fun

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.

2019 Goals Final Wrap Up

I mentioned this in my goals for 2020 post, but I was a little self-conscious/borderline ashamed at how unfinished my 2019 goals went last year. The first year I made a list of goals, in 2017, I went ALL OUT to finish by the time that clock struck midnight, and I felt bad for not having that kind of drive this past year. But then I remembered how busy the year was, and how it was good but utterly exhausting and I cut myself a little bit of a break.

I think the most important thing 2019 taught me is the value of figuring out the difference between what you want to do and what you think people want you to do. I like setting goals, but I also feel that I have previously chosen some solely to impress and/or (hopefully) inspire other people, even if it was something I didn’t necessarily want to do. And while I think there can be discovery in that, and even fun, for 2020 it is all about marking what is most important, what I feel will move me forward, and what will make me feel whole rather than just a box checker.

So for anyone who has set or is planning to set goals for 2020, let me encourage you to choose goals that will cause to reach, sometimes far, towards somewhere/something you haven’t been before–not somewhere you think people want you to go, but somewhere YOU want to go. This is your year, it is your decade, and you have a say in it.

With that being said, here is a quick look at how my goals for 2019 panned out:

 

1) Journal daily

COMPLETED

This was so surprisingly easy to work into my daily routine that I wondered what on earth I was doing before I started. I have already started writing in a new journal for 2020 and foresee myself continuing this habit for a long time.

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2) Take a cooking class

I never got around to doing this in 2019, but I actually received an apron and a date to take a cooking class with my best friend for Christmas, so it looks like I’ll complete this one in 2020!

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3) Cook my way through a cookbook

I kept up with this one very well for the first half of the year, but not so much the second half. The good news is that I got out of it exactly what I was hoping to: I learned new recipes, which in turn gave me a wider knowledge of the kind of recipes that are out there, as well as an understanding of what ingredients work well together when I have a hodgepodge of leftovers in the refrigerator.

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4) Try the best drink from every state

This was just a major fail. I tried all of ONE drink, mostly because I’m a creature of habit and stick to what I know, but also because I was too nervous to ask bartenders to make the drinks when I went out and too lazy to make the drinks when I stayed in so…this might be more of an ongoing goal, TBD.

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5) Watch a sunset & a sunrise at the beach

I wasn’t able to pull off a sunrise, but the sunset I saw was part of such a good day. It was a warm Saturday and my sister and I made a spontaneous trip to the beach, and we watched the sunset as we ate tacos and drank beer at a restaurant just off the coast. (This was also the day that spawned this post about me not being able to pee in the ocean)

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6) Volunteer (at least) 5 times

COMPLETED

I was probably more diligent with this goal than I was with any other, and I’m proud of that. I love volunteering, I love feeling needed and knowing that something I’ve done has made a difference, and I can’t wait to continue to pursue opportunities where I can lend a hand in 2020.

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7) See three WRLA’s

I was only able to see two this year, but they were just as weird and wonderful as the rest. While visiting family in Arkansas we were able to see the World’s Largest Spinach Can (which unfortunately has been repainted and is just a giant green cylinder now) and the World’s Largest Razorback, which was as bizarrely fantastic as you might expect.

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8) Pay off 1 of my 2 remaining student loans

COMPLETED

There’s not much to say except HELL YEAH.

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9) Amazon wish list splurge

COMPLETED

Indeed there was a splurge! I wanted to treat myself after paying off my second to last loan and I did. It wasn’t all on Amazon and it wasn’t all at once, but these are some of my favorite things I bought: an Instant Pot, Birkenstocks, these shorts from American Eagle, and these boots from Old Navy.

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10) Go to a winery

COMPLETED

Midway through the year I changed this goal from “stomp grapes and make wine.” After putting it on my list of goals for the year, I realized that I didn’t have the desire or the drive to make it happen. While I still think it’s a fun idea and should I ever find the opportunity to do it I will, but I liked the goal change and had a great day of wine tasting with some friends.

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11) Make my family tree

There has been minimal progress on this one, but not zero progress. It is something I want to take my time on and so I’m doing just that.

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12) Hike the Narrows

Almost every year I’ve made a list of goals I’ve had one on the list that is a trip I want to take. One year I had Project Lightbulb (which is the nickname I gave a family trip to Iceland to see the Northern Lights), another I had the glass beach and then this one. I don’t think putting them on the list is a mistake, however, it has proven difficult to make a specific trip happen. In June of this year, my family had the wonderful opportunity to go to Europe, and so I deemed the “trip” box checked and gave myself a pass on this one.

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13) Do (at least) one unassisted pull up

I’ll admit, I didn’t exactly make this a priority, thus, as of now I still cannot do an unassisted pull up. However, after finishing the marathon, I moved away from cardio and got much more into strength training, and have felt myself get progressively stronger, which has been awesome. I also added this goal to my 2020 goals, so hopefully I can see even more progress throughout this year.

