A Little Bit of Everything

We’ve got lists, we’ve got advice, we’ve got, well, a little bit of everything.

Things to Do with Alexa in Quarantine

Since we live in a time that is full of technological companions (e.g. Alexa, Siri, Google Home, etc.) and many of us might be finding ourselves with little more than their company these days, I think it’s about time we start utilizing them to their full potential.

This past weekend, as my sister and I were sitting on the couch eating donuts we ordered from our local shop, we decided to talk to Alexa. After buying our Amazon Echo about three years ago, I started getting weekly emails from Amazon that provide a list of fun prompts that you can give Alexa, but I’ve more or less ignored them—until now.

Note: if you have a Google Home, check out both this article and this one for prompts. If you have Siri, check out both this article and this one, and if you have neither, I’d recommend Facetime, Zoom, or, if all else fails, this:

No judgment, times are weird.

Anyway, here are some of our favorite things you can do with Alexa:

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Play Jeopardy

Say: “Alexa, play Jeopardy.”

Each day you are given 12 trivia questions that you have to answer Jeopardy style (what is, where is, who is, etc.) Weekdays you are given extra questions from the same categories showcased in that day’s televised episode, and then Saturdays are College Jeopardy and Sundays (my favorite!) are Sports Jeopardy.

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Play Puzzle of the Day

Say: “Alexa, open Puzzle of the day.”

This is a crossword puzzle that you play in the style of a word game since you don’t have a paper in front of you. Alexa gives you a clue and the number of letters in the answer, and then you try to guess it. If you have trouble, you are able to ask for a letter, but you lose points by doing so—which may not matter to you, or may matter more than anything. I land somewhere in the middle.

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Make Fart Noises

Say: “Alexa, make a fart noise.”

I will just leave this one here.

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Look up the Spelling and/or Definition of a word

Say: “Alexa, spell ______” or “Alexa, what is the definition of _______”

Sure, I could Google it, but she does it faster, and asking almost makes me feel like I’m back in high school with no responsibilities or pandemics to speak of.

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Set a Reminder

Say: “Alexa, remind me to______.”

If you’re working from home, it might be hard to find a good routine, which makes it easy to forget to do things like drink enough water, or take necessary medications, or stop looking at Instagram. That’s where Alexa can come in as an accountability partner. Set reminders, as many as you want, about anything you want. Maybe it’s to put on pants, maybe it’s to refill your water bottle, maybe it’s to go outside, maybe it’s to move to a different section of the couch so you can blob evenly. Whatever you need, she’s there to remind you.

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Use Announce and/or Simon Says

Both of these functions make Alexa repeat something that is being said.

If you say, “Alexa, announce it is time for lunch,” she will play back a recording of you saying, “it’s time for lunch.”

But if you say, “Alexa, simon says it’s time for lunch,” Alexa will say, “it’s time for lunch.”

So it’s really your preference on that one. If you’ve ever wanted to actually hear yourself talk to yourself, now is your chance. Or if you’re someone who lives alone and needs a voice other than your own to whip you into shape, Alexa can do that for you. Again, no judgment.

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Learn Something Weird

Say, “Alexa, tell me something weird.”

Then strap in.

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Hear a 20-second song

Say, “Alexa, sing a song for twenty seconds.”

It has been a widely spread recommendation to (constantly) wash your hands for (at least) twenty seconds. In an effort to make that easier, people have been on the hunt for songs and choruses of songs that are approximately that long so we can get a better idea of the timing. But please look no further than your Alexa, who will sing you a song that (at least when I’ve asked) rhymes and lasts exactly 20 seconds. Also, good luck not having that song stuck in your head.

10 Brackets to Fill Out During Quarantine

In a traditional year, with traditional social interaction, March is usually month full of sports, gambling, and most notably, brackets.

According to this article, the American Gaming Association estimated that a total of 149 million brackets were filled out for the 2019 March Madness tournament, which totaled about $4.6 million dollars in bracket based wagers.

Needless to say, there is a bracket sized hole in many lives this March. The good news is, the people of the internet are here to help. And there is something for everyone!

So, should you find yourself in need to kill some (or lots) of time, why not take a deep dive into opinions you might not even have known you have?

Happy bracketing!

Download Bracket here.

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5 Things I’d Do if I Were Rich

When you have a lot of time to yourself, especially a lot of uninterrupted time that you might otherwise be spending out and about, or procrastinating because you have the option to be out and about, you have a lot of time to think. And one thing that tends to happen to me when I have time to think is a lot of daydreaming.

