London: Who, What, Where.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Where we stayed: The Kensington area.

It seemed pretty centrally located and we were able to walk to everything- i.e. Notting Hill, Kensington Palace, Buckingham ext.

Then again, we're used to walking a lot. So maybe we weren't centrally located at all and I had no idea? That's a definite possibility. We also jumped on London's subway quite a bit, the Tube. Public transportation is amazing. Never be afraid to use it. Also I was super impressed with how clean everything was in London, most specifically their public transpo. That could also have something to do with the fact Chicago's is pretty filthy. It's a good day if I don't sit in urine. And it's still an okay day if I do.

What we did: everything.

Chris is an exhausting travel buddy. He likes to see and do everything. Seriously everything. I like to see and do everything as well, but sometimes I can be lazy and just like to go sit in a pub. I blame this trait on my dad. Luckily Chris and I found a middle ground- a hop on hop off bus.

We could see all of the city from the comfort of our seat- and with a travel size bottle of wine if necessary. This became our favorite way to explore. Chris loved getting a history lesson by the tour guide and I just loved riding with my head out the window. I'm kind of like a dog in that way, I love a good car ride. When we came to a spot we wanted to see more of we just hopped off and got back on at another stop.

I'm not going to tell you we bought a selfie stick just for this trip... But we bought a selfie stick just for this trip. You can judge me, I judge myself. But we were actually really glad we had it. And now I'll put it away for safe keeping until our next vacation. It will NOT come out in Chicago at a bar or something, I'm not that person. Yet.

What we liked. Pretty much all the touristy stuff. I'm not even going to try to deny it, we ate it all up. And why not? We're tourists after all.

Trafalgar Square- seen above.

It was close to Piccadilly Circus which seemed like a pretty cool area too, a bit Times Square-ish but whatever.

London Tower.

Buckingham Palace.
Not to sound like a total snot, but I was a little unimpressed with Buckingham. I couldn't even get close enough to the infamous guards to take a ridiculous photo that I would most definitely regret later.

What to wear.
As expected, it was cold in London. Cold and rainy and grey. Just like Chicago pretty much. Next time I go to Europe I'm going in the summer. Enough of this early spring bullshit.

I know it's way past time to retire the plaid blanket scarf for the season, but it's the warmest scarf I own so I was definitely glad I brought it. I wore warm coats and big scarves every day and was still cold.

Right here I'm probably wondering why in the hell we chose to go Europe instead of the Bahamas.

Where we drank.
We pretty much slipped into any cute pub we could find. Our favorite was recommended to us by Kelli on Instagram and it was Churchill Arms Pub.

And I think that's just about enough London talk for now. Cheerio. I'll probably change the subject tomorrow and talk about something else for a bit. Most likely about Harlow.

Vacation Banter

Monday, March 30, 2015

I'm feeling a little shell shocked today. That's probably not the correct use of that phrase but I went for it. Last Monday I was galavanting around London and today I'm ... not.

I'm a little anxious about everything I have to catch up from last week so instead of actually doing any of those things I'm more content to just sit on my couch and stare into space and let the fear and anxiety about my to-do list settle inside of me. Sometimes thinking about doing things is just as fun as doing them, you know?

But I want to recap my trip from last week, as painful as it might be. So I'm just going to jump right in and hopefully make it a fun experience for everyone. And by everyone I mean just my mom and my sister probably.

So let's go back to last Friday when we flew out. I had this great plan of drinking a few glasses of wine in the airport, and then one or two on the plane because trips to Europe = free wine for everyone in flight. And then right when I was feeling good I was going to take a sleeping pill and blissfully fall into a slumber for the next eight hours.

It didn't happen like that.

Instead... I was about two glasses of wine in at Chicago O'hare, about thirty minutes away from boarding, when I decided what the hell I'd take a sleeping pill now so then I could fall asleep shortly after take off. Well then our plane got delayed an hour. And then another hour. And then one more.

Our plane didn't leave Chicago until nearly 2:00 a.m. If you can imagine, I was slightly loopy by then. The last thing I remember is boarding the plane wearing my hat and sunglasses because I was sure it hid my "loopiness."

I collapsed into the seat and the next thing I knew the flight attendant was shaking me saying, "Miss, you need to put your seat up. We are landing."

And then we were in London. Those overseas flights man, they're a breeze.

This is one of the first photos we took of the trip. I think we both look awkward and confused because that's exactly how we felt.

