My Awesomely Random Life (and Everything in Between)

Posts tagged ‘Life’s Little Awesomes’

Colorado-versary: Celebrating Six Incredible Years

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Damn, Colorado. Time sure does fly when you’re having fun.

It was at about exactly this time six years ago when I crossed the state line, my little VW Bug packed to the brim with everything I owned (give or take a few discarded cups of coffee and empty Twizzler wrappers).

I remember having a conversation with my sister two nights prior while watching The Office. I randomly looked over at her [with a mouth full of Doritos, probably) and said, “You know what? I think I’m gonna move to Colorado.” There was no defining “Ah-ha!” or moment of clarity that led me to the decision of literally packing up my life and starting fresh in a state clear across the country. It was just me, Michael Scott and some stale potato chip product. If that’s not inspiring as fuck, I don’t know what is.

As I stepped out of my car, my legs stiff and my eyes heavy from driving over 22 hours, these questions–and so many more–were running through my head on the repeat.

I was terrified.

But I was also incredibly happy. Like, eating a giant ice cream cone on a sunny Saturday afternoon in a park full of puppies, happy.

Taking in that first sight of majestic Rocky Mountain goodness in front of me, I felt like I was home.

When I decided a little over six years ago to take a giant leap of faith and make the big move, I really had no idea what was in store for me. I did something so very unWendi-like and jumped without looking. I stuck a giant middle finger up to any kind of plan, any premeditated form of action. I felt, and I did. I didn’t have a job lined up, I knew just a handful of people and wasn’t even sure if I would like living in the Mile High City. All I really knew for sure was that if I didn’t try, if I didn’t take this chance now, I might never get the opportunity to do so again. I also knew that if I fell back on that fear of things not working out, if I chose instead to remain forever in my comfort zone, there would be some serious regret-age going on.

And if there is one thing I have learned in my 30 years thus far, it’s that regret is no friend of mine.

So I jumped.

Shit, I jumped hard.

And that by far has probably been one of the greatest decisions I have ever made to date.

For six years I have been lucky enough to call Denver my home.

For six years, I have been able to call the mountains my playground, my weekend escape. I’ve seen some of the most beautiful sunrises and sunsets imaginable, I’ve hiked some of the most challenging and breath-taking trails, explored the urban jungle that is downtown Denver and tasted some of the best food (And beer! Yes, I am now a beer fan! Well, getting there anyway) that I’ve ever had.

Professionally I’ve had some very challenging and rewarding opportunities that have really helped to shape not only me as a social media/writer/boss chic, but also have served as a reminder that I’m damn good at what I do, that I love what I do, and to never, ever never stop pursuing that dream of mine no matter what obstacles may get in my way. I’ve worked with some strong-willed and big-hearted people, have helped to inspire some incredibly talented and motivated students, and have learned and grown from each and every one of them.

Personally, I’ve broken out of this silly shell I’ve been hiding behind. Moving somewhere new by yourself kind of forces you to put your badass self out there and meet people, no matter how you end up doing that. I’ve met some incredible new friends, have reconnected with old ones and have made too many memories to count.

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The late-night conversations, the too-close-to-call softball games, the good first dates and the ones you wish you could Ctrl Alt Delete. The summer baseball games at Coors Field and Packer games at Badgers, the bike rides, snowball fights and Harry Potter movie-marathons. The pool parties, happy hours, road trips and barbeques.

The smiles.

The hugs.

The uncontrollable laughter.

These past six years have made my heart so incredibly full, nearly as full as my ever-shrinking apartment—the number of books I’ve accumulated since I’ve been here is embarrassing, guys. I cannot wait to see what happens in the next 2, 5, 10 or 15 years to come.

I’ve come a long way since making the decision to start this grand adventure—over 8,000 miles and an immeasurable amount of self-growth, courage, spontaneity and a ‘You only get one life so you better damn make it the best possible life there is’ mentality. If I can take just one thing away from this is that it’s never to late to make a change, to face that fear or worry and do the damn thing! You’ll never know the amazingness that awaits you on the other side if you never try.

Cheers to six years, y’all!

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Life’s Little Awesomes: Making Someone Laugh When They’ve Got a Really Full Mouth

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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!

Life’s Little Awesomes: Old School Sugar Cereals #tbtstyle

Let’s go back, shall we?