I put myself in different scenarios and live out different lives, all from the comfort of my favorite chair. It’s magical really. Especially when it’s no longer considered detrimental procrastination, but instead successful social distancing.

One thing that I’ve found myself thinking about recently is what I would do if I were rich.

Now, for the sake of a carefree exploration, I’m taking out the option to donate to charity/start a foundation/do anything good and helpful for other people/causes. I’m talking about 100% selfish things I would do if I were rich, had already made successful allocations to worthy causes, and still had boatloads of money left.

This is what I came up with:

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1) Adopt a highway (or 5)

Ever since I was little I loved the idea of having a concrete child made of miles and miles of well maintained, trash free glory. I also like the idea of just writing “Kim” underneath “This highway was adopted by:” because I like to imagine that people driving by would ask, “Who is Kim?” It’s just so vague and mysterious, and I think it would cause the Googling statistics of me and my Kim counterparts to spike.

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2) Become a member

These days it seems like there are so many things to join, so many things to try, so many things to spend money on, but I pass on most all of them because, who has money for that? But if I were rich, I’d just join everything. I like to think it would make me very cultured and inevitably secure me an invite to be a board member of something, making my title upon death be something out of Game of Thrones.

Kim of the house Koehn, blogger under her name, friend to everyone, club member of everywhere, a trier of most everything, she was rich, damnit. May she rest in peace.

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3) Have someone sort my puzzle pieces

My absolute least favorite part of doing puzzles is the initial separating of the pieces. If that isn’t the biggest buzz kill when you are pumped up to PUZZLE. I hate flipping each individual piece over. I hate when you find two pieces that are not quiet separated. I hate when you are setting aside the edge pieces and you come across a few that, even when you hold them up to the light, you can’t tell if they have an edge or not. I just want to get to the good stuff, you know? And by the good stuff I mean the mostly calming though occasionally rage-inducing activity that is puzzle-ing—the verb, not to be confused with the adjective, puzzling. So, if I were rich, I would have someone (who was very well treated and accommodated and loved endlessly) who would separate the pieces for me, and then maybe ring a dainty bell that would suggest, your puzzle is ready, girl. To which, I would come running.

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4) Have someone buy/pick out my clothes

I hate shopping, and if there is anything I hate more than shopping, it’s reviewing my past purchases every morning when I get dressed. It is amazing how excited you can get about something when you try it on in a store, only to find yourself wanting to light it on fire when you pull it out of your closet to wear later. I would love to find myself in a position where I could have a stylist who not only dressed me in cute, comfortable outfits every day, but who knew me so well that they could do all the shopping for me as well. And I don’t just mean with fancy clothes. If they could come home with a very stylish pair of pants and a big cozy hoodie that I could blob out on the couch with, I would give them all my money.

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5) Take a down day

It’s no question that I would travel like mad if money wasn’t a concern. I would double the size of my bucket list and start crossing things off left and right. On top of that, I would make my trips a little longer. Oftentimes I find myself looking for just the right window to travel. When the flight are the cheapest, the hotels are the cheapest and the overall rates are, well, the cheapest. Then, when I get wherever I’m going, I always feel that pressure to go go go immediately upon landing/arriving, because I only have so much time there and I have to make the most of it. If I was rich, I’d always allow myself to have the first day/night, especially after a long day of travel, to just hang out. Maybe order room service at the hotel and go to bed early, or take a long shower, binge eat everything I could find in the vending machine and then go to bed early. Then the next day I could wake up feeling refreshed and actually, truly, ready to go go go.

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What would you do if you were rich?

Note: if you are already wealthy, please consider donating to my “puzzle piece separator fund” it’s a worthy cause.

 

10 Things I Love About Baseball

We are about two weeks into Spring Training, and about two weeks away from the start of the regular season, which has my baseball loving heart soaring. I am once again approaching my happy place: when the notifications on my phone are primarily game scores and player updates, when evening plans can easily be made when my team has a home game, and when frustration with work, life, etc. can be expressed through angrily shouting at poor decisions made by a manager, and terrible calls made by an umpire.

Baseball is BACK, my friends, and since I wrote this post a couple years ago listing my favorite things about football, I thought it was about time I did the same for my favorite sport.

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1) The Season(s)

Since baseball starts in the spring and ends in the fall, the weather is usually pretty glorious, no matter where you might be watching. Sure, it rains sometimes and occasionally gets cold when the sun goes down, but for the better part of the season, baseball gives you the best weather, and calls for the most casual, comfortable clothes in your closet.

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2) The Environment

On average, a baseball game is a minimum of three hours. For some people, this is too long, but for me, it is perfect. Baseball gives you time to relax. To both watch and chat with friends. To eat and drink and laugh and sit in complete, unawkward silence as you listen the sounds of the game, as well as contribute a few of your own. Depending on your home stadium (and how often you go) you are likely to learn a series of “clapping cheers” that the sound booth will cue multiple times throughout the game. Having gone to games since I was little, I was unaware how brainwashed trained I was until I brought a friend to a game who was unfamiliar with baseball, and she asked how she was supposed to know when to clap. I looked at her, bewildered, unaware that it was something I had learned rather than something I was born knowing.

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3) The Food

Again, the specifics on what you will find depends on where you are and what stadium you are visiting, but no matter what, baseball brings out some of the best food in the world.

*pauses for backlash*

*pauses again to signify that I have no interest in arguing this point*

If you don’t believe me, believe Humphrey.

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4) Collective Cheering & Booing

One thing I think we can all agree on is that we, as a world, need to be more united. On grand scale issues, yes, on humanitarian issues, of course, but it can start with the small things. That being said, if you are looking for unity, you’d be hard pressed to find a greater display than that from passionate baseball fans disagreeing with a call that could cost their team the game, or rising to their feet in an effort to cheer their team to victory.

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5) Web Gems

During the season, many sports news outlets create weekly top 10 countdowns of amazing plays, called “web gems.” This is where you see the best of the best in catches, throws, and plays—where fans can agree that this is why they are paying them the big bucks. Do we drastically underestimate how hard the rest of the game is, and thus how impossible these web gems actually are? 100%. But do we give ourselves a break because we have high expectations and can barely afford to buy a second beer? Also, 100%.

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6) Bloopers

On the other side of things, there are also roundups of goofy mistakes made by the players, be it a fall, a drastic miscommunication, or a ball lost in the sun. Personally, I think these demonstrate what most of the population would look like if we tried to play baseball at a professional level, which is why we find these bloopers funny and even endearing, because it’s a reminder that these elite athletes are still human.

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7) Bottom of the 9th, reach for the stars, over the fence, World Series kind of thing

In the classic 1995 Olsen twin film, It Takes Two, this statement is used to describe the feeling of true love. While I adore and respect that usage, I also love its roots. Every baseball player dreams of the once in a lifetime opportunity to become a hero in the 9th inning of a World Series game. Whether that be hitting a home run, making a game winning catch/play, or striking out the last batter of the game. I love that baseball is a game that allows anyone on the team be a hero. Take Kirk Gibson in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series, who hobbled to the plate—with two injured legs—to pinch hit, and ended up hitting the game winning home run.

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8) The Nicknames

Like any sport, when a player you like steps into the game, you want to cheer for them, and in cheering for them, you end up coming up with nicknames—sometimes multiple for each player. I would say, at minimum, my family and I have about three nicknames per player, which is useful, because it’s a long season, and sometimes you need to mix it up.

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9) Social Media

A newer addition to this list is the social media presence of teams—especially my team, but I realize I’m biased. I love getting a behind the scenes look at the team. It allows me to better get to know the players and borderline consider them my friends and/or family members. This does make my cheering for them and the outcome of their games much more influential on my overall happiness than it should be, but it’s fine. It’s fun. I love it. And it is glaringly obvious how attached I am to this content when the off-season comes around and my Instagram feed is a barren wasteland.

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10) Dodger Stadium

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Last and the furthest thing from least, Dodger Stadium. This is not only the home of my favorite team, but truly one of my favorite places in the world. I can’t definitively say that it is the best stadium in the world, because I haven’t been to all 30, but even if had/when I do, I know that Dodger Stadium will forever be my favorite because it is where I grew up and where my team plays.

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Go Dodgers!

10 Newsletters to Consider Adding to Your Inbox

If you’re like me, one of the first things you do when you wake up is check your email. Even though it’s probably going to be full of advertisements. Maybe a coupon for your favorite online retailer that you definitely shouldn’t click on but you do anyway. That one email from a company you’ve never heard of and are concerned as to how and why they are emailing you about a trip to the Bahamas that is definitely a scam waiting to happen. And then there’s the work emails that you’d rather not read because then the work day is actually starting.

Our inboxes have become just like our mailboxes: full of (mostly) junk. Sometimes so much junk that it’s hard to differentiate the non junk amongst it all, and you end up missing that meeting that was definitely mandatory and started 20 minutes ago.

