How To Finish 2017 Strong

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

A few days ago I read a post mentioning that the "new year" is only three months away.

"Did you accomplish all of your 2017 goals?! Did you????" it questioned in the first line of the article.

And it was one of those moments where my heart kinda dropped and I internally said, well shit, knowing very well I did not accomplish all of the stupid goals I so arrogantly wrote down back in January, so many moons ago. That makes thirty years in a row now.

The post went on to challenge me (and you) to make the most of the these last three months.

"Get up an hour earlier! Work an hour later! Do what you have to do. Grind! Grind! Grind!"

So yesterday I set my alarm for 6:00 a.m., (I'm usually a 7 a.m. kinda gal) and was determined to GET SHIT DONE.

And when my alarm went off at 6:00 a.m. the next day my first thought was, what the hell is this about? And without even pretending to second guess myself, I hit snooze. And then I hit it again. And again.

By 6:30 a.m. I remembered that I had set my alarm early on purpose (you know, to accomplish all of my 2017 goals.) So I was like, okay I guess. But five more minutes.

In the end, I got up 15 minutes earlier and felt really proud of myself. I spent that 15 minutes staring at my coffee, then out the window into the alley thinking about absolutely nothing, and then back again at my coffee. Like I said, I felt really good about it all.

I have two lofty goals for 2017 I'm yet to hit, one involves t-shirt sales and one involves finishing a book. Both piss me off.

T-shirts piss me off because a few rocks were thrown in my path I didn't expect, like when a big University demands you stop selling about eight of your best ORIGINAL shirts so instead they can sell them. And they're also going to make you abandon your trademark in the process (so they can use it) but you can't.

(STILL NOT BITTER. Doing great.)

But the book goal is 100% me being a lazy loser. I've been half ass working on it for over two years now and I'm to the point where I just need to admit I don't care if it sucks and finish it already because it's killing my soul.

An imperfect finished book is much better than a perfect unfinished book.... I don't remember where I heard that quote, but I clearly haven't listened to it.

So what I'm saying is that I've got a lot of work to do. You'll know when it's done because I plan to post all 400 pages of it RIGHT HERE. Get excited.

Yesterday a lot of my Facebook feed was blowing up about some really talented Chicago comics being plucked for SNL. These are people I actually know, or know through friends, and it's kind of unreal to see. As a kid, SNL was always the ultimate pipe dream for me (okay, also as an adult but you're never supposed to admit that as a comedian because you sound like a tool.) So when you find yourself in a circle of people who are actually doing it, it's kinda nuts.

It's also a kick in the ass to get your shit together.

These comedians didn't get to SNL by chance, each and every one of them has hustled for years. So to see their hard work pay off is pretty inspiring.

Like I said, I've got some work to do...

So I should probably stop staring at this coffee while reading 100 different versions of my horoscope, and instead actually get going on something productive. Wish me luck. I heard there's only three more months until it's 2018.

To do list: 
1. Figure out life.
2. Figure out which Kardashian/Jenner is pregnant.

My List of 20 Fall Favorites!

Saturday, September 23, 2017

In an attempt to separate myself from the niche blogging category I've accidentally fallen into as of late (mad poopers) today I'm going to talk about all things fall. All things basic and pumpkin and cozy and cute and pretty much whatever the hell else I can mention that is not poo related.


Let's start with this huge chunky knit blanket that looks like absolute heaven and something I would hide myself in all winter long.

Found here. 

And because I love silly doormats. Witch, Please.

And while you're at this shop you might as well pick up this Stranger Things pin as well. How much longer until season two?! I'm dying to see my besties again.

I'm such a sucker for these campfire style mugs.

I can't seem to find this exact one (this pic is from Pinterest) but I found a very similar mug here.

The fall candle to end all fall candles. I was skeptical at first too, but trust me when I say it's really that good.

And I am really REALLY into this orange cardi.

And this cream cable knit (which also comes in orange if you're feeling nasty.)

I can't, and I won't pass up an extra long and cozy cardi. Comes in four colors and runs large! (I'm in an XS.) Similar $19 striped tee found here, or this amazing red/white striped top.

Grey loafers that I live in found here.

And pretty much all of the fall decor by Threshold at Target.

This reversible houndstooth scarf for only $26!

And in case you're feeling fancy, these two gorgeous fall dresses. 

Cold shoulder mini and velvet midi. 

This beautiful Madewell Travel Tote which is now 33% off.

The $79 booties I talk about ALL the time. They run TTS, I'm in a size 9! They also come in black, but sizes are going fast!

Boyfriend jeans and high rise skinnys (33% off!)

I obviously have to mention the COZY AF sweatshirt because duh.

And finally, my all time favorite vest. Literally, the nicest vest I have ever owned. It was a splurge for me, but well worth it.

And there you have it, a few of my fall favorites. What did I miss? Probably a lot, but this has taken me far too long as it is.

Back to writing about the mad pooper tomorrow. JK!!! Or am I ....

