Back In America

Friday, March 27, 2015

Look at this happy girl from a week ago.

She's feeling energized, healthy, and ready to tackle Europe. How cute.

If only you could see me today.

I'm sitting on my couch in weird old sweat pants and a bathrobe wondering what in the hell just happened. I look and feel like Kathy Bates from Misery. My hair is a rotten mess and I have crazy eyes going on from lack of sleep and too much time spent in the air.

I'm sick from being on a flight with other sick people for nine hours, I've been on the phone with Verizon for four hours (seriously FOUR HOURS) because my phone has decided not to work in America, and I'm pretty sure I left one black bootie behind in Dublin.

But man it was a great trip. Although sometimes coming home is even better, you know what I mean?

In my opinion, the three best things about coming back from Europe are: your own bed, your own shower, and your own Dominos pizza. I called them from the cab on the way home from the airport and my pizza arrived at my door the second I did. My God I love America.

And now I'm sitting in a heap of post vacation shit trying to unpack my suitcase and carryon and clean up my house/life before Chris's family arrives in less than four hours. Guess who they're bringing with them? HARLOW.

I can't even wait.

As I've been unpacking I realized I didn't buy a single thing in London or Dublin. Well, I guess that's not completely true. I always buy one favorite souvenir when I'm on a vacation no matter where it is I go. Any guess what that might be? Imodium. I own boxes of it in every language. That's fun.

Anyway, I have to forego a super great vacation post today because I'm scrambling just to be a human right now. I hope you'll forgive me.

Full recaps to come next week. Like all. week. long. I'm going to be like your grandma and make you look at all my fun European vacation photos one by one because I know everyone loves that.

On that note, I'm about to go eat cold Dominos pizza. Diet starts next week.

I Just Want To Hang With My Dog

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

I'm going to be annoying for a second and do a big ol' brag post. Hope you don't mind, but it's coming your way regardless.

I'm going to brag about the fact we've almost donated $1000 to help save animals thanks to all of you ordering these shirts.

I honestly can't put into words how happy this makes me. The best part is that my nights are now spent writing thank-yous and packaging t-shirts rather than perusing sad dog stories online like I used to. And I have to say, it feels a million times better to actually do something for animals rather than just feel bad for them.

The absolute best part is going to Felines and Canines, the shelter where I am currently sending a portion of the t-shirt profits, and getting to see the dogs firsthand that people like you are helping. I thought you might want to see them as well.

The guy in the top left is Alfred. He's a big dude who just wanted to run. The puppy in the top right is Connor and he's an absolute nut. I could barely walk him because he just wanted to jump on me the entire time. If he could have crawled up my leg and into my arms he would have.

The little blonde in the bottom left thought I almost forgot her and she wasn't going to get a walk like the rest of her pals. When I walked into her little area she just rolled right over onto her back and wanted me to scratch her belly the entire time. And Mickey in the bottom right just wanted a casual stroll outside. He'd glance up at me every few steps as if to say "Is this okay? Am I walking okay for you?"

These dogs are great. You'd never tell by looking at them that almost ever single one of them was as sick as a ... well dog. They'd all just arrived in Chicago having come from a really overcrowded shelter in the South. When I walked into Felines and Canines last week all I could hear was coughing and wheezing. It broke my heart. But as soon as I got each one outside and into a little fresh air they turned into new pups. It was pretty amazing.

I know the money we're raising helps these dogs get healthy. It feeds them. It gives them a new toy. A warm bed. I don't care what specifically it does, I just know it helps them.

I get to see Felines and Canines shelter first hand and it's a good one. It's a beautiful facility and they have store rooms full of food and dog toys. They are constantly bringing in dogs from some of the most overpopulated shelters where I can't believe their situation was that great.

The best part is I know that when I go back next week almost every dog you see above will already be gone. They'll be in homes with loving families. I don't know how the people at Felines and Canines do it, but they move animals fast. Their success stories on Facebook are my favorite thing to read.

If you're in a position where you're able, donate or volunteer at a local shelter. There can be so much bad stuff in this world, why not put a little good back in every once in awhile.

My Work History-It's Weird

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Occasionally people ask me if I have a job.

