milkshakes. Being ice cream drunk is a very real thing and so are the massive brain freeze headaches that follow) so I thought I would provide a little comic relief in the form of some random Monday musings.

Feel free to play along in the comments below!

1. GAME OF THRONES! I mean, I just, I can’t. Last night was the season five finale and while I won’t give away any spoilers, I will say WHAT THE FUDGCICLE?! It was brutal. Just snow, snow brutal.

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2. Confession: I have the bladder the size of a pea (pun intended but not really because it really is the size of a small legume). I literally have to pee every half hour on the dot, which is fine during the day I guess, but when I have to wake up in the middle of the night on the regular to relieve myself, it’s just annoying. And apparently dangerous. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten up, still half asleep, stumbled into the bathroom and without turning on the light (because that would just wake me up even more), have fallen into the toilet. I wish I was joking. And I know you’re laughing (which in all honesty is totally warranted), but you try finding the seat, in the dark, when your 99.5% incoherent. It’s hard, guys. Like, really hard. What we need is…are you ready for it? A glow-in-the-dark toilet. RIGHT?! And sure I could just get a normal night-light, but would want normal when you could have a light-up throne instead? Plus, you can pretty much almost guarantee there won’t be anymore unfortunate pit falls (Nope. That pun is definitely intended). Thoughts, Mark Cuban?

3. Note to self: Apply and reapply. I might have forgotten that second part this weekend. Burnt. To. A. Crisp. Youch.

4. But since we’re on the topic of SPF, I’d like to issue a formal complaint with Banana Boat for NOT smelling like banana anymore. Not impressed, BB. Not impressed.

5. To all of my fellow book hoarders aficionados, if you haven’t yet discovered Thriftbooks, do it. Now. Right now. Best-selling used books starting at just $2?! Crazy sauce. This has trouble written all over it.

6. Speaking of books, I just finished reading really good one by Peter Clines. The Fold is a story that is a mind-binding, page-turning, high-octane Sci-Fi thriller. It reads like a cross between Michael Crichton, Sherlock Holmes, and the Syfy 90’s TV show, Sliders. I’m usually not a huge fan of sci-fi but this may have turned me. Definitely check it out if you can and let me know what you think!

7. I’m constantly reminded of how lucky and incredibly blessed I am to have such amazing friends and family.

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8. Whole Foods sells freshly-churned peanut and almond butter and I am ob.sessed. I may or may not have gone through an 8 oz. jar of the chunky honey roasted PB in less than a week. Okay, I did. I totally did.

9. But seriously, though. Glow-in-the-dark toilet!

20 People You Will Meet (and Value) in Your Twenties

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I turn twenty-eight in exactly 17 days (how did I get so old?!) and while technically I can still say I’m in my twenties, I’m inching ever so close to the big 3-0. For whatever reason, birthdays always make me kind of contemplative, reflecting on the past year while at the same time looking forward to what the next will bring. I believe your 20s are all about new experiences and deciding what people and things belong, and which ones don’t. Sometimes people come into your life and make it better. Other times, the people who enter make it a lot more challenging than it’s intended. Your job, if you choose to accept it, is to figure out the people who are vital to your well-being and the ones who you wouldn’t mind trading away for a slice of pizza.

  1. The Encouraging Professor

Hopefully, you’ve been lucky enough to have (or will have) a professor who will challenge you, support you and most importantly, prepare you for life outside the walls of your college or university. For me, it was my advisor and Psych Professor at UW-Stout. Dr. Biggerstaff had one of the biggest hearts of anyone I have ever known, but he also had the ability to see in others what they didn’t see in themselves. When I began college, I had no idea what I wanted to study, who I wanted to become. He helped me own my strengths and showed me the true potential that I had.

  1. Your Favorite TV Show/Book Character

Whether it’s George Costanza from Seinfeld or Hermione Granger from Harry Potter, this character will allow you to make it through awkward moments, tough days, and will serve as your spirit animal. “When it hasn’t been your day, your week, your month, or even your year,” to borrow lyrics from the Friends theme song, at least you can relate to these characters. They’ll help you clear your mind, even if it’s just for 30 minutes at a time.

  1. The Cool Boss

Work-life in your early 20s can be pretty miserable as you try to climb the ranks. Sometimes, it’s not any better in your late 20s, either. However, if you have a boss like I was lucky enough to have at the first job I landed when I first got to Colorado, a boss who knows how to nurture and help you grow professionally and socially, it will not only make you a better employee or business owner one day, but a better person.

  1. The Horrible Boss

Sometimes you have to learn by watching the way a person, who you don’t want to become, acts. If you’ve worked somewhere that you have felt useless, undervalued, and undercompensated—and I think unfortunately at some point, we all will experience some level of this–it’s almost as valuable, even though it’s a lot less enjoyable, as a good work experience. This way you’ll learn how to act and react to situations in a different manner.

