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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

I'd work for that

A long time ago, the lovely Erin wrote a post about things that she would accept as “payment” for work that aren’t money. I thought it was an awesome idea, and even though I’m like totally late to the party, I still kind of wanted to get in on it.

** Side note: PLEASE go check out Erin’s blog. She is hilarious, and witty, and has a great knack for decorating in colors that I just adore. So basically you guys should all be friends with her. Mmkay? Mmkay.

Back to the topic at hand. It was really fun to think about this stuff, I might add. I just kind of let my mind wander to all the awesome things I love and got totally carried away, and are there really many things at all that are more fun than that? I think not.

So here’s a list of things I would accept for work I do, instead of a regular paycheck.
-         - An unlimited budget to Target, Ikea, Lululemon, Amazon, and iTunes. I think between those five places, I could pretty much get everything I’d ever need.
-         ONE of the following vehicles (I don’t need all three, that would just be greedy): A Porsche Cayenne, a Range Rover, or a Nissan Murano.
-         - Free weekly mani/pedi/massage days.
-         - An eidetic memory.
-         - An ability to see things with an “artist’s eye” and recreate it via painting, photography, sketching, etc.
-         - This bag. 

-        -  My own personal stylist/nutritionist/grocery shopper/hairdresser. They don’t all have to be the same person, I just want somebody doing all of those things.
-         - Manolo Blahnik and Christian Loubitan shoes. *swoon* 

 - A beach home and a mountain home. Preferably somewhere in Hawaii, and Denver, respectively. Although I’d take a mountain home in the Smokies, too. I’m not too picky. 
-       - The ability to actually know/write HTML and CSS codes. I have tried to teach myself and stuff, but I really just end up messing everything up whenever I try. *sigh*
-         - Unlimited printer cartridges and paper. Those things are expensive.
-         - Unlimited bottles of red wine. I don’t need the super expensive stuff, either…I’d take Apothic Red, Barefoot Sweet Red, whatever. Like I said….I’m not picky. J
-         - Flight vouchers so I could go and see my family/friends all over the country whenever I want.

What would YOU work for if you weren’t getting a paycheck?

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Monday, December 30, 2013

Things I want to do better in 2014

So. It's a day and a half before a new year begins. If we're being honest here, I cannot wait. 2013 hasn't really been a banner year for me in any way at all, so a new one cannot get here fast enough. And it's not like I am sitting here thinking that the new year is going to just magically change everything and make it all better. In reality, it's not any different from any other new day - each day brings with it the opportunity to make changes, to make improvements, and to start something amazing. But there is just something about looking down the barrel of a whole new year that makes it hit home a bit harder, I think.

