Where I'm At Mentally Right Now

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Just to give you an idea of where I'm at mentally right now I almost started crying in pilates class yesterday.

So I'm doing okay.

It happened during the plank. Is that an emotional time for anyone else? We were supposed to hold it for two minutes, on a pilates reformer board no less. I don't know about you, but holding a plank for two minutes is hard for me. It's really hard.

One minute had passed and my arms were shaking bad. My face was beat red and I was clenching everything on my body that could be clenched. Things were hurting that weren't supposed to hurt and I wanted to cave so bad. Just come down, I told myself. It's not that big of a deal, just take a break.

And then the instructor (whom I actually really enjoy) started shouting at us, Don't give up! Don't quit on me now. You can do this. Do not give up. You have to finish what you start. You are in control. This is your life. 

But I didn't feel in control as every muscle on my body started to shake. I wanted to quit so bad.

But for some reason the instructor's words hit me just right and it wasn't just about the plank anymore. I was thinking about everything I've started and just quit. About all of the books I've tried to write, projects and screenplays that never got finished, about every single goal I've set for myself that I just gave up on when things got even a little bit difficult.

Don't be a quitter! I could hear every coach, teacher, and mentor I've ever had shouting in my ear. You're always a quitter and always will be...  The other voice whispered back.

So for the last ten seconds I fought hard, to the point where sweat was dripping down my face and I was making weird grunting noises I hoped no one else could hear, and then out of nowhere the tears came. It was a weird mix of frustration and disappointment and pain for all of the failure I've willingly endured up until this point. If I had been alone, I would have let them all fall down my face. But I managed to hold back.

And then when the instructor announced we were done I damn near collapsed on my stomach, amazed I had done it, and I looked around the room expecting to see everyone else as moved by this spiritual, physical and mental journey we had all just been on for two minutes, but much to my surprise, no one was.

Everyone else was just in a pilates class. Doing a plank. Like we always do.

So like I said, I'm doing okay.

Having a weird mental breakthrough/breakdown during a plank is normal, right? Maybe it's why people workout, I don't know.

That's the thing, I really don't know what happened.

But if I had to guess, I would say it's a mix of stress, not sleeping much, anxiety, and a little more stress. Basically what we call life.

I know I'm "going through something" when I pause writing a blog post to watch a three minute video montage of humans saving animals and absolutely lose it- which happened just now. I'm a mess. That baby deer crying? I can't. Too much.


What a perfect time for a three day weekend. And a getaway back to the land of college life. Lincoln, Nebraska, I'm coming for you. See you soon, old college bars. See you soon.

Announcing My First Startup: nebrowse

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

It all started with a tank top.

Last year at this time I created a top (which quickly turned into a brand) called Talk Herbie To Me. It began as a play on words.

I placed my first order for 24 shirts and nervously paid the bill with my credit card. And then the bad thoughts instantly found their way in. What if they don't sell? I'll have to eat this entire bill. I can't afford this. This was a terrible idea. I'm screwed.

But then I announced the shirts and something cool happened... they sold.  My Nebraska pals grabbed a hold of it and supported the hell out of me. So I took a few more orders, made a few more shirts and things started rolling. I remember jokingly telling Chris last August that it was my goal to sell 200 shirts. It seemed far off, but I was hoping I could "ride it out" through October.

To date, I've sold around 9,500 shirts.

I didn't see that coming. It still shocks me.

Initially, I started Talk Herbie To Me as a way to make some extra money to pay for comedy/writing classes. But it's come a long way from that initial plan. It has become a full time job.

Not all of my shirts are Nebraska related, but I won't deny that a huge reason for my success is all in thanks to the Nebraska community. When they support something, they go all out. They buy one thing and then they tell all of their friends. It's amazing.

Another huge part is because of you. Because of this blog. Thanks to the past six years of running and promoting this thing, I have a pretty cool platform to reach people. I'm thankful for this and really grateful.

So then I started to get a lot of emails and questions from fellow sellers and small business owners, both from Nebraska and beyond, asking me how I was able to get my products out there. There's a lot of people who sell amazing things, but sadly a lot of them just can't get exposure to show off their work.

So I started thinking.

I wanted to come up with a niche marketplace that would allow other people a way to get noticed, without getting lost in the clutter. I've already seen for myself that the buyers are there, but they don't always come to you. Sometimes you have to find them.