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14) Get 100 rejections

I probably finished the year with around 25 or so rejections, and it’s a very strange feeling to be disappointed I wasn’t rejected more. But I understand what I was going for with this goal and will continue to pursue rejection in the hopes that it eventually leads to success.

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15) Learn Spanish

This was another mid year goal swap that I kind of started pursuing out of nowhere. I had heard about the Duolingo app and was intrigued by it being easy and free, and so I gave it a go and have really loved it! I by no means consider myself someone who is even close to fluent in Spanish yet, but I am improving every day!

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16) Finish my museum goal

This one seemed simple enough at the beginning of the year, but then the year’s calendar laughed in my face. While yes, there were days that I could have gone, I just, well, didn’t. Oops.

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17) Run the LA marathon

COMPLETED

Can you even BELIEVE that of all the goals and of all the fails, passes and mishaps, I can actually put a check next to this guy?! I am forever floored.

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And there it is, the wonderfully weird, crazy, complicated wonder that was my 2019 goal list. I am very thankful for all it taught me and very excited for where my 2020 goals are taking me next.

I sincerely hope you find the courage and passion to pursue whatever it is that might be stirring in your heart.

It is never too late to try something new! ❤

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You can read about the goals I set for 2020 here.

My Favorite Moments of 2019 (List-cember #9)

If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it approximately 600,000 times: this year was busy!

But within the confines of our crazy calendar, there were so many good moments. And I don’t just mean big, fancy moments. Some of my favorite parts of this year were the small but meaningful bursts of joy. The cozy, perfect moments that I’ll undoubtedly be thinking about when that ball drops tomorrow at midnight.

For me, these were those moments:

1) Meeting Lyra

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I have long been afraid of holding babies. They are just so fragile and so perfect and so little, and the thought of holding something so important in my hands (especially when it is not even my something) has always terrified me. But in January of this year, one of my lifelong friends had a baby, and she encouraged me to overcome that fear when met her little one for the first time in the hospital. That moment inspired me to write this blog post and I will remember it forever.

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2) A Ball at Spring Training

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My family went to Spring Training in March for the first time this year (which you can read about here.) and easily one of my favorite parts of the trip and of the year was when my friend Mel, after trying for innings on end, got a baseball from one of the players. Not only was it a joyous celebration of perseverance, but the resulting footage includes a look of fuming jealousy from her neighboring fan, which makes for an all around perfect video.

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3) Finishing the Marathon

There are many moments of the marathon that I would deem “defining,” but perhaps my favorite was crossing that finish line and seeing my 6 foot 2 brother standing among the crowd. I was so proud and relieved to be finished, and seeing a familiar face to welcome me to the otherside of that journey was truly great.

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4) Mom Scores a Goal

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Some of the best memories I have of my family are the slow, ordinary days where we are just spending time together, which is why this moment from May stands out. My mom, sister and I had gone to visit my cousin Brittney and her family in Arkansas, and we spent one afternoon sitting outside, drawing in sidewalk chalk, and playing soccer. At one point we set up a challenge between my mom and my little cousin Landon. While Landon won in the end, the crowd (of me, Natalee, Brittney, and baby Nora) went wild for this goal scored by my mom.

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5) A Circular Celebration

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In June my family got the opportunity to go to Europe, and among the many jaw dropping, awe inspiring moments of that trip, was this one. My cousin Taryn (which, if you didn’t read the blog I wrote about our trip, is the whole reason we went) finished writing a long tedious essay that would complete her study abroad program, and we did what any family would do when they’re in England and about to head to dinner but need to take a moment or two to celebrate this accomplishment: we formed a circle around her and and jumped up and down, chanting, “We are proud of you, say we are proud of you! Hey! Hey! Hey!”

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6) That Eiffel Tower Sparkle

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Upon arriving in Paris and seeing the Eiffel Tower for the first time, my most prominent and low key embarrassing thought was, “oh my gosh, the Eiffel Tower is actually real.” It’s not that I thought we’d been lied to all this time, but the realization that I was really, truly seeing it in person was so unbelievable that I was having trouble accepting it all as reality. This shock and awe only multiplied as we sat on the grass in front of the tower and watched as the sun set, the tower glowed gold, and then started to sparkle.

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7) Axe throwing in Vegas

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For my brother’s 21st birthday, a group of us went to Vegas with a list of things we were looking to accomplish in order to properly celebrate his milestone. Among the items on that list was throwing axes. After almost an hour of learning and practicing, we decided  to document our newfound skills, and showcase our ability to hit the target. What makes this moment one of my favorites, is that the video recording is almost four minutes long, (three of which we fail miserably) but when we finally do all hit the target at once, we all threw our arms up and yelled, “first try!”

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8) You’ve Got Ice Cream

About two years ago, on a visit to Arkansas with my mom and sister, I discovered the magic of Blue Bell ice cream. Upon arriving home however, I was very disappointed to discover that it is not sold in California. But for my 29th birthday, I was floored to find a box from Blue Bell waiting for me. My parents had all of my favorite flavors (including the holy grail, Salted Caramel Cookie) shipped to me and it. was. EPIC.