So I have been thinking, and I have decided there are some things I want to do differently in 2014. I am not going to call these resolutions, per se... more just like, general goals for improvement. I understand that pretty much all of these things are going to be a work in progress, and I don't want to set myself up for disappointment by pushing a bunch of new goals on myself all at once and then failing miserably. But I am going to post them on here, and make them public, both because the accountability will help me stick to them, and also, I can probably use the encouragement.
  1. Talk less, listen more. I have a tendency to talk too much. I process everything by talking it out, and "words of affirmation" is my love language, so speaking generally comes easily to me. However, I sometimes use this as an excuse for my failure to really listen to others, and give them the respect and courtesy that I expect of them. 
  2. Get healthy. Sure, I'd love to lose some weight. Okay, a lot of weight. But at the end of the day, I am more concerned with my health than I am with the numbers on the scale. Well, most of the time that's true, anyway. And it should be true all of the time. To this end, I want to get myself into a regular workout schedule. Even doing a little bit each day is better than doing nothing. 
  3. Write more. I keep saying that I want to do this, and then I never do it. I get nervous that whatever I DO write would be total crap, so you know...why even bother, right, since it's just going to be awful anyway? I want to try and get out of my own head with that, and just write. Even if it's terrible. Even if I never show anyone. Even if I do show people and they think it's terrible. I just want to do it. 
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  4. Take at least one photo every day. I am no kind of photographer, nor am I really interested in becoming one, but I do often find myself wishing that I had more documentation of my life so I could remember it better for myself. I don't know yet how I want this to look - maybe it will just be a folder I keep on my phone, and all of my dedicated one-a-day photos will go in there. Maybe I'll post them somewhere. I don't know. All I know is that I want to do it. 
  5. Read 75 books. I know it's a stretch, but I think it's doable, especially because I'm not making this all about reading books that are non-fiction, or that are supposed to make me smarter or whatever. I mean, yes, I'm all for that too, so bring it on, but right now at least, I want to focus on the quantity more than the quality. Maybe the quality reading goal will come next year. Also, because of this goal, I am soliciting book recommendations - what are your faves? Follow me on Goodreads!
  6. Be more assertive. Care less about what people think, and more about what I think. I don't mean this in a selfish, kind of "screw everybody else" sort of way. I just mean it in the sense that for most of my life, I have been a people pleaser. I have pushed aside my own wants and needs in favor of what other people want, and in case anyone was wondering, it hasn't turned out so well for me. Gee, what a surprise. So because that's been awful, I want to start being more vocal about what I need and want, and pay some more attention to making sure my needs are met as well, and not just the needs of the people around me. 
  7. Learn to cook something awesome every month. I love cooking, but it is tough when you have a tiny kitchen and are cooking for a really small number. I want to be all gourmet about it, and get fancy, and try and make a perfect presentation, and when I can't do that, I get frustrated and then end up giving up on the whole thing and just throwing in a pizza or something. Lame. So my goal is to each month, find a new recipe for something that is delicious and relatively healthy (or maybe not super healthy - it can be a cheat meal, I suppose), and can at least look really fancy, even if it's not. And then I want to make an awesome dinner with said recipe. I will plan to post the recipes and my failures/successes here as well, since I'm sure you'll all be dying to know what happens. 

I have more improvements I'd like to make, but I think this list will do for now. What are your goals for 2014?

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Friday, December 27, 2013

How do you know?

I am miserable. Right at this particular moment, I've got a steaming cup of tea on one side, and like eleventy six used tissues (okay, toilet paper squares - I'm too cheap to buy real tissue at the moment) on the other. And also some wild berry skittles, because obviously. For the last couple of days, aka the actual Christmas days and then yesterday, I have been rocking one hell of a chest cold. My voice has been MIA, and my chest has been feeling like it's literally on fire. I did cough up a bunch of real nice gross stuff this morning though, and I think that means I've turned the corner. Sorry, was that too much?? #oversharedontcare

Anyway, so last night before I drugged myself with Zquill (p.s. has anyone else ever used that stuff? IT WORKS.) so I could actually sleep, I was watching the movie "How Do You Know". Anyone seen it? It's pretty cute.

Anyway, I think there are a lot of good questions that Reese's (yeah, I can call her Reese, because she's basically like, my BFF) character asks. It's actually a pretty incredible movie, as far as that's concerned, because it brings up a lot of stuff that I think everyone wonders, but most people are too afraid to talk about. Like, how do you know when you're really in love? When do you trust your gut? What do you do if your gut is telling you one thing, but your head is telling you something else? And by extension, what do you do when your gut tells you one thing, and then the next day it turns around and tells you something else? Which day do you trust? 

These are questions that I've been going over in my head lately. Not the "how do you know when you're really in love" one, because that one I know I've got down, but the rest of it. Like with school...one day, my gut leans towards finishing a degree in psychology, but the next it's all about HR. In a relationship - any kind of relationship, be it familial, romantic, or platonic - how much effort do you put in? How much of the burden lies on you, and how much on the other party? Obviously in an ideal world, it would be a complete 50/50, and everyone would live up to that...but we all know that doesn't happen. I know that I'm really guilty of this. I will sometimes get lazy, and contribute just the bare minimum to my relationships. "I'll text them back instead of calling, because then they can't act like I ignored them, but then I don't have to turn off whatever show I'm watching/music I'm listening to or stop whatever I'm doing to call them..And then BONUS, I don't have to talk on the phone." LAME.

How much do you put up with when a friend/lover/family member is hurting you? How far does love go? Does unconditional love mean letting people do whatever they want, because well, you love them unconditionally? Does it ever mean loving someone, and knowing that you will always love them, but still cutting them out of your life because for whatever reason, they are treating you in a lesser manner than you deserve? 