But much like our closets in the spring, our inboxes can be cleaned, organized, and filled only with things we love (or need). So, in case you’re looking for a tune up, I’ve gathered some of my favorite newsletters that all brighten my day in one way or another.

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For the Religious/Spiritual Person

1) The Monday Club

Frequency: Once a week (Every Monday)

Sign up here.

Created by blogger and author, Hannah Brencher, this dose of inspiration always starts my week off on a good note. I love that each message clearly comes from the heart, not solely to teach you, but to relate to you and remind you that you are not alone in your struggles.

2) Cathe Laurie Devotional

Frequency: Once a week (Every Wednesday)

Sign up here.

I tend to struggle with devotionals that are very wordy and longwinded, but Cathe’s are always quick, meaningful, and to the point.

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For Anyone Who Loves Good News

3) Goodnewsletter

Frequency: Every other week.

Sign up here.

You know I’m always looking for good things to add to my monthly “All the Good Things” post, and this is one of the many sources I use to help me find those bursts of good. I also love that each email includes a “do good” brand that highlights a company making positive change.

Note: they also do print version called the Goodnewspaper that you can sign up for here.

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For the Foodies

4) Food Network Recipe of the Day

Frequency: Every day (usually in the morning)

Sign up here.

This is as inspiring as it is mouthwatering, and honestly seeing it in my inbox right after morning break is borderline torture. But I’ve found a ton of good recipes, both that I’ve made and that I’ve saved so I can request people make them for me—like these brownies.

5) Postmates

Frequency: Seemingly every minute of the day

Sign up here.

I’m not going to lie, Postmates borderline harasses you with their email updates. And as someone who is actively trying to save money, this is NOT HELPFUL. However, on the days when I do cave and want to order in, it’s nice to know I have a coupon waiting for me.

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For Anyone Looking to be In the Know

6) Next Draft

Frequency: Every weekday

Sign up here.

I have gone through a number of different newsletters that gather up daily news updates, but this is by far my favorite. It is a good combination of news, from politics to sports to tech to humor. There’s a little bit of everything, which I like because depending on the day, I never know what I’m in the mood for.

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For the Wordies

8) Merriam Webster Word of the Day

Frequency: Every day

Sign up here.

As a writer, it’s probably no surprise that I love words. And so it’s definitely no surprise that I’d be subscribed to a newsletter that teaches you a new one every day. I might not commit them all to memory, but I like to know what’s out there.

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For the Writers

9) Submittable

Frequency: Once a week

Sign up here.

I mentioned this newsletter in this post I wrote about resources for bloggers. This is probably one of my longest standing subscriptions and I still enjoy it and get a lot out of it. Each email gives you a list of noteworthy articles, followed by a number of submission (and sometimes even job) opportunities.

10) Opportunities of the week

Frequency: Once a week

Sign up here.

This is my newest find, but I’m very excited about its potential. I’ve been looking more into freelancing, and I’ve read a number of articles full of resources on how to get started. One of them led me to this newsletter that is a packed with opportunities for writers of all types. The newsletter does cost money, and offers tiers of membership between $1-$3 per month, but there is also the opportunity to become a sponsored member where another member of the community can offer to pay for your slot.

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Have any newsletters that you would recommend?

My Google Search History (Part 5)

Something terrible has happened.

And by terrible, I mean unhealthy.

Apparently Apple has increased the limit for the number of internet windows you are allowed to have open at one time, which has caused me, my Googling habits and my search window hoarding to spiral out of control.

While trying to figure out what I wanted to write for my blog this week, I thought, I haven’t done a Google Search History post in a while. And then I opened the internet on my phone to find upwards of 75 windows open.

Hey, the first step is admitting you have a problem, right?

Plus, I like to think I can avoid some judgment by saying that many of those windows were UPS tracking on packages that were coming to my house—though that could also open a new discussion about online shopping, so we won’t go there.

After scrolling through and closing most of my open windows, these were some of my favorite searches from the last eight months or so:

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1) Chris Harrison Net Worth

Why I Googled this: This man takes over most of my Monday nights throughout the year with the best-worst show on television. His job consists of wearing suits, making rose puns and declaring every season of his show as “the most dramatic season EVER.” So naturally, I wanted to know what the guy is worth. For anyone else who is curious: it’s 12 million dollars. 

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2) This bridezilla story

Why I Googled this: I came across this insane story one day and I remember purposefully keeping the window open so that I could copy, paste and send the link to absolutely everyone I could work it into a conversation with.

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3) Desserts at Dodger Stadium

Why I Googled this: During baseball season, Dodger Stadium is practically a second home for my sister and I, and that 7th inning stretch comes in HOT with its sugar cravings. This website was a clutch find for more than just dessert cravings, as it gave us the lowdown on all kinds of eats around the stadium, including carne asada nachos and fried oreos.drooling-face_1f924

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4) Ashlee Piper Little Black Book

Why I Googled this: Last year I read a book called Give a Sh*t: Do Better, Live Better, Save the Planet and in it the author, Ashlee Piper, gave a link to a specific page on her website that provides a list of her favorite “eco-ethical, cruelty-free, animal-friendly products and resources.” I’m someone who wants to be more eco-conscious and so I was excited to find a list like this that can direct me in making more eco-friendly purchases.

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5) That Peloton commercial

Why I Googled this: I mean, I had to know what all the fuss was about.

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6) “Dramatic effect”

Why I Googled this: Do you have those words that for whatever reason you can’t remember the correct spelling and/or use of? I always struggle with past vs. passed (among others) and my sister struggles with affect vs. effect. One day she texted me asking if “dramatic effect” was correct and I quickly said, “yes!” but then double checked my work because suddenly I forgot everything I ever knew about the English language.

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7) Starbucks sizes

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Why I Googled this: I am not a coffee drinker, and it is a rare occasion that I ever find myself at Starbucks without an experienced coffee companion. However, one cold morning I decided to do some writing at a Starbucks before hitting a yoga class and I found myself craving a hot chocolate. Not wanting to look like a complete idiot (or accidentally order a five gallon bucket of hot chocolate) I did a quick search to remind me which size I was looking for. (image credit)

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8) “10 best inexpensive hair dryers”

Why I Googled this: I’d reached a point with my hair dryer where I wondered not if but when it was going to spontaneously burst into flames, and so I thought it was in my best interest to buy a new one before that happened. After looking around, I ended up settling on the InfinitiPro by Conair and I have been loving it!

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9) Homemade warm compress

Why I Googled this: I got my wisdom teeth out last week and it was recommended to me by the doctor to ice for the first 24 hours and then apply warm compresses to reduce the swelling. Having gone into the surgery with little to no planning, I didn’t have any warm compresses, so I took to Google in the hopes that I could make one. Thankfully this one was quick, easy, and it didn’t involve sending my sister to the store (again).

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10) Easy overnight oats

Why I Googled this: I had long been looking for an easy, make ahead breakfast that I could feel good about eating. Not being a fan of oatmeal, I brushed recipes for overnight oats aside, but then I eventually reached a point where I decided I might as well give it a shot. Ever since that *shot*, I have made the “base” recipe (+ a handful of chocolate chips) from this website countless times. It is delicious, filling and always comes through when I’m running late in the morning.

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And there we have it! Let us all rest easy knowing that I am no longer hoarding open search windows (for now) and pretend for a moment that I’ll get better at not doing so in the future. It’s a nice thought, isn’t it?

 


 

You can read the previous version of this series here.

10 Things I Can’t Live Without

After watching this video on GQ’s YouTube channel, which asks famous personalities to list “10 things they can’t live without”, my sister and I decided to sit down and figure out what our 10 would be.

To let the conversation flow, I hit record on my phone and we just talked freely—which, listening back, was both the greatest and worst decision I ever made. It’s hard listening to your own voice. So hard at times that you are forced to wonder, people listen to me on a daily basis? But it was also hilarious to hear us go from on topic, to sitting in complete silence, to discussing something completely random, to getting back on track seamlessly. I think we’re practically podcasters now.

Before I get into the answers we came up with, Natalee wanted me to include the following disclaimer: If it was appropriate, my dog would be #1-10.”

Shout out to Laycee, who made her debut as a writer in this post.

Now, onto the answers.

*recording starts with me making a passionate statement about why I can’t delete a particular app on my iPhone* 

“Yeah,” Natalee says right before both of us start eating chips, making the recording sound like an accidental dive into ASMR.  

“Okay,” I say, “what do you think your essentials would be?”

 

10 Things Natalee Can’t Live Without

1) Salt & vinegar chips

They’re just the perfect snack. You can overeat them but you won’t hate yourself unless you burn your mouth, and you can find them in other countries. For example, it was my snack of choice and I ate it for many meals when we were in Europe.

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2) My planner

This is for two reasons: 1) I would never remember anything because there are way too many things in my brain all the time, and 2) There is nothing better than crossing something off when you’ve done it.

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3) Glasses/Sunglasses

I mean, I’m a blind bitch without them.

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4) An extra large crewneck sweatshirt.

Simple answer. You gotta have something that lets you live in it.

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5) Gum

One minty flavor and one fruity flavor for—depending on what you need at the moment. Is it fresh breath or pretending you’re not starving?

 

6) Chapstick

I put that shit on all day, every day.

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7) Chipotle (with Cholula)

How can I even explain this bond? I just…no one feels the way I feel about Chipotle, and almost nothing can’t be made better by Cholula. So when they come together it’s hard to have a bad day.

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8) White Converse

Me: You have those slip-on kind, I’ve never seen anyone else wear those.

Natalee: (smugly) I’m different.

Me: (singing) I’m different, yeah, I’m different.

Natalee: Let’s talk about my shoe journey, though. It started with white shoes, the color changing ones that turned baby blue in the sun—wow, the sun could be one of my essentials.

Me: The sun is everyone’s essential, it keeps all of us alive.

Natalee: Not more than me…but anyway back to the shoe journey. After those shoes I wore Vans slip-ons that Ad drew on. (Check out our friend Ad Allegretti’s art) and then I got to high school, found white converse and never went back.

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9) A scrunchie

You need your hair out of your face 99% of the time, and there’s no better way to do it than looking like Cher from Clueless.

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10) Coffee

It’s the Lord’s drink. He gave it to us, so we can survive our time on Earth before we join Him in Heaven.

10 Things I Can’t Live Without

1) My Hydroflask

Me: I’m trying to think if there’s a snack for me. The only thing I can think of is…water.

Natalee: Yeah, one of yours would be your Hydroflask.

Me: (and this killed me to listen back to) Yeah, cuz like it’s like literally on my hip all the time.

Me while editing: We get it, Kim. You’re from the valley.

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2) My notebook (with a good pen)

This is where I take down all my notes, ideas, lyrics I like, things I want to try, or basically anything I want to remember.

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3) Headphones

Me: (being minorly dramatic) I honestly don’t think I’d survive the workday, a workout, or any kind of traveling without headphones.

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4) A jacket

Me: I mean, I guess I could technically say this jacket (which was a maroon zip up hoodie that I wear almost everyday at work) but it would really just be a jacket of any kind.

Natalee: Yeah, mine is specifically a giant sweatshirt.

Me: Mine is whatever I can find, even if it’s not mine.

Me while editing: Wow, fellow jacket owners beware.

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5) Google

Me: (laughs with a little bit of shame) I mean…I need to know stuff.

Natalee: I can’t even address how many windows you have open all the time.

Me: Yeah, I looked today and even I was a little bit alarmed.

Natalee: There are too many. There is such thing as too many.

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6) My rings

Unless I am at work, I am always wearing two rings. One on my left middle finger with my birthstone that my mom gave me, and one on my right ring finger that used to belong to my Aunt Evelyn (who I wrote about here.)

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7) My necklace

Me: Does this count though? I hardly ever take it off so it’s not like I’m choosing to wear it.

Natalee: Well you choose not to take it off.

Me: True…

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8) Oil wipes

Low key embarrassing but true.

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9) “Mary Poppins” purse

I make it a habit to always fill my purse with things that could help out anyone in (almost) any situation. Thus, I’m always packing hand lotion, Chapstick, Advil, a first aid kid, etc.

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10) Flavor of the month

Me: (at the beginning of this whole conversation) Do I have a go-to snack?

Me: (10 minutes in) What is a snack that I can’t live without?!

Me: (20 minutes in) Oh my gosh, I don’t have a go-to snack. What is my go-to snack? This is a part of my identity that I need to know.

Natalee: I feel like you’re a snack cycler.

Me: (floored by this) Oh my gosh, I-I go through snack phases.

*Natalee lists four of my recent snack phases*

Me: Yeah, wow, yeah.

Natalee: Honestly, this part of you could be a whole other blog post.

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So, there you have it.

If you ever wanted to know me and my sister on a survival level, this is us.

I encourage you to think about what your 10 would be. It’s actually harder than you might think.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to find my new snack phase.

How to Pack for a Weekend Getaway

Since the holidays are coming up, there’s a good chance you might (hopefully) get to plan a weekend getaway. Are you wondering what you should pack for said weekend getaway? Well, you came to the right place.

As a well-experienced packer, I have made an easy to follow guide for how to achieve packing success. Just set those worries aside, take a few notes, and soon you will be on your way!

Note: these guidelines do not apply to outdoor camping, as outdoor camping should probably require you packing your entire home because you are in the wilderness and there is danger and animals and rain and also that overall damp feeling that you never get rid of, so really just pack everything or don’t camp, preferably the latter because who doesn’t love a roof?