I Am Not The Mad Pooper

Thursday, September 21, 2017

In my hundreds of years of blogging I've been fortunate enough to write a few posts that have "gone big."

"Gone big" means something different for everyone online. When I say it, I mean a post that garners around 30,000-40,000 hits in a day or two. Small potatoes for some. But, that's big potatoes for me. Usually those posts are about dogs, or something niche in Nebraska, but yesterday that meant a post about a "mad pooper."

I am not the mad pooper. This is me "on the go." Not because I just crapped in someone's lawn and need to get away fast, but because I am a blogger and we think it's really cool to take "on the go," pics.

Yesterday's post was about a fictional woman named Valerie Owens. The mad pooper, as shown in the news is very much real, however everything I wrote about her yesterday was not. If her name turns out to be Valerie Owens that would be a very VERY weird coincidence. I will buy a lottery ticket immediately if that is the case and I will most likely win the lottery. And for the rest of my life I will owe my winnings to the woman who decided it was okay to shat in public.

Stranger things have happened. Actually no, they haven't.

If you've been following me for awhile you've come to know that I get jollies off of posting weird stuff. Fan fiction about pilates, or nail salons (wait, that one is still coming) or just whatever the hell moves me that day. And yes, my posts have gotten increasingly weird in the last year when for some reason I just decided to stop caring about posting "blog appropriate" stuff anymore. I'm thankful for this turn as it has made my blog a lot more fun for me. It was a selfish move no doubt, but sometimes you gotta do what the heart wants.

Well yesterday I was moved by the poo runner. And so I wrote a post as the woman who I imagined was dropping deuces all over Colorado Springs. I hit publish and took Har on a walk.

And about an hour later that post had 7,000 views. That's fun, I thought.

Within two hours 15,000 views. Oh no, I thought.

It became clear to me that despite the numerous terrible, really really bad, poop jokes (at least 30 of them) I wrote into the post, people still thought the post was real. They didn't understand it was intended to be satire. They thought that I was actually the mad pooper.

As one woman wrote, Be inspired by you?! More like be sick by you! Use a bathroom like the rest of us!

Lady, you need to see a psychiatrist! What you are doing creates a health hazard to everyone else! 

Is this for real for real?

Why would someone eat black beans before a run anyway?!

This woman doesn't even care, how disgusting! 

Those are just a few comments I've seen on my Facebook page. As of last night the post had 130 + comments. As it turns out, people really do believe everything they read on the internet. Even blog posts about poo ladies that start by saying "I've been drug through the mud" and then proceed to list 15 different poop related nicknames.

Unlike Valerie Owens, when I make a mess in public I clean it up. So I'm here to own my fictional post from yesterday. If I mislead you, I am sorry. But perhaps we can all use this as a learning experience. Do not believe every post you read on the internet. And as the writer of fictional posts, I have learned that I can't write about shit, and not expect to get shit.

And to the real mad pooper, if you're out there and reading this, just start carrying plastic bags with you, my God. It's really not that hard. I pick up like ten pieces of shit a day, I do it so often I don't even notice it anymore. It's simply our burden as people with thumbs.

Because if you don't, just know that shit will catch up with you. It always does.

Not Valerie Owens

A Letter From the Mad Pooper

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

My name is Valerie Owens and I am not a monster.

In the past few days I have been drug through the mud online and I think it's time I give my side of things so you finally have a chance to know the real story.

I feel that I should probably start by saying that you may know me better as the "mad pooper." 

Or the Colorado Crapper. Or the Diarrhea Dasher. Sidewalk Shitter. Rancid Runner. Splatter Sprinter.  The Juicy Jogger. Fudge Fugitive. Turd Trotter. The Lincoln Log Leaker. Lead Singer of the Poo Flighters. Or Pam the Poopy Pants. (And no, my name isn't even Pam!) It's Valerie, as I've already said, Val to my close friends.

And I am more than just those hurtful names. I am more than the cruel headlines shown on the news and the youtubes. I am a person!

I am a wife and mother of three. I work at Jo-Ann's fabric store off of 14th and Wayencott (not at the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, as I've seen several of you speculate. Ha. Ha. RUDE.) In truth, I've probably helped you buy fleece for your tie-together Broncos themed fleece blankets. Go Broncs!

I attend the evangelical church "In His Arms and Under His Grace" every Sunday. I sing in the choir. I have held your hand during prayer. I have served your children brownies and chocolate sundaes after service.

I have a lot of hobbies. I like to cook. I like to read and write. And I love to play hide and seek with my children.

Just like you, I am a human being. And I have a story as to why I choose to defecate outside. Frequently.

Let me ask you this, do you choose your passions? Or do they choose you?

My passion is running and most recently, taking massive shits outside. Luckily for me, these two go hand in hand. I haven't always been this way, and I'll be the first to say I wouldn't have chosen this for myself. But now that I've discovered it, it's hard to go back.