When I think about it in relation to my own life, I am constantly reminded of how much grace has been extended to me. From Jesus, first of all, who really does love me unconditionally, no matter how messed up I am, no matter how many times I slap Him in the face. From my family, especially my dad who is pretty much the only member of my family who constantly sees me at my worst, and is always the lucky winner poor soul who gets the call when I am feeling sorry for myself and just want to whine about everything. From friends, from Boyfriend, from coworkers...the list goes on and on. I have constantly been on the receiving end of grace and forgiveness, and of love that doesn't go away even after I mess up and hurt somebody. 

But where is the line? I sincerely hope that I have never hurt someone to the point where they have felt that I have reached their limit of tolerance, and that they are much better off without me in their lives, but it is always possible. I have lost contact with a lot of friends over the years....some of them, people I never thought I'd go a day without speaking to. Is that just a result of the ebb and flow of life, or is it because of something I did? 

This quote pretty much sums up all that I really do know: Lisa: When you're in something you got to give it everything you have or else what are you doing?

I don't know these answers...and I don't know if I ever will. But I am interested in everyone's opinions on the topic. I like to pretend that I know everything, but in the grand scheme of things, I'm pretty much dumb as a box of rocks, so I'd love to know what others think. 

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Monday, December 23, 2013


OH. MY. GOODNESS. I just realized I haven't posted anything for ten days. TEN. That's awful.

In my defense, it's been a crazy few days, filled with all manner of activities, most notably my travels to Milwaukee for family Christmas. I'm still in Milwaukee, as a matter of fact.

I am a loser and didn't take very many pictures from the trip, but I will post the ones I did take soon. It's kind of a pain in the arse to get them all transferred to my computer and then upload them, and I'm not in the mood for that kind of nonsense right now.

I made some potato soup and some salted caramel chocolate chip cookies yesterday. And they were delicious, if I do say so myself. I'll share the recipes soon, too. I've been making the potato soup for over a year, but this was only my second time making the cookies. They're sort of time and work intensive, so you have to be prepared for that, but they're still fun. My goofy brother in law thought it would be hilarious to trick everybody and stick a couple pieces of spearmint gum into one of the cookies, and then my brother ended up eating it and was all confused about how minty it was. Maybe you had to be there, but we all thought it was hilarious.

Also, I am the Uno master, because I totally won all the games of it. Ergo, I am the awesomest.

C&J have left now, and I have a million and one things to do today, considering that it's not a work vacation day for me. I need to focus, because I have a lot to get done but my nephews are here, and they're really distracting in all the best ways.

Merry Christmas to everybody. :)

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Friday, December 13, 2013

Friday quizzing

So I don't have a whole lot of available brain power to put towards writing an interesting post today. Sorry about that. I have a million ideas, and a bunch of unfinished drafts, but nothing that is even close to post-worthy right now.

So I took up the lovely Erin on her offer of the Blogmopolitan Quiz. I love reading these quizzes in Cosmo, and I think it's a lot of fun to be able to do one myself!

And it wouldn't be Friday if we couldn't #backthatazzup with Whitty, right? 
Compass by Lady Antebellum - www.musicasparabaixar.org on Grooveshark

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Wednesday, December 11, 2013

What I'm Loving...,

A long time ago, this topic used to be a link up, and there was a button for it and everything. I have no idea what happened to it, because the lady who used to do it hasn't posted since October. But it's Christmas season, and I'm all about finding positives and good things in life, even when I'm feeling frustrated (like I am with this stupid winter and cold), or depressed or whatever.

So. I'm bringing it back! And anyone who wants to join in, please feel free! The more, the merrier, right?? :)

Today I am loving...

My new blog design. Obviously. I can't say enough good about it. It's just so fun.

Coffee. I go through phases where I won't drink any hot beverage other than hot chocolate, and then other phases, like now, where I am constantly craving coffee.

Christmas trees. Actually, I love everything Christmas-related. I love the sparkly lights, I love the way they glimmer off ornaments, I love the festive look of a Christmas tree, I love shopping for presents. The whole month of December makes me want to make peppermint chocolate bark, and eat gingerbread cookies, and cover every square inch of space in my apartment with tinsel and mistletoe and twinkly lights. 