Step 1: Bring up your need to pack for your vacation approximately six times in the week leading up to your departure, but don’t actually start packing until the night before you leave.

Step 2: Envision yourself walking in slow motion, in perfectly put together outfits, for the entirety of the vacation.

Step 3: Forget everything you envisioned and stare teary eyed at your closet, criticizing yourself for ever buying a single thing you see before you.

Step 4: Pack your favorite shirt, the one you bring on every vacation, first, then tell yourself you should branch out and take the shirt out of your suitcase.

Step 5: Repeat step 4 up to seven times.

Step 6: Remind yourself that you’re only going to be gone for two days, then pack nine shirts, three pairs of pants, those shorts you’ve never liked but always thought you should try, 17 pairs of underwear, 7 pairs of socks, 1 pair of thick socks in case a blizzard rolls in, those shoes you’ve been meaning to replace, two bathing suits, pajamas, and a raincoat—regardless of the weather forecast.

Step 8: Imagine yourself having the desire to workout and pack workout clothes.

Step 9: Laugh, knowing there’s no way in hell you’re going to workout.

Step 10: Pack another workout shirt.

Step 11: Invent at least 5 different turns the weekend could take that might provoke the need to bring shoe options, and then pack accordingly.

Step 12: Look up the weather forecast for where you’re going and regret everything you packed.

Step 13: Step away from your closet and move into the bathroom to gather your toiletries.

Step 14: Pack your toothbrush, toothpaste, face wash and makeup—even though you know you’re going to need most of it tomorrow morning before you leave.

Step 15: Pack a book, then picture yourself reading the entire book in one day and decide to pack three more.

Step 16: Pack your phone charger, then unpack it before bed to charge your phone, and then forget it all together.

Step 17: Zip up your suitcase and decide you are finished so you can go to bed because it’s almost definitely 1:00 a.m. at this point.

Step 18: Lie awake for about an hour wondering if you should pack more socks or if maybe you should bring a flashlight or goggles or an earthquake kit.

Step 19: Wake up to brush your teeth and realize you’ve already packed your toothbrush.

Step 20: Become frustrated while picking an outfit to wear because you packed everything you like, regret everything for a solid half hour, and then throw your hands in the air, zip up your suitcase and roll it out the door.

5 Habits I Want to Implement into My Life

Last year around the end of September I had just finished reading Rachel Hollis’ book Girl, Wash Your Face and I was doing my usual round of Internet stalking. I wanted to learn all about the woman who got me so inspired and see if there was anything else I could immediately learn in order to jump start my way into badass-ery. In the process, I came across her “Last 90 Days Challenge” which encourages you to bring grit and determination to the last three months of the year so that when the New Year comes, you’re already in that motivated mindset. (You can check it out here.)

Personally, with my schedule, I couldn’t maintain the requirements of the challenge, but embraced the mindset as a whole. I am someone who, in looking at the last three months of the year, might want to just get them over with so I can get to that inspiring fresh start in January. So after reading about this challenge, I started last year and will continue this year to look at these last three months as equal opportunity months, that have as much potential as the first three months of a new year after that strike of midnight.

On top of that, I’ve made a list of five habits I’d like to implement into my routine for these last three months and thus carry with me into 2020. These are things that I’ve thrown around in my mind for a while as something I want to do, maybe that I finally want to put aside the time to finally, actually do.

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1) Drink 60-70 ounces of water per day

One of the cornerstones of the Last 90 Days Challenge is to drink half your body weight (in ounces) of water every day. I already do a pretty good job at drinking water, but I want to make it a habit to hit a goal every day (or as many days as possible). I usually carry around a 32 ounce Hydroflask with me, so I’m going to try and make it a habit to fill it up twice each day.

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2) Put lotion on every day

I keep a small bottle of hand lotion in my purse, but I have never been good at remembering to put on body lotion after a shower or before bed, or, you know, ever. I buy the lotion, and it sits on my bathroom counter like I’m some sort of consistent moisturizer, but I’m not. So, I’m trying to make a better effort. What can I say, I want to be smooth, y’all.

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3) Read before bed

This is something I’ve desperately been wanting to do in place of scrolling through my phone. Not only do I think it will help me fall asleep easier, but it will also help me fall asleep earlier. As hard as it is to admit, it’s way easier to close a book than it is to put down my phone. And since I’m trying to distance myself from my phone, I think this is a good place to start.