And then we set out to see the city.

Pictures are great, but they only tell half the story. I wish you could hear all of the cute "vacation banter" going on between us.

"Chris, I'm cold. My feet hurt. I'm hungry. Can we get a drink yet? Let's go eat. Where are all the cute pubs? I want fish and chips. Let's get a taxi. I don't understand euros. Is this Notting Hill? Why is it so cold?"

Last week was too fun. I'm getting sad thinking about how fast it went.

Tomorrow I'll give more specifics about what we did in London, where we ate/drank, ext. I wasn't expecting it, but London might have just become my favorite city ever. Omaha previously had the title (for obvious reasons) but London might have just over thrown it. Typical.

Anyway, I'll be back tomorrow or perhaps later today for more fun filled vacay talk. We'll see how much COFFEE I consume.

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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Packing For Europe

It's 2008 at this exact same time and I'm getting ready to go to Europe for my very first visit.

I'm going to see a new boyfriend I've only been dating for about five months, two of which were spent together and three were spent living on two different continents. Crazy, right? For sure.

The crazier part is that my parents encouraged it. Why? Because they were excited their weird daughter finally had her first "real" boyfriend... (I was 20.) Whatever. I say "real" because I obviously had a ton of internet boyfriends I met in chatrooms. I mean I wasn't a total loser. Obviously. They'll deny they encouraged the trip but they totally did.

In case you didn't know, I'm talking about the time I went to visit Chris while he was studying in Spain.

"So what should I pack?" I asked him via Skype while I sat in my little Kappa Alpha Theta sorority room in Lincoln, Nebraska.

"Not much, just a few pairs of jeans, a good jacket, and shoes you can walk in. This is Europe, you don't want to bring a ton of stuff."

"Totally," I responded.

And one week later I got off the plane in Barcelona with two stupidly huge suitcases and one dumb ass grin on my face. To hell with what Chris told me to pack, this was my first time in Europe. I'd seen Passport to Paris, I knew I had to bring my best stuff. i.e. glitter tops and ten pairs of True Religions.

I'll never forget how angry we both were as we lugged my shit through the small cobblestoned streets of Paris and Barcelona, walking from one hostel to the next. It makes me laugh now, but at the time we were barely speaking.  Turns out sometimes your significant other really does know what he's talking about. Who knew.

Each time I've been to Europe I've packed less and less. Even though we're no longer hostel jumping like we used to as young college lads, I still don't see the need to pack a ton of unnecessary stuff. I usually end up wearing the same three outfits on vacations anyway. Day one always starts off cute. Day two is semi cute. And by day three I'm over it and ready to wear whatever I don't feel fat in.

This time around I'm carrying on and just bringing the bare essentials. Jeans, booties, a denim shirt and a hat. Done and done.

I'd also like to note here that I had a wonderful time in the travel-size section at Target last night. I have a real problem with miniature sized things. I basically lose my shit over them. It's a weird fetish I know, but I can't help myself.

If only you knew how many jollies this photo gives me.

I know this sounds silly, but I'm also just so excited for the airport drinking that's about to happen tomorrow night. Airport drinking (like miniature sized toiletries) makes me so happy. It doesn't take much to please me, let's just put it that way.

We fly out Friday night and arrive in London Saturday morning. After a few glasses of red wine on an evening flight I'll be sound asleep with my mouth disgustingly wide open in no time. I can't wait. See you soon, London and Dublin!

How To Write

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

No, seriously how do you write? That's what I'm hoping to find out.

Right out of college when I had a bit more time on my hands (and a lot more confidence in my head) I ordered every book I could find on screenwriting. I read about ten in a couple of months and tried to teach myself everything there was to know about writing a script. And then I sat down and I wrote.

I wrote two full (AWFUL like silly awful) screenplays and I felt triumphant and was like "okay, I'm done, now who wants the privilege of turning my wonderful idea into a movie starring ME?"

Much to my surprise, no one offered. So then I stopped and life happened and everything else in between.

Three years later, I've got the itch again. And here's what I've realized about my first try at writing, even though my first "screenplays" (using that word lightly here) were painfully bad, at least I finished something. I've had some trouble with that lately, like a lot of trouble.