And to that I reply, of course I do! I am a stay-at-home fiance who cleans the house, makes dinner, and goes to yoga. It's not easy, but I feel very blessed/fulfilled never the less.

I'm kidding and I hate you.

I don't go to yoga. Although I have before and I really do enjoy it. Perhaps I'll loosen the pocket straps one day and buy another pass in the future.

But yes, I do have a job. A few actually. Without going into too much detail, I spend the majority of my day managing the social media accounts for four different companies. I also spend a lot of time on Talk Herbie To Me, this blog, this shop, and a few other freelance projects. Does that all sound vague as hell? Good, let's keep it that way.

None of this matters. What I really want to talk about today are my first jobs out of college, which also happen to be some of my weirdest jobs.

Job #1- Do you like jicama salsa?

I worked as a recruiter for a culinary institute. So every single day I would go into high schools dressed in a white chefs jacket and black culinary pants and give a cooking demonstration to unruly teenagers. I wheeled my roll suitcase full of handouts in one hand, a big red cooler in the other, and a knife kit slung on my shoulder into different high schools across Kansas and Missouri for two years. My class presentations were super random, I changed them up depending on how awful the students were being that day.

One time my boss came in to review and after I got done with the presentation/cooking demo she said, "Well that was the weirdest version of that presentation I've ever seen. Have you ever thought about going into standup?" Up until then I hadn't.

Job #2 -Forget high school, I'm going to elementary school.

After I quit the culinary job I decided to go into an even weirder job. Do you guys remember those really annoying people who would come into your elementary schools and try to get you all jazzed about selling cookie dough in exchange for the most pathetic prizes ever? That was me. I worked for a fundraising company when I moved to Chicago.

Picture this: A Jock Jams album is blaring over the sound system, the gymnasium lights are dimmed, and kids aged 5-11 are ready to crap their pants they are so excited to be out of their classroom for this special school assembly. Enter Taylor.

"DO YOU GUYS LIKE BMX BIKES?" cue the kids to start going nuts.

"DO YOU GUYS LIKE COOKIE DOUGH?" more excitement, some kids actually start to pant and sweat they're getting so riled.

"THEN LET'S SELL SOME COOKIE DOUGH AND WIN SOME BMX BIKES!!!!" at this point every single child in the gym has just gone completely bat shit crazy. I'm tossing out light up pencils and yo-yos like I'm Oprah. And for a minute I float up out of myself and access the situation and think, how did my life get like this? And by "this" I mean awesome obviously.

Sadly, I only had this job for about eight months because the company was a joke and it went completely bankrupt.

Job #3- I hate everything.
I've had two office jobs since living in Chicago. Both were terrible. (For me.) I know that some people do well in an office environment and I admire that. But given my work history of slinging yo-yos and doing knife tricks (for real, I've got mad chopping skills) I always felt like a caged animal in an office.

Thus the reason I am so thankful I get to do what I do today. I know that at any minute things could change and I could have the rug taken out from under me so I'm just trying make the best of the moment while it's here.

And that's my Tony Robbins inspirational moment for the day. What kind of work person are you? Office environment or work from home?

Stream of Thoughts/Confessions...

Monday, March 23, 2015

I ate seven Girl Scout cookies the other day. Those cookies are so stupidly small they just piss me off. Get with the times, Girl Scouts. America likes fat cookies.

I tried to give my hair a "conditioning treatment" before I left for Europe last week. I poured olive oil all over it and let it sit for an hour. And I have to say, it worked wonderfully. My end goal was to look like a greasy rat child for three days and that I did!

It's 1:45 a.m. and I'm wide awake. WHY?

Instead of sleeping I'm currently reading this blog, this one, and this one.

What blogs are you into right now?

I know a fashion blogger who has like 30k Instagram followers but openly admitted to me she only gets about 500 hits per day on her actual blog. This seems odd to me. But perhaps it's the new norm?

I haven't seen Harlow in almost four weeks and I hate it. But he's going to be waiting for me at home when we land on Friday and I AM SO EXCITED. I'll probably cry.

On that note, I loathe people who just drop their dog off at a shelter ten years in for no reason at all. How do people do this?