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9) Pop the champagne

Last year my cousin Cory married my now cousin Amanda, and this year they were able to purchase their first house! I was so happy and honored to be there when they popped champagne in their living room, that at the time had little more than a table and some folding chairs, but is now a beautiful, cozy home.

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10) The Dodgers Take Game 3

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For a Dodger fan, the 2019 playoffs were rough to say the least. But before we had our hearts broken, we had our hopes up, and on the night of Game 3, me, my sister, my cousin Taryn, and my best friend Allison were walking into a concert at the Honda Center as the Dodgers entered the 7th inning. As we made our way to our seats, I was streaming the game through the TBS app on my phone, which I’d downloaded while waiting in line, and we asked multiple employees if they could turn on the game, all of whom turned us down. So as we went to the 8th inning and then the 9th, the four of us stood out in the hallway, crowded around my phone to watch us close out a victory.

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11) The Frozen North Lake

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In November, my family made one of our annual trips to Bishop to squeeze in a weekend of fishing before the season closed. On the Saturday of the weekend we were there, we parked our car and hiked in to one of our favorite fishing spots, only to find the lake frozen solid. While this obviously prevented us from fishing, it did little to deter our fun. We spent a solid half hour throwing loose pieces of ice onto the lake and watching them shatter and glide across its surface.

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12) Sending “The Hulk”

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On the same trip to Bishop, my brother, who is an avid rock climber, had his sights on a boulder at Happy Boulders known as “The Hulk.” After spending a few hours attempting the climb on Friday, he was determined to return, so on Sunday afternoon, me, him and my sister headed back to Happy Boulders on our way home, where we watched him try time and time again until he finally reached the top!

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13) Eli’s Last Game

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To cap off the year, at the beginning of this month my family took a whirlwind trip to New York to see our favorite football team (the New York Giants) play for the very first time at their home stadium. We went the week they played the Dolphins, which wound up being one of only 4 games we won this season, and on top of that, it was our longtime quarterback, Eli Manning’s, probable last game with the team. We couldn’t have picked a better game!

Note: Please leave all Giants hate at the door, thank you.

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14) Coming June 2020

At our annual family Cookie Baking day, my cousins Spenser and Ashlynn gave my grandpa (and all of us, really) a very special gift: the news that we have a new member coming in June 2020! On Christmas Day we found out that the little one is a boy, and while we already know his name, I’ve taken to calling him Meatball for now.

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15) Meeting Luca

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Since I started this list with a baby, it seems only logical for me to end this list with a baby! And in true bookend fashion, I got to meet one of my best friends’ new baby, Luca, just this past week, and even though he is handsome and perfect and practically impossible not to want to hold, it was still a big deal for me to do so without fear. And as I looked down at him and his big curious eyes, I couldn’t help but feel every good moment of the year capsize in this one moment. It was a busy year, but it was a good one. I got to do so many great things and love and be loved on by so many great people. I’m very thankful for the life I live and I feel so honored for the opportunity to live it.

Here’s to 2020, I hope it’s full of wonderful moments, big, small and everything in between. Happy New Year!

17 Goals for 2020 (List-cember #8)

It’s that time of year again, y’all.

I’m going to be honest, this list was not easy to make this year.

My 2019 was absolutely CRAZY in terms of busyness, so a lot of my goals were left unattended and it made me very discouraged. For a hot second I thought about not setting any goals at all, but then I was tempted by the mistress of a new decade and here we are.

In the past, I’ve picked goals based on their grandeur and their promise of a big, impressive challenge, however, I’ve worked hard on learning to pick things that I like, that I want to do, and that can challenge me in ways I want to be challenged.

So, with that being said, I am very excited to share my goals for the new year, the new decade! May we all make 2020 our bitch.

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1) Kick a field goal

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I have exactly zero talent in anything relating to football (except watching it) but I’ve always wanted to know what it feels like to kick a field goal. So, this year, I plan on 1) buying a football, and 2) trying my hand foot at field goals.

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2) Learn Spanish

I replaced one of my original goals for 2019 mid year with “learn Spanish,” and since I am in no way a linguistic prodigy, I am not yet fluent in the language, thus I’m keeping it on here. And since there’s no way to really gage how far along in a language you are, I’m going to base my progress on the app I’ve been using to learn it. Duolingo divides languages into sections and as of now I’m at the end of Section 1, so my goal by the end of 2020 is to finish Section 3. Deséame suerte!

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3) Do a pull up

This is another repeat from last year because damn it, I’ve made progress but not enough. Upper body strength has just never been my strong suit, but I’m working on it!

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4) Volunteer (at least) 5 times

This is a regular on my list of goals and it never fails to be one of my favorites.