So in an attempt to keep myself accountable, I'm working with an instructor from The Second City to learn the art of screenwriting. And I can't tell you how much I am enjoying it. In all honestly, I love anything that feels like school. What I wouldn't give to go back to those college years spent in Andrew Hall discussing literature with my hippy loving English professors. I just didn't appreciate it then like I would now. It's such a shame that college years are wasted on college students.

But I digress.

The point is I'm trying again. I'm a little more realistic this time around and understand that everyone has at least five screenplays they're working on in their back pocket. But who cares, how does that apply to me?  I'm just trying to write something I'm proud of and can keep around as a writing sample. Or I can set it out on my coffee table and insist that EVERYONE who enters my house read it before they leave. Wouldn't that be fun.

Returning to this form of writing hasn't been easy. I sat down yesterday and it took me nearly four hours to write two pages. TWO. All of my old negative voices I haven't heard from in a while made sure to stop by to be certain that I second guessed every single line I wrote down.

Really, you're going to use that line? That sounds awful. That's not how you do this. WHY are you even doing this? You realize this is one big waste of time. This sounds like a child wrote it. This is so bad it's funny to me. Just go take a nap. Eat some chips. Clean the wall. Do anything but write this piece of shit. You're terrible at everything. Ext and so forth. I like to think these voices keep me grounded.

And now I'm going to show you where all of the writing magic goes down. And by "magic" I mostly mean crying.

It all happens in my home office. Home office = this tiny space in my living room where the wall was just big enough to fit a desk.

The Hustle notebook can be found here.  And even though the page you see is blank, I immediately filled it out and hustled the hell out of it. I'm slowly learning how to live my life via a to-do list, it's a work in progress. It's on my to-do list.

And hanging above it all is a signed poster by one of my favorite screenwriters and directors and fellow Nebraskan, Mr. Alexander Payne. I hang it here for inspiration. It hasn't given me any yet, but I keep hoping. And at the very least I get to stare at Bruce Dern's dreamy profile!

And now I have to write 8 more pages before my next class today at 3:00 p.m. It took me 7 days to write 2 pages, so, so I'm feeling really good about the task ahead of me.

Hustle. Hustle. Hustle.

It's what I do best, just look at all of the small trophies I won in basketball that say "Most Hustle Award" from years 2003-2005. They don't give those out to just anyone.

What's your writing style? How do you get "the creative juices flowing?"

Explaining Bloggers on Instagram to Non Bloggers on Instagram

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

nest ring found here.

And now a post to explain my Instagram behavior to all of my non-blogger friends in this world.

Whenever someone I know adds me on Instagram I want to pull them aside and give them a heads up about what they're going to get. Because I know what you're thinking, non blogger friend of mine, I post some weird shit sometimes. That I do. I will not deny this.

Said weird stuff can include but is not limited to: Photos of coffee mugs that might leave you thinking, why is she posting a photo of a coffee mug? It's a mug. I don't get it.

Photos of just my feet on a white rug, as if to say look at my feet everyone! They're there!

Photos of me sitting down holding something stupid like a planner or an agenda. i.e. another headless photo.

Photos of my hands strategically placed on my computer as if I'm actually still typing as I'm taking this stupid selfie.

And last but certainly not least, the mother of all "what the hell is that photo all about" photos, my personal favorite, the "look at all of my things I own spread out on a whiteboard" photo. Talk about a a beauty of a photo. When done right this glossy photo takes the cake macaron. (That's a blogger joke.)

And now to uncover the reasoning behind some of these weird photos.

First and foremost, often times blogging is pretty awesome and we get sent free stuff we have to post on Instagram. We "sell out" if you will. No sense in pussyfooting around this first one because it's the truth in the matter.

But here's another factor, you know when you work in an office and you start to pick up certain behaviors or similarities of your coworkers? Overtime you start to like the same things and share some of the same hobbies. You might not have liked some of the stuff they liked initially, but it rubs off on you. This is kind of what it's like to be a blogger on Instagram. Or at least that's what I tell myself to make me feel better. It's not because we're all lambs.

I'm not sure about the average joe, but I follow a lot of lifestyle/fashion bloggers who have mastered the art of faking a beautiful filtered life. Like these girls are masterminds at making life look pretty and #thatsdarling.  If you look at their Insta stream, almost all of their professional quality photos are basically the exact same. There's usually just one minor detail that's different, it's like one of those games, "spot the differences in these two identical photos!" Only it's their entire feed! It's oddly beautiful. And also slightly terrifying.

