fun

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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Download bracket here.

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Download bracket here.

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Download bracket here.

Submitting My Friendship Resume

To Whom it May Concern,

Seeing as we are in a strange time, one that encourages not only kindness and politeness, but undeniable kinship and unity, I have come to the conclusion that we should be friends—from afar obviously, because, well, YOU KNOW.

That being said, I’ve attached my resume for your review. If the contents appear up to par, I’d like us electronically agree, from our own homes, that we are in this thing together, and will at no point physically or emotionally harm one another in order to get the last package of toilet paper or container of oatmeal.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Attachment: KimK_ResumeforFriendship

 

Kimberlee K.

kimberleek.com

Education:

Hiking Trails in Southern California

May 2014 – Present

Various Locations

Major: Keeping a Steady Pace

Minor: Heavy Breathing

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Facts No One Should Know

August 2006 – Present

News Articles, Assorted Googling, Neighboring Conversations, Etc.

Major: “Did You Know?” anecdotes

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Limited Slang

One day in Middle school – Present

Peers, Urban Dictionary, “Kids these days”

Major: Stealth Research

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Work Experience:

Adult

Legally 2008 – Present

Various Locations

Concrete Identity Pending

  • Dresses self for a variety of formal and informal occasions.
  • Feeds self a variety of meals, both in controlled and uncontrolled portions, in order to sustain life.
  • Attempts to take on and maintain responsibilities
  • Cries periodically
  • Often says, “Thanks, I got it at Target.”

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DIY

September 1995 – Present

Usually the Floor

Project Creator & Artist (of sorts)

  • Formulates a wide variety of projects capable of being made on one’s own
  • Fails miserably during the first attempt and throws it on the ground/in trash
  • Completes second (or third or fourth) try and shrugs at result, calling it “good enough”
  • Learns to love project with whole heart
  • Creates new project and starts the cycle over again.

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Watching Movies

September 1990 – Present

Various Locations

Memorizer of Noteworthy Comedic Quotes

  • Watches a variety of movies both in theaters and on VHS/DVD/Blu-ray/Streaming services
  • Enjoys nearly all movies thoroughly
  • Chooses a number of anecdotes from the films to quote numerous times a day.

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Other Work Experience:

Instagram Stalking

July 2012-Present

Hidden on the Internet

Creep

  • Follows curious thoughts into the depths of social media, often losing one’s mind in the process.
  • Becomes extremely knowledgeable in persons and events that bear no relation to me.
  • Audibly gasps often.

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Introverting

February 2002 – Present

Various Locations, Primarily Home

People Avoider

  • Often enters state of desire to be completely and utterly alone
  • Cancels all plans and stays indoors, making little contact with the outside world
  • Has minor moments of clarity regarding the benefits of creating and maintaining meaningful friendships, then makes a meal, turns off the lights and continues to introvert.

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Awards/Achievements:

Summited Mt. Whitney

Has not broken a bone

Once made a triple decker bologna sandwich

Has vomited due to motion sickness in various major cities

Once hooked a mudsucker by the tail while fishing in the Owens River

Member of 2016 Winter League Championship bowling team: Beer & Waffles.

Has twice defeated The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

Hasn’t died yet*

*Note: void when dead.

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Strengths:

Sarcasm

Smiling politely

Requesting Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” at weddings

Making excel spreadsheets for every occasion

Committing to puzzles

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Weaknesses:

Mini golf

Making omelets

Overcommitting to puzzles

Forgetting to bring toothpaste on vacation

Often drops phone for no apparent reason

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.

 

My First Dollar

There comes a time in every mogul’s life when they realize that they’ve made it.

It’s the moment when things start to change. When the finer things in life become the average, every day things, and when price tags become less of a barrier and more of a formality.

For some, reaching this milestone is not only a point of pride, but a reason to look back. To reach out and share what they’ve learned with others on a similar path. After all, they know what that path was like, how long and winding. And now that they are in the place their mentors once stood, they want to take on that role. They want to be the one reaching their hand out to help, both literally, and via shareable quotes on Instagram.

And so friends, that’s why I’m here today.

Because I, unbelievably, once stood exactly where you are.

One day not so long ago (as in two weeks ago), I too was looking every which way, wondering how I could move up, move forward, do more, be more, be worth more.