My Erin Condren stuff. I know, I know, I've gone on and on about my planner before. But it's just so pretty, and cute, and then I got the matching notepads, and since office supplies are basically like, my favorite things in the world, I am over the moon about having personalized stuff. 

The idea of writing. I've had a lot, I mean a LOT of ideas swirling around my head lately. Ideas for essays/articles, ideas for fiction stories, ideas for advice columns, etc. I really want to take some real time to write some of these things, even if no one but me will ever see them. I have to get serious about it, though. 

Warm socks and sweatpants. It's so cold in my apartment that wearing more than one pair of socks and pants at all times is pretty much a given. So I'm grateful that I have them. 

Having a printer. I have been needing one for work for the longest time, but mine is still in storage, so I was always traipsing to the library to use their printer, which sucked. So then I finally broke down and bought one the other day, and it's fabulous. And it's wireless, which is even cooler, since it's on the complete opposite side of the apartment than where I have my computer. 

What are all of you loving today?? 

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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

New design!!! And other stuff.


Check out my new design!! I told you I had some exciting changes coming up, and voila, here we are. Sarah was incredible... I told her about some colors that I liked, and that was basically it, and she took my tiny little concept and turned it into this amazing look that is so much cooler than anything I could have come up with on my own. I LOVE IT!!! I just want to stare at the page all day because it's so shiny and pretty.

I've been rocking some Britney Spears on the Spotify today. I usually get really annoyed by her music, but for some reason, I'm enjoying it today.

Also, I really should take a shower and put on some real clothes today....except it's so cold in my apartment right now that I am scared to shower because I don't want to feel that wicked whoosh of cold that occurs the second I get out. Last check of the thermostat shows that it's a whopping 62 degrees in here. Yikes.

In other news, I've discovered something about myself recently. Actually, I should say i RE-discovered this, because it's not like it's really old news... When I am PMSing, I tend to get really depressed. Like, seriously, down-in-the-dumps, doom-and-gloom-all-day, not-saying-a-word-and-not-even-smiling kind of depressed. Which is awful for me, for obvious reasons, but also awful for people around me, because who wants to be around Mopey McSadFace all the time? Nobody, that's who. So now that I am living with someone, and my mood directly affects them, I have realized that I really need to get better at being cognizant of my moods, and intentionally work to find ways out of sour moods. Being quiet is okay - being mopey is not. So I'll be working on that in the future. Any bright ideas anyone has on how to break a hormone-induced funk, please send 'em my way.

Oh, and the Bears beat the stupid Cowboys last night. Normally, I wouldn't talk too much shit about the Cowboys, a.) because I don't care enough about them to dislike them, and b.) because the aforementioned Sarah-of-this-beautiful-blog-design-fame is a huge Cowboys fan, and since she did such a wonderful job on the design, I'm inclined to humor her... Except that it's the Bears, and I love it when the Bears win! I'm still miffed about the stupid Vikings stealing the win from them last week, especially because if the Bears had won that game like they were supposed to, they'd be first in the Division right now.. But they didn't, boo hoo.

So anyway, that's about all I've got for you today. Monday wasn't fun, and Tuesday isn't shaping up to be much better. Booo to winter and cold and all that depressing stuff.

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Monday, December 9, 2013

Cold. Really, really cold.

It's really bloody freezing in Minnesota tonight. It has been just rotten cold for a few days now, and I'm pretty much completely over winter now. I wouldn't be upset if all of a sudden the temperature rose about 50 degrees, even if it means we don't have snow for Christmas. Also, we live in an old building, and the heater in our apartment just cannot keep up, no matter how hard it tries, so it never gets above 65 in here. That probably sounds normal/warmish to most people, but to me, it's freezing. So let's just all cross our fingers and hope it gets warmer over here, mmmkay?

Boyfriend and I went to my home town over the weekend. I had hoped to meet up with my mom for dinner (her birthday was Friday, and I was hoping we could meet her halfway between here and Milwaukee) but she was out of town on a business trip. We went anyway, though, to spend some time with my dad and visit the living nativity they were holding at his church. We had a lot of fun, even though Dad beat me at cribbage in two out of three games, which I think is silly, since Boyfriend is always beating me too, and seriously people I JUST WANT TO WIN AT CRIBBAGE ALREADY.