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4) DIY Projects

I probably have at least ten projects sitting around my room that I’m “going to get to eventually.” During the week, I’m too tired after work, and then on the weekends, I’m either busy or not wanting to do anything at all. So, I’m going to try and work my way through them one by one. I’m going to set one up on my desk, and maybe even pick one day a week to set aside time to work on it. This goal/habit is pretty vague, but I’m putting it on this list mostly as a commitment to finally start these bad boys. I know full well that I feel my best when I am being creative, so I want make more time to do that.

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5) Meditate a few times a week

I tried meditating for the very first time last year and while it was a little off-putting at first, I couldn’t deny that it was relaxing. Since then, I’ve downloaded the Headspace app to try to motivate myself to do it more, and while I don’t use it often, in the handful of times I’ve used it before bed, I slept like a baby. So I want to make it a habit a few times a week, either in the morning to start my day, or when I get home from work, or right before bed. Anytime I can just take five minutes to relax and block everything else out.

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Have any habits you’ve been wanting to add to your routine? Now’s the time to start! 🙂

Notes I Found on My iPhone

Creativity and inspiration (to write, in my case) can sometimes be slippery fish. Sometimes you’ll put in all the effort to be productive—you’ll clear time, sit down at your computer, stretch your fingers and say, “okay! I’m ready! Bring me the words!” and then, nothing. That cursor will blink and blink and your document will stare it’s blinding white screen back at you until your eyes hurt but still: nothing.

This is why I almost never leave the house without a notebook. It’s my way of keeping track of ideas the moment they come (which too often is while I’m driving) so I can come back to them later—hopefully with the same enthusiasm I had while scribbling them down at a red light.

When I don’t have my notebook, I’ll type up notes on my phone. But more often than not, I forget these notes exist, so by the time I come back around to them, I’ve lost all connection to the random jumble of a thought, and it’s become far less inspirational or witty than it is strange and confusing.

Seeing as it has been a solid two years since I’d last gone through my notes, I thought there was a pretty good chance to find some of these lost souls and boy did I. Here are just a handful of the 60 notes that were sitting idly on my iPhone:

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This abandoned story idea that sounds like bad spin-off of The Hangover series:

“Story about someone finding a cash out receipt and the journey to cash it”

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This proposed menu my roommates and I made for a new holiday were going to celebrate:

Post Thanksgiving Friends-Giving

-Macaroni & Cheese + Hot Dogs

-Pigs in a blanket

-Hot Cheetos

-Tater Tots

-Pancakes

-Snowcones

-Rice Krispie Treats

-Dinosaur Chicken Nuggets

-Ring Pops

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These noted conversation points I took down during a bar crawl:

Can you slurp potatoes?

Bananas?

Doubtful.

Whose ears are bigger?

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This apparently important moment that took place at the International House of Pancakes:

Natallee: IHOP = the POPOT

The place of pancakes of truth

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This list of companies I wanted to give me money/free stuff:

People I wouldn’t mind sponsoring me

  • Target
  • Amazon
  • Popsicles
  • Boom chicka pop

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This, which I assume was supposed to be a list of fears I had regarding therapy:

Dumb questions I’d probably ask if I ever went to therapy

  1.  My left shoe always comes untied, do you think that means something?

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This recipe:

Paprika Chicken with Crispy Chickpeas & Tomatoes

12oz tomatoes

8 cloves garlic, smashed in their skins

1 15oz can chickpeas, rinsed

3 tbsp olive oil, divided

Kosher salt & pepper

4 6oz boneless, skinless chicken breasts

2 tsp paprika

Heat oven to 425F. On rimmed baking sheet, toss tomatoes, garlic & chickpeas with 2 tbsp oil & 1/4 tsp each salt & pepper. Roast 10 min. Heat remaining tbsp oil in large skillet on medium. Season chicken with paprika & 1/2 tsp salt & pepper and cook until golden brown on one side 5-6 min. Flip and cook 1 min more. Transfer to baking sheet with tomatoes & chickpeas and roast until cooked through, 6 min more. Before serving, discard garlic skins.

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This list of movies I was told I HAD TO SEE (which I’ve made almost no progress on):

Primal Fear

Identity

5th Element

Snatch

The room

What If

Comet

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Overall, while these are funny, weird and slightly confusing, they’re not all that surprising, 1) because this is exactly what my brain sounds when it thinks it’s on to something and 2) because I have 5 moleskine notebooks full of thoughts exactly like this and I don’t foresee that ending anytime soon.

So if you happen to drive up next to me at a red light and see me scribbling something down in a notebook, just let it happen. Also, maybe say a prayer that that idea grows up into something great one day.