  1. Your Parents

The dynamic between parent and child is always changing and growing. During your twenties, at least for me, you begin to see your parents as equals, people who were once in your position, going through the same things, experiencing the same challenges, successes and setbacks. You take on a whole other level of appreciation for the sacrifices they made for you growing up, the love, support, guidance and never-ending supply of hugs they provided. Your parents will start relying on you more heavily and you’ll continue to turn to them when you need help. Or you won’t. Regardless, you’ll have a much clearer picture of the people who shaped you into the person you are, whether you want to believe it or not. It will also help put your own life into perspective.

  1. Your Doctor

Your doctor is usually a person you take for granted, except when you need immediate help. When you’re healthy, you have no reason to think about medical professionals. As soon as you’re sick or injured (I’ve had more “oops that’s gonna leave a mark” moments more than I care to admit—I’m kinda very accident proned), it’s the only person you want to see. And yes even at 28, lollipop requests post-visit are perfectly acceptable.

  1. Your Favorite Bartender

What’s better than drinking on the weekend in your 20s? Funnily enough, I really didn’t start drinking until my late 20’s. But now that I responsibly kick back with a few cold ones, having a favorite bartender and not paying for all of your drinks on the weekend is pretty alright. When you start establishing your “spots” in whatever city you’re living in, you’ll begin finding drinking establishments that you really like. And if you’re tight with the bartender(s), you will always have a fun night out and may reap many benefits.

  1. The Friend Who Believes In You

There are friends who have your best interest in mind and then there are friends who have your best interest in mind in terms of how it relates to their life. The friend who supports your dreams, helps you reach your goals, and has an open channel of communication with you and expects nothing in return is a true friend. Your responsibility as a friend is to make sure you can reciprocate and do the same. If you’re lucky, this friend(s) will follow you into your thirties, forties, to infinity and beyond.

  1. The Negative Friend (aka Frenemy)

One of the best parts about growing up is that your parents don’t make play dates for you any longer. You decide the people you want in your life and the ones you don’t. If you’re having issues with a friend who constantly insults you or makes fun of you in front of others, acts as if he/she is better than you, or who finds the worst in every situation, you don’t need to stay friends with that person. Allow yourself to let go of toxic people.

  1. Your Haircutter

Your hairstylist’s main purpose may be cutting your hair, but they’re actually doing much more than that. They’re listening to you without judgment (or at least aren’t judging you to your face). You’ll come to learn that a haircutter is basically a therapist who makes you look good at the end of your visit. And if you’re lucky, they’ll even tell you when your locks are out of style and need a change.

  1. The Workers in Your Community

These people are your lifeline, whether you realize it or not. It’s the sandwich maker at your favorite lunch spot who knows what “the usual” means (extra tomatoes, pickles, hold the mayo) and the barista who prepares your drink (regular coffee with cream, sugar and just a touch of cinnamon) when you enter the coffee shop so you don’t have to wait for your necessary dose of caffeine in the morning. It’s the garbage men and women who clear your household trash and the plumber who rushes over to your home or apartment at 3 in the morning when a pipe bursts. These people have the ability to make your daily life pleasant or a lot more difficult than it needs to be.

  1. Your Mechanic

My tried teaching me all that I needed to know about cars—I’m proud to say that I can successfully change my own oil, a flat tire and know how to jump start a vehicle if the battery ever dies. There are however many, many things I still don’t know, which is where my mechanic comes in, often times sporting a red super hero cape (metaphorically speaking of course.) If you have a mechanic you trust and know will do the right thing by you with the work and pricing, don’t ruin that relationship. All you need to do is live a week without your car (especially in places without convenient public transportation) and you’ll see how dependent you are on your vehicle.

  1. The Decision Maker

I sometimes thingk life would be a whole lot easier if you could just flip a coin for all of those life-altering, crazy-hard decisions. Whenever you have a big choice to make on the horizon, you will undoubtedly see this person out of nowhere. When you have to decide: Do I keep my current job or start my own company? You’ll run into this person at the bagel store. If you’re trying to figure out: Should I settle down with my boyfriend/girlfriend? You’ll see this person waiting in line for dogs and a beer at a baseball game with thousands of other people in attendance. It’s as if they’re sent into your life at certain moments to make sure you don’t get in your own way. Value the randomness of this, as it truly may not be that random.

  1. Your Spouse (boyfriend/girlfriend) / (Some of) The People You’ll Date

Depending on whether you’re single, dating, engaged, married, or divorced, you’ve either found or are still searching for “your person”, the person you want to spend the rest of your life with. Sometimes it’s the people we marry who make us better versions of ourselves. Other times, it’s the ones we leave. As you continue through your 20s, this may or not make sense (something I’m still trying to figure out myself), but when it does, cherish that information.