Sandy pink streaks coat the sky as the sun peeks over your backyard fence and shines on the peeling linoleum of your kitchen floor. The fridge murmurs and hums, the oven burners wobble and pop, as you spend a quiet moment alone with a box of cereal. Now anyone who knows me knows I am a cereal fan, a cereal junkie, a cereal aficionado if you will. With the amount of Frosted Flakes, Corn Pops and Cinnamon Toast Crunch I put back, one could say I am a cereal killer (*insert terrible but totally necessary cereal pun here*).

I could eat cereal all day, everyday (and often times, I do).

It’s just one of those things that never gets old, that is always super delish and never ceases to put a smile on my face (I double dog dare you to try and eat a bowl of Fruit Loops while maintaining a frown. It’s nearly impossible.)

Let’s count down ten of the greatest sugary cereals we as kids (and let’s face it, as adults) loved to dip our spoons into:

10. Corn Pops. The delayed time release technology would allow sticky yellow chunks to remain in your molars until you needed energy for later in the day. This was super handy because sometimes in the middle of math class, you just gotta have your pops!

9. Trix. I always felt bad for the rabbit. Frankly, it seemed like the toddlers were kind of jerks. “Silly rabbit,” they laughed with their beady eyes, right in his face. “Trix are for kids.” Come on now guys. The poor fellow only wants a bowl of cereal. I think these must be the same punks who stole Lucky’s Charms.

8. Sugar Crisp. Did anyone else think Sugar Bear was related to Chester Cheetah? Think about it–the sunglasses, the long strides, the sneakers. Both are chilled out dudes who ditched the jungle living for the big bucks of Hollywood. I wouldn’t be surprised if they were roommates.

7. Cocoa Pebbles, Cocoa Puffs, or Count Chocula. These bowls of chocolate were like speed for kids. You had to pour extra milk so you could guzzle down the glimmer chocolate milk afterwards. it was like, double dessert!

6. Grape Nuts. Okay, this isn’t a sugar cereal, but didn’t you always have a stale box kicking around from that time Grandma came to visit? Nobody could ever explain what a Grape Nut was either. We’d just quietly pass the box around on those cold and dark mornings, when the sugar ran dry and we all took our colo-rectal health seriously for a day with Grape Nuts, Shredded Wheat, or All Bran. Yes, Grape Nuts made us dream big dreams about tomorrow’s Frosted Flakes, Froot Loops and Cinnamon Toast Crunch. They’re on the list because they made the next bowl taste that much sweeter.

5. Honeycomb. Remember the TV commercial where the angry Viking biker storms the kid’s forest hideout and starts a group sing-along with a dancing robot? Combine that with some Smurfs episodes and you’ve got a pretty trippy Saturday morning. “Honeycomb’s big…yeah, yeah, yeah! It’s not small…no, no, no!”

4. Lucky Charms. First off, the gang at General Mills redefined marshmallow to mean rock-hard bits of dyed, packed sugar. And the result was ahhhmazing! Plus, they reinvented new shapes all the time which was equally ahhhmazing! Do you remember pink hearts and yellow moons? These days we’re chomping on hourglasses and shooting stars while doing our best Irish accents. Of course, we can’t forget that Lucky Charms still turns milk magically deliciously orange.

3. Cap’n Crunch. My friend Tyler didn’t know how to spell ‘captain’ until he was twelve. On other news, Cap’n Crunch was one of few cereals to feature an arch nemesis in their ads. Yes, first there was Jean LaFoote and then The Soggies came around and tried to prematurely dampen your cereal. To stop them, you had to scarf down your bowl in forty-five seconds and completely shred the roof of your mouth for the rest of the day.

2. Cookie Crisp. Honestly, it was just a big box of cookies. If your mom fell for this, do you think she’d let us sneak into an ‘R’ rated movie and borrow her car too?

1. Honey Nut Cheerios. Most kids had a good five year run with this faithful classic. Smooth corners made for easy chomping, you could toss a handful in a baggie for a takeout snack and they were healthy enough for parents to keep buying year after year. Of course, like many other cereals, Cheerios were famous for that glimmer patch of sugar powder at the bottom of the box. Remember to play it safe on that last bowl or you could end up polluting your breakfast.

Depending on how you grew up, eating some sugary cereal might have been a little bit of quiet time before the day began. While parents rushed around and the radio blared traffic reports and the weather, you read the back of the box over and over, fished around for the sticker at the bottom, and read about the competitive spirit inside Tony the Tiger and the tragedy of the Trix bunny.