But then, with some steadfast research (and a small fee) I upgraded my blogging account, okayed the additions of advertisements at the bottom of each of my posts, and just like that, I was on the road to wealth.

I knew it could take time, but I didn’t anticipate dinero knocking at my door so soon.

Oh, but it did.

Yes friends, as of yesterday, I have officially earned my first dollar.

What once was dust and a dream, is now one hundredth of one hundred dollars.

So be not discouraged, young Padawans, for I was once just like you, and now look at me—not directly, though, I’ve heard the reflection off diamonds and gold can be quite harsh on the eyes.

While I seem to have dove headfirst into glitz and glamour, I swear to you, friends, family, fans, admirers, mentees, etc., I won’t let wealth and fame change me. I will always remember where I came from. And I will always remember who scrolled to the bottom of each post to see the ads they had no interest in clicking on, thus earning me a fraction of a fraction of a penny.

Thank you for your scrolling.

Thank you for reading.

And thank you for this lush life I now get to call my own.

They say you shouldn’t spend all of your money in one place, but I’ve worked long and hard to get here, and I’ve got my eye on a pack of gum. So what the hell?

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.

Screen Shot 2018-07-22 at 6.58.52 PM

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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!

My Quest to Find a Morning Routine (Part 1)

I am not a morning person.

Well, I shouldn’t say that. I am not a weekday morning person. I am a weekend morning person—but that’s only because I often get to wake up without an alarm and do anything I want with my day.

Those weekdays though. They are brutal.

Even when I put in the effort to get a good night’s sleep beforehand, when my work alarm goes off, I feel like death—often provoking me to press snooze. And while yes, I know it’s been scientifically proven that pressing snooze is not good for you and ultimately makes you feel more tired, I do it anyway. And when I wake up 15 minutes later feeling 100% more tired than I did before, I press snooze again, and again, until I have left exactly enough time (as long as there are no missteps or tangents) for me to get ready, make my lunch and get to work on time.

It’s a viscous cycle, my friends. One that I’ve been wanting to break for a long time now.

And so, finally, that is what I am setting out to do.

For the month of March, I’ve decided that I am going to try to find a morning routine that will encourage me to break my snoozing habit and start each morning on a better note. I want to find the energy for weekdays that I have on weekends when I wake up with the sun and blast old Marah Carey songs on Spotify. I want Saturday morning Kim to become every day Kim. It is a lofty goal, but I am willing to try.

Before I dive in, I thought it would be helpful to write out the “routine” I have now, so I can get a realistic idea of if/how much time I have to fit in anything new, or if perhaps my real goal should simply be to figure out how I can do what I already do, without pressing snooze and forcing myself to get ready at a near jogging pace.

So, as of now, this is what my average morning routine looks like:

-6:30 a.m. Work alarm goes off.

-Snooze alarm (twice) until 6:55 a.m. (Oops.)

-Make bed

-Brush teeth.

-Wash Face.

-Apply Moisturizer.

-Turn on a podcast.

-Get dressed (I’m just realizing I always put my socks on first, is that weird?)

-Put on makeup and try my best with my hair

-7:20 a.m. (on a GOOD DAY) Head downstairs to make lunch, fill water bottle, take vitamins and grab a breakfast to go.

-7:30 a.m. Leave for work.

Okay, so it’s clear that I consistently leave myself time to do the necessities and absolutely nothing else. Thus, if I even want to have a chance at adding anything new (or making any corrections) I first need to stop snoozing my alarm. This comes as no real surprise, but I was also secretly hoping I would determine I was perfect and call it a day.

I have often tried to correct my snoozing habit by grabbing my phone to scroll through social media (while still laying down), thinking it will wake me up. But this almost always puts me back to sleep—phone in hand—until my alarm goes off again. For the last few months however, I have been using Downtime on my phone (which I mentioned in this favorites post) and that keeps almost all of my apps locked until 7:20 a.m. As a result, with little ability to check anything except my email and the weather, I just hit snooze and go right back to sleep. Then, when I ultimately wake up late, I feel frustrated with myself, and when I follow that up with 30 minutes of frantically getting ready, I don’t really give myself a fair shot at starting the day off right.

Which brings me to the Internet.

I currently have about 10 windows open, each primed with tips on how to perfect your morning routine. In skimming through them, I’ve found that most recommend a combination of the following:

-Eat a good breakfast

-Exercise

-Meditate

-Recite affirmations and/or set intentions

-Connect to gratitude

-Read and/or journal

Of these, I only consistently (read: ever) do two.

I love this overnight oat recipe and almost always have a few made ahead in my refrigerator—making the “grab breakfast on the go” portion of my morning much easier. I also always turn on a podcast to listen to while I’m getting ready. But while the other suggestions are wonderful, and undoubtedly beneficial to some, to be honest, most of them don’t interest me.

To quickly run through them: I personally prefer to exercise in the afternoon and journal/gratitude check at night, I would 100% fall asleep while meditating and/or reading first thing after I woke up, and though intentions and affirmations are wonderful, my brain (especially my weekday brain) needs time to warm up.

Some other suggestions included having a cup of coffee or tea (neither of which I drink) and talking to a friend or loved one (which I sometimes actively avoid first thing in the morning.) So while I’m looking for some advice, I’m also trying to be realistic about what would benefit me and what wouldn’t.

I’m also trying to avoid giving myself a to-do list. As a lover of lists, I know the pressure I would put on myself to complete one, and the regret and devastation I would feel each morning when I didn’t get it done. So instead of giving myself a list of chores to complete, I am really trying to hone in on the word routine. I want to find a routine that feels natural, that flows, makes me feel good, and doesn’t make me yell threatening things at other morning drivers—or, ideally, makes me do this less.

With that in mind, rather than trying to convert my routine into one that is identical to those that are “scientifically backed” or “used by successful billionaires” I only wrote down ideas (especially from this article) that interested me, and I’m going to see if/how they can fit into my already established “routine”.

Here are a few ideas that I liked:

Dream journal: I am prone to strange and vivid dreams, and I have often wanted to keep better track of them, both because I’m curious and because maybe I should be studied.

Stretch: I often feel stiff once I get to work, and then I spend the day sitting at my computer, making me feel more stiff. So I’m thinking a low-key stretch routine that I can do in my pajamas might help start me the day on the right foot.

Review your schedule/to-do list for the day: For this one, it is recommended to write out a schedule or ideal to-list for your day the night before and then review it when you wake up. I like this idea because it takes a little while for my brain to warm up in the morning, and oftentimes I’ll find myself scrambling through my mind for things I may have forgotten. This could serve as my own personal recap, similar to the way television shows replay scenes from the previous week’s episode. Previously on Kim’s thought process…

Do a crossword puzzle: The New York Times app has a small, daily crossword puzzle that I like but often forget about, and I think it could be a good way to get my brain working—as long as I sit up to do it.

Try SmartWake: I often wear my FitBit Versa to bed, and it has a setting called SmartWake that you can turn on with any alarm. Once set, it will wake you up between sleep cycles within a half hour of your desired wake up time, making it less likely for you to wake up groggy and tired.

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So, this is my jumping off point.

Over the next month, I will try out these ideas/strategies and see if/how they affect my morning routine. I will also continue to do research to see what other ideas are out there.

Here’s hoping one of them can get me up without hitting snooze and, finally, let me (at least kind of) take my time in the morning.

I’ll keep you posted.

January/February Favorites

Hey y’all, it’s that time again!

I’ve had my hunting eyes extra open for the past few months because I’ve been really feeling the need to find more new in my life, you know?

Here’s what I’ve found:

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Podcasts

Kicking us off with a dark one, I found Truth and Lies: Jeffrey Epstein on the podcast charts and was equal parts curious and horrified, so I gave it a listen. It is a very well made show, and even though the subject matter is awful and skin crawling, I can’t stop listening and I look forward to a new episode each week.

One of my good friends turned me on to Pretty Big Deal with Ashley Graham and I’m so thankful that she did. (Thanks, Sam!) I didn’t know a lot about Ashley Graham before listening, but I’ve more or less fallen in love with her and most of her guests. Not only are the interviews fun, interesting, and inspiring, but they are all well under an hour which honestly sealed the deal for me.

And finally, Straight Up with Trent Shelton! I first heard about Trent Shelton through Rachel Hollis’ podcast, Rise. He is a very positive and inspirational guy so when he announced he was releasing a podcast of his own I knew I had to listen. The first episode alone was enough to get me hooked—especially when I found myself feverishly scribbling down notes on the advice he was giving. Highly recommend!

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Books

Reading has taken somewhat of a backseat in my life lately, as I’ve been too distracted to actually finish a book, making it hard to find a “favorite” or two. But in the month or so I was finally able to find a couple that I both loved and wanted to finish. The first is Sorry I’m Late, I Didn’t Want to Come by Jessica Pan. It is a memoir that follows the author (self-described as a shy introvert or “shintrovert”) as she goes on a year long quest to say “yes” to things that scare her but also have the potential to challenge and encourage her to grow. As an introvert myself, I related hard, and I laughed through the whole thing. (I also wrote this curse word filled blog post about it.)

On the sadder side of things, Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano. This book follows the journey of 12 year old Edward, who is the sole survivor of a plane crash that kills 191 people, including his parents and 15 year old brother. A review of the book written by author J. Courtney Sullivan stated that the book “will break your heart and put it back together again” and I can honestly say that is exactly what it did.

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TV Shows

If you have been hearing any or all of the hype surrounding Cheer, know that it is for good reason and it is MORE than worth the watch. Having exactly zero experience in cheerleading other than watching Bring it On many times, I was unsure of whether the subject matter would catch my attention as much as it had everyone else’s. But over the six episode season, the conversations between me, my cousins and my sister grew so passionate that one might assume our souls had been dedicated to cheerleading at birth. Not only is it a fascinating and exciting sport, but the team the documentary follows is undeniably loveable, making the journey of the season both wonderful and incredibly stressful.

Speaking of wonderful, stressful and…murder. You. I didn’t jump on the train for this one until just before the premiere of season two, but let’s just say I quickly caught up. It is a very conflicting show, in that the bad guy is put in the shoes of what should be the protagonist, making his bad choices and horrifying actions confusing. But this confusion is actually what makes the show so good. You’re rooting for the guy, but you’re also hoping he gets what’s coming to him. I personally liked season two even better than season one, and it was just renewed for a season three so there is more to come! Can’t wait!

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Music

I have perhaps done the most newness hunting in music. After receiving my Spotify Wrapped for 2019, I was anxious to dive in and start my 2020 journey. Thus, diving I have done. Here are some of my favorite finds:

Rare by Selena Gomez

Ocean by Lady Antebellum

Blood Harmony by FINNEAS

Léon by Léon

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Downtime

In mid-January I decided to make an effort to stop looking at my phone before bed, both to fall asleep faster and sleep better. To help with that, I turned on the Downtime feature on my iPhone that allows you to lock your apps at the time of your choosing. You can customize which apps won’t lock (i.e. the phone & text apps in case of emergency) and how long you want to keep them locked. For me, every day at 10:20 p.m., all but a few apps (including phone, messages, notes, weather, and camera) lock, meaning all access (unless I physically choose to unlock it) and notifications from all other apps are unavailable until the next morning at 7:20 a.m. It sounds intense when I spell it out, but it has honestly been WONDERFUL.

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Clinique Take the Day Off Cleansing Balm

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For a long time my go-to makeup remover was First Aid Beauty’s Coconut Micellar Makeup Melter, but I was very sad to find out that it was recently discontinued. In my search to find a new staple, I came across Clinique’s Take the Day Off Cleansing Balm, which came very highly reviewed, and even better, was trusted to do its job without causing acne prone skin to break out. I have been using it for a month now and can confirm it both works and is safe for sensitive skin! It is also very affordable and lasts a long time. (find it here)

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Powerbeats 3

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I don’t think there was any real doubt that these bad boys would live up to their hype. But when I got them for Christmas I did find myself the slightest bit nervous that I wouldn’t like them as much as my tried and true iPhone headphones. But having used these for both cardio and strength training, I can confidently say that they stay in place and give you great sound quality. Love them! (find them here)

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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.

I Say Sh*t 17 Times in this Post, But it’s Upbeat, I Promise

I recently read the book Sorry I’m Late, I Didn’t Want to Come by Jessica Pan, which chronicles her year of saying “yes” to things in order to help her step out of her introvert comfort zone. It was a hilarious and relatable book that was full of valuable lessons, but one in particular stood out to me.

As the author puts it: “Being shit at being shit is just shit.”

Or, put more PG: being bad at being bad is just bad.

(Personally, I like the shitty version, but that’s just me.)

Jessica Pan writes this when referring to the tendency of someone who is placed out of their comfort zone to put in minimum effort in order to protect themselves from further embarrassment.

I know I’m guilty of it.

It’s hard to put yourself out there and be vulnerable. It’s hard to step out of your comfort zone and be yourself. Sometimes it feels easier to make it all a big joke, that way, if you fail, you’ll know you weren’t really trying in the first place.

But then again, we also learn, from an outsider’s perspective, that when we see people putting in that minimal effort, it doesn’t make them look “cool”, it doesn’t even protect them from embarrassment. In fact, we notice that lack of effort more than any failure, and it looks far worse.

Because there’s a difference between trying and failing and failing to try.

There’s a difference between “being shit” and being shit at being shit.

And, as previously stated, being shit at being shit is just shit.

So, the lesson here is: just be shit, you know?

Be bad at something.

But don’t be bad at being bad. Strive to be great at it.

Try your hardest and fail your hardest. But try. And don’t try halfway.

Don’t laugh it off or shrug it away. Don’t shrink yourself down. Go out there and suck to your full potential. Because that is what makes you cool. That is what moves you forward. That is what ultimately protects you and fights for you because it gets you out of your head, into the new, and onto the next.

You have to go through the shit to get to the good stuff. And sometimes going through shit requires you yourself to be that shit, and it’s learning to let yourself be the shit at being shit that ultimately gets you through the shit, you know what I mean?

Learning Internet Slang (Part 4)

There are few things I enjoy more than tracking down new slang words and phrases to quiz my friends and family with. Not only do I love seeing the reaction of my poor, unsuspecting victims contestants, but I love hearing the creative responses they give as they try to figure out what on earth these words and phrases could mean.

For this installment of Learning Internet Slang, I enlisted the help of my sister, and our cousins, Spenser and Ashlynn, who we recently went to visit in North Carolina.

Here were the results:

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1) Boomer

Urban Dictionary Definition: A person from the baby boomer generation, or really anyone who is older than the person using the word; usually used if said person is being annoying or talking shit about a younger generation.

Spenser’s Guess: Baby boomers?

Natalee’s Guess: I first thought of baby boomers, but then I thought maybe it was the new “banger.”

Ashlynn’s Guess: Old people.

Me: So you use it when someone older is complaining about something the younger generation does, and the person from the younger generation would say—

Ashlynn: —okay, boomer.

Me: Exactly.

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2) NSFW

Urban Dictionary Definition: Not Suitable/Safe For Work.

Spenser’s Guess: I don’t know what this one is.

Natalee’s Guess: Not safe for work!

Ashlynn’s Guess: Do not open this email at work because it is probably dirty.

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3) Don’t @ me

Urban Dictionary Definition: A phrase used on Twitter when you say something and you don’t want people to respond directly to you because you don’t care what people have to say about your opinion.

Natalee’s Guess: Don’t come for me, don’t judge or attack me for this, I’m posting it and owning it.

Spenser’s Guess: Don’t come at me with your second tier shit, my shit is right.

Ashlynn’s Guess: Don’t blame me or involve me, don’t call me out.

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4) Finsta

Urban Dictionary Definition: A combination of the words “fake” and “Instagram.” When people have a “finsta” they post pictures they only want their closest friends to see.

Spenser’s Guess: A fine gangsta, like a good looking gangster.

Ashlynn’s Guess: When you want to say Facebook and Instagram but heaven forbid don’t want to use two separate words.

Natalee’s Guess: A fake instagram account, or secondary account.

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5) Weird flex but okay

Urban Dictionary Definition: When someone proudly boasts or brags about something that most people would find either awkward, irrelevant or just plain weird.

Natalee’s Guess: I feel like this is a strange thing to be showing off, but go for it, I guess.

Spenser’s Guess: You are strange, but I don’t want to get into it.

Ashlynn’s Guess: When someone is into something that you’re not into, and it’s a little out there but you’re supportive because you’re like, “Hey, I like you. You don’t suck.”

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6) Humble brag

Urban Dictionary Definition: A form of self-promotion where the promoter thinks they are, almost subliminally, bragging about himself in the context of a humble statement or complaint.

Spenser: I’ve never heard of this in my life. I mean, those words are two completely different things.

Natalee’s Guess: Is it like, I’m trying so hard to make this as simple as possible for you but I have so much going on?

Spenser’s Guess: Maybe it’s, I thought I was the best but it turns out I’m just really good. For example: I’m the best at rock paper scissors, I’ve literally never lost, but you beat me, so good job.

Ashlynn’s Guess: When you casually brag about something and you try to seem like it’s not a big deal but you know that it’s awesome.

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7) VSCO girl

Urban Dictionary Definition: a term used to describe a girl with a specific look; she wears oversized t-shirts or sweatshirts with Nike shorts; has Vans, Crocs, Birkenstocks, and wears a shell necklace; she always has a Hydroflask; she can’t leave home without a scrunchie and her favorite car is a Jeep.

Natalee: Did this start on TikTok?

Me: No.

Natalee’s Guess: Oh, well then this might be wrong but: a girl on Tik Tok who wears giants sweatshirts and sunglasses and is an influencer; someone who is considered cool but honestly looks kind of slouchy; they’re not trying hard, but somehow they look perfect and have 8 million followers.

Spenser: V-S? C-O? What in the hell is that? Look, I just tried to type it in my phone to write down my guess and it autocorrected to bacon.

Ashlynn’s Guess: She loves a good scrunchie. She dug the 90’s and loves big bold colors and fun outfits.

Spenser’s Guess: Okay I have two guesses. 1) a very successful colorado girl. 2) a 2020 version of a disco girl.

Ashlynn: Like the millennial version of disco person?

Spenser: Exactly.

Me: *gives the definition*

Spenser: Wait, what does VSCO stand for? I’m looking it up. Visual Supply Co? Oh, guys, it’s a photo editing app.

All of us: OOHHHHHH.

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8) No cap

Urban Dictionary Definition: no lie; to tell the truth.

Natalee’s Guess: No capitalization. Everything I’m saying is very unexaggerated and deadpan.

Spenser’s Guess: Oh, I got it. No guns allowed (as in no busting a cap) this is a street fight. As Ron Burgundy might say, the only other rules are there is no touching of the hair or face.

Ashlynn’s Guess: It’s a command. As in, stop yelling, you’re using capitalization to express a lot of angry feelings and I want you to stop. No cap. No need to yell. I’m right here and can hear you fine.

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9) Bet

Urban Dictionary Definition: same as “for sure” or “okay.”

Natalee’s Guess: This is a shout out to Troy Bolton, aka Zac Efron, I’d bet on you forever.

Ashlynn: I’m sorry, what? So you’re saying this is a direct reference?

Natalee: Yes, it’s the song he sings in the second High School Musical film. It’s iconic.

Spenser’s Guess: I took it the exact opposite. As in, “bet”, it’s a 50/50 chance, you could be right or you could be wrong.

Ashlynn’s Guess: It’s when someone is saying, “This is the truth that I’m telling you. You can bet on it.”

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10) Slaps

Urban Dictionary Definition: to describe something that is incredibly good, usually music.

Natalee’s Guess: Someone did a good job or said something that everyone likes so they say, “Slaps my man, good job.”

Spenser’s Guess: It’s a new high school dice game. It’s a combo of craps & jacks. Maybe they say, “I’m gonna be beat you at slaps, and buy some VCSO scrunchies with the winnings.”

Ashlynn’s Guess: “Yeah, great job, man.” It’s like a high five but without putting your hand in danger [of germs].

Spenser: Like a verbal high five?

Natalee: Slaps, my man.

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Bonus) CEO

Examples of the correct usage (if you were referring to me or my blog): CEO of teaching friends and family slang. CEO of italics. CEO of writing the blog the night before posting it. 

Me: On this one I want you to guess how it’s used, because the definition (Chief Executive Officer) is the same.

Natalee’s Guess: Maybe when someone does the best video of a certain challenge on TikTok or something. They would say, “You’re the new CEO of this challenge.”

Spenser’s Guess: A title that is given to the most popular boy or girl in the school. Like, “you are the CEO of this class.”

Ashlynn’s Guess: A person who wears the pants in the relationship, “the CEO of the relationship.”

 


 

Read the previous version of this post here.