Last December I started planning a way to create my own marketplace. I wanted it to be a completely full service site. And the niche would be Nebraska, but it also goes beyond that.

After more than ten months of planning, creating and developing, we launched nebrowse: a place to shop the good life online.

We did a soft launch to a few sellers last week and the response blew me away.

After I announced we were open to sellers to start setting up stores I had that initial feeling in my stomach of "oh no, what if no one comes to my party?" I got that feeling a lot as a kid. I foolishly thought that as an adult it would go away. It doesn't.

But people came to my party and what a relief that was! And every night after, more and more of you showed up.

You can take a look at the site by clicking here. While Nebraska is our primary market, not everything is Nebraska related and we don't want it to be. So if you have something awesome you've created and want a smaller more niche market to sell it in, set up your store. I'd be happy to have you, walk you through the process, and will personally promote you.

The thing about starting a new business is that you have an idea where you'd like it to go, but it always seems to turn another direction. The customers will make it what they want. So I'm really excited to see what this develops into and I'm excited to watch it grow.

In the meantime, hop on over and nebrowse with us a for bit :)

And PS thanks for reading today and every day. So much of what I'm able to do is all in thanks to this blog and all of you. Your support doesn't go unnoticed.

20 Fast Facts About Me- a reintroduction

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Hi everyone!

I've noticed I have a lot of new readers around here so I wanted to take a second to introduce myself... I'm just kidding. I don't think I have any new readers I just always love when bloggers say that so I thought I'd give it a whirl.

It felt weird.  Never the less, I'm going to tell you 20 fast facts about me. Not slow, super FAST.
1. I work from home, so when I actually take a moment to "get ready" it's a BIG deal. This was last Friday night and right before our cab came I said, "Chris will you take a pic really fast?"

2. However you must also know I am terrible at photos. If I see anyone else on the street that might be witnessing my lame blog photo shoot I will jump in the bush and act like nothing ever happened.

3. Thus I have this constant battle always going on inside of me. One part of me wants to document the moment I attempted to care about my appearance and the other part is screaming "No stop! This is awkward and very very dumb. Run!"

4. I think the problem lies in the fact I am way too self aware. I get embarrassed for myself a lot. I know I'm acting like a jackass while I'm acting like a jackass. 

5. Which is a shame because I frequently act like a jackass. See photo below. 

6. In all honesty, I just got this new dress and new booties and was clearly very proud. Ugh, I'm the worst. I know.

7. I love the style right now. I hate anything a. low cute or b. super short. So I'm totally digging this weird length dress stuff we're all into. We're all into it, right? Not just me? Oh.

8. I still shop at Urban Outfitters. I know I shouldn't, but I do. Teenage grunge is just so fun!

9. These photos are all blurry and crappy because they were taken on an iphone and I was moving/trying to hide from my neighbors.

10. In the background you can see Officer Scoots. I drive that bad boy and feel way too cool about it.

10. After this photo shoot we went out to Momotaro. It's a place in the West Loop that is almost too hip for its own good. The Stanley Cup was there but we missed it. NOT HAPPY.

11. I'm going to pick out a wedding dress today by myself. Is that weird?

12. I'm going to Instagram/Snapchat it so follow @thedailytay.

13. Also I hate Instagram.

14. I've never in my life been called a "sweetheart" or "sweetie." But I have been called a spitfire. What the hell does that mean? I spit on fire? Fire spits on me? I don't get it, grandma.

15. I literally just found out I got into the New York comedy festival next month... Yay! New Yorkers, wanna get drinks?

16. The spacing issues on blogger.com makes me want to claw out my eyes. Also speaking of bloggy stuff, I'm looking for someone to help me add a page tab to my top bar. Any takers?!

17. My necklace is the Mini from the Vo Jewelry line. She's a Chicago designer and her stuff is pretty rad.

18. My leather jacket is from 1998. Like for real.

19. Tomorrow I'm going to tell you about the business I'm launching. Please come back to say hi because launching a new business is scary...... So any and all positive vibes are welcome and very much appreciated.

20. I love positive vibes. I can feel them already.

k thanks byeeeee.

We Tried To Paint Our Pup

Monday, August 31, 2015

It was a good idea in theory.

Paints. Pups. And Pints.