It all began about four months ago while I was running in my neighborhood in the city where I live, beautiful Colorado Springs. About three miles into my ten mile jog my bowels started getting very angry. Was it my morning coffee? Or my morning bowl of black beans with fiber powder on top? I couldn't be sure, and truthfully it didn't matter as I had to go, and didn't have many options. I'm sure this is a feeling we can all relate to, when you're on a run and have to squeeze-cheek it four blocks home just hoping you make it in time; sweat dancing on your brow, gurgles coming from your midsection.

Well I didn't make it home, instead I hid myself as best as I could in the suburban neighborhood I was in, and proceeded to relieve myself.

And in that moment I felt as free and wonderful as I ever had in my entire life. It was like I was being born again. I heard birds singing, waterfalls falling, hints of cinnamon and sulfur in the air. I felt... alive.

So that's how it all began. I didn't intend to be this way. It just kind of happened. And once you know such bliss, how do you just turn away from it? You don't! You can't.

And so I didn't. But I never thought it would be so blown out of proportion quite like this. Dogs do it everyday for God's sake and I don't see articles or news stories being written about them. If I could teach my yellow lab, Nutters, to pick up after me on a jog I would, but sadly his hips don't allow him to run with me anymore. (Thanks for the reminder!) Any other depressing things you'd like to bring up about my life?!

I've read reports that people say I am intentionally doing this out in public for people to see, which is absurd! I assure you this is not the case. If it were, there would be more than just a handful of you who have seen me do it, as I have shit all over this great city. All over it.

I don't think there's a backyard I have missed. I have literally hit them all, even the ones just being built out on the east side of town. If you live in the Springs, look out your window toward your yard right now, and know that's where I have shit. Maybe more than once. Yes, this is a big city, but I am a trained marathon runner. With a little bit of discipline, it's not that difficult.

Where there's a napkin, there's a way.

As for the reports claiming that children have repeatedly watched me, well to that I apologize. And would like to say that I 100% did not realize they were children. I assumed they were small adults dressed in children clothing with children-like facial features. How can one ever really be certain these days? Children look so old now! Adults look so young!

I am not writing this today for attention. I'd just like my story to be known. I don't do what I do to hurt others. I do do it simply because it brings me joy. And relief.

So next time you want to throw stones, or post another snotty flyer, please remember I'm just a woman on a jog, doing what I love.

Don't judge me, be inspired by me.


***based on true events about a mad pooper, some names have been changed.***
**mostly made-up, though. so what I'm saying is this is satire (FAKE.)

*i don't condone shitting in public.

What I Learned After Having My First Bra Fitting

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

It was at the age of thirty when I thought to myself, maybe I should get a "professional" bra fitting after all? 

Up until that moment the only "fitting" I'd ever had was me walking through the sale bras at Target and thinking, yeah that one looks fitting.  I'd spend roughly $14, try it on at home, and then complain when it fit like shit. But did I still wear it? Absolutely. I'm not one to waste $14.

I was leaving for a trip and realized I hadn't packed the correct bra and needed a new one asap. It also just so happened that I was stranded in Lincoln, Nebraska at this time. Why I was stranded doesn't really matter. What matters is that the only bra shop I could think of was a little slice of tacky heaven (hell) called Victoria's Secret. Perhaps you're a fan of this store and that's fine! It's simply not for me. They lost me at their Pink! collection.

But at the same time, I was about to have my very first bra fitting and figured why the hell not? I'm 13 going on 30 so this feels right!

I ducked inside the store hiding my face like I was walking into a trucker sex shop off of interstate 80. You know the one.

"Can you help me find a bra?" I asked the first sales girl I could find.

"Like, what kind?" She responded, pretty snotty. I got the sense she was about to go on break. That, or she got the sense she was about to help a 30 year old woman have her first bra fitting.

"A.... a nude one."

"No, like what do you want it to do?" She didn't like me.

"What bras do." I didn't like her.

She sighed as sales girls do when they're annoyed and walked toward a bucket of bras and pointed at them, "Here, these are on sale. There's probably some NUDE ones in there."

What about me said I like to choose bras from a bucket? Was it my $14 bra, perhaps? I looked down and noticed it was clearly doing that pucker thing under my tshirt that $14 Target bras tend to do. I suddenly felt very insecure.

I walked toward a fancier section, next to fancy lacy knee high things that reminded me of a saucy 90s movie. Something I would have secretly watched on HBO while wondering to myself why someone would wear stockings to bed, it made no sense!

"How much is this bra?" I asked mean sales girl.

"Oh that wouldn't fit you," she responded, eyeing my puckering bra.

"I didn't ask if it would fit me or not." 

"How much is it, Marie?" Sales girl said to no one.

"It's very expensive," Marie, the non-existent person responded.

And now I was getting pissed. Here I was, a grown ass woman just trying to buy my first Victoria's Secret bra!

"Look, I got money to spend in here!" I said as I began to pace the store in my knee high pleather boots, my short white/blue midi dress starting to ride up in anger.