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5) Write positive Yelp reviews

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I didn’t put a concrete number on this one like I usually do, but that’s only because it’s hard to know how many new places you’ll visit in a year, you know? But I wanted to put in on this list because I feel like there aren’t enough good reviews on the internet. People are quick to log on and write horrible, scathing reviews, but often forget to share their positive experiences. So I’m hoping to find good things and write good reviews about those good things, so that other people can find those good things.

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6) Donate plasma

A couple years ago I made it a goal of mine to donate blood, and while it took me two tries to do it, I was so glad I did! This year, I’m hoping to donate plasma, which can be in just as high of demand as blood. Check out where you can donate plasma here.

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7) 30 Cleaning Challenge

I have been in desperate need of a deep clean in my life, and I think this challenge is just the place to start. I don’t plan on doing the challenge in order or all at once, I’m just using it as a checklist/baseline for the massive clean I’m going to do around my house. Call me a nerd, but I am PUMPED.

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You can download the PDF here.

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8) Savings Challenge

This one makes me a little less pumped, only because it’s been pretty fun spending money I don’t have for the last couple years. But I would really love to get back into the habit of saving, and build up an account that I can use for splurging, rather than just closing my eyes, hitting purchase and crossing my fingers that the stars align and all my bills get paid. I’ve seen a bunch of different challenges out there, and while I don’t think I’m going to stick to any by the letter, I’m going to use this one as a baseline.

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9) Purchase one charity t-shirt per month

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A few years ago I wrote a blog post all about t-shirts you can buy that will benefit great charities. I love a t-shirt with a cause, and so I decided a cool way to donate money to charity each month would be to buy a t-shirt from a specific charity. The way I see it, you donate money to a charity, you get a great t-shirt, which then gives visibility to that charity! It’s a win win win. I can’t wait! (Find this t-shirt here)

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10) Pay it forward

Have you ever had someone in front of you pay for your food/coffee/etc? I have had someone do it for me once, but I have never done it myself. So this year I’m hoping to give it a try. Personally I don’t think I’d be brave enough to do it in front of anyone, but I’d love to hop in a drive thru, pay for the person behind me, and then sneak away so the receiving party could be surprised.

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11) Take a self defense class

I think this is important for anyone, but I feel particularly drawn to it as a woman. What can I say, I want to feel safe, I want to feel tough(er), and I want to give off that BDE. You know, badass defense energy.

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12) Go to (at least) 5 concerts

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Last year I was lucky enough to go to a handful of amazing concerts and it reminded me why I love them so much. There are few things better than live music, and so I want to make it more of a priority to see it. As of now, I’m happy to report I already have 3 on the calendar! 🙂

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13) Take a writing class

I love blogging and it has always been my dream to write a book, but since it was a passion I found after college, I never took a class that might help hone my skills and better my ability to express myself through writing. So I’m hoping to find a class online that is both fun and challenging—something that can move me forward in this field of mine.

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14) Go to 5 breweries

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Being a beer drinker, raised by a beer drinker, who loves trying and drinking new beer, I find it surprising how few breweries I’ve been to in my lifetime. This year I’m hoping to change that, both by visiting breweries in my state, and possibly a few others. We’ll see what we find.

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15) Go to a comedy show

This is another one that seems crazy to be so inexperienced in when I live in a state that is home to so many great comedy houses. There’s something special about setting out on your evening with the intention of laughing. And with so many great comedians out there right now, I’d love to spend a good amount of time doing just that.

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16) The Emotion Scrapbook  

I feel like every year I have that one goal where my inner art major shines through, and this year, it’s this one. I have always loved pictures and the way they can capture parts of a moment or experience that you can revisit even years later. And so, to make a unique kind of scrapbook for this year, I made a list of 20 different feelings/emotions that I’m looking to capture in 2020. The idea is that when I find myself feeling one of those feelings, I want to take a picture of whatever can capture it best, so I can have a memento of it. Not all of these emotions are happy ones, but I think the list as a whole can give me a good idea of where the year took me and what it taught me, so I’m excited.

In case you’re interested, the list I’m going to work off of is as follows:

Take a picture when you’re feeling…

  1. Happy
  2. Sad
  3. Angry
  4. Peaceful
  5. Free
  6. Afraid
  7. Confident
  8. Love
  9. Relaxed
  10. Thankful
  11. Nostalgic
  12. Inspired
  13. Adventurous
  14. Stressed
  15. Bored
  16. Important
  17. Brave
  18. Optimistic
  19. Curious
  20. Determined

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17) Make a time capsule

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Since 2020 is going to be the beginning of a new decade, I thought it would be cool to make something to commemorate this decade. The last 10 years of my life have brought about a lot of change, and I would have loved to see a collection of things I valued at the beginning of 2010 compared to now. So, I’m going to find myself a box, gather up some things that I think best represent who I am and where the world is at the beginning of 2020, and then seal it, stash it, and open it at the end of 2029.

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And there they are in all their glory!

This might be the first year that I’m more excited than terrified. That has to be a good sign, right?