I started the Kayla Itsines 12 week bikini challenge and I lasted two days. Literally two. My before and after shots don't look that different.

The most common search terms that bring people to my blog right now are "ass cheeks hanging out of shorts" and "how to get kids to like you." Fitting.

I'm terrible at pre-writing posts. This is killing me right now. I prefer real time writing so much more.

Thank you for stopping by today. Bless your heart. Tomorrow will be better I promise!

Saturday Takeover- Nachobirthday

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Introducing a cool crowdfunding website, NachoBirthday.

1. What exactly is NachoBirthday?

NachoBirthday is a crowfunding website where users raise funds  for  charity, projects , events or self gain in honor of the celebration of life. It's the notion that everyday should be celebrated whether it's your birthday or "nacho birthday". We believe everyday is a second chance; everyday is another opportunity.  Our platform allows users to  answer a more important question: How do you celebrate life? ... Do you only celebrate life once a year? If so, Why? Does a boring birthday dinner really suffice in celebrating your one and only life every year ?  It's 2015...Lets change it up a bit! We wanted to create a platform that helps people celebrate life by helping others and or themselves.  Celebrate life by raising money for your goals or help someone you care for deeply or how about getting  a couple bills paid.  Our platform allows users to celebrate life by  leaving their mark on this world by doing good. Don't wait a whole year to celebrate life; don't have another boring birthday. Be creative and get your friends and family help you do something amazing .

2. How did you come up with this great idea? 

Back in 2010, I worked in small corporate office. My manager use to come in randomly with cake and balloons and yes at times nacho's in honor of  people celebrating their birthdays that week. However, most of the time no one in the office had a birthday.  Whenever this was the case, all the managers would just smile and say Happy NachoBirthday! Here was a guy who loved life so much he literally looked for excuses to buy cake and decorations to celebrate life even if no one in the room had a birthday. I later found out my awesome manager was battling cancer and began to appreciate the concept behind a  NachoBirthday more and more. I eventually started a birthday blog about celebrating life. With the help of some college friends, I turned the birthday blog  into a platform designed to help people celebrate life and really share my vision of celebrating life everyday.

3. What is the cost?

It's 100% free to start a campaign to begin raising money. Like most crowd-funding websites, in order to keep the lights on and the site going, a service fee of 5% will be collected at the end of each campaign. For example, if you raise $100, NachoBirthday will apply the 5% processing fee which brings your total to $95.00. If you raise $0 dollars then there is no charge.

4. How would you use this for a charity?

By doing a NachoBirthday campaign, you can really help  charities in so many ways.  One common way is to leverage your birthday  for charity.  Instead of asking for gifts and money, ask your loved ones to donate to your campaign in support for your favorite charity in honor of your birthday.  Nachobirthday has teamed up with a world class API to ensure your donation goes to the desired charity.  We are working to build our list of charities and currently will feature the top 300 charities in North America.

5. What is the most unique feature about it?

One of the most unique features on NachoBirthday is the ability to spilt payments between yourself and a charity. This comes in handy when you want to celebrate life by helping others but would not mind some extra birthday money. On NachoBirthday your able to set up a campaign to where a percent of the funds you raise will support a cause and a percent for you and friends

6. Does it have to be your birthday to use NachoBirthday?

No, Nachobirthday is the celebration of life and how you celebrate it is up to you. We see 3 type of users but foresee users being creative and doing much more
            Users 1) "It's My birthday but I am going to act like it's not my birthday and raise money for people/foundations in need"

            User 2) "It's really not my birthday I just wanted to do something cool and Give back"

            User 3) "It's my birthday and (not your Birthday) so donate money to my campaign... I just want the Birthday Money. "

Comments have been turned off, head over to NachoBirthday here!

What We're Like As A Travel Couple

Friday, March 20, 2015

I would say I'm a bit "high-strung" when it comes to travel. Chris is much more relaxed and easy going.

For phase one, anyway.

We've got this nice little agreement where I get to throw the fit and be a terrible person during pre-travel, because I know Chris will take over during actual travel.