"Well I don't think we have anything in here for you, you're obviously in the wrong place. Please leave." 

HOLY SHIT. Did a Victorias' Secret sales girl just tell me to leave? Oh hell no.

My bad. No, that didn't actually happen. I just fell in a Pretty Woman hole again. That always happens to me when I least expect it.

Where was I? Oh yes, the bra bucket.

As soon as mean sales girl walked away a very sweet sales girl walked up.

"Can I help?" she asked, just like the nicer sales woman on Pretty Woman.

"Yes please, I need a bra that doesn't pucker. And nothing too padded. No push up. Basically I'd like whatever you have that is closest to a trainer-bra, or a sports bra. But not for children."

"Of course, what size are you?"

"Ugh, whatever you have will work," I said as I looked down and folded my arms across my chest.

"Oh cutie, have you ever had an actual bra fitting before?"

There's something so endearing about someone ten years younger than you calling you "cutie," isn't there? And that's why I was in here, wasn't it? Of course, I never thought I'd actually go through with it. But five minutes later I was in a dressing room with a girl who was probably still in high school telling me how to wear underwear. Maybe growing up wouldn't be that bad, after all!

The girl asked me how many bras I own. I responded, "Three and a half. Four if you count the scary lace one in the back of my drawer I hold onto just to keep the spirits away."

She told me she owned roughly 45 bras. Nature of the biz, I suppose. I could have snarked back, yeah well I own 400 t-shirts! But it didn't feel like a pissing contest and she was sweet, so I kept my mouth shut.

She informed that you should wash your bras after every 8-10 uses. And always in a garment bag. And NEVER dry them.

Totally. For sure. I do all of the above.

I've heard of "garment bags."  I'm pretty sure I even got one as a high school graduation gift years ago. But if memory serves it quickly turned into my marker bag. (I used to really love markers!) You know, for coloring in my planner, duh.

The nice sales girl helped me find the perfect nude bra that didn't pucker (it was $44, little more pricey than $14, but I guess I wear it everyday so that's okay.) And she even gave me some solid life advice, "confidence starts with a great bra!"

And this whole time I thought confidence came from the inside. But nope, it comes from Victoria's Secret. Loves it. Say what you want, but that teenage sales girl knew a lot about life.

I felt really good about the entire experience. My new bra goes great under my tshirts, under my cardis, under my scarves.

And next time I'm in Lincoln I may just pop in to say hi to my friend. And also to tell my enemy what a big HUGE mistake she made by not helping me.

What Has Changed After Being Meat Free For a Year

Monday, September 18, 2017

Big news, guys. Chris and I have been meat free for an entire year now.

Is this our marriage license, or meat-free license? Who knows. Who cares.

Meat for us = cows, pigs, lambs, (all mammals.) We still occasionally eat chicken and a lot of fish. I've eaten more fish in 2017 than I have in my entire life. And before I dig any deeper into this post let me slap my disclaimer on this by saying, I am not writing this to tell you to stop eating meat. You do you, we'll do us.

In the past year I've learned that writing/talking about our new diet is a lot trickier than I would have ever imagined. For starters, we only touch on it when need be. Like today for example when I'm lacking a post idea.

If we're out to dinner with friends and sharing plates, which is something we do quite often in Chicago, we try to just casually slip in something that is meat-free without making a big to-do about it.

We just choose not to eat a few specific animals, it's really not that big of a deal.

And yet as we've learned, some people choose to make it that big of a deal. And then it gets annoying AF.

I don't get it, why are you doing this?
You're really never going to eat meat ever again?
What about the food chain?
Just take a bite, we won't tell.
Oh, you're one of those people?
You really think two people changing their diet will make a difference?
Let me guess, you watched a documentary right?

The list could go on and on about things we've heard in the past year, those are just a few that come to mind right away. I know that most people aren't trying to be rude when they say this stuff, some are just curious. But some are just downright judgmental. And then I'm reminded of myself in the past, and feel bad for shitty things I've probably said to people who had diets that didn't fit "my standard of living."

So let's jump in. Why are we doing this? For Chris, it's because of the environment. I won't get into his side of things much more than that because I can't speak for him.  But if you're curious, simply google, "environmental impacts of eating one hamburger." There's a lot there that may surprise you. Or don't google it, I don't really care. As with anything, the info is there if you wan't to read it.

For me, it's because I started to feel like a hypocrite regarding my advocacy for animals. FOR ME. I'm not saying you can't love animals and still eat meat- I did it for 29 years and I know how much I loved animals. And bacon. Man, I loved bacon. But one day I met the sweetest little pig at the park and that was a game changer for me. I started reading about how pigs are treated, how they're slaughtered, and how their intelligence is higher than dogs. And I knew I was done.

In the past year, Chris and I had one moment of weakness right before the Fourth of July.

"Should we just take a break this weekend? Just eat a hamburger? Or a hot dog?"