Don’t tell me if it’s not, I don’t need that kind of energy going into a new decade.

I hope you feel as optimistic and excited as I do about this new year, and I wish you luck on any goals you might be setting!

A Christmas Quiz (List-cember #6)

We are less than a week away from Christmas, which means that most schools are closing for winter break.To celebrate that, I thought I’d take us back to school for a minute for a little Christmas quiz.

I invited/politely forced my sister and two cousins to participate in a friendly Christmas themed quiz in order to win bragging rights and familial pride. What started as a cordial match quickly became a heated quest for Christmas glory.

Here were the results:

1) What kind of Christmas does Elvis Presley sing about?

Answer: Blue

Natalee: (singing) Bluuuuuuuee…Christmas without you….

Amanda: Wait, should I give a different kind of answer? I’m going to say he’s devastated by the thought of his loved one not going to be with him on Christmas. So that’s my word. Devastated.

Cory: Maybe he just likes blue Christmas lights.

Point awarded to Natalee. 

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2) What is the name of the Grinch’s dog in the movie How the Grinch Stole Christmas?

Answer: Max

Amanda: I know! I know!! MAX!

Point awarded to Amanda.

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3) In which century was the Christmas tree first used?

Answer: 16th century

Natalee: The 1300’s! So, the 14th century.

Cory: 16th.

Amanda: I’m going to say the 18th century.

Me: It’s the 16th.

Cory: HA HA.

Amanda: Okay, now it’s on.

Point awarded to Cory.

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4) What is the name of Rudolph’s dad?

Answer: Donner

Natalee: Ugh, I know his girlfriend’s name.

Amanda: Oh my gosh. You can totally–

Natalee: –Prancer! Wait, no.

Amanda: No, they said it in Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer when they introduce the mom and dad.

Natalee: He’s one of the reindeer.

Cory: I feel like it’s something really bland like…Steve.

Me: Yes, Steve the reindeer.

Amanda: I’m gonna say Donner.

Natalee: Damnit, that’s right.

Cory: Dancer, Prancer, Donner, Comet? Is Comet the father?

Me: It’s Donner.

Amanda: YESSS!!!!

Natalee: I knew it right after you said it.

Point awarded to Amanda

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5) What is the best selling Christmas song ever? 

Answer: “White Christmas” by Bing Crosby

Natalee: Mariah Carey, All I Want for Christmas is You.

Amanda: *shakes head* I’ve heard this before. I heard it on KOST 103.5. It’s not Mariah and it’s not White Christmas, but that was everyone’s guess.

Cory: (singing) Feliz Navidad.

Amanda: I’m gonna go with Jingle Bells. 

Me: It was White Christmas.

Amanda: Damnit! You know, maybe that’s why I immediately thought of White Christmas…because it was the right guess.

No point awarded. 

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6) In Home Alone, where are the McCallister’s going on vacation when they leave Kevin behind?

Answer: Paris. 

Natalee, Cory & Amanda: In which one?

Me: The first one.

Natalee: Europe! Um….we just watched this. France?

Cory: Where did they go in the first one? I know in the second one they go to Florida.

Amanda: Dangit, I was thinking Florida.

Cory: Well she takes the bus with that guy to find him and they’re in the snow…Canada?

Amanda: Niagara Falls?

Me: It was Paris.

Natalee: YES!!!

Point awarded to Natalee.

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7) What well-known Christmas carol became the first song ever broadcast from space in 1965?

Answer: Jingle Bells

Natalee: (singing) Here comes Santa Claus, here comes Santa Claus right down Santa Clause Lane.

Cory: It’s Jingle Bells.

Amanda: Oh Holy Night.

Point awarded to Cory. 

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8) What Christmas beverage is also known as “milk punch”?

Answer: Eggnog.

Cory (before I even finish the question): Eggnog.

Me: That’s correct.

Natalee: Hey! Wait until the question is complete.

Cory: I’m sorry, there’s just no other Christmas beverage.

Amanda: Yeah there is. There’s cider.

Natalee: There’s peppermint shit.

Cory: It’s eggnog.

Point awarded to Cory. 

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9) In the early 1800’s, the first gingerbread houses were reportedly inspired by what famous fairy tale?

Answer: Hansel & Gretel

Natalee: Shrek! I mean, no.

Amanda: She said Shrek. She commits to Shrek!

Natalee: I was thinking of the gingerbread man!

Amanda: I’m gonna go with Hansel & Gretel.

Cory: Alice in Wonderland.

Natalee: Goldilocks & the Three Bears.

Point awarded to Amanda.

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10) Which one of Santa’s reindeer has the same name as another holiday mascot?

Answer: Cupid

Cory: Cupid.

Me: That’s correct.

Natalee: That was so fast. I was only on Vixen in the song.

Point awarded to Cory. 

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11) In the movie Elf, what was the first rule of The Code of Elves?

Answer: Treat every day like Christmas

Cory: Treat every day as Christmas.