Sure, old school sugar cereals weren’t the healthiest thing we could have eaten, but those vitamin-fortified sugar punches made for mighty fun childhoods (and let’s face it, adulthoods.)

AWESOME!

Life’s Little Awesomes: Laughing at a stranger with another stranger

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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!

Life’s Little Awesomes: That last crumbly triangle in a bag of potato chips

Kick-starting a bag of potato chips is pretty much standard–you open with the double-pincer, squeeze-and-pop technique, start fishing out the prime, full-bodied  chips at the top of the heap, and then start working your way down to the half-broken chips in the middle of the bag. A few minutes in, you’ve chomped your way down to the bottom and you might think you’re pretty much done.

But oh no, my friends.

That is just the tip of the salty, barbeque and ruffled chip ice berg.

You have just arrived at the best part.

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This is when you get to that last, crumbly triangle of potato chips wedged right in the corner of the  bag. You know what I’m talking about. Usually at this point, your lips and face are covered in grease-crumbs and your fingers are neon orange, coated in a film of salty saliva.

That delicious patch of potato powder is all yours, but to get it, you have to get a bit dirty.

First of all, you won’t be able to slip your fingers down that crinkly, mirror well so you have to tilt the bag sideways and size up that crumbly triangle for what it’s worth. See what you’re dealing with here. Commit to a game plan.

Next, even though your fingers might already be wet at this point, it’s best to be safe with the ‘ol Thumb Index Finger Pre-Lick. Come on, get a good lather of spit on them, don’t be shy. Remember: the crumbs are in there deep, and your slightly sticky spit-glue will help mine the greasy plunder.

Now, it’s time to ATTACK! wedge your wet thumb and forefinger in there hard and squeeze until you feel like you’ve got most of it. Then, pull out quick and in one swift move, sweep and drop that last crumbly triangle right onto your tongue, making sure to lick the stubborn remains off your fingers while saying “Mmmmmm” a lot.

And you’re done!

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Now, while the Thumb Index Corner Pinch move is grittier and more explosive, there is a backup technique that will still get the job done if you aren’t so much a fan of getting down and dirty. Those in the biz know what I’m talking about: The Dumb-Truck Bag -Tilt Maneuver. this one requires two hands, a gaping mouth, and a forty-five degree angle to turn the trick. ou can use it alone or in tandem.

Either way, almost entirely composed of salt and artificial flavorings, that last crumbly, triangle of goodness packs a full flavor finishing move, unlike the watered down sip at the end of a soft drink cup, the stump at the bottom of a muffin or the tooth breaking kernels hiding in that last handful of popcorn.

AWESOME!

P.S. Speaking of awesome, if you haven’t tried these bad boys out yet, do yourself a flavor and pick up a bad (or five). They come out only during the Holidays so be sure to snatch up this perfect mix of salty and sweet ASAP!

Life’s Little Awesomes: Getting a ‘Q’ and ‘U’ together in Scrabble

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I’m the world’s worst Scrabble player, guys.

The worst!

Which is weird because I like to think of myself as a pretty adequate Words With Friends player.

(I know; I don’t get it either.)

Every time it’s my turn, I see other players lose interest as they get ready for a lonnnnnng wait. I feel bad, so I stare intensely at my pieces trying to conjure up a word longer than three letters or else suffer their complaints that I’m really “clogging up the board.” A couple of minutes of awkward silence will pass before somebody inevitably says , “Hey you, know what this game should have? A time limit, ha ha ha ha ha!!!” And everybody laughs and laughs and smiles at me and I look up to a grin, and then stare down at my letters quickly.

The pressure is on like hot fudge on a sundae, my friends.

I stare at those letters, and I stare hard.

A few more minutes of silence will pass and then I will look up, grimace slowly, and offer up one of my two classic lines:

1. “Sorry guys, I’ve got like ALL of the vowels over here, ” or

2. “I’m really, truly, very sorry. It’s like consonant central over here! I’ll just be another minute, unless Jgrfkll is a word.”

A couple of people nod and smile at my lame joke, someone idly turns on the TV and starts flipping channels, and another will generally grab the latest issue of Cosmo and head to the can. I frantically rearrange my letters over and over again, as if by doing so, rebuke, jinxed, or fibula will appear on my little wooden tray as if my magic.