We wondered aloud on the drive to Nebraska. From day one we've always said this is just a day-by-day diet. If we ever felt the need to break, we could. We would. But less than an hour later a semi truck full of teeny tiny pink posed piglets pulled up beside us on the interstate. I watched as their tiny faces struggled to poke through the holes of the semi and all that I could imagine was a truck full of puppies. And I burst into tears on the spot.

I get sad just thinking about that moment. I'm aware there is such a thing as "good farming," where animals are treated okay. But having grown up in Nebraska, I saw a lot of the commercialized farming. I frequently saw semis driving down the road, packed full of animals lying in their own feces.

And there goes the heavy sigh I often do when writing a post I know may rub people the wrong way. So again, as always, I'm writing about my own experience here. I'm sure several of you disagree, you may look at a truck transporting animals to be slaughtered in a different view, probably not nearly as emotional as I do, and so to each their own.

As for the "food chain argument," ughhhh, this is where it's hard for me to keep my judgment at bay because for me this isn't an argument at all. Just because we can, doesn't mean we should.

But now I've rambled on long enough about this for a Monday. In conclusion, I honestly never thought we'd last this long. But now that we have, I can't imagine going back. I don't miss or crave meat. Well, except for sausage pizza. I do miss that.

We both feel healthier, but nothing too crazy. It should be noted we still eat a lot of pizza, nachos, and fried stuff, so we're by no means the world's healthiest couple.

So yes, we still eat/do a lot of things we probably shouldn't. I'd like to stop eating chicken and turkey eventually, but it's taking me awhile to get there. But for now, cutting out mammals had made us both feel better mentally and physically, so for us that means it's a win.

In the end, you gotta do what works best for you.

Unless this involves swimming with dolphins.  WHY ARE PEOPLE STILL DOING THIS.
* I end every animal post with this thought because I'm very judgy about this "activity."*

Bye! Happy Monday!

A Look Inside Our Dining Room

Friday, September 15, 2017

We decided (yet again) that we needed to mix a few things up in our dining room.

Up until June, our "dining room" was more like an awkward sitting room, with two big arm chairs that no longer seemed to fit our style (mostly due to the scratch marks on the cushions from an incident that occurred on Valentines Day 2014 when Harlow decided to hide a large chunk of French bread in them.) Never leave a loaf of bread around Harlow. He will eat half of it on the spot, then hide the rest for a rainy day.

After the chairs we had a table that almost worked, but it ended up not being the same color of wood as all of our other furniture. Which brings me to today and the newest table we just received from Compass Modern. And now I'm going to show you three different photos of said table because I love it that much and would like to share my joy with you.

I don't know when I became the type of person to say something like, "I am obsessed with this dining room table," but that's who I am now.  I'm obsessed, guys. I won't even pretend to hide it. The overall quality, the finish on the wood, the shape, I love it all.

This was my first time shopping with Compass Modern, but as someone who is always on the hunt for nice modern/mid century inspired pieces, I am very very impressed! They cover it all with bigger pieces like beds and sofas, and also smaller items like throw pillows and wall art. The shipping was quick and easy and their customer service was awesome, as well.

Compass Modern is not paying me to write this, but I am super fortunate in that they gave me the chance to browse their site and choose a piece to be sent to share with all of you- which took me about ten days to decide on because there was so much to choose from, and so many things that I loved.

With the brown table and brown hutch, we knew we needed to add some color to this area, so we settled on the most colorful rug we could find. It's the Belini rug, also from Compass Modern.  It's very vibrant in person and took some getting used to after the dull grey rug we originally had, but I think it's grown on me!

It's Harlow tested and Harlow approved (meaning under the table is his new favorite spot to chill.)

And now for a hutchdate. LOLS. Get it? I'm sure you do.

This was hard. But I tried my best. I had help from a stylist at Anthro, scoured Pinterest pics, and then said okay I'm done. Overall, I'm pretty happy with it. Could it be better? Yes. Could it be worse? Probably. Should I stop asking myself questions? Definitely.

My favorite item on here is for sure the floral cheese board. So if you need to get someone a frilly gift (or you need to style a hutch) I would suggest it!

And now to show you a few more different angles of this room because I'm worried you haven't seen enough already.

All that we're missing is a fun new light fixture.

Well that and some table decor, of course. But that's a beast I'm not quite ready to tackle. Right now let's just focus on the beauty of the wood. *resist the urge to use a Michael Scott joke here, please.*

Long story short, I'm a really big fan of Compass Modern. And I also really miss Michael Scott. Have a good weekend, everyone! And if you have table-styling advice, I'm all ears!

//yellow vase and dining room chairs found here//

A Weekend In Oregon

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

So we spent some time in Oregon last weekend.

And now I could talk about our lovely brunch at Tasty N Son's in Portland, the scenic drive to Eugene, the beautiful vineyards, all the blah blah blah blog appropriate stuff.