As much as I loathe the weirdly posed photos of stupid shit, I love them. I love/hate them like I love/hate Gigi Hadid. I want to hate it, but I can't look away. It's so pretty. And it's fun to imagine a having a pretty life full of decorative lattes and fingers clad in 100 ridiculous tiny knuckle rings. And who am I kidding, I don't hate you Gigi, I love you!

So every once in awhile I get caught up in the stream of Valencia lighted images and feel the urge to toss in my own "look at me drinking coffee on a furry white rug" photo. I'm only human, what can I say. I know that to my blog peeps, it's the norm. And to my non-blog peeps, it's super weird. I try to embrace both sides. I guess my thought is this, life gets pretty ugly sometimes, so what's the harm in sprucing it up with a filter or two every once in awhile? You hear me, girlfriend? No? Okay.

Then just for good measure I try to throw in a few pics of Harlow. Followed by more pics of me looking like an idiot.

What are your thoughts on Instagram? Raise your hand if you're ready for a new social media craze. Anyone else itching to move back to good old fashioned creepy chat rooms? Middle-school me is raising her hand like a mad woman right now. Java chat for the win.

St. Patricks Day Weekend In Chicago

Monday, March 16, 2015

As predicted, this weekend got intense.

I think it might have been my last "big St. Patricks Day outing" in Chicago I've decided. I proved I just can't handle it. And I'm okay with that, some people aren't meant for the St. Patricks Day lifestyle. I'm one of them.

According to Chicago police, this was one of the more "disorderly years" in terms of idiots roaming the streets on the day the river turned green. I blame it on the nice weather. We've all been in hiding for so long we didn't quite know what to do with ourselves.

When I left the house on Sunday morning to go pick up breakfast down the street it looked like the city had been to war the night before. Pieces of clothing, strands of green beads, dirty hats, broken bottles, and left behind food (among other disgusting things,) lined the sidewalks. The entire city looked hungover. It smelled like it too.

In hindsight, I think we started too early on Saturday. I'm pretty sure everyone in Chicago did. I watched girls dressed in bikini tops and green tutus get in a cab outside of our house around 7:45 a.m and thought to myself, this can't be a good sign of things to come. I was right.

Bright eyed and bushy tailed, we left our house before 9:30 am. As we drove down Lincoln avenue there were lines down the street of people in ridiculous green attire trying to get into every bar.

We went to a friends apartment to start the day by feasting on a classic Irish breakfast in an attempt to carb load.

I opted to feast on my Bloody Mary instead. And yes, I have more crappy/notblogworthy photos to come. Get excited!

At some point in the morning we started a friendly game of Tippy Cup, also known as Flippy Cup- to each their own. When I looked at the clock and noticed it was barely 11:15 a.m. I knew the day could only go downhill from here.

We took some Irish car bombs, a few pickle back shots,  some bad elevator selfies, and then set out to the next apartment.

It was at this next apartment when things turned... weird. Without going into too much detail, one of the new "bros" at this next place threw a bottle cap at my friend Aly's face and for reasons unknown, proceeded to be really big ... how do I say this correctly... oh yes, assholes to her and I.

It was weird and unnecessary. We weren't being loud or obnoxious, and for the record as annoying as "those types of girls" can be, I still don't think that would justify getting a bottle cap thrown at one's face. We'd only been at this place for about ten minutes and were simply trying to mingle with the crowd. But this kinda ruined the moment real fast. A few words were exchanged, things I probably wouldn't have said had I not started drinking at 9:30 a.m.... and I'm still trying to decide if I got irrationally upset or not.

A part of me says yes, but a part of me says no. I'm tired of people being terrible to each other. More specifically arrogant, and often privileged guys who think they can say or do whatever they want to anyone.

See how this post just took a turn for the downer? That's what happened Saturday for a moment.

But don't worry, we bounced back.

We fought the crowds and stopped in a few Irish bars, saw the green river, danced in the street, and then Chris and I did our classic Irish good-bye (we left without telling anyone) and ended our St. Patricks Day the way we prefer. At Au Cheval for the best burger in town.

We weren't home by 3 p.m. like I had hoped, but we made it back by 6 p.m before all of the real hooligans hit the street. The day was intense, but it was a good one. So good in fact I think I'll be okay if I sit the next few years out.

And now I have four days to get my life together before we leave for London and Dublin on Friday! If you have any tips for either of these locations, send them my way!