Does Someone Have A Second to Invent These Things?

When I was younger I thought it would be cool to be an inventor. I pictured myself creating the next big thing the world never knew it needed, becoming a millionaire and living in a mansion with my family and a pet elephant. The only thing that stood in the way of that dream was actually having the idea for the next big thing in the first place.

These days, while I still don’t necessarily have the idea, I like to think I have some pretty good ones, though I’m still nowhere close to having the skills to turn them into anything tangible. That being said, if there are any inventors out there with some extra time, do you mind spending a little on these guys? They would make my life better, which has to mean they would provide a similar benefit to someone else’s.

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1) A blinker that indicates U-turns

You know when you’re in the left hand turn lane and the person in front of you is blinking their blinker and you think you’re on the same page and are ready to follow the leader across the intersection, only to have them flip a U and turn your whole world upside down? Okay, maybe not you’re whole world. But it’s definitely a I took a sip of a drink I expected to be soda but it was milk and now my life is a mess type of moments, you know? I just think there should be some kind of secondary blinker that says, “Hey, I’m not doing what you think I’m doing and I just wanted you to know.”

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2) To-go/delivery services for breakfast foods

You can get pizza delivered to your door in twenty minutes, you can get McDonald’s delivered to your door at 1 o’clock in the morning, heck, you can even get more wine delivered to your door before an episode of The Bachelor is over. If we’ve come this far, why can’t I order a waffle yet? It’s 2018, people, the world needs a pancake delivery service.

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3) Solar powered lane markers

The other day I was driving on the freeway at night and having trouble seeing the lane dividers. It had just stopped raining so the cement was wet, and the brake lights of my neighboring cars were making the reflectors on the lane dividers almost a non-factor. This got me thinking, if someone like me, who has 20/20 vision is having trouble seeing these markers, how would my sister, who requires a special prescription and especially struggles with night driving, have faired? So my thought here is, let’s Disneyland Electric Light Parade those bad boys! Stick some solar panels on the tops of them so they charge all day and glow all night. Not only would they make our freeways more exciting, they’d undoubtedly cut down on late night collisions.

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4) Something that can control CAPS LOCK

Have you ever been typing something and accidentally hit the caps lock when you didn’t intend to and then you typed an entire sentence in the wrong format and the only way to correct it was to delete the entire thing and start over? This happens to me more than I’d like to admit and it is endlessly frustrating. I just wish there was a way to highlight and either apply or remove caps lock in one fell swoop.

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5) An app that actually calculates the odds when you say, “what are the odds of that?”

Can you imagine having this power? Would it be too much? Would it be useful at all? It’s hard to say. But you can’t deny the fact that it would be fun to be able to pull out your phone while you are walking down the aisle of a grocery store in a city you are only in because you are on vacation, and yet you somehow find yourself running into an old high school acquaintance you never thought you’d have to see again and they say, “it’s so great to see you!” and the only non-controversial thing you can think to say is, “yeah, WHAT ARE THE ODDS OF THAT?” and your phone would say “approximately 1 in 1,000,000,000” and you would feel validated in how utterly ridiculous the whole thing is. You know that, and other, less complicated curiosities.

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All I ask in your quest to bring these ideas to life is to give me a shout out. I have no idea how patents work, but if there is a section where you provide influences, inspirations, muses, etc., just leave a link to this blog. I suppose a cut of the profit also might be nice. Just include a check with a doorstep waffle. Thanks in advance!

If You’re Going to Post, Post What’s True

As a creature of habit, my routine in the morning is almost identical every single day of the workweek. Among pressing snooze a few times, listening to a podcast, and making a (usually empty) promise to myself that we’ll nap later, checking Timehop—an app that connects to your social media accounts and shows you posts you made on that day in years past—is a staple.

Even though the Facebook posts, Instagram pictures and tweets can sometimes be unbearably cringy, I like to check in on the person I was however many years ago, and observe how much I’ve grown since then.

But among the goofy, the melodramatic, and the sometimes indecipherable posts, I sometimes find ones that make me downright frown. Because even now, after all these years, I can still feel the inauthenticity. It only takes a second to read the words or scan the picture to remember that the only reason I posted that was to impress/amuse/appease someone else.

On the one hand, I don’t want to be too hard on myself. We all go through periods of growth. Seasons when we’re trying on different versions of ourselves to see which one fits. Thus, reading those posts that definitely aren’t me could be viewed as little more than skimming digital records of that growing process. But it also makes me sad to see how much I valued the opinions and acceptance of others over presenting a truthful version of myself.

These days, I do my best to present nothing but the truth. Not only for the benefit of my present self (and anyone who might view what I post) but also for my future self, who, upon skimming Timehop one or two or five years from now can look back and be proud that I was confident enough to be my true self. After all, as much fun as it is to receive love and praise and “likes” for something we post, none of that will mean much if you know that what you posted is an ingenuine representation of who you are and what you’re feeling.

Think of social media like a scrapbook or a journal, minus the fear of it getting lost or worn with time. Once you put something on the Internet, it’s there forever. Which is kind of scary, but also kind of cool if you use it to your advantage. Technology is scrapbooking our memories for us, storing them for future “awww’s” and “eww’s” and “OH MY GOSH’s.”

Don’t get me wrong; posting to social media is a choice. The world will only see what you want it to see, but with that being said, why choose to only show the world a lie? What good does that do anyone, especially your future self who might want to look back and connect.

At the end of the day, I’m not here to judge you or anything you do or do not want to post to social media, and I expect you’d give me the same courtesy. But over the years, I’ve found that if you are going to post something, it’s always better to post what’s true. It’s better for you, it’s better for those around you, and it’s better for the world as a whole. We don’t get anywhere when we lie to each other, and we only go backwards when we lie to ourselves.

March/April 2018 Favorites

It’s beginning to feel a lot like…spring? Summer? Winter again? Honestly I have no idea with the highs and lows going on in Southern California right now. Last week my thermometer read both 49 and 96. This is why we Californians have trust issues, and why we never acclimate to anything. Anyways, let’s jump right into the favorites, shall we?

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Getting Curious w/ Jonathan Van Ness

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As if watching Queer Eye on Netflix wasn’t enough to make me fall in love with Jonathan Van Ness & Co. his podcast is equally as wonderful. Not only does it feature his trademark charm and sass, it covers genuinely interesting topics that I love hearing about and am quite honestly very curious about. For example, one episode talked all about bees. And while I’ve never considered myself to be much of a bee enthusiast, after listening I found myself completely fascinated by them and totally equipped to inform others of ways they can help save the dwindling population. (find it here)

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Beauty Protector Protect & Detangle

I’ve never considered myself any sort of expert in the makeup/beauty world, but a couple months ago I signed up for Birchbox to add some new products in my life and have been loving it so far! In my first box, I received this detangling spray that you put in your hair before brushing when you get out of the show and WOW. It completely detangled my hair, it made it smell good, and it left it super smooth. I just recently ran out so I will definitely be ordering the full size version! (find it here)

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Quinoa Fried Rice

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As you may have read in my cooking series, Strain then Stir, I’ve been making a conscious effort to better my cooking skills over the last year. In doing so, I’ve forced myself to branch out and try things I’ve long convinced myself I don’t like, one example being quinoa. I have always assumed I wouldn’t like the texture of quinoa and would always hold a grudge against it because, well, it’s just not rice. But then I found this recipe and everything changed. Not only is it easy, but it’s absolutely delicious and healthy and OH MY GOSH I’M A COOK. (find recipe here) (image credit: Gimme Some Oven blog)

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Caramel Cookie Fix

Speaking of delicious. I picked up a pint of this ice cream at Target while my sister and I were stress packing for Stagecoach last month and WOW. Just wow. I’m still proud of myself for not eating the entire pint in one sitting even though 1) I definitely could have and 2) it’s lower in calories thus lower in guilt. If you are in the market for a new ice cream flavor, this is the winner.

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You’re Not that Great

I’m not going to lie, I initially only bought this book because it popped up in the sale section of the Kindle store. That being said however, since I finished it I’ve been recommending it to everyone and would gladly go back in time and pay full price for it. It’s such a new take on self-help books, essentially asking you to embrace all the reasons you suck. And as much as that sounds insulting, it’s actually strangely inspirational. I laughed through the entire book and could not recommend it more. (find it here)

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The Office

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After years of receiving the “what do you mean you HAVEN’T see The Office” looks, I decided it was about time I joined society, and let me tell you, I’M SO GLAD I DID! I totally get it now. Every look I’ve received in the past is totally validated because yes, my life was worse before I started watching this show and continues to get better as I make my way though it. (I’m currently on Season 5!) So thank you, judgy people, really, truly, thank you. (find it on Netflix)

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Sons of Anarchy

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On a completely different end of the Netflix spectrum, I’ve also gotten into Sons of Anarchy, making my brain a very chaotic place. Not to mention my heart is now torn between two incredibly different men in Jim Halpert and Jax Teller. I think if there is a human out there that is a combination of the two he might be my soulmate. So if you find him, let me know. (find it on Netflix)

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A Quiet Place

If you are among the few that have heard all the hype about this movie but haven’t seen it, let me be the one to tell you that you need to go see it. I have never been a fan of horror movies, nor have I ever seen one in theaters, but the talk around this movie (and my new love for John Krasinski) convinced me to face my fears and I’m so glad I did! This movie is so fantastic and different than anything I’ve seen before. I felt every emotion on the spectrum and would easily say it is the best movie I’ve seen all year. Go see it! In theaters if you can. It adds to the whole experience.

 

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Have anything you’ve been loving over these last couple months? Let me know! My Amazon cart is always open…

See my previous favorites post here.

What I Learned from My First Stagecoach Festival

This past weekend I went to the Stagecoach Country Music Festival for the first time. Leading up to it, I didn’t know what to expect. Stagecoach is held in the same venue as Coachella, which I’d actually been to before to watch my brother play lacrosse, but even so, I really had no idea what I was walking in to.

Now that I’m back (and still alive!) I thought I’d analyze what my friends and I did right/wrong, in order to better prepare us (or you!) for future trips.

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What We Did Right: We stayed offsite

After we bought our tickets, our #1 priority was to find the best/most affordable/most convenient lodging. As it turned out, this was a very intense and stressful process, because everyone else who just bought their tickets was doing the exact same thing. But we ended up getting a great place on Airbnb about 20 minutes from the venue and it was great to get away from all the madness each night.

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What We Did Wrong: Parked at the venue

One of the downsides of staying upwards of 20 minutes away is the need to, you know, get to the venue. On Friday night we decided to drive straight there and park in the lot. It was a relatively smooth process on the way in, but it took us a solid hour to get out of the parking lot after the show, 45 minutes of which we didn’t even move. (Note: a friend of mine who’s been to Coachella suggests that if you leave about 10-20 minutes early at the end of the night, getting out of the parking lot is not too bad!)

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What We Did Right: Parked at a friend’s house

After Friday night, we asked some friends of ours who were staying at a house in walking distance from the venue if we could park in their driveway. The walk from their house to the venue ended up being the same distance and took the same amount of time as parking in the parking lot did (about 30 minutes) but once we arrived back at our car that night, we were out of their neighborhood and on the freeway back to our house in approximately five minutes. Granted, this isn’t a luxury that everyone has when they go to Stagecoach, but if you do stay offsite and know people staying closer, it’s worth the ask.

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What We Did Right: Brought bandanas

One item we constantly heard as a recommended bring was a bandana, and even though we weren’t exactly sure why, we all showed up on Friday with one packed in each of our bags. This would prove to be on of our greatest choices because not only does the wind pick up after sundown, blowing dust all up in your business, but the walk back to your car/house/camp/etc. is essentially one big parade of dust. I couldn’t recommend them more.

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What We Did Wrong: Left our chairs at home

Overall, the first day was really one big learning experience. In preparing for the trip we had bought cheap chairs but weren’t sure whether they’d be too bulky/nerdy to carry around. So on the first day the four of us only brought a few towels and a blanket to sit on. On our walk into the venue, we quickly realized that EVERYONE brings chairs. And after spending the afternoon and evening sitting on the hard ground, we found out why. Needless to say, we proudly carried our chairs in on Saturday and Sunday.

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What We Did Right: Brought sunscreen

I get it. Applying and reapplying sunscreen isn’t something you want as your number one priority when you’re at a music festival and you’re trying to look cute and have fun and forget all your worries and all of that. But as the sun set on Friday and we took a look around at some of the people who didn’t take the time to apply (or reapply), it was clear they were going to be hurting for the next two days.

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What We Did Wrong: Didn’t bring blankets and (good enough) sweatshirts

As it turns out, when the sun goes down in the desert and the wind picks up, it can get freaking cold! Saturday was especially cold and had all of us curled up and shivering. So we made a note for next time to not only bring blankets, but maybe even a pair of pants and a bigger jacket. It might seem ridiculous when you’re walking in at 3:30pm and it’s 100 degrees outside, but you have the option to either rent a locker, or if you’re with a big group, you can set up camp by the main stage and rotate getting up for food/drinks/exploring.

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What We Did Right: Sang and danced as much as possible

One of the best parts about any concert or sporting event is collectively enjoying something with a bunch of strangers. It’s a very uniting feeling. And even though it might seem weird to sing at the top of your lungs and dance your damn heart out in front of all these strangers, it’s really the only way to go. Lose your inhibitions, have a drink and just dance! It’s fun, it’s freeing, and at night it’s the only thing that keeps you warm!

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Overall, I would definitely go again. Even with the slight bit of chaos it took to figure everything out, I had a great time and was so glad I went. For anyone thinking of going next year, I’d say go for it! Even if you’re not a big festival person, it’s worth going once to try it out, especially if you go with a group of people who are looking to experience it the same way you are. Plus, you really can’t beat live music. Especially live country music in the (almost) summer time. It feels good down to your bones!

30 Good Things that Happened in April

Hello and welcome back to another edition of All the Good Things, a monthly series where I highlight all the good things (get it?) that happen in each 30-day (or so) span. I hope it can be a reminder that amongst all the well known bad, there is a lot of undercover good happening in our world.

Let’s dive right in!

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1) Officer Oliver reported for duty

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2) This Humboldt hockey player showed incredible bravery in the wake of a tragedy

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3) These dog nannies took care of their kids

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4) This 108 year old man met his great-great grandchild and namesake

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5) This incredible joke was made

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6) This girl’s video about bullying received a big response from the Yankees

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7) This boy got the photoshoot of a lifetime

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8) This woman tried to water her plants

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9) This man’s picture ended up being worth more than 1000 words

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10) This photographer went the extra mile to get the perfect shot

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11) The co-founder of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge got his voice back

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12) The police identified this missing dog by singing its favorite song

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13) This boy saw color for the first time

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14) Chuck E Cheese made this announcement

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A post shared by Tank.Sinatra (@tanksgoodnews) on

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15) This woman made geode art

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16) Google honored Maya Angelou for her 90th birthday

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17) This woman gave us an important reminder

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18) This family found their daughter after a 24-year search

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19) This girl tried her hand at captioning New Yorker cartoons

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20) The Rock surprised this girl over her school’s PA system

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21) This man got a nearly drowned prairie dog back on its feet

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22) Melissa McCarthy gave some inspirational words about finding success

“When you spend 20 years working your butt off, you know yourself better. If you’re handed everything you want at 19 or 20, you may actually believe all of the people who are like, ‘You’re amazing.’ I think I would have been probably cuckoo [if I’d been successful] at 18. I think the best thing I could have done was struggle until I was 30. I always assume every job is my last. Twenty years of desperately trying to get a single job gets deep in your DNA.”

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23) This dog taught his brother how to “sit”

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24) Model Nyles DeMarco politely called out this woman for creeping pictures of him

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25) The royal baby was born

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26) And so were a bunch of others whose parents didn’t expect to find paparazzi waiting for them outside the hospital.

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27) These truck drivers joined together to save a man’s life

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28) This girl surprised her prom date

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29) This woman drank alcohol for the first time since giving birth

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30) This boy ran home

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Wanna know the best part? There is SO much I didn’t include.

I can’t wait to see what May brings!

You can view last month’s post here.

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You Keep Following Your Dreams & I’ll Keep Following Mine

In August of 2016, me, my sister, and my best friend Allison (except I spell it Alleeson because of a whole Kimberlee double-e solidarity thing) went to dinner at Islands. As we sat laboring over which hamburger to choose from the menu, Alleeson put her hands on the table and took a deep breath.

“I have news,” she said.

I put my menu down and looked across the table at her, trying to gage whether this was good news or bad news based on the tone of her voice.

“I got a job.”

“That’s great!” I said, relieved.

“It’s for a news station in Oregon.”

Not even a month later, she was moving into a house 12 hours away and I was both heartbroken for me and unfathomably excited for her. She was nervous, I could tell. But she was also excited and curious and determined to give herself the big break she’d been waiting for.

In November of that year, I was able to visit her. She took me on a tour around her studio and showed me where they filmed the show and the things she was in charge of. I even got to watch a live taping of the evening show and witness her talent in action.