On the way back home on Saturday night, we took a detour through La Crosse to see the Rotary Lights in Riverside Park. They were so pretty. I am pretty much in love with Christmas and all things festive, so I was like a kid in a candy shop looking at those lights. They were so sparkly, and cheerful. I LOVED IT. So here are some pictures.

So pretty!

They had all the logos for the branches of the Armed Forces, which I thought was great. I took pictures of the Coast Guard one, because my papa used to be in the Coast Guard, and also of the Marine Corps one, since my brother is a Marine. 

So now I need some suggestions for ways to stay warm in this ridiculously cold apartment. We dug out the coffee maker today, so at this point, it looks like I'll just be drinking a lot of coffee.. Other than that, it looks like I'll just be spending a lot of time snuggled in with a blanket on the couch while I'm working, and using my heating pad in bed to keep my little toesies warm. Any other bright ideas??  photo signature-35.png

Wednesday, December 4, 2013


I tried to do some Black Friday shopping last week. It didn't go well, mostly because I basically refused to go to stores (except I did go to Barnes & Noble, which was lame, because they weren't having any good sales), even though I heard there were some awesome deals happening. Also, I don't really need anything, which makes me feel like it's not entirely necessary to go out and buy a bunch of stuff just for the sake of buying it, especially when space in the apartment is really limited. So that was kind of a dud.

I just finished reading an awesome, awesome book called "The Rule of Four". Boyfriend recommended it to me after he read it (more than once), and then I started reading it, and was immediately hooked. It's got a lot of riddles and stuff built into the story (and the story is about another book that has a lot of riddles), so there were parts when it was kind of over my head, but it was still awesome. It had enough mystery to keep me guessing and enough history to make me feel like I was really learning something, which is my favorite kind of book. And also, pretty much every one should read it.

I was reading this post by Stephanie about organizing your blog posts. Holy cow. I don't know how that woman does it. She is SO organized, and SO on top of things, and is pretty much exactly the way I wish I could be when it comes to organization.

I am really excited for Christmas. I LOVE celebrating other people, and giving presents. I have so much fun thinking about presents, and trying to imagine what they will love, and imagining the look on their face when they open it. I know that Christmas isn't all about presents, so that's not what I'm trying to imply here.. I'm just saying that the whole tradition of exchanging gifts for Christmas is really a lot of fun for me. And I also like birthdays.

I wonder sometimes if life is better or worse with all the advances in technology and social media over the past few years. I actually have a lot of thoughts on this topic so it will most likely become its own post in a minute..It's just such an interesting topic to me. Anyone have any thoughts on this in particular?

Sometimes in life, everything sucks. Nothing is right, nothing makes sense, and nothing looks the way you thought it would. Does that mean that you've done something wrong, or that there IS something wrong with your life? I mean, maybe, sure. But not necessarily. There are times when bad things happen because people are stupid and make dumb decisions...But other times, bad things happen even when people really thought through their decisions, and legitimately thought they were doing the right thing. I can't decide if it sucks worse to look back and be like, "yep, that was a really stupid decision that I made, so even though I'm an idiot, at least it makes sense that it didn't work out", or to be really thinking that you were doing the right thing, only to have it blow up in your face. Probably the second one, cuz at least for the first one you have no one to blame but yourself.

You know those sugar cookies with the icing on top? They have just the slightest lemony flavor, but the frosting is hard, and totally delicious? I am loving those right now. I had a ridiculous craving for them the other night, completely randomly, so I drove around to two different grocery stores just to find them. And they are everything I hoped they would be. And I still have some left even, so big fat high five to me for my self-control.

Aaaannnnnd that's about all I've got for you today. There are some big changes coming to blog in the next couple of weeks....GET EXCITED.

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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Secret Single Behavior

Disclaimer: I totally copied this idea from Juliette. So please make sure to read her post about this, too. 

If you've ever watched the show "Sex and the City", you know that it's about four single girls, living the single life in Manhattan, and making it look totally and completely affordable and glamorous. In reality, it's probably not either of those things. But either way, they make that sh*t look gooooood.