Me: *nods*

Amanda: DAMNIT CORY.

Natalee: OH MY GOSH.

Me: Cory is coming in and slaughtering you guys.

Point awarded to Cory.

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12) How many gifts in total were given in “The Twelve Days of Christmas” song?

Answer: 364

Natalee: Ugh, this is math.

Me: NO CALCULATORS.

*Amanda, Cory & Natalee start mumbling as they do mental math*

Natalee: 76!

Cory: 78.

Amanda: I think…120?

Me: Amanda is the closest. Remember each day they get all the gifts from the previous days as well.

*a collective nod*

Me: So Amanda gets the point.

*Amanda smiles while Natalee and Cory nod a little bitterly*

Point awarded to Amanda.

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13) In the movie A Christmas Story, what was the name of the neighbors’ whose dog ate the Christmas turkey?

Answer: The Bumpuses

Natalee: Oh shit.

Amanda: I’m going to go with a classic…

Natalee: The Chungs.

Amanda: A classic…Max.

Cory: Steve.

Me: It was the Bumpuses.

Natalee: So I was the closest.

Me: Absolutely not.

No point awarded.

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14) On average, what day do most Americans put up their Christmas trees?

Answer: The weekend after Thanksgiving

Natalee: The day after Thanksgiving.

Amanda: The Sunday after Thanksgiving.

Me: You guys can both be right.

Point awarded to Amanda & Natalee.

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15) On average, what day do most Europeans put up their Christmas trees?

Answer: Christmas Eve.

Natalee: Christmas Eve.

Cory: First week of December.

Amanda: Two weeks before.

Point awarded to Natalee. 

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16) What does Clarence get for accomplishing his task in It’s a Wonderful Life?

Answer: Wings

Cory: A new show.

Natalee: His life back.

Amanda: He becomes a better person.

Me: He gets his wings, y’all. Clarence is the angel.

Amanda: And with his wings he becomes a better person.

Natalee: Well I was right about the actual man, he does get his life back.

No point awarded.

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17) Which company was the first to use Santa in an advertisement?

Answer: Coca Cola

Amanda: COCA COLA!!!

Natalee: Oh my gosh. That came out of nowhere.

Amanda: I know this, well, because I just do.

Point awarded to Amanda. 

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Final Score

Amanda: 6

Cory: 5

Natalee: 4

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Congratulations to Amanda for being crowned this year’s Christmas Quiz winner!

If you are interested in Christmas trivia, I found these questions (and more) here, here and here. 


 

Check out more List-cember posts here. 

17 (More) Things that Inspired Me This Year (List-Cember #3)

Last year I decided to make this a bi-annual post, so I can have two editions of all the happy, cozy things that made me smile, cry, laugh, etc. throughout the year.

In case you are new here and a stickler for clean numbered lists (i.e. lists that are multiples of 5 or 10) and are wondering why on earth I would choose 17 of all things. 17 is my favorite number and my family kind of goes hard in the favorite number department.

With that being said, you can check out the first 17 here. 

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1) This quote:

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2) Ashlyn Sailsbury

I found Ashlyn through Kristin Johns who I mentioned in a previous version of this post, and she has quickly become one of my favorite people to follow on Instagram. She is so funny and sassy and genuine and she shares the adventures of her adorable, fun family in Copenhagen. 10/10.

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3) This song by Ella Henderson

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8) Daisy Jones & the Six

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This was such a great book! Even though it was fiction, it read like a Rolling Stone interview and I was hooked the whole time. Plus the writing was absolutely brilliant. Here are some of my favorite lines:

“Don’t count yourself out this early, Daisy. You’re all sorts of things you don’t even know yet.”

“Life is about who is holding your hand and, I think, whose hand you commit to holding.”

“Acceptance is a powerful drug.”

 

 

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9) A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

I mean, Mr. Rogers played by Tom Hanks? I loved it before I even stepped foot in the theater. It’s such a good tribute to a wonderful man and a great reminder of how much we can do for someone simply by being kind.

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10) This writer who gets it

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11) The Try Guys

I have been following the Try Guys for a while now but this year I really dove head first into their content. I started listening to their podcast The Trypod which always makes me laugh, and I kept up with their YouTube videos which always brighten my day.

Here is one of my favorites:

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12) My sister

Raise your hand if you’ve been going to school for 600 years and have spent that time working your ass off, borderline losing your mind, and definitely questioning if any of it was worth it. Now raise your hand if you overcame every obstacle that was put in front of you, grown into an incredibly smart, well spoken, badass Speech Language Pathologist that will undoubtedly go on to do great things.

Natalee, please raise your hand.

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13) The Grapes of Wrath, which inspired me to write this blog post.

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14) Mitch Albom

I read my first Mitch Albom book last year and immediately fell in love with his style of writing, so this year I read three more of his books and they continue to make me feel all the feels. One day I hope to write something that moves people the way his books move me.