Back home, I was trying to catch some of the fire Alleeson had left behind. I was in awe of her bravery and her ability to just go for it. She made it look easy, even though I know almost no part of it was. She made me want to fight the battles that had long been easier to stay out of.

As the months went on, even though we were now hundreds of miles apart, I noticed how we still managed to mirror each other. Since we both come from creative backgrounds, we are constantly looking to do more, make more, be more, and so we both have our ups filled with confidence and our downs filled with doubt.

One night, as we were both lamenting over where we were and where we wanted to be, we made a pact. We decided that since the paths to our ultimate dreams were somewhat blurry, the best first step would be to hone in the destination.

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In the last year, I’ve seen Alleeson dive even deeper into her work. Putting in day after day, constantly pushing herself and trying new things, trying to be more. And yesterday, just as I was getting home from work, I got a message.

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She called me and I screamed into the phone. I tried to tell her how proud I was, how excited I was, how much she deserved it. Because she did. She does. She took that big risk; she’s put in all that work. She’s carving that path towards her dream no matter what anyone has to say about it.

It would be easy to be jealous, but that would be a waste of time. Instead, I’m going to take this as a reminder of what we set out to. What we intend to do, no matter how hard it is or how long it takes.

So as I celebrate this huge step she’s made, I’m going to take a few more of my own. For we started this together and always planned to kick ass side by side from there.

Congratulations Alleeson! (And good luck at the 2018 Regional Emmy’s!) Keep following your dream and I’ll keep following mine, and may we continue to follow each other’s fire.

Some Thoughts on Hug Protocol

I like hugs, I really do, but I’m also very confused by them.

See, I understand there are times when it’s obvious to hug and times when it’s obvious not to hug. But then there’s all this middle ground that is hard to read and makes my stomach hurt.

Take for example the “to hug” situations:

Hi, hello, it’s nice to meet you, let’s hug.

I’m so sorry your bird died, let’s hug.

I love you! I missed you! I just want an excuse to touch you! Let’s. Freaking. HUG.

Sometimes our bodies have no idea what else to do except hug, and so without even thinking twice we’re walking in for the kill with our arms wide whether the receiving party is ready or not.

Wait, stop right there. This is where a grey area comes in.

See, my sister is a BIG hugger. She’s all about showing love with a body glove. So much so that I sometimes refer to her as an “attack hugger,” which she—unsurprisingly—does not care for. She believes hugs are always important and will benefit all parties involved.

They break the ice. They show affection. They often provide you the opportunity to not-so-casually sniff someone’s hair. I get it. But am I the only one that wakes up on some mornings with zero hug toleration?

As in, Do. Not. Touch. Me.

I mean, is it so much to ask to let me dude it up from time to time and shake your hand or maybe just wave to you from across the room?

I don’t know, maybe this makes me antisocial. Or emotionally distant. Or some other string of big words that a psychologist would use to overanalyze me, relating it all back to the moment I realized my parents put me down and never picked back me up again.

But anyways, back to the grey area.

Say you walk into a room of 20 people you know, 15 of whom you genuinely like, and you start your circuit of “hello hugs” even though you know that your relationship with a few of these people is very “non-huggy”, either because you barely know each other or because you know each other too well and have too much of a wonky past. Do you still hug them?

Or what about when you’re talking to a friend whose kids are standing nearby and even though you know of all of them, you’ve really only gotten to know the oldest one through sports or church or something, so when you are getting ready to leave you only hug your friend and their oldest kid. Should you hug the rest of the children knowing they’d probably feel just as weird as you do about it, making the hug they actually do give you this weird hand pat on the back thing, which tempts you to make some sort of joke about how they should really hug people, even though you don’t want to hug them and they don’t want to hug you and now you’ve made quite a show about what type of hug you expect from them, even though you didn’t want one in the first place? Should you still hug them?

Lastly, say you arrive late to a family dinner so you walk in quickly, waving to everyone and apologizing for your tardiness, anxious to get to your seat so your family can order because they’re already complaining about how hungry they are. But when you get to your seat, you notice that your sister, who walked in behind you, stopped at each individual seat to hug everyone over-the-shoulder style—the act of which you hate because of that one time you accidentally put your hand in someone’s arm pit—and you wonder if you should have done the same thing. But now you’re already sitting down and you’ve taken your jacket off to try and cool yourself off, and you know that if you got up to hug everyone now someone would almost certainly put their hand in your arm pit by accident, which by this point is flooded with stress sweat. Do you still get up and hug them?

Jeopary-style answer: What is, I have absolutely no idea.

Can someone just invent an app I can sync with my Fit Bit that will make it vibrate once whenever I should hug someone and twice whenever I shouldn’t?

Yeah?

Good. Great. I would so appreciate that. Honestly. I mean, if you could really figure that out I’d be so thankful. No, you know what, I’m already thankful just because you’re considering this. Thank you, you are such a gem. Really, you are. Bring it in, let’s hug.

(Your) Kids Say the Darndest Things

I don’t have any kids yet. (Thank goodness.)

I love them, and want them someday, but right now I survive primarily off of pasta and granola bars and I recently lost my favorite pair of pants inside my dresser drawer, so it’s safe to I need some time to, you know, grow.

When the time comes, you can pretty much guarantee I will be one of those people constantly posting about every single thing my kids say and do, because to me it will be HILARIOUS and life changing, where in reality it will just be burping into a spoon. Until that time however, I’ve decided to take note of the hilarious things that other peoples’ kids have said to me. I’ve also thrown in a few of my favorites from when my brother was little, enjoy!

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Kid: “When I bump my head, my brain gets hypnotized.”

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Kid: At my house, I saw a rainbow with only 2 colors

Me: Well that doesn’t seem right, how many colors should a rainbow have?

Kid: 400 or 10 or 9

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Kid: They’re making a new Star Wars movie!

Me: Cool! When will it be out?

Kid: In about 13 minutes

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Kid: The new me is going to be a Ghostbuster

Me: When is the new you arriving?

Kid: 13 days

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Kid: On Saturdays when I grow up, I’m going to be a dentist

Me: Only on Saturdays?

Kid: Yeah cuz on Sundays I’m going to be a scientist, and I’m going to work with you Monday through Friday

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Kid: Hey can we shoot this pomegranate with a bb gun?

Me: No, I don’t think so.

Kid: hmmm, okay, I think I’ll just throw it across the yard then.

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Me: Hey look, this cheeto looks like the letter “F”

Kid: Yeah! *pulls another cheeto out of bag* hey look, this cheeto looks like my grandpa wearing a hat!

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Kid: “Did you know that when people die they can still fart for a few hours?”

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Kid: Hmmm, that’s funny, this gutter smells like chicken.

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Sometimes I wish my brain still worked like theirs. Though, honestly, sometimes it still does.

Strain then Stir (Episode 3): How to be Ingredient Conscious (Part 2)

Hello and welcome back to another episode of Strain Then Stir, a no-cameras, diary-esque cooking show blog where I attempt to transform myself from a two-meal Tina into a full course Frank…or at the very least, be capable of feeding myself more than cereal and pasta.

It has been quite a while since our last episode, though I suppose I have the holidays (and blunt procrastination) to blame for that. It always seems like the beginning of November turns into the beginning of January in the blink of an eye, doesn’t it?

If you remember last episode at all—don’t feel bad if you don’t, I had to go back and look because I had absolutely no idea—you’ll recall I talked about being ingredient conscious, which was essentially just me learning to better utilize leftover ingredients rather than letting them go to waste. Going back and reading it, I was a little disappointed in myself for not including some actual recipes I was using. So in the hopes of making up for that, I’ve brought some today!

In these last few months, I again noticed that my pantry and refrigerator were starting to pile up with ingredients that weren’t being used and were just sitting there taking up space. Eventually I got tired of looking at them and I went on a mission to start using them all.

Here are some recipes I found to help:

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Leftover Ingredient: Bananas

Recipe: Banana Bread

Have you ever bought bananas, brought them home, eaten 1 or 2 and then totally forgotten about them until they are brown and gross? Yeah, that’s me almost 100% of the time I buy bananas. Luckily, banana bread thrives on overripe bananas, and acts as a haven for your forgetfulness. I came across this recipe about a month ago when I was on the verge of throwing my bananas away, and it was so delicious, I will never again commit such a crime! (Find the recipe here!)

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HT_Chrissy_Teigen5_cf_160226_4x3t_384Leftover Ingredient: Sweet Potatoes

Recipe: Sweet Potato Gnocchi

I also happen to be guilty of buying sweet potatoes and forgetting about them until they’ve grown vines and look more like a monster than a food. In my last post, I talked about using sweet potatoes in an omelet, which was great, but this recipe from Chrissy Teigen’s cookbook is to die for. (Find the recipe here, find her cookbook here)

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Leftover Ingredient: Brown Rice & Frozen Veggies

Recipe: Rice Bowls

Whenever I go grocery shopping I like to buy brown rice and frozen vegetables in bulk, figuring the combination of the two is always an easy and healthy option. The only problem is, after a while rice and vegetables can get a little bland. An easy solution I’ve found for this however, is to:

a) Get more creative with my rice bowls, for example, you can check out a bunch of recipes here and here.

b) Add more flavor to my rice bowls. Growing up I was never much of a spice person. I’ve always been super sensitive to spicy foods and as a result tend to shy away from almost all spices. Recently however, I’ve been trying to ease in different herbs and spices to—wait for it—spice up my life a little bit, and let me tell you, it’s been life changing! (Check out this article for 15 easy ways to spice up brown rice) 

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p_R103186Leftover Ingredient: Cannellini Beans

Recipe: White Bean & Tuna Wraps

When I was working my way through Kayla Itsines’ book in the first episode, I bought a couple cans of cannellini beans for one recipe or another but then completely forgot about them. As a result, they were sitting in my pantry for months! My biggest issue with finding a recipe home for these guys was that I wasn’t exactly sure what they were or what they tasted like, and oftentimes when I’m making dinner, I’m too hungry or lazy to do that kind of research. But in the spirit of cleaning out my pantry, I finally took the 2 minutes to google “cannellini bean recipes” and I came across this bad boy. Honestly, I’m mad it took me this long to find it. (Find the recipe here)

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Over the next month or two I’m hoping to dive into another cookbook and find some new recipes to learn. If I were to sum up what I’ve learned so far in only two words, I’d say, who knew?! because it seems like the farther I go into this journey, the more I’m finding that is always something else to know.

You Won’t Win Unless You’re Willing to Lose

In October of 2017, as he was training for the 2018 Winter Olympics, Shaun White had a horrible crash that resulted in 62 stitches in his face. In an interview a few months later, he was asked whether the crash gave him doubts about his ability or willingness to continue, especially in pursuit of a spot on the Olympic team. He nodded his head, saying that while he looked in the mirror at his nearly unrecognizable face, he realized that by agreeing to continue, agreeing to step back out there and try again, he was more or less accepting that this could happen all over again.

At first, this statement seemed obvious to me. Being a complete outsider to the sport, the corresponding danger is constantly at the forefront of my attention. I mean, they are literally throwing themselves through the air, flipping and spinning and twisting at high speeds, all the while hoping they’ll land flat on a thin piece of fiberglass. With that in mind, of course it could happen again, Shaun! Honestly it seems like it should happen more.

But as the weeks went on and the Olympics came and went, the quote sat with me, churning around in my brain the way all lessons waiting to be learned tend to. Eventually I started thinking about the risks I take in my own life. Both small and big. I thought about my writing, both on this blog and outside it in pursuit of other projects, accolades, etc. Every time I write a blog post, I accept the fact that people might not like it, or that it might not do well. Every time I submit a piece to a contest or a magazine or a publisher, I accept the fact that it might lose or get rejected. Every time I try to succeed, I accept the fact I can fail.

After a while, I realized this mindset can apply to almost every aspect of our lives.

In relationships, every time you make yourself vulnerable you accept the fact that you could get hurt.

In finances, every time you make an investment you accept the fact that it could fall through.

Plans can fail. Accidents can happen. Hearts can break.

In this world, there is a lot to be afraid of, there is a lot that can go wrong, and there are a lot of opportunities to fail. But every day we get up, every day we step outside, every time we accept those fears and try again, we give ourselves the change to succeed, to win.

On February 14th, after spending months both recovering from his injury and working his way back into the physical and mental shape needed to make the Olympic team, Shaun White won the gold medal in the Snowboard Halfpipe event, making him the most decorated snowboarder of all time.

In many ways it was expected, hoped for, anticipated, both by Shaun White and the millions of people tuning in to the competition. But the only guarantee would have come from him not trying, not taking that risk, not stepping back into the sport all those months ago. The same goes for anything you hope for, I dream of, we all aim to accomplish. So even though failure is hard, vulnerability is terrifying and losing sucks, it’s worth the risk. Not only because it brings you one step closer to success, but because it makes you stronger, braver and smarter than you were before. And although it might not feel like it, trying and failing will always show more courage than avoiding failure all together. So take the risk, make the try and see where it takes you.