So anyway, in one episode, Carrie and the girls are discussing what Carrie referred to as "SSB", or Secret Single Behavior - i.e. stuff that we do when we're alone that we don't want anyone else to see. Her particular vice is eating saltine crackers covered in grape jelly while standing up in the kitchen reading fashion magazines. Miranda, ever the analytical one, wonders why she chooses grape jelly, but of course Carrie can't explain...."It just feels so good!"

After reading Juliette's list, I got to thinking about my own SSBs. And even though I won't let any of you come and share my activities with me, I will let you in on the secrets. Or at least a few of them, anyway.

1 // I like to sit backwards on the couch and watch TV upside down. I don't do it all the time, but sometimes it just feels really good. But it looks crazy, so I only do it when I'm alone.

2 // I will check my eyebrows incessantly. Chances are, if I went into a salon to get a wax, they'd recoil in horror at how overly-and-terribly-plucked they are. But doing that would ruin all my fun of constantly playing with sharp tweezers near my eyes, and we can't have that, now, can we?

3 // I will binge watch reality television. Jersey Shore? I freaking loathe that show, but if I happen across it while I'm just sitting there doing nothing (or watching upside down), I'll probably watch it. And yes, I am aware that Jersey Shore is basically a documentary on everything that is wrong with America, but sometimes I just can't help myself. And/or I don't want to. And yes, I know I deserve to be judged for this one.

4 // I stretch. Now, I have been known to also stretch when Boyfriend is around...But I kind of prefer not to, since I am about as ungraceful as they come. When normal people stretch, they look all cute and put together and graceful. When I try it, I tend to look like a camel on an ice rink. Only I'm totally not flexible, so it just looks sad and pathetic.

5 // I listen to terrible music and have dance parties with myself. Macarena? Yep. Electric Slide? ALL OVER IT. Cupid Shuffle. That just happened.

6 // I spend ridiculous amounts of time perusing Pinterest and Twitter. I don't know why. I just do.

7 // I have pretend conversations with other people, out loud, even though I'm alone. This is something I've done my whole life, actually.. It helps me process when I think out loud, or imagine conversations happening and speak out loud the ways I would respond to the weird conversations occurring in my head.

8 // I slather vaseline all over my lips and just wait for it to be absorbed, instead of wiping it off the skin around my mouth so it just looks like lip gloss. I usually end up looking like a 3 year old who got into Mommy's makeup, but I don't even care.
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Monday, December 2, 2013


Today I am....

...feeling overwhelmed and defeated and generally disheartened

...feeling like I will never get to the point where I feel like my actual life matches with my ideal life

...struggling to find peace amidst the chaos

...wishing it were turning into summer instead of winter, since I always have a harder time finding the positives in the winter

...wishing I had a river I could skate away on

...hoping that things will turn around and I will feel better tomorrow

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Sunday, December 1, 2013

Linking up for Sunday Social!

Sunday Social

1. What is your favorite ice cream flavor? 

Oh boy...this is kind of a tough one. I love Cherry Garcia, by Ben and Jerry's, but I'm also a huge fan of peppermint stick, especially around the holidays. :)

2. What is your favorite smell? 
The smell of Boyfriend's body wash....winter candy apple candles from Bath and Body Works...Le Man cologne from Jean Paul Gaultier

3. What is your favorite TV commercial? (Past or present) 
"Keys to the internet...whaaaaat??"

"Door open"

4. What is your favorite day of the week? 
I really like Saturdays and Sundays - not just because they're the weekend, but because they're usually just very comfortable, chill days, and that is just really relaxing.

5. What is your favorite way to waste time? 
Technically, if I'm enjoying the time, then it's not a waste.. But that's beside the point. I enjoy putzing around on Pinterest, reading blogs, paging through Cosmopolitan magazine (I actually am less ashamed of my love for Cosmo lately - I really like the new editor!)..

6. What is your favorite article of clothing?
I have a monogrammed sweatshirt from Shop Crystal Faye that I adore. I also have a really, really cute asymmetrical black glittery dress that I love. Hopefully I will have an opportunity to wear it sometime soon..It's just so fun! And even though they're not technically *mine*, I am pretty much obsessed with Boyfriend's black sweatpants. :)
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