Pay $60 and you get a blank canvas, a couple of beers, and instruction on how to paint your pup. And if you pay extra, a portion goes back to the pups (which of course we did, because hello save the pups!)

It should come as no surprise to anyone that I was very excited to do this. My dream house = a house covered in painted images of Harlow. Can you imagine? I would die.

It was hard a decision, but I finally chose the two perfect photos of Harlow for Chris and I to paint.

This first photo shows Harlow's fun playful side.

This second one shows his sassy pretentious side.

They were going to be great. I already told Chris I would rearrange our gallery wall to make room for our masterpieces.

We've done a paint/wine class before and were quite pleased with how easy it was to pretend to be an artist- that is when you've got an instructor who outlines your entire photo complete with a "paint by numbers" map clearly laid out for you.

Unfortunately paint, pups and pints was a different story.

We were given a blank canvas. And that was it. The instructor was actually just a bartender who walked around and said things like "shade more" and "blend right there" and "want another drink?"

And so after one too many drinks, one too many screw-ups, and me finally just getting frustrated and saying forget this time after time, our "masterpieces" turned out like this.

It was a disappointment to say the least. Harlow was not impressed. Not impressed one bit.

The saddest part is that we actually tried. Chris is so mad in this pic.

Serious question, who's painting is worse?

So How's Wedding Planning Going?

Friday, August 28, 2015

You guys.

Everyone asks me this, "so how's wedding planning going?" And I know how they want me to respond, with a smile and a gush and "oh my gosh, there's just so much to do. But it's like so fun, you know? But boy, it's a lot. So many decisions. And this guy isn't much help!" And then I jokingly (but lovingly) slap Chris on the back and he gives an adorable "who me?" look and then we laugh and laugh and laugh.

Oh life.

And the truth is I know most people are just asking to be nice. They're trying to be kind. Because in reality they don't really care about my wedding. They're just making conversation, as we all do.

But still, the question puzzles me. I don't get mad when people ask me, I just don't know how to answer it. Because I don't really know how it's going. Good? Bad? Annoying? Should it be going a certain way right now? It is what is it.

But if you'd like to hear a few details regarding what we have planned thus far, I'll share. Also, can I just point out that this has become my wedding planning coffee mug?

Every time something annoys me, or someone tells me it's going to cost $100,000 for something stupid I can't help but think to myself, oh for FOX sake. Really?

The date: 7.23.2016

Place: Steamboat Springs, Colorado.

Ceremony and Reception: Catamount Ranch.

The Dress: First fitting next week...

K, that's a good start right?

Stuff that makes me go ugh.

Music: Band vs DJ. I really want a band. But I think I might have to donate a kidney to pay for this. I've gotten some quotes and I'm like WHAT? Why? Is Taylor Swift in your group?

Transportation: Can't our friends just sleep in the tent at the reception? It could be fun.

I know I'm leaving stuff out, what else should I be booking right now?

Flowers: Ummm... I'm leaving this to my mom.

Wedding party: this one is hard. Maybe I'll let my mom do this too.

BM Dresses: Too much. Not now.

Stuff that I haven't done but I'm excited to do:

HONEYMOON: So excited to plan this.

Hotel goody bags: Maybe it's because I'm a child, but I LOVE goody bags. I once went to a birthday party where I got a Tomagatchi in my goody bag and I NEVER forgot it. So I think I might follow suit and give all of our guests their own Tomagatchi. Yay or nay? Honest feedback appreciated.

Harlow's OUTFIT: I can't even. Too excited.

Writing our own vows: I can't even. Too excited.

Bloody Mary Bar: I don't know at what point we'll have this bar set up, but it will be somewhere.

Planning fun stuff for our friends and family that come in a few days early: My favorite thing about destination(ish) weddings is getting to hang out with everyone for more than just a night. I've been in weddings where when it's over I get all sad because I feel like the bride and groom's family are my new best friends and I'm depressed I'll probably never get to see cousin Sheila again or take a shot with Uncle Steve.

Overall, being in beautiful Steamboat with so many friends and family is going to be awesome.

And now it's time for Friday stuff... Catch you later. Enjoy the last weekend in August. Fall is coming... eeek.

Chicago Food That You Have To Eat

Thursday, August 27, 2015

It's nearly 1:00 a.m. and I really have no business being awake right now, yet here I am.