Or I could dive into the part of the story I really want to talk about. Which begins in a cannabis store at 3:00 p.m. on a Friday, and ends just a few short hours later with me sitting at a table unable to talk to anyone around me as I was certain I was A. invisible or B. attending a play.  And you don't interact with people at a play, because they're in a play! And you're just an audience member. A very high audience member who probably shouldn't eat edibles, because as it turns out, those magic little candies hit quite hard.

Which story should we go with? Part 1? Or part edible? I think we all know. And before you want to cast judgment, you can spare me. I'm an adult and it was perfectly legal. So when in Rome.

But truthfully, I didn't go to Oregon with the intention to hit up a dispensary. It just not something I really care about. I'm not bothered by people who enjoy a little marijuana, it's simply not my thing. My body is about 20 minutes from falling asleep at any given time as it is, so the last thing I need is something to chill me out even more.

Until it was last Friday at 2:00 p.m. and I was in the middle of a rather large group of Nebraska people gathered at a brewery in Eugene. Some people I knew, some people not so much. I don't get nervous with large groups, I just get uncomfortable. Uncomfortable with small talk, to be specific. I just can't do it.  I look at those of you who can (like Chris) and I'm in awe at how easy you make it look.

Because when I give it a try it just feels so awkward and unnatural. I choke on my words, or talk over your words, worry I take too long to respond; the list of things going through my head while I sit "quietly" in whatever corner I've found are endless. I'm also aware how I tend to come off to others who are just meeting me- stand-offish... cold... rude... stuck up...  (which doesn't help the uneasiness.) Again, what I'm talking about here doesn't keep me from going out in social situations by any means, it simply keeps me in my safe corner. Which I don't always mind, until I do.

And that's when I looked across the street and noticed a friendly Eugene edible store.

What a good way to band-aid my uncomfortableness I thought to myself, as the people around me continued to say things we introverts love to hear.

You're super quiet! Are you okay? What's wrong? Do you have a headache?  

"You know what? I do have a headache," I said. And then I walked across the street to self medicate.

The dispensary was clean and nice. Run by a friendly staff, just like every person we met in Oregon last weekend.

"What are you in the mood for?" The man behind the counter asked.

"A new personality," I joked.

"Would you like to be chill or a little more active?"

"Let's go with active!"

He gave me a blueberry gummy, something he said was, "super light and easy. You could take this before work and still be fine."

How perfect! And without a second thought, I ate the candy and went on my merry way.

I would later realize me and dispensary-man had different ideas of what work means, at least that's what I said to the rooster in the backyard of our AirBnB four hours later, whilst sitting in the chicken coop. Alone. Once again.

I was too nervous to go back inside because that play was going on in the kitchen. And last time I was in there (just quietly watching the theatrical conversations unfold before me) someone turned to me and asked me to participate. IN THE PLAY. But I hadn't been given a script so I had no idea what to say.

So I just sat quietly and giggled, trying my best to avoid contact with the person sitting next to me, hoping if I didn't answer they'd go on to another audience member.

But they pressed on.

"Taylor? Hello? So, are you coming to supper or not?"

Why is play man talking to me? And ohmygod what is supper? Suppppur. I haven't heard that word forever. This must be a Midwest play! How fun. Supper. Sup. Per. Sounds like SUP, Perr. Perrrr. Purrrr. Purrr. I can roll my tongue.

I have a tongue!

And that's when I figured out I was purring out loud. Had I interrupted the play? Why was everyone staring at me? Or were they?

When did human eyes get so big? Is everyone laughing at me? Am I laughing? Laughing is weird! Why do we do it?

I couldn't be sure of anything, so I decided it would be best to close my eyes and tip-toe out of the room backward, hands held to my chest like a T-Rex, or a tiny quiet mouse. In doing so, I was sure no one in the kitchen would notice me leaving. Seemed like the most logical thing to do at the time.

And I found the chicken coop comforting.

The little animal sitting on the wire was like a little dog. With wings. And a beak. With a puffed out chest. Or like a .... oh my God no, MOTHMAN.

The candies turned on me at that point. So no, I didn't make it to supper. Instead, I made it to bed by about 7:30 p.m. fully clothed, (because changing into pjs just wasn't worth the risk.) What risk you may be wondering? I honestly had no idea, I just knew there were probably a lot of them.

In hindsight, eating edibles while on a family vacation wasn't the best idea after all. But I can say that I learned a very important lesson from it all; and that's to stay away from the blueberries in Oregon. Going forward, I'll stick to brunch and Bloodys.

*there was never a play. so if you didn't understand any of this, congrats on making better life choices than me.*

Going On Vacation With Family

Thursday, September 7, 2017

I feel like there are two kinds of people in this world; those who still go on vacation with their parents, and those who don't. As you may have noticed, we are those who do. We do a lot, in fact.

We're heading to Portland today (Eugene actually) to celebrate my dad's 60th birthday.

