life

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We Are All Complex Characters

In a world bustling with digital content, especially sitcoms and dramas available on both mainstream television and a number of streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, etc., it’s safe to say we’ve been introduced to a wide variety of characters in recent years. Some we can relate to, some we can’t; some we love, some we hate. Regardless, we feel like we get a sense of who these characters are, and depending on how long we binge their show on the couch, we sometimes even forget they’re not actually a part of our lives.

I have this problem constantly. When I watch a show I get completely attached to the characters and I talk about them as if they’re my friends or family rather than fictional characters created for entertainment purposes. It’s even worse when I read books.

One thing, perhaps, that makes these characters so real, is a show or book’s ability to give us a nearly 360-degree view of who they are and why they are the way that they are. We can sympathize with decisions they make because we know what’s going on in every facet of their life. And we can root for them because we know the inner workings of their hopes and dreams.

In real life, it’s often hard to remember that we and the people around us are just as three dimensional as fictional characters. We are what they are based on! We, like them,  are all complex and constantly changing and adapting, sometimes to seemingly unbelievable circumstances. We all have individual whys that define who we are and what we do, even if not everyone will be able to see them, or if we are never able to fully identify them within ourselves.

As we go through our day-to-day lives, we will often come into contact with people who rub us the wrong way. And while it’s important to stand up for ourselves and stand firm in what we believe in, I also think it’s important to remember that we don’t know anyone’s “whole story.” We don’t have the 360-degree view. We don’t know how their morning went or how their yesterday treated them and they are equally as ignorant to our lives. So before we jump to conclusions, it couldn’t hurt to give them a little patience.

The truth is, we are all complex characters plodding through our own unique, sometimes over dramatic sitcoms. Some episodes will be good, some will be bad. And just like any multi-season series, you can’t start in the middle and assume you know everything. You have to appreciate that just like you, they’ve probably gone through a lot to get where they are and still have a long road to get where they’re going, and we could all use a little help along the way.

28 Good Things that Happened in February

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

Let’s dive right in!

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1) This dog took a detour

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2) This girl discovered the wonder of books

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3) This couple took some incredible engagement pictures in Bolivia’s Salt Flats

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4) This pig got creative

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5) These choir students joined together to sing the national anthem.

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6) This boy brought his valentine flowers

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7) This spiderman put on a show

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8) This woman found a miracle

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9) The Winter Olympics!

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10) Mr. T discovered curling—and gave all the athletes some encouraging words.

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11) And this family caught their own share of Olympic inspiration

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12) This couple proposed to each other at the exact same time

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13) This professor said hello

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14) Jamie Dornan from 50 Shades and James Corden made an incredible collaboration

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15) This man learned to use a cellphone

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16) This man drew honest portraits of his family

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17) This woman had fun with her trainer

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18) This student wrote a letter to his teacher after her dog, Charlie, died

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19) This family rapped together

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20) Drake bought everyone’s groceries

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21) David Harbour (a.k.a Chief Hopper on Stranger Things) danced with penguins

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22) Tiffany Haddish met Oprah

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23) Olympic favorite Adam Rippon, showed what it’s like to a be a good teammate

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24) Shaun White got to watch fans react to his gold medal winning run

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25) This 4 year old boy donated his bone marrow to save his twin brothers.

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26) This baby was comforted by one of his mommy’s shirts

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27) After living in 24 different foster homes throughout his life, this man was finally adopted. 

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28) Will Smith sang La Bamba

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

I can’t wait to see what March brings!

You can view last month’s post here.

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33 Harmless Things I Hate

Playing off the list I recently made of things that make me happy, my mind started swirling with things that do quite the opposite. It was nothing too intense or traumatic, it was just things that irk me. The things, to put it lightly, I’d just rather not come into contact with in my day to day life. For example:

  1. Spoilers (i.e movie endings, sports results, etc.)
  2. Unwarranted rudeness
  3. Hidden pickles in hamburