TBTS (Throwback Thursday Stories): That Time I Almost Died after Watching The Bachelorette

I know a lot of stories start with the old, “it was just your average day,” but believe me when I say this really was just an average day. I did exactly what I would do every other weekday: got up, went to work, counted the minutes until lunch, planned all the productive things I would do once I got home, and then got home and sat on the couch.

For dinner, I decided to try a recipe for Fettuccine Alfredo I found online and while I ate I sat at the table exchanging stories with my sister about our respective Tuesdays. She told me about an upcoming exam, I told her about a customer at work, and we made predictions about that night’s upcoming episode of Jojo Fletcher’s season of The Bachelorette.

At one point in the conversation, she paused.

“Mom says we need to throw out our flour,” she said, looking at her phone.

“Why?”

“I guess some people are having issues with E-coli.”

“Yikes.”

I walked into the kitchen and snatched the half empty bag of flour from the top shelf of the pantry and dropped it into the trash. Better safe than sorry.

Now, if you’ve ever watched an episode of The Bachelor/Bachelorette franchise, you’ll know that alcohol is almost necessary to make it through the two-hour broadcast. So when my sister stood up a few minutes after we started and said, “I need some whiskey,” I wasn’t surprised. Though when she said, “do you want some?” and I said, “Yes!” I think we both should have sensed* that it was the beginning of the end.

*Let it be noted that my sister is an avid whiskey drinker. The kind that really appreciates the spirit for all it’s worth…and doesn’t chug it down the way I do with a glass of wine while watching this ridiculous television show.

So there we were, an hour into the episode, shoulder deep in awkward silences and painfully stilted small talk. I was on my second (or third?) glass of whiskey, cringing my skin off and talking a little louder than usual, when all of a sudden a sip hit my stomach and the warning sirens went off.

YOU DONE DID IT NOW, GIRL.

“I need to pee,” I said, panicked.

I got up, my body feeling like it was 4000 pounds, the bathroom feeling like it was four miles away, and the ground feeling as stable as a tightrope during an earthquake. When I finally sat down on the toilet, I wondered if I’d ever get back up, which made me emotional and I cried a little. Then I remembered I had to pee, which reminded me I’d have to get up afterward and the cycle went on and on. All in all, I thought I was in there for about 45 minutes, but when I got back to the living room I realized it had been only been around four.

I waddled into the kitchen and grabbed my water bottle, praying I could chug my way to safety, then waddled back to my seat in the living room.

“Ready?” my sister asked.

“Yup.”

After that, I can remember very little of what happened during the episode and even less of what my sister and I may have talked about. In somewhat miraculous fashion however, I was able to maintain a sober-enough composure to not only convince my sister I was fine before she went to bed, but also make it up 10 stairs to my bedroom. Unfortunately, this would be my last accomplishment worth celebrating for the night.

Upon arriving to my bed, I knew something was wrong. While it was a hot summer night, I felt like I was sweating far more than usual. I cranked the fan up to high and stripped down to my underwear, then turned off the light in the hopes that I could crash fast and sleep it off.

No such luck.

The moment I closed my eyes, I felt like the room was spinning one way and I was spinning the other. I opened my eyes, wondering if I was on the ceiling or the floor, then turned the light on to see if focusing on something would help. When this didn’t work, I tried taking deep breaths and when this didn’t work, I slumped into the bathroom, accepting my doom.

Over the next two hours, I threw up 11 times.

ELEVEN.

Around the fifth time, as I lay my face against the toilet seat, working my way through every prayer and promise I could think of to try and make it all stop, I thought of the text my mom sent earlier…and then of the flour I’d added to the blender to make my Alfredo sauce.

I closed my eyes and spun and then I opened them and the drunk tears came pouring out.

“I’m dying,” I said out loud to myself, “I have E-coli and I’m dying.”

I thought about calling for my sister and telling her to call 911—and to start taking down the notes for my last will and testament—but I couldn’t move. When I tried to, I threw up.

To make matters worse, the next time I opened my eyes and looked down in the toilet, everything was bright red.

Is—is that…blood?

It wasn’t blood.

It was Fruit Punch Crystal Light, which I’d mixed in with my water that afternoon—the same water I started chugging after my (first) emotional trip to the bathroom when I realized I’d passed the point of no return. I would figure this out around the tenth time I threw up but until then I would give an Academy Award worthy performance of pathetic.

I collapsed, face first, onto the toilet seat and I cried. I thought of my family and how I’d let them down by not keeping myself up to date with current food safety alerts. I thought of Gold Medal Flour and how my parents would surely Erin Brockovich their way to a settlement for my untimely demise. I thought of the future children I’d never have and of all the mourning faces present at my funeral. I hoped they served cake at the reception, and then I threw up thinking about it.

Eventually I fell asleep. And with my knees on the tile, my head on the toilet seat, and the bowl full of whiskey and Crystal light, I definitely must have looked dead. And sad. And PSA worthy.

Yes, that Tuesday night I was the don’t end up like this girl, girl.

The next morning, when my work alarm went off at 6:30 a.m., I opened my eyes to the memories of what had occurred merely hours previous. I had a lot of thoughts rushing around, most of which were curse words, and I wobbled back into the bathroom to brush my teeth, wash my face and kick off another “average” day.

When I got to work, I googled the E. Coli outbreak and discovered that it didn’t apply to our flour, so I lay my head on my desk, hungover and ashamed.

I hadn’t eaten contaminated flour.

I hadn’t thrown up blood.

I’d just gotten drunk on whiskey and secondhand cringe and I’d paid the price.

Eleven times.

Needless to say, I now drink wine when I watch The Bachelorette—or, currently, The Bachelor—and during those particularly hard episodes, I color.

We live and we learn.

Playlist of My Life

Hello and welcome back to another edition of: Kim turns her favorite YouTube videos into blogs but she always credits back the original creators so please don’t be mad at me I love you, bye. (Title Pending)

During one YouTube deep dive or another I came across a series on Teen Vogue’s channel called “Playlist of My Life”, where different people list songs that hold specific significance in their lives. I was instantly hooked. A series that lets you learn about people you admire and gives you music recommendations at the same time? Count me in!

After watching a good handful of the videos, I decided I wanted to come up with my own list—which was a lot harder than I thought it would be. But alas, after an intense session of analyzing both my iTunes and Spotify accounts, I got a list of about 40 songs, which I then widdled down to my traditional 17 which I want to share with you today:

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1) Audience of One by Big Daddy Weave

This is my favorite worship song of all time. It is one of the first songs I felt I really understood and so it holds a special place in my heart.

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2) I Was Here by Lady Antebellum

This song more or less describes what I hope to do with my life. The first time I heard it, I just remember nodding, thinking, “Yeah! Me too!” in the most gloriously corny way possible.

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3) Roses by The Chainsmokers

This song reminds me of my sister and always makes me feel happy inside. The simplest kind of happy. Which I wrote about in this blog post a couple years back.

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4) Tennessee Whiskey by Chris Stapleton

This is one of my favorite songs of all time that just knocks me to my knees because DAMN. I mean…DAMN. The way he sings the line “I’ve looked for love in all the same old places, found the bottom of the bottle’s always drYYYyyy” might be the most beautiful thing I’ve ever heard.

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5) I Hope by The Dixie Chicks

When my mom, sister and I discovered this song a while back, we kind of took to using it as our collective therapy song. We’ve played it many a time when we (or someone we know) need to take a breath, and though I can’t really explain why it works, it just does.

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6) All Over Now by Eric Hutchinson

This is another one that I turn to almost every time I need a song to help me out. Which is kind of funny because it’s definitely not an uplifting song, but for whatever reason it calms me down and gives me that little nudge I need to keep pushing forward.

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7) Sugar We’re Going Down by Fall Out Boy

Ahhh, 9th grade. This was the very first song I ever put on my blue iPod Mini and boy did I think I was the coolest. This song also makes me think of my Papa who, alongside my Grammie, gave me the iPod mini for my birthday, and a few weeks afterward called my house (my landline!) to ask me if I liked my “new blue radio.” This song always brings that memory to mind and puts a smile on my face.

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8) Take Me Out by Franz Ferdinand

The very first time I heard this song I was in 8th grade, riding in a car with some of my classmates. It came on the radio and the girl next to me said, “Who is this?” I had absolutely no idea, but the girl in the front seat knew immediately. For whatever reason, this sparked an interest in me to be “the knower” from then on, a mission I still carry out to this day.

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9) More than Anyone by Gavin DeGraw

This has long been one of my favorite songs of all time. It’s just such a beautiful and romantic song and I can’t help it, I’m a sucker. Also, I first heard it on One Tree Hill, one of my favorite TV shows growing up and it had a special meaning for a few of the characters so…I’m a sucker x2.

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10) Poprocks & Coke by Green Day

This song reminds me of my best friend in high school who first pulled me out of my shell and introduced me to what I thought at the time was “edgy music.” I remember being the textbook 2000’s teenager with my headphones on listening to Green Day, Simple Plan and every other emo-centric band at the time, internally insisting that no one knew what it was like to be me.

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11) Growing Up by The Maine

The Maine was one of my favorite bands in both high school and college and me and my best friend at the time probably saw them in concert upwards of eight times. This song sticks out to me because I think it kind of encapsulates their music and how it made me feel at the time.

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12) Electric Feel by MGMT

This song makes me think of my first car, Jeffrey. Growing up I was always the one driving my friends and I around and this song reminds me of late summer nights, with the volume up and us laughing and dancing our hearts out.

*flute solo*

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13) Washed by the Water by Needtobreathe

Needtobreathe is my favorite band of all time and I found their music by accident one day when I was on iTunes. This was the first song I ever heard of theirs and I immediately fell in love. 10 or so years later, it’s still my favorite song of theirs, and one of the best things you can ever hear live, if I do say so myself.

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14) Don’t Know Why by Norah Jones

I’m starting to notice that I have a habit of using terribly sad songs to make me feel better… Is that weird? I feel like it’s weird. This song, to me, is like butter. It instantly relaxes me and makes me feel like everything is going to be okay. Maybe it’s the piano, maybe it’s Norah Jones’ voice, maybe it’s just remnant angst I’m still harboring, whatever the reason, this song just does it all for me.

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15) It’s Gonna Be Me by *NSYNC

I mean, I couldn’t be born in the 90’s and not have an *NSYNC song, right?

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16) Sittin’ on the Dock of the Bay by Otis Redding

Great news! This song is as happy and carefree as it seems! I’m not all sad!

Get it?

Like I’m not all bad but with…sad…

Okay, maybe I am a little sad.

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17) I Wanna Dance with Somebody by Whitney Houston

If you know me, you know that I love this song with my whole heart. If you ever invite me to your wedding or any party that involves a DJ and dancing of any kind, I will request this song and I will find my way to the center of the dance floor and sing it at the top of my lungs.

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So that’s me in 17 songs. At least so far.

What songs would make up a playlist of your life?

The Year of Surrender

If you have been around my blog for a little while, you might know that each January I seek a faith-based word to focus on for the year. In the past four years, I’ve gotten trust, give, patience, and then for 2018, I got surrender.

51k1v-ci0sl._sx357_bo1,204,203,200_To kick off the year, I bought this book on Amazon. It has one devotional to read for each day of the year, and I figured surrendering 5-10 minutes a day to read them was a good place to start.

I had tried this a couple years ago, not with a devotional, but with prayer each night before I went to bed. After hearing so often at church how important it was to set aside time with God, I decided I’d get down on my knees every night before bed and pray.

Initially I was very nervous. Praying out loud, to me, has always felt a little bit like public speaking—which I hate. I always get self-conscious that I’m not saying the right thing or that I’m not saying enough. Sometimes when we pray in groups at church I spend so much time worrying about what I’m going to say that I miss everything everyone else says.

After a while though, I got the hang of it. Each night I’d kneel down on a blanket and just talk candidly. Most of the time I legitimately started off just by saying, “hey,” like I would if I were talking to a friend, and then I’d just tell Him what was on my mind. When I would close out prayer—I’m not sure why or when I started saying it—I would always ask that He hold my hand.

Just hold my hand, please. Hold my hand and lead me.

I so desperately wanted—and still want—direction of where I should take my life, and I think I just liked the image of being led that way. It made me feel safe, the way a child might feel when their parent takes their hand to cross the street or when a friend takes your hand to guide you through a crowded room. It lets you know that even amongst the chaos, you have someone with you, guiding you forward, and I sought that kind of direction from God.

So as I started this year of “surrender”, I again approached it with that mindset.

I am here, I thought. Show me the magic of this word. Lead me.

As the year went on, I had my share of encouragements and reminders. When my mind would start to slip, surrender would make its way into my sights.

One particularly stressful afternoon, this song popped up on my Spotify:

And there was never a shortage of blog posts, podcasts, Bible verses, etc. that kept finding ways to remind me to let it go. Let it all go.

But perhaps the biggest encouragement, the biggest reminder that not only was letting go okay, but that it was necessary, refreshing, unburdening, and most of all safe, was found in my daily devotional. For amongst the passages—most of which I marked up, circling and underlining and making notes in the margins—I found one phrase over and over:

“I am holding your hand.”

I didn’t just find it once. I found it 32 times.

My own words. My own request. My own prayer handed right back to me over and over again.

I am holding your hand, it said.

And it was in reading those words over and over that I realized what it would truly mean to surrender.

I pictured myself walking up to the front door of my house with my arms riddled in grocery bags (because #onetrip). With the keys in my purse and the doorknob unable to unlock and open itself, I would most definitely have to set a bag or two down. I would have to empty my hand to get what I needed.

All these years, though I asked, pleaded for God to take my hand and lead me, and grew frustrated when I didn’t feel that presence, that hand, it wasn’t because he wasn’t by my side reaching out, it was because my hands were full. Full of everything else I was worried about or focused on. Even though I wanted to take his hand, I wasn’t willing to first let go of the things I was holding onto.

And so, 2018 saw me finally start to loosen my grip. No longer am I trying to win any awards for carrying the most weight all at once. No longer am I trying to balance one grocery bag on my knee and the other on my elbow as I try to reach in my purse to grab the keys. I’m setting the bags down, one by one, and I’m freeing that hand, because I know that His hand is right there, waiting for me to take it.

Dear Baby,

I know we just met, but I thought I’d go ahead and tell you that I love you.

It’s funny, love isn’t always an easy thing. Sometimes it’s messy and hard and confusing, but when it comes to you it’s as simple as can be. I thought it would only be this easy when I became a mother. I thought it would take me all those years and then nine more months to finally have that moment when I can love something, someone so instantly, and yet there I was yesterday, holding someone else’s baby, holding you, and I felt it.

I can probably blame your mom for that. I’ve known her a long time. We all have. And by the time you can read this, I hope you’ll know good and well who we are.

We’re a group that’s been through a lot together. Some good times, some bad, but mostly good. We love each other, and now we love you.

I tell you this to let you know now, and to remind you every day here after, that you’re not alone. You have so many people behind you, rooting for you, and admiring you.

We’re a unique tribe. We laugh hard, mostly at our own jokes, and then at the jokes we make off of each other’s jokes and so on and so on. We come in all shapes and sizes, with our own trail of fails and successes behind us. We all try our hardest and we have all been the one needing a shoulder to lean on. But that’s what makes us great. We care. We listen. We love. And just by being here, baby, you’re one of us.

We’re here for you. We are here for you and your mom and your aunt, and everyone else that makes up this big circle of ours that we call a family.

So dive in, baby. Dive into this thing we call life.

We’re so happy to have you in our world, and we can’t wait to see you build yours.

 

 

 

 

 

Also, about the jokes…

At least give us a courtesy laugh.

It would mean a lot.

 

2018 Goals Final Wrap Up

Last week I released my list of goals for 2019, but before I can truly dive into those new ones, let’s see how I did on my goals for 2018.

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1) Do a handstand

COMPLETED

While I can’t say I can walk to work in full handstand while carrying my purse with my feet, I have come SO FAR from the beginning of the year.

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2) Take a kickboxing class

COMPLETED

Guys. Seriously, take a kickboxing class. I mean, I figured I’d like it. Love it, even. But I didn’t realize it would be therapeutic. I genuinely worked through some things while I was punching and kicking that damn bag. So it’s safe to say that I will definitely make my way back to some classes in 2019.

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3) Visit (at least) 20 museums in Los Angeles

WILL CONTINUE IN 2019

I only ended up making it to museums this year, which is a bummer, but not that surprising when I look back at how busy my 2018 was. Instead of just letting it go however, I decided to make finishing this goal one of my goals for 2019. Hopefully this year I’ll find some more spare weekends to get out and see some ‘seums.

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4) Get CPR certified

COMPLETED

That’s right, folks! According to the certificate that was emailed to me by the Red Cross, I am officially CPR and First Aid certified! I can officially save your life (if you’re having a minor crisis that was covered by the training)!!

If you’re interested in getting certified, you can find more information here. 

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5) Shoot (at least) 1 roll of film per month

(ESSENTIALLY) COMPLETED

I fell off a little at the end, but I shot 13 total rolls of film this year so I’m calling it good. I absolutely love that I set this goal and the pictures turned out SO COOL. Here are a few of my favorites:

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6) Complete the 104 things to Photograph book

NOT QUITE

Yeahhhhhh. I just didn’t get around to this one, to be honest. I thought it would tie in really well with my film goal, but I just didn’t put in the effort to take pictures that corresponded to the prompts in the book. As of now, I could probably fill half of it, and while I will continue to fill it, I just couldn’t do it in one year.

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7) Visit the sea glass beach in Fort Bragg, CA

FULLY PLANNED 

I have worked out all the details needed to take this trip, and my roommates and I have thrown out potential dates. So while we didn’t take this trip in 2018, I think we will definitely make time for it in 2019.

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8) Go to the dentist

COMPLETED

Yes, I went to the dentist. No, it was not fun.

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9) Watch 20 documentaries

COMPLETED

This was another goal that I loved more than I thought I would. There are SO MANY documentaries out there that cover SO MANY different topics. And since I’m already someone that loves dropping fun facts, watching these documentaries this year gave me more material than I knew what to do with!

If you’re interested, these are the ones that I watched. I put my favorites in bold!

  1. Happy (Netflix)
  2. The Mortified Guide (Netflix)
  3. The Mortified Sessions (Netflix)
  4. Minimalism (Netflix)
  5. Won’t You Be My Neighbor? (Amazon)
  6. Three Identical Strangers (Amazon)
  7. Amanda Knox (Netflix)
  8. Icarus (Netflix)
  9. Evil Genius (Netflix)
  10. The White Helmets (Netflix)
  11. Tiny Shoulders (Hulu)
  12. Conor McGregor: Notorious (Netflix)
  13. The Mind of Jake Paul (YouTube)
  14. Zion (Netflix)
  15. Seeing Allred (Netflix)
  16. Ballet Now (Hulu)
  17. Becoming Bond (Hulu)
  18. The Barkley Marathons (Amazon)
  19. Blue Planet 2 (Netflix)
  20. Batman & Bill (Hulu)

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10) Perfect an omelet

DIDN’T REALLY WANT TO ANYMORE?

Yeah, I don’t really know what to say about this one. I mean, I had every intention of learning to make an omelette and I constantly mentioned buying a new pan that would help me do so, but then I just kind of…didn’t want an omelet? I don’t know. I guess I was really craving them in 2017, craving them enough to make perfecting them a goal for 2018, but here in 2019, I just want hard boiled eggs in my lunch box and fried eggs on my burgers. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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11) See (at least) one movie in theaters per month

ONLY MISSED DECEMBER

Similar to the film goal, I did fall short at the end on this one, but I think I more than made up for it the rest of the year.

Here are all the movies I saw in theaters this year. And again, my favorites are in bold! 🙂

  1. I, Tonya
  2. Call Me By Your Name
  3. Maze Runner: The Death Cure
  4. 50 Shades Freed
  5. Red Sparrow
  6. I Can Only Imagine
  7. A Quiet Place
  8. Book Club
  9. Incredibles 2
  10. Won’t You Be My Neighbor
  11. Three Identical Strangers
  12. Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again
  13. Eighth Grade
  14. Skate Kitchen
  15. Crazy Rich Asians
  16. A Star is Born
  17. Bohemian Rhapsody

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12) Read 20 books off the Time’s 100 List

COMPLETED

I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it one thousand times: AUDIOBOOKS. They are the only reason I made it through this goal, and since finishing Time’s list is on my 30 Before 30 list, I’m sure they’ll be the driving force behind completing that as well. #teamaudiobooks

  1. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
  2. Dear God, it’s Me Margaret
  3. On the Road
  4. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie
  5. Lord of the Flies
  6. To the Lighthouse
  7. The Day of the Locust
  8. The Great Gatsby
  9. To Kill a Mockingbird
  10. Never Let Me Go
  11. Revolutionary Road
  12. The Painted Bird
  13. Red Harvest
  14. The Big Sleep
  15. Mrs. Dalloway
  16. The Moviegoer
  17. Housekeeping
  18. A Clockwork Orange
  19. The Spy Who Came in from the Cold
  20. 1984

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13) Pay off credit card

MAKING PROGRESS

About halfway through the year I had to pull the plug on this one because I just didn’t have the resources to continue, but I’ve since got back on track and am making progress slowly but surely!

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14) See 3 WRLA’s

COMPLETED

While on a trip to Seattle and Canada in March, I was able to complete this goal, seeing the World’s Largest Cowboy Hat & Boots in Seattle, WA, the World’s Largest Paper Airplane in Mukilteo, WA, and the World’s Largest Tin Solider in New Westminster, BC, Canada!

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15) Volunteer (at least) 5 times

COMPLETED

After what seemed like a promising start, I once again found myself scrambling a little bit at the end. I did get my five slots in, but it wasn’t without a little sweat and frantic planning. The main charities I volunteered for this year were Food Forward and Children’s Hunger Fund. Check them out!

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16) Donate Blood

COMPLETED

Yes, I did it! Was it my favorite thing ever? No. But will I do it again because it’s an easy way to help out? Definitely!

Find out more about donating blood here. 

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17) Do the 1 second/day video challenge

COMPLETED!

This was probably the most stressful goal for me because I was constantly having to remember to film a second for each day, but I genuinely love how it turned out. Shout out to everyone in the video! You are all reasons why this video/year turned out great because you were part of some of my favorite moments of 2018 🙂

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Overall, I’d say this was a very successful year! It was a little crazy, a little blurry, and a little bit overwhelming, but I’m very thankful for all that it had to offer.

Now we’re off into the mysterious world of 2019!

I hope it treats you well and that you feel inspired to go for it! Whatever it may be for you. ❤

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You can read more about the goals I set for 2019 here.

And if you’re looking for inspiration on goals you should set this year, check out this post!

 

31 Good Things that Happened in December

Hello and welcome back to the final edition of All the Good Things for 2018!

I started All the Good Things in January of 2017 and I’m so happy its continued thus far and am hopeful it can continue for a long time moving forward.

If this is your first All the Good Things post, it is a monthly series where I highlight all the good things that happen in each 30-day (or so) span, in the hopes that it can be a reminder of all the undercover good happening in our world amongst all the well known bad.

It’s one of my favorite traditions on my blog and I hope it gives you as many warm fuzzies as it gives me! 🙂

Let’s dive right in!

You can catch up on every month of All the Good Things for 2018 here. 

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1) The Kansas City Symphony set a new Guinness World Record for the largest tuba ensemble

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2) This man drew adorable cartoons about life with his wife and toddler

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3) Macaulay Culkin recreated scenes from Home Alone

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4) This girl perfectly summed up one of the true joys of wrapping presents

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5) This guy found a way to prank package thieves

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6) This boy opened the best Christmas present

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7) Both Kid Rock and Tyler Perry paid off layaways at Walmart

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8) This woman got her book published

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9) This man donated 200,000 miles so people could fly home for the holidays

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10) This horse comforted patients in the hospital

View this post on Instagram

I love this so much. @equideo_

A post shared by Ellen (@theellenshow) on

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11) This radio host kept a suicidal caller on the line until an ambulance arrived at their house

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12) This boy asked to be adopted

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13) This man dressed up as Buddy the Elf and had pillow fights with people

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14) This boy found out he was getting new lungs

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15) These woman helped out a mother on an airplane

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16) This man shared good news

good tweet

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17) This group of volunteers split the cost of a lottery ticket and won $1 million.

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18) This kitten snuggled up with its favorite toy

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19) Cardi B went on Carpool Karaoke

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20) The Holidays!

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21) This charity donated 3,000 wheelchairs to people with disabilities

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22) This man became the first to trek across Antarctica alone

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23) This man danced for his son

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24) JetBlue ran a contest that turned people into gifts and flew them home for Christmas

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25) After losing their home in the Camp Fire, this couple made a sad scene a little brighter

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26) This student gave their teacher a gift from the heart

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27) After being born premature in January of 2017, Fiona the hippo hit a weight milestone

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28) This boxer plans on donating his entire earnings from his latest fight to help the poor and homeless

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29) This Arkansas couple adopted seven siblings at once

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30) This airport worker guided a plane with dance moves

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31) And this boy tried to catch Santa on camera but instead got THIS

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Here’s to all the good things that happen all around us every day.

May there be many more in 2019!

Happy New Year, everyone!

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17 Goals for 2019 (List-cember #8)

For the past two years I’ve made concrete lists of 17 goals that I hope to accomplish in the following year. The first year was cute, it was 17 Goals in 2017, but then I stuck to 17 (because it’s my favorite number) in 2018 and I’m going to continue sticking to it…

I’m sorry.

I’m know it’s not as catchy.

I also know I apologized for this last year, so I apologize for apologizing…again.

ANYWAYS.

Here were are, a mere six days away from the new year and I’m putting another 17 goals out into the universe. I’m sure they’ll frustrate me and stress me out and make me wonder what in the hell I was ever thinking, but then at the same time they’ll inspire me and excite me and encourage me to continue to make crazy lists of goals because I really can achieve anything I put my mind to.

Let’s see what we have in store for 2019.

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1) Journal daily

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This past year, in the month leading up to my birthday I gave myself a list of challenges in an attempt to give 28 a solid start. One of my favorite parts was the daily writing challenge. I liked having to write about something each day, even if it was just describing my favorite season or listing things that make me laugh. It got me writing, which always seems to sort my brain out, no matter how jumbled it might be at the end of a long day. So, in 2019, I’m going to journal every day. I’m going to buy myself a new moleskin notebook and write 2019 on the front and I’m going to write at least a few words it in every day. Not only will it keep me writing, but it will also be a way to preserve everything that happens in the next year, which I have a funny feeling is going to be a good one.

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2) Take a cooking class

This one is on my 30 Before 30 list and after what I would consider a successful year of trying new recipes (lots of which I’ve shared in my Strain then Stir series) I’m feeling inspired to go out and take a class. I don’t really have a preference for the genre of food or the type of class, I just want to learn something new and expand my cooking skills.

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3) Cook my way through a cookbook

Piggy-backing off of that last one, I think it would be a fun challenge to actually cook my way through one of the (too many) cookbooks I own. I’m such a flip and pick kind of cookbook reader and I think I miss some recipes that I’d really like if I gave them a chance.

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4) Try the best drink from every state

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A while back I watched this YouTube video that showcased the best drinks from each of the 50 states. While I wasn’t surprised that I hadn’t tried a lot of them, I was surprised that I’d never even heard of most of them. When my friends and I go out, I am a big sipper. I like to try what everyone’s drinking before I eventually order my favorite drink: a Dirty Shirley. I think this challenge will both feed my curiosity and force me to branch out a little. Who knows, I might even find my new favorite drink in there somewhere.

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5) Watch a sunset and a sunrise at the beach

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This one is almost embarrassing to include on the list because as someone who lives 30 minutes from the beach (when there’s minimal traffic) in a city that has incredible weather year round, there’s really no excuse for me not to go more often than I do. If I’m being 100% honest, I think I might have gone three times this year? And that’s a hard might. So, in 2019 I’m going to do better. I’m going to see (at least!) one sunset and one sunrise at the beach, both of which will involve me taking lots of pictures and pretending that I’m not cold. Can’t wait!

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6) Volunteer (at least) 5 times

This one has become a staple and I love it! I still haven’t found a way not to procrastinate until the last minute to finish it…but it love it!

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7) See 3 WRLA’s

This one is another staple, but this year might be a little more challenging than others. Since I’ve seen most of the ones close to me, I’ll have to do some driving/flying to see those farther away. Luckily, I’ve managed to hook a few people with the wonderful weirdness of WRLA’s and I think they might be up for accompanying me 🙂

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8) Pay off 1 of my 2 remaining student loans

I am currently on track to pay off one of my last two student loans in June of 2019 and MAN, AM I EXCITED. Unless something drastic happens, this should be an easy goal to complete, but I’m putting it on the list because it will feel so. damn. good. to cross it off.

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9) Amazon Wish List splurge

Another piggy back goal. I’ve said for a while now that when I pay off all of my loans I am going to go through my Amazon Wish List and just go ape sh*t on it to celebrate. But while I’m on track to pay off one loan next year, my final one will probably take another year and a half to pay off. So, I’m going to do a mini splurge. Say 5-10 things that have been on my list and in and out of my cart forever. I think it will be just the push I need to get through my final year of loan payments.

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10) Stomp grapes and make wine

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This is another goal on my 30 Before 30 list, and I’m very anxious (and kind of grossed out?) to try it. My cousin and I were recently talking about planning a trip to Northern California to visit wine country and I think this would be something fun to do in between all the wine drinking. I mean, we gotta get some exercise in, might as well make it useful.

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11) Make my family tree

I’ve wanted to do this FOREVER. I come from a great, big, wonderful and loud family and I’d love to learn about all the great, wonderful and loud ancestors before me. I’m then hoping to turn the information I find into a book of some sort. Stay tuned!

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12) Hike the Narrows

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I found this Zion National Park hike a few years back and immediately put it on my family’s to-do list. Since then, I’ve seen a bunch of my friends do it, all of them coming back with rave reviews, so this year, I’m thinking it’s our turn.

Family! Let’s do it!

 

(If you’re interested, you can find information about this hike here.)

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13) Do (at least one) unassisted pull-up

I go to the gym a few times a week and one of my go-to exercises is the assisted pull-up. Essentially I use a machine that puts some of my body weight against me but not all of it, as I bend and straighten my arms in a pull-up motion. Slowly but surely over the last year I’ve made progress, but I’ve still got a little ways to go until I could do one completely unassisted. All I’m looking for is one at this point, then I can go from there.

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14) Get 100 rejections

In the middle of 2018, I read an article that encouraged writers to garner as many rejections as they can, explaining that if they are constantly putting their work out there to get rejected, they are also bound to find their work accepted at least a few times as well. This past year, aside from my blog, I put my writing on the back burner a little bit because I was so busy, so I’m hoping this goal will help fuel my fire to fail and thus (hopefully) succeed in 2019.

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15) Learn a song on my ukulele

A while back I got a ukulele as a birthday gift. I was so excited and immediately looked up videos on YouTube to teach myself how to play. I think I may have learned “Happy Birthday” but I was not very good and have since forgotten every single note. So this year I think I might take an online class or two and see if I can’t learn a song. Sure, it might be “Happy Birthday” again, but it’s the effort that counts, right?

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16) Finish my museum goal

One of my goals in 2018 was to go to 20 museums in Los Angeles. While I started off strong, the year quickly turned into one giant, busy, blurry tornado. Almost every single weekend was booked solid and it seemed like each time I would blink, a few weeks had passed by. On the rare occasion I did have an open weekend, I just wanted to stay home, so my museum goal kind of got pushed aside, which I was bummed about because I genuinely loved every museum I went to and was always researching which one to go to next. So, in 2019 I’m going to continue on the eight that I went to in 2018 and hopefully hit the 20 mark.

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17) Run a Marathon

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YIKES. It looks so scary typing it out like that. But yep, I am officially going to try and run the LA Marathon in March of next year. I’ve been training for about three months now and am so far on track to not totally and completely die come marathon day, so things are looking up. Please pray for my legs entire body as I continue to pursue this goal, and if you happen to think of me on March 24, send good vibes!

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Alright, there they are!

17 new goals.

Do I regret them yet? No.

Am I slightly terrified? Yes. But that’s kind of just my natural state of being.

Do you have any specific goals for the upcoming year? If you want to but don’t know where to start, check out this post and this post that will give you some ideas.

We’re all in this together!

Happy New Year, everyone! 🙂

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Check out my 2018 goals here.

Check out my 2017 goals here. 

10 Christmas Gifts My Siblings and I Loved/Hated (As Told by Photos) (List-cember #7)

On Christmas Eve, the day before those who celebrate Christmas sit around and eat and laugh and open presents and then crumple wrapping paper into balls and shoot them into trash bags being held by family members across the room, I sit looking at the gifts under my tree. I’m excited to give them to everyone and excited to see their face when they open it, I might even take a picture or two.

My family is full of picture takers, especially on Christmas, so I’ve made it a tradition during List-cember to share some of my favorite photos taken while we were opening presents. I like guess what was going through our heads in that moment.

And I think I’m probably right.

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What I’m (probably) thinking here: Remember Troy, no matter what’s wrapped in that paper, I’m one of the best gifts you’ll ever get.

 

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What my sister, Natalee, is (probably) thinking here: Every badass, superhero, fashion icon, and historical figure needs a soundtrack. And since I’m clearly all four, it’s high time I’ve finally found mine.

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What I’m (probably) thinking here: Okay, okay, okay, guys, PICTURE THIS: Pantsless Pez-days. Who’s in?

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What I’m (probably) thinking here: Yeah, the gift is great. It’s a Barbie and I’m super excited but uhh…does anyone else see the look she’s giving me? Does anyone else think she might be planning a homicide?

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What my sister is (probably) thinking here: I always hoped my future daughter would look like me and I mean, would you look at this?! It’s practically uncanny!

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What I’m (probably) thinking here: I GOT MONOPOLY! AND NOW I’M TOTALLY SLAUGHTERING DAD! HE HAS NO IDEA WHAT’S COMING NEXT TURN! THIS IS THE BEST GAME EVER.

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What my brother, Troy, is (probably) thinking here: Block!

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What my sister is (probably) thinking here: First step Fashion Factory, second step runway model. Is this smile pretty?

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What I’m (probably) thinking here: Do these bracelets make the fur of my Santa hat look a little more subtle?

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What my sister is (probably) thinking here: Yes, that’s right Santa. Check that list twice. 

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Merry Christmas, everyone!

You can check out the previous editions of this series here and here. 

My 2018 Rec Roundup (List-cember #6)

One of my favorite end of the year posts to come across is roundups of recommendations.

Rec Roundups, if you will.

I just like to know what everyone loved throughout the year.

It’s the same reason I do my favorites posts every two months, just with the added excitement and pressure of it being the last month of the year, making them essentially the Academy Awards of favorites. And since I’m a huge fan of awards season, I’ll take any relation to it I can get.

SO, consider these my nominees for my favorite things I saw, read, listened to, wore on my face, etc, throughout 2018. I didn’t pick any winners because, well, I didn’t want to/didn’t have time to make formal envelopes, but I did give my top 10 favorites in every category, with a few bonuses thrown in at the end.

I just wanted to give you my Rec Roundup, in case you’re looking for recs to round up, you know?

Here we go.

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Books

  • Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer (Nonfiction/Biography)
  • In Conclusion, Don’t Worry About It by Lauren Graham (Nonfiction)
  • You’re Not That Great by Elon Gale (Humor/Self-help)
  • Left Neglected by Lisa Genova (Fiction/Medical)
  • Strange Fire by Tommy Wallach (Young Adult/Science Fiction)
  • Wildflower by Drew Barrymore (Memoir/Nonfiction)
  • One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus (Young Adult/Mystery)
  • Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis (Nonfiction/Self Help)
  • Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom (Memoir/Nonfiction)
  • The Year of Yes by Shonda Rhymes (Memoir/Nonfiction)

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Podcasts

  • Heavyweight
  • VIEWS with David Dobrik
  • Modern Love
  • The Tiny Meat Gang Podcast
  • The Mortified Podcast
  • School of Greatness
  • Ear Hustle
  • Dirty John
  • The Rise Podcast
  • Sandra

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Movies/Documentaries

  • Won’t You Be My Neighbor (Amazon)
  • Three Identical Strangers (Amazon)
  • Becoming Bond (Hulu)
  • Red Sparrow
  • A Quiet Place
  • Eighth Grade
  • Crazy Rich Asians
  • Bohemian Rhapsody
  • The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (Netflix)
  • To All the Boys I Loved Before (Netflix)
  • A Star is Born

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TV Shows

  • The Office (Netflix)
  • Chilling Adventures of Sabrina (Netflix)
  • American Vandal (Netflix)
  • Atypical (Netflix)
  • Santa Clarita Diet (Netflix)
  • The Sinner (Netflix)
  • Queer Eye (Netflix)
  • Love (Netflix)
  • The End of the F***ing World (Netflix)
  • A Million Little Things (Hulu or ABC)

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Music

  • Sweetner by Ariana Grande
  • Dan + Shay by Dan + Shay
  • Own it by Francesca Battistelli
  • Swimming by Mac Miller
  • Don’t Smile at Me by Billie Eilish
  • Reputation by Taylor Swift
  • Bloom by Troye Sivan
  • Golden Hour by Kasey Musgraves
  • Electric Light by James Bay
  • Shawn Mendes by Shawn Mendes

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Misc

These are the only ones that I figured needed a little commentary just so you know what the heck I’m talking about.

glassesComputer glasses: I talked about these in my most recent favorites post. They block the blue light from your computer, so if you are someone like me who spends most of their work day looking at a screen, they help A LOT with headaches and make my eyes feel less like they’re being sucked out of my head.

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Coty Airspun Loose Face Powder: I tend to have oily skin and so far this is one of the only powders that has truly helped me combat it! Plus, it’s cheap! (find it here)

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Wear Me Pro Sunglasses: These were an impulse buy on Amazon that I figured couldn’t hurt because it was only putting me out about $10. But I ended up truly LOVING these glasses and wore them almost every single day. (find them here)

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Uline Blanket: I got this as a free gift from a purchase we made at work and OH. MY. GOSH. It is the greatest blanket I have ever owned and am willing to fight to the (near) death with anyone who tries to take it from me. (find it here)

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Google Wifi: My parents bought this for their house and loved it so much that they gifted a set to my roommates and I. Now, I’m not the techie that can explain exactly how they work, but let’s just say if you are having trouble getting your Wifi to reach certain rooms of the house, these bad boys extend that reach. They have worked great for us! (find it here)

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Check out more List-cember posts here

10 Goals to Give Yourself in 2019 (List-cember #5)

I am currently in the process of making my list of goals for next year. I always like to make 17, and I always like them to be different (with a few exceptions) than the year before. I want to keep challenging myself and getting out of my comfort zone, and I try to set goals that will allow/force me to do that.

Now, I don’t know where you’re at in your life. If you’re someone that pops out of bed in the morning ready to take on the day or if you’re someone (like me) who moves a little slower and needs to muster up the energy—and oftentimes courage—to do something out of the ordinary.

It is so easy to fall into a routine.  But I know from experience how great it feels to stray from it, even if it’s for something simple like exercising or going to a museum.