You remember the Wilmington series on vacation banter, right? If you don't, click here to refresh your memory. Well just like last time, we're renting a house (as a family) so we can all be together ALL THE TIME. And the exact same banter has already begun, just in a different location.

That's pretty much how our family vacays go- same remarks are made, same activities are done (drinking and eating,) the only thing that has changed is the setting.

It always starts with an airport text from my mom. Or dad.

"Having bloodys," texts my dad.

Followed by, "Almost missed our flight. We had to board with Cs!" -text from my mom ten minutes later.

CAN YOU IMAGINE? Boarding with the C group?!

"C is for center seat!" said a Southwest comedian once and I'll never forget it. I mean a Southwest flight attendant! Lol, those guys. I tell you what.

Anyway, if my mom were to write a memoir it would be called, "Checking In For My Southwest Flights: a story of triumph and also heartache. A memoir by Sandy Wolfe."

I kid, I kid.

But for real. My mom is a happy, joyful person, unless she can't board with the A's. Then all hell is lost. And unfortunately, she's passed on this boarding anxiety to me. Thanks, mom. I checked in last night (ON TIME) and I still got a C.

*This is also something I've inherited from my mom; the need to tell everyone that A. I check in on time. and B. what my boarding position is. But it's a disease I have to live with, so we might as well proceed.

I already know that when we get to the airport I'm going to pay $25 to upgrade to an A. I know it's stupid, but I just can't handle the anxiety of thinking I won't get any overhead bin space. I just can't do it. It's too much. And are we in a hurry when we land, you might be wondering. No, absolutely not. Does it matter though? No, absolutely not.

I just need my suitcase stored above my head. It's my security blanket.

Where was I? Oh yes, family vacation banter. Even though Chris and I haven't yet arrived with the rest of the crew, I know exactly what is being discussed right now.

1. The weather. 
My family LOVES to talk about the weather. What it's doing, what it isn't doing, what it might do, what it should do, what we don't want it to do. We cover it all.

The first thing my dad will text upon landing will be a weather update.
"High 70s and sunny! Really nice."

2. How the place we're visiting is similar to a movie.
Which movie? I'm not sure yet. I've got to do some research so I don't miss out like I did last time with Cape Fear. With Robert De Niro! And the daughter! 

"This place reminds me exactly of (insert movie title) you know the one starring (insert famous actor/actress) we should try eat the food they ate."  *which is usually a pizza place of some sort.

3. The terrain.

Which is fun, because this one ties back to both the weather and movies! See, it all comes full circle.

But it's time to wrap this up now as I've got some movie research to do. If you know anything about Eugene, please tell me below!

Dad's 60th birthday weekend, here I come!

Ten Things I Do at The Start of Every Fall

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

One day it was summer in Chicago and the next day it was fall. We received zero transition time this year. The mornings went from 80 to 50 in a matter of 24 hours, I'm not kidding, guys. This happened.

I get it, people like fall. I do too, and I'd probably like it a lot more if we had the luxury of a backyard. Something about having to put pants and a jacket on the moment I get up to take Har outside, just grinds on me. You'd think I'd be used to it by now, but I'm not. Shorts and flip-flops are just so much easier.

Anyway, because I'm feeling lazy, and because it's extra cold today, I'm going to write a post called, Ten Things I Do At The Start Of Every Fall. #mustread

1. I gripe about fall, while also being secretly excited about it.
(I do this because I feel like I'm cheating on my main squeeze, summer. And I never really want to let summer go.) I saw our neighborhood pools were finally drained and I actually had to fight back tears.

Change is good, Tay. It's okay. 

2. I ceremonially buy my first fall scented candle and make a very big deal about it.
It takes me an hour to choose which one, but once I know, I know. And then I take it home with me like it's a new baby from the hospital.

When it's dusk, I'll light it and soak up every second of the moment. And after that first candle, it's all downhill.

3. First the candle, then the pot of chili. 
The first pot of chili for the season is always a big moment in our house. Harlow gets excited. Chris gets excited. We ALL get excited.

"I'm making chili," I'll text Chris.

"Oh boy. Is it already that time?" He'll respond.

"It is."

And then he usually comes home from work about 20 minutes early to eat said chili. (With a cinnamon roll on the side because that's what we were raised to do in Nebraska.)

4. And then there's the fall TV.
I'm at the point where I typically only watch Netflix and Amazon shows, but there's something about the idea of new fall TV shows that always gets me excited- even though I rarely watch them.

I found myself googling when is "This Is Us" coming back on and I had to step back and ask, WHO ARE YOU? That is the one mainstream show I watch and I hate how much I like it. I scoffed at it the first time I watched it, rolled my eyes hard at how cliche it was, and then one moment later I was sobbing with Randall and now I'm anxiously waiting for it to return.

5. Buy a new blanket from Target. 
Blankets, candles, coffee mugs, yup that's me, I can't get enough of the basic shit. Target has me eating out of the palm of their hand this time of year and I can't help it.