  1. Your Accountant/Financial Advisor

The moment I truly felt like an adult was the moment I filled out my first application for my 401K. It’s easy to not think about the future when it comes to money and financial security, but something I’ve come to learn in my twenties, something that you will soon come to learn if you haven’t already, is that there is never a “too soon” to begin preparing for your future. A good accountant and financial advisor, whether that be a parent, a spouse, or someone with an official title, they have the ability to help you prepare for your future, as well as come up with a plan for the present.

  1. Your Mentor

This person is someone you feel comfortable with, someone who you trust and has proven time and time again that he/she has your best interests in mind, based on the many different trials and tribulations you’ve faced together. This person serves as a role model and also guides you with any major professional or life questions you have. I’ve got an arsenal of mentors on the ready for when I need them most; friends, my parents, my sister and a host of others. A good mentor in your life, especially in your twenties, is invaluable.

  1. Your Four-Legged and Furry Friend

Okay, so they may not technically be considered “people”, but that doesn’t mean that they are any less important or significant. Whether you have a cat or dog, these amazing animals have an innate ability to make you feel better after a rough day with just a simple purr or tail wag. Their unconditional love is unwavering and are there to help you get through the most trying times in your twenties, as well as be with you to celebrate the victories.

  1. Your Roommate

Whether it’s a person off Craigslist or a friend, your roommate will see when you’re suffering or succeeding. They’ll be able to help you through dark times or make your life much harder than it should be. You and your roommate(s) will learn intimate information about each other, such as who routinely has one-night stands (with the pint of Ben & Jerry’s), who never has the rent check ready at the end of the month, who is messy, as well as who destroys the toilet when he/she wakes up in the morning. Before you sign a lease, beware of the person you’re living with.

  1. The Friend of a Friend

Your social network (not talking about the Facebooks and Twitters of the world, but IRL networks) will continue to grow as you age, even if you choose the people you spend time with more carefully. At birthday parties, weddings, or basically any special occasion, you’ll meet friends of your friends and most of them you’ll tolerate or possibly even like, but never see again. However, there will be at least a few friends of friends that you’ll become extremely close with and they’ll end up becoming your best friends or at least very important people in your life.

  1. The Ones Who Are No Longer With Us

I’ve unfortunately lost people whom I loved very much over the past 8 or so years, but just because they are gone, it doesn’t mean that they left completely. There will be people who we lose over our lifetime, as teenagers, in our twenties, and as we get older, but I believe that these people will in some way always have an effect on us, some leaving a lasting impression more than others. Whether it’s a dearly departed friend, family member or even personal hero whose work you admire, just because you can’t see and/or touch something or someone, it doesn’t mean that they can’t be an internal source of power and strength for you. I’m inspired by my dear grandmother every time I pick up a book or help a student in the library (she was the person who instilled in me my passion for reading) and get courage from my cousin Nick whenever Bob Marley’s “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” comes on to the radio (he lived a life with no regrets, something I need to remind myself to live as well every once in a while).

We also can’t forget about the ability that we have to change our own lives, as well as the lives of others. As Mahatma Gandhi, a person much wiser than myself, once said, “You must be the change that you wish to see in the world.”

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!

Hey guys! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and New Year!! So sorry for the lack in posts but I decided to take a brief break-a-roo from the ‘ol blog to spend as much time as I could with my family and friends.

BUT I’M BACK 🙂

I had such an incredible time over my holiday break.

I laughed too hard, ate too much and got into quite the shenanigans.

But that’s what life is all about, no? Especially when you’re surrounded by those who love and know you the best.

Here is just a small, itty-bitty glimpse into what went down over the past few weeks, Insta-style 🙂

Sister-sister :)

Sister-sister 🙂

The rents. Aren't they the cutest?!

The rents. Aren’t they the cutest?!

Snuggles with the pup are the best snuggles.

Snuggles with the pup are the best snuggles.

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erica

tyler

alex

Christmas with my crazy amazing family is always, well, crazy and amazing ;)

Christmas with my crazy amazing family is always, well, crazy and amazing 😉

The lil' sis really does know how to do Christmas presents. Does this not scream, "WENDI!!!!!" ?

The lil’ sis really does know how to do Christmas presents. Does this not scream, “WENDI!!!!!” ?

Okay. This is my last tattoo. I swear. At least I think it's my last one. For now. Maybe. #smile

Okay. This is my last tattoo. I swear. At least I think it’s my last one. For now. Maybe. #smile

I did A LOT of this. Like, A LOT!!!

I did A LOT of this. Like, A LOT!!!

Just ALL the Christmas movies.

Just ALL the Christmas movies.

Here’s to a great end and an even better beginning! Happy 2015 everyone! 🙂

So your fave TV show is on vacation…

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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