I like to be at the airport at least an hour early. And typically an hour for me really means three. If I'm not two hours early, I'm late.

Once inside I treat every line like it's a competition and want to get through them as fast as possible. I almost always choose the "wrong line" and then will proceed to torture myself by staring at the other lines declaring, "I knew we should have chosen that line!" It's a great game, you should try it sometime!

I speed walk everywhere in an airport and get annoyed with anyone taking their time. You know those people on a terror running over the elderly with their roll suitcases? I'm ten steps ahead of those people.

And then when it comes time to get on the plane and get a seat, I hate when children sit behind me. And they always do.

Moms, I know your kids don't mean to kick my seat. And I know you're stressed to the max just traveling with a child, but the thing is once I get onto a plane now I'm traveling with a child too.  A large man child.

Because we've just entered phase two.

My time of complaining is officially over. It's now his turn. He'll start by reminding me several times that plane seats aren't made for people of his size. Then he'll say "we have to be on this flight for HOW LONG?" over and over as if he didn't check the flight schedule before boarding. And he'll proceed to stretch out his legs as far as they can't go numerous times during the flight so he can show me how uncomfortable he is. Numerous. Times. "Look Tay, look how cramped I am. Do you see? LOOK. LOOK AT ME."

He also has to have the window seat so he can rest his head against it, it's "literally the only way."

And he can't have the middle seat because of that size problem again.

Chris is the most selfless person I know. Until we get on an airplane. The laws change in airtime and he becomes Airplane Chris. All bets are off.

In all honesty, we make a great travel team. There's no one I'd rather see the world with. (Except perhaps Harlow.)  Chris is spontaneous and an adventurer, and he's full of useless facts about every country and their historical landmarks. So he makes me learn things when we travel, rather than just drink beer in local pubs. I think that's a good thing.

And on that note, we're off. See you next week, America!

*And a big shout out to Mike for staying at our house for the week! Please don't throw any parties. Just kidding, do whatever the hell you want. Except please don't drink the bottle of tequila we have signed by Lil Jon. I worked hard for that.

A Wisconsin Weekend- Part I

Thursday, March 19, 2015

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Groupon Getaways for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.

Last weekend Chris and I got the itch to leave the city for the weekend so we packed an overnight bag and headed to a cute little resort we found on Groupon Getaways known as the Heidel House in Green Lake, Wisconsin.  

We arrived late Friday night and the first thing I wanted to do was get a basket of cheese curds and a Spotted Cow beer- when in Rome, you know? So, we dropped off our bags in the room and headed right down to the hotel's restaurant, The Boathouse Pub. And I am not lying when I say this place had the best cheese curds I have ever tasted. I'm not sure what the batter was exactly, but it was amazing. 

Besides the cheese curds, I also ordered an ahi tuna sandwich which was seasoned to perfection and seared just right. My mouth is watering just looking at these photos right now. I had no idea Green Lake, Wisconsin was such a culinary hot spot!

After stuffing our faces at dinner, both Chris and I fell into blissful food comas for the rest of the night.  Although if I'm being truthful, I'll admit I snacked on a few of the chocolate dipped strawberries that room-service left for us before I went to bed.

Speaking of service at the hotel, from the moment we arrived until the moment we left, we had nothing but awesome experiences at the Heidel House. Everyone was super friendly and more than willing to help us out or answer any of our questions. 

They also knew how to make a killer Bloody Mary, which we all know is important to me. When we woke up Saturday morning, we went to the Sun Room restaurant in the main area of the hotel for brunch. We snacked on eggs and bacon while we looked out onto the massive lake. It was pretty interesting to see all of the ice fisherman with their huts (is that what you call the little houses?) set up all over the lake.  The people in Wisconsin don't mess around when it comes to ice fishing.

After breakfast, we decided to jump into the car explore the area of Green Lake. We found the cutest antique stores, great little bars, and my favorite thing of all- we found the Amish!

I can't explain my love/fascination for the Amish culture in just one post so I'm going to have to break this up into two posts- because yes, my love runs that deep.

I'm short on time so I'll wrap this up now, but don't you worry "Exploring Wisconsin part II #My
GrouponGetaway" is coming your way!

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