So, if you’re someone who is looking for a few ideas to stray from the blah of the day to day but aren’t necessarily interested in a cold hard list of goals—because I also know those can be more stressful than exciting sometimes. Or if you’re someone who is just looking for ideas of things to challenge yourself with in the upcoming year, I’ve made a list to start you off.

Feel free to take them and manipulate them, make them simpler or harder or more geared toward your lifestyle. I’m not looking to make you feel guilty for not having a list of goals and a spreadsheet to track your progress throughout the year—because you know, only crazy people do that. I just want to encourage you to try something new. Get out there and see things that have always been around you that you never had the time to notice. Get to know your likes and dislikes that fall outside of both your comfort zone and your routine, because if there’s one thing these last few years of goal setting have taught me, it’s that I am more than my comfort zone and my routine. And you are too.

So try something new.

You don’t have to go crazy. Just work through this list. Do everything at least once and take pride in your accomplishments. After that, let the inspiration guide you onward and upward! 😊

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1) Try a new fitness class

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Like I said, you don’t have to get crazy with it. There’s no need to sign up for the monthly pass or promise to go every single week. Just try something new. Once. Then go from there. Check out Groupon to see if there are any deals going on at gyms or studios near you. A lot of places offer free first classes. Or, if classes just aren’t your thing or you can’t find one in your price range, go for a run, or a walk, or follow a workout video on YouTube, there are tons of great videos on this channel.

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2) Volunteer

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I know, I know, everyone says this. And when I see it on a list I throw my hands up and I say I KNOW. But trust me on this. It lives up to the hype. Start by looking into your local food back. Or check out VolunteerMatch.com

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3) Go to the doctor AND the dentist

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Do they both suck? Yes. Do I love going to either? No. But chances are you are overdue for a cleaning and/or a physical. So go fulfill your adult duties, it gives you a surprising feeling of accomplishment, like you’re truly adulting.

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4) Give blood

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This was one of my goals this year. I had never given blood before and was scared to try it, but I felt like it was a super easy way to help out and, you know, I do have some blood to spare, so I might as well share the wealth. That being said, the first time I tried to give blood, my iron was too low. So, if you’re someone who is unable to give blood, look into donating your hair, or donating money to your favorite charity.

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5) Meditate

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This is another thing that I’m not super well versed in, but I gave it a try for this first time this past year and can confidently say that it did not kill me. I rolled out my yoga mat, put on a face mask and tried this 10-minute guided meditation. And while I thought it would feel like I was laying there for six days (or that I would fall asleep) the time sped by and before I knew it the 10 minutes were up, my face was moisturized, and I genuinely felt a lot calmer. I highly recommend giving it a try. Also, just something to consider for those of us who “don’t have time” to meditate (something that more or less convinced me to try it in the first place): a podcast I listen to said that if you truly believe you don’t have time for 10 minutes of meditation, than you’re probably someone who needs an hour of meditation. (I know, I felt attacked by this too.)

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6) Read a book

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If you’re like my dad, you have every intention to read more, but by the time you get home from work and relax on the couch, reading is more of lullaby than a pastime. That’s okay. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. You’re working hard and that’s not something you should beat yourself up about. That being said however, there are so many books out there. Books to make you laugh, make you cry, make you think. Books that take you out of your head for a little while and put you somewhere totally different. So I encourage you to find a book by someone or about something that’s always interested you. (Or take this “What Book Should I Read Next?” quiz that will give you some suggestions) Read it slow. (Or listen to it on audiobook.) One day at a time. However long it takes. But finish it.

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7) Bake something

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Don’t even try and tell me that you’ve never seen something on television or Facebook or Instagram or your friend’s blog that didn’t make you think, damn, I wish I could make that. Spoiler alert: you can! Will it look like the pictures? Probably not. I can’t think of a single time I’ve cooked something that looked picture perfect. But who cares? It’s all about it tasting delicious and you taking pride in the fact you made that delicious thing. So find yourself a recipe, for breakfast, for lunch, for dinner, or whatever dessert you’d like to have in your kitchen for the next few days—or hours, depending how good they are/how little self-control you have—and give it a try.

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8) Go to a concert, sporting event or show

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Isn’t it crazy how you can get so sucked into a routine that you forget you can go places other than work and home? Sometimes I genuinely forget things like concerts and plays exist. But then, when I make time to go to a Dodger game or a spontaneous concert, I remember how happy they make me and how they make everything else melt away for a little while. So pick your poison: music, sports, theater, the movies. Go see one in person, it’s way better than watching it on television.

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9) Get your picture taken

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I realize this sounds ridiculous in the age of iPhones and social media as we are all taking pictures all the time. But as someone who doesn’t necessarily like having her picture taken, I can say that there have been so many times lately when I wished I would have taken my picture at a specific event. Not so I could post it on social media, but just so I could have it to better remember the day. The way I see it, in 20 years from now, I’m not going to love a picture of a mountain as much as I’m going to love the reminder that I was standing next to the mountain in my favorite jeans and that backpack that I lost somewhere along the line. So get your picture taken. Either with friends or alone. Document this year and the way you lived it, so you can relive it years from now.

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10) Splurge

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This past year I bought myself a new desk for my room, something I’d been wanting for years. I decided that I’d had enough of my whining that it was too expensive. I mean, it was too expensive for me to buy outright, but that didn’t mean I couldn’t save up for it. And so I did, I put aside a small amount each week until I had enough and then I bought that damn desk and it. is. beautiful. It felt so good to buy myself something fancy. (Or at least something I consider fancy) So this year, buy yourself something you consider fancy. Something that you’ve been wanting for a while, that you’ve been working towards and would brighten your day. If you can’t afford it now, save up for it— sometimes that makes it all the more exciting. Treat yo’self in 2019. You deserve it.