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15) Glamour Friendship Test

This is such a sweet, hilarious series and this episode is absolutely one of my favorites.

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16) Iliza Shlesinger

I first found Iliza last year when a friend highly recommended her Netflix special, Elder Millennial. After watching and loving it, I was very excited to see that she released a new special in November of this year called Unveiled. Spoiler alert: it is just as good. Not only is it hilarious, but she is so well spoken and has so many good messages within her comedy, she is quickly becoming one of my favorites.

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17) Food Forward

This is one of my favorite local nonprofits to volunteer for. It benefits such a great cause and is run by such lovely people, so if you live in Southern California I would highly recommend checking them out!

 


 

Check out previous versions of this post here, here and here.

Check out more List-cember posts here.

2019 Ornament Superlatives (List-cember #1

Hello and happy December to you! I have made it a tradition on my blog that in December every post is centered around lists, and here we are again! If you can believe it, this is already the fourth year!

Over the last week, I have decorated not one, not two, but three houses for Christmas, giving me a full face dunk into the Christmas season. The first of those three houses was my grandpa’s house, and upon arriving there on a Sunday afternoon, I quickly took my place at the Christmas tree to fluff branches and hang ornaments, a job that has been mine for the last 15 years or so.

Similar to my parents’ tree, my grandpa’s hosts seemingly thousands of ornaments. Some cute, some questionable, many sentimental and a few downright strange, which is perhaps why I love it so much. So once we were finished, I decided to look around and hand out some superlatives and these were the results:

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Most Likely to be Mistaken for the Charmin Toilet Paper Bear

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Most Likely to Put the Bob the Builder Theme Song in Your Head

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Biggest Overachiever

(We get it, Karen, you can sew, but no one needs a stocking that big.)

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Most Likely to Ask Kids What They Want for Shredmas

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Most Likely to Make You Ask Questions Like, “Why?” and, “No, Seriously, Why?” and, “Aside from Everything Else, Why is this Giant, Terrifying Mouse Wearing a Headband?”

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Most Likely to Make You Do A Doubletake

(Things you might notice in your doubletaking: the horse has no feet, the horse is giving the woman incredibly sassy side eye—which could perhaps be attributed to the intense amount of overfeeding she has been doing, which could perhaps be the reason he has no feet, or more specifically that his feet have been swallowed by his belly—also the woman’s glasses are a disaster and can’t possibly be providing any assistance.)

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Most Likely to be Hung Front and Center

(because I made it and want your praise)

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This is a three time winner for: 

-Best Style

-Most Athletic Golf Ball

-Best Legs

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Most Likely to Make Me Jealous for the 31st (even though I’m only 29) Year in a Row

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Most Likely to be Out of Date Almost Immediately after this was Purchased

(As of now, if you include wives, husbands, grandkids and great grandkids, there should be upwards of 15 more stockings on this fireplace.)

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You can check out past editions of Ornament Superlatives here, here, and here.

Happy List-cember, y’all!

Trust Me, it Works

When I was six years old, my parents gave me a Nintendo 64 for Christmas. And for many many weekend mornings after that, I would wake up early, sneak into the living room, and play Zelda: Ocarina of Time alongside my brother and sister for as long as our parents would let us hog the television.

Now, if you’ve ever played Nintendo 64, you’ll know that it takes a very delicate touch to get a game to work. Unlike many video games today that don’t even require discs, N64 games were thick, plastic bricks that you had to blow into the bottom of before you pushed them into the top of the console at just the right pressure. If it didn’t work the first time, you would pull the game back out, blow on the bottom again, this time in a harmonica like fashion, and then place the game back into the console, perhaps with only two fingers or with a series of delicate taps. Even at age 6, I quickly learned the series of techniques that worked for my particular console, and will utilize them in exact order, even to this day, without fail.

It’s funny how we can become inadvertently trained to operate things in a specific way without ever realizing that it’s peculiar, ridiculous or borderline ritualistic.

For example, my back door has a tricky doorknob. In order to lock both the knob and the pad lock, you have to shut the door, then pull and twist the knob, not so much that it reopens the door, but enough to engage whatever didn’t engage when you initially shut it.

To get my phone to play music in my car, I plug the auxiliary cord into the bottom, unlock my phone, then press play, pause and then play again.

I once had a hairdryer that only worked if you held it at a certain angle, so I would rotate my head in accordance with the limits of the hairdryer, which was great for stretching my neck, but terrible for giving me any kind of acceptable hair style.

To put on my favorite pair of jeans, I squat down into a catcher-like stance, and then jump up, repeating until they wiggle their way up into place. If I choose these jeans when I’m getting ready in a hurry, this process could almost be considered a round of cardio.

We all have a part of our house or our work that we’ll walk towards or lean against in order to get the best Wi-Fi signal, we’ve all had that phone or television that still worked if you banged the side of it, and we’ve all had a window that you have to prop open with a cup, aptly named the “window cup”, when you’re looking to let in a cool fall breeze.