Since the darkness is upon us I have one thing on my mind right now and one thing only: nachos. I am a fan of the homemade nacho. Such a big fan. They were my go-to after school snack as a kid and they're my go-to midnight snack as a bigger kid.

In thinking about nachos I realized there's no better way to spend a midnight blog post than telling you about all of the food I've eaten lately. Doesn't that sound riveting? Good! Let's do it.

-Barbecue nachos from Smoke Daddy in Wicker. Nachos that require a fork are my happy place.

-More barbecue food from Green Street Smoked Meats. Beans = heaven.

This bad boy is called a Cemitas. It's disgustingly big and should never be eaten by one person. Unless it's me. Served at Cemitas Puebla in the West Loop.

Longman & Eagle in Logan Square breaks my heart it's so good. I want to eat everything here at all times.

I don't care if Ditkas is for tourists, I like their Bloodys! And I like Ditka!

Oysters from Parsons Chicken and Fish. The only downfall of Parsons is that I always feel like the most lame person there because it's full of very cool hipsters who can just tell by looking at me that I'm trying way too hard.

Did someone say pho? Pho yea it's pho from FUH in Lincoln Park. It's a build your own pho bar and it's as pho-ing awesome as it sounds.

And I saved the ugliest photo for last. Ugly photo but oh so beautiful Kimchi fries. After you have kimchi fries you can't go back to normal fries. You just can't. Thank you Del Seoul for always being wonderful.

Bookmark this page, when you come to Chicago you're going to want to eat all of this food.

And now you know why I have to get up for Pilates in five hours... Woof. Is it the weekend yet? I'm so over this weekday crap.

Reasons I Know I'm A Crazy Dog Lady

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Today is National Dog Day.

But if you ask me every day is National Dog Day. Isn't that such a parent thing to say? When I was little I would complain to my mom there wasn't a "Kids Day" like there was a Mother's Day and she'd respond with a huff and an eye roll, every day is kids day.

And now I've become my mom.

In honor of this wonderful holiday today I'm going to get a little personal with all of you and let you know exactly how crazy/obsessed I am with my best friend, Harlow, by sharing a few of the bizarre things I do as a dog parent.

Don't say I didn't warn you, I'm a total weirdo...

When I leave the house I say good bye to Harlow at least 100 times. I repeatedly tell him "I'll be right back!" and "I love you so much!" and "You're just my little baby" over and over and over. It gets to the point where he's just lying on the couch with this look in his eye that says, would you just leave already? I'm pretty sure there's hamburger buns on the table I'd like to eat the second you walk out the door.

After I've finally completed the good bye ceremony and have indeed left the house, my mind will instantly go through every terrible situation that could happen.

-Did I leave a candle burning? No, never.

-But what if Harlow learns how to burn a candle? That could happen. Must put matches away.

-What if the TV falls on him because he gets excited and sees a squirrel outside and randomly runs into the TV? Must put TV away next time.

-Can he suffocate under the blanket? No. But maybe?

-What if someone tries to break in and realizes how awesome Harlow is and then kidnaps him? Must teach Harlow how to call 911.

And when I'm out, I will most definitely cut the night short because fewer things are more fun to me than sitting on the couch with Harlow on my legs... Is that terrible? Probably.

Chris and I plan vacations based on what we know Harlow will enjoy... remember that camping trip from earlier in the summer? All Harlow inspired. And did Harlow enjoy that trip you might ask? You tell me...

Yes, yes he did.

Also I regularly sing to Harlow, and make up new songs just about him. Chris does as well (he will probably be embarrassed I'm telling you this) but Chris has a great remix of the Christmas song, "Mary, Did You Know?" but instead is about, "Harlow, Did You Know?" Kills me every time.

What can I say? I really like my dog. He's my best friend. He's been with me from moves across the Midwest. To being my only pal when I was the new kid in a big city. And in those tough moments when I got laid off, didn't make the cut for an audition, or just all around felt lousy. Har's always there. I don't get sappy about much in this life, but damn it I'll get sappy about him.

But I'll have save that for his bday post in two weeks...

Happy National Dog Day, friends. Spend time and really be with your pup, not just today but every day. And if you want to have some fun, go buy a bunch of clearance toys at a pet store and drop them by a shelter. Or just make a donation for animals.

And now I'm going to put on my dog shirt and have a good day with my bestie. I suggest you do the same.