A fresh clean throw on the couch this time of year makes me stupidly happy.

6. The pumpkin beer...
I've drank one Pumpkin Spiced Latte in my life and found it to be quite gross. Pumpkin beer on the other hand, I'm all about.

You'll know when I have my first one for the season because I make sure to gram that shit.

7. I take pics of pumpkins. 
Lots and lots of pics.

Because pumpkins are very gram worthy and my life as a blogger is weird.

8. And leaves.

"Look at my feet surrounded by leaves," will become my mantra for pics for the next eight weeks.

9. I break out the fall movies.

I've already watched my first, The Skeleton Twins. It's a dark comedy and a personal favorite of mine. I need to add more to my list, do you have any favorites? (Other than Hocus Pocus or the Olsen Twins movie.)

10. I begin to hibernate. 

Plans past dusk? No, thank you. My hours for leaving the house slim to only the time frame of 9 a.m.- 3 p.m. Anything before or after can wait.

Winter is coming.

September Mantras + Telling My Ego To STFU

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Those three day weekends, man. They're a double edged sword.

You go into them so excited for a "long weekend" and "no work" and "relaxation" and you come out of them like a toddler woken up one hour too early from a nap. Hair all crazy, sleep marks indented on your sweaty red face, a tantrum ready to drop at any second...  Or is that just me?

We hit these past few days hard, lived with the sense of urgency that it was our "last great Chicago summer weekend." And waking up today to 50 degree temps, I'm wondering if it really was?

I dabbled into a few hours of work yesterday, but still woke up with the oh shit feeling today when I looked at my inbox. I try to remind myself the oh shit feeling is good. It means my business is moving and not at a standstill. It means I get to work another day as my own boss, with Harlow on my lap. I recently read an article that said that people who are self employed suffer from more anxiety and depression than those who aren't. You know who I bet wrote that? Someone who is self employed. I'm pretty sure we all have our things.

I know immediately when I'm carrying extra fear and anxiety with me because it's heavy and draining of my energy. And when you're drained of energy you stop doing things you enjoy, because it's feels extra hard and strenuous for some reason. These past few weeks I haven't been working out like I normally do because I've tricked myself into believing I have "no time." That's also why I've cut down on blog posts and writing. No time, you guys. NO TIME.

So where in the hell is my time going? Dwelling. Sulking. Making up fake scenarios in my head. All of these things take a LOT of time, let me tell ya. Sometimes, an entire day, really. It's all about how much effort you put in, you know? How far down the rabbit hole shall we venture today?

This was supposed to be a post about Labor Day weekend and then there I went. Bitching out my work stuff again. There's a light at the end of this I promise, I'm just taking a while to get there.

In the midst of writing this post, I got the email from "the heaviness" I've been up against this past month. The email that read, "consider this case closed."

And with that, the heaviness lifted just slightly. It's "closed" for them and that's good. And once I learn to stop dwelling and let go of what seems VERY UNFAIR and like a load of BULLSHIT and how can do they do this I CAME UP WITH IT, it will be closed for me too....

Shoot, I'm not quite over this, can you tell? And yes, I will explain "this" (in depth) someday. Just not now. I'm too emotional and I want to get my words just right, and to the point where my anger no longer forces me to throw in random words in all caps.

When I break this situation down in my head (my favorite thing to do) I'm able to recognize the loudest voice complaining about all of "this" is my ego. And NO ONE pisses Ego off and gets away with it.  (It's actually Ego who loves caps.)

See, Ego really wants (NEEDS) credit where credit is due. (And attention.) And validation. And most of all, everyone must now how bruised Ego is right now. Ego has been wronged and it's NOT OKAY.

Breaking it down like this helps me. Because it's worth noting that in my head Ego is played by Michelle Tanner in the "devil Michelle vs angel Michelle" episode, naturally my Ego is dressed in the Michelle all black leather biker outfit. And if you get this reference, thank you. If you don't, I'm sorry.

I really sat down today to write a post about Labor Day that segued into an upbeat "how to tackle the week" post, but I got lost in the muck after receiving the email about all "this"... and then I made you all come along. My bad, my bad.

Regardless of what you've read today, I'm actually feeling really positive about this week. However like any person, I have my low moments and if I don't keep myself in check when I'm free writing they just pop in to say hello when I least expect it (like paragraphs five and six.)

But I'm doing much better about all "this" than I was two weeks ago. Or last week. Or even an hour, actually.

We're in a new month, with new fresh energy. I'm going to armor myself with good vibes and see what happens. And if you've made it this far in this post, bless you. I'll share some of the mantras I'm taking into September with me.

From the Law Of Positivism-

"When we let go of the constant need to become, we can more easily just be."

From Tiny Buddha-

"Our thoughts manifest our reality. Choose wisely"

"You can be fearless with your energy, while also protecting it."

"Anything that costs you your peace is far too expensive to hold onto."

And two favorites from my favorite book, The Alchemist-

"When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

 “It's the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting.”