Okay, that last one might just be my roommates and I. But you know what I mean.

Somehow, some way, we fall into these routines and methods that we only realize are strange when we have to explain them out loud to somebody else. And even then, even after we hear it back and think maybe we should, I don’t know, get a new hairdryer, we just shrug it off and move on, because starting a new routine, even if it might be easier, sounds way more complicated than just keeping with what’s familiar.

So if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to turn my ceiling fan on level two, because on level one it clicks, and then I’m going to tip toe my way to the bathroom, using precise footing across the floor so it doesn’t creak, because it’s late and I don’t wake up my roommates.

It’s not weird, it’s polite.

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.

200 Day Time Capsule Blog #4

It’s always exciting when I lose track of the 200 day count (which is every single time) and am completely surprised by my letter arriving in my inbox. Some might call this “being disorganized” or “in need of a proper blogging calendar” but I call it WOOO MAIL TIME!

This email from the past came from the day after I ran my marathon, which may or may not be completely obvious by the answers I gave.

Let’s dive right in!

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1) What day is it?

My answer from the last time capsule (3/25/19): Monday March 25, 2019

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2) What’s the weather like outside?

My answer from the last time capsule (3/25/19): It was 50 degrees when I left the house, but it’s forecasted to be 80 later today! Summer here we come.

Note to past Kim: Ah yes, the beginning of summer enthusiasm. It’s always so pure. Now it’s October and still 90 degrees and I get emotional whenever I look at my sweaters. 

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3) What did you do today?

My answer from the last time capsule (3/25/19): It is currently 8:29 a.m. and I am sitting at my desk. All I’ve done today is moan and groan and limp around because my legs and hurting after yesterday’s MARATHON. I repeat, I ran a marathon yesterday. What is life? I can’t believe it.

Note to past Kim: Honestly, neither can I. But don’t worry, past Kim, I’ve made sure to drop, “I ran a marathon” in more than a few conversations over the last 200 days. I also recently looked at an email advertising an upcoming marathon and said, “run 26.2 miles in a matter of hours? Did it,” before immediately deleting it. 

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4) What’s your favorite song right now?

My answer from the last time capsule (3/25/19): Probably Sucker Punch by Sigrid and The Bones by Maren Morris.

Note to past Kim: It’s weird to comment on your favorite songs of the past, isn’t it? I mean, are they still good? Obviously. Have I probably played some of them too many times? Obviously. 

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5) What’s the most recent movie you’ve seen?

My answer from the last time capsule (3/25/19): Natalee and I watched Pitch Perfect 3 for the first time last night.

Note to past Kim: I honestly have no recollection of this. All I remember the night after the marathon was ordering my favorite burrito for dinner and then ordering myself a cake to celebrate because #selfcare.

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6) Who did you text last and what did you say?

My answer from the last time capsule (3/25/19):  I texted my sister “lol I can only hope that’s what they think”, which was in response to her sympathizing with me feeling self conscious limping to my car this morning and having all of our neighbors look at me very concernedly. She said they are probably thinking I “worked way harder than them this weekend”, but they were more looking at me like they were wondering if they should call the police or take me to the hospital. Not to worry neighbors, just ran a casual marathon yesterday and now my body is broken.

Note to past Kim: I remember this well. I looked like a baby deer for about three days and it was no joke. 

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7) What is your biggest goal right now?

My answer from the last time capsule (3/25/19): To find something new to challenge myself with. I always forget how much proving your own self doubt wrong can make you feel invincible and so I want to find my next big challenge and then conquer it.

Note to past Kim: On it!

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8) What are you most excited about?

My answer from the last time capsule (3/25/19): There are a lot of exciting things on the calendar for this year, but I think right now I’m most excited about Opening Day. It’s this Thursday and it’s the very first time Natalee and I have ever gone. I’m so excited!

Note to past Kim: Good news, girl, the Dodgers set a record for most games won in franchise history! Also, we made the playoffs and are currently fighting our way through the NLDS. I can only hope the next time I hear from you we will have won the World Series, but for now, one step at a time. 

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9) What are you most worried about?

My answer from the last time capsule (3/25/19): This answer seems to stay the same for me, but I keep finding different ways to describe it. I’m most worried about not doing enough to make my life successful, primarily in the eyes of others. I’m working really hard to shift that fear so that I am the one whose opinion matters most, but I have been feeling the weight of other people’s expectations recently.

Note to past Kim: We’re working on it, girl, we’re working on it. 

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10) Tell yourself a really bad joke.

My answer from the last time capsule (3/25/19): I don’t even like this question anymore.

Note to past Kim: Agreed. 

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You can check out this page to see the growing archive of all of my time capsule answers. And don’t forget to check out this post to find out how you can create your own time capsule.

Our next delivery date is: April 24th, 2020

I repeat 2020! A new decade! Exclamation point!

See you there.

 


 

Check out the previous 200 Day Time Capsule Blog here.