Accio 500-point word!

Nope. Not even some Harry Potter will save me now.

My nerves fraying, my heart dum-thumping, I’ll eventually put down a lame four-letter word like bill or lamp in an act of pure desperation. “Eight points,” I’ll whisper to the scorekeeper, while turning the board and nodding to the other players to move along.

….See, part of my problem is that I draw letters like j, z, or q at the beginning of the game and they end up haunting me all the way through. That big q is the worst of them all. It holds its powerful 10 points over my head, just daring me to draw one of the four u‘s in the game so I can finally, finally lay it down. I spell my letters out in arrangements like, q_uick, q_ote, and q_iet, ready and waiting for a u at any time, but generally no dice, or at least no dice for a while. I got qat or I got nothing.

And so you see that’s why, in my book, there is no better thing to happen to you in a board game than picking a q and a u at the same time in Scrabble. I say it beats building two hotels on Boardwalk in Monopoly or drawing a perfect brontosaurus in Pictionary during an All Play.

If I get a q and a u together in Scrabble, then it’s all me, all the time, baby! Doors open, and I quite quickly and quietly quash all quack queries from my competitors. And friends, you know how that makes me feel….

AWESOME!

Life’s Little Awesomes: Eating the last piece of dessert somebody left at your house

Very occasionally, a kind soul will come over toting a homemade dessert made from some combination of apples, brown sugar, brownie batter, chocolate-chips, marshmallows, sprinkles and oatmeal. They set their heavy glass dish down on your kitchen counter and peal back the plastic bag to reveal an earth-toned rainbow of deliciosity. We gaze at its sweet, sweet beauty for a moment, but then turn our eyes and look at the rest of the smorgasbord of vittles: cold pigs in a blanket, an enormous veggie tray, bowls full of potato chips and bulk-pack macaroni salad are laying on the counter just waiting to be devoured.

We walk away knowing that we’ll get to that dessert later, just as soon as we fill our stomachs with all of the cheap stuff everyone else picked up from the clearance rack at the grocery store.

And eventually, it does happen–the end of the meal arrives and the hero dessert is paraded to the table with pomp, fanfare, forks and a stack of tiny plates. By now, everyone is stuffed to the brim, so while people dip into this rectangle of tastiness, they just don’t have room to send it back empty. It inevitably gets saran-wrapped up and put in the fridge for leftovers, hasty promises made to return the dish another time.

And that’s when it gets interesting, my friends.

I’m a pretty big fan of dessert.

Okay.

I’m a HUGE fan of dessert.

In fact, if I could eat only dessert for the rest of my life, I would.

I like dessert’s style. I think it’s cool.

Which is why I eat it as soon as possible. I have a piece here, I have a piece there. it replaces the bread the next morning at breakfast, starch the next night at dinner. I really get on that dessert. I chip away at it until eventually, there is only one, sad and lonely piece left. And it is the consumption of that last piece, that final, beautiful square of leftover homemade pie/cake/brownie that is always the sweetest.

See, by this point it’s an old friend. I know it’s taste well, having succumbed to its vice-like grip over me for a few days since the party. I may actually be sick of it, but I would never, ever admit it. All I know if that there’s a few mere minutes of enjoying its company left forever. It is a very happy yet very sad time.

Bittersweet, if you will (pun intended).

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There are some ways that eating the last remaining piece of dessert can be made sweeter though:

1. First up, eating it cold. When that dessert is only a couple of feet away from your mouth, there really is no time allowed for heating (+1 points).

2. Next, eating it straight from the serving dish/container. This is tricky because if you’re watching TV, you need to awkwardly lift a three-pound glass dish with one hand so that you can shovel it into your mouth with the other. Be careful for wobbling (+2 points).

3. Methodically scrapping every last crumb, ring of dried icing and molecule of congealed syrup out of the dish, even getting up and finding a spatula if you have to. Licking is optional here, but may be necessary. (+3 points)

4. The big one: thinking about the dessert just before you’re about to fall asleep or when you wake up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. Thinking about it and not being able to get it out of your head until you walk to the kitchen, your feet freezing on the cold linoleum, touch-grabbing your way through the black maze of your apartment, until you pop open that refrigerator door, its bright light beaming at you like the gates of heaven opening. You grab that saran-wrapped slice of greatness and eat it right then and there with no abandon. (+10 points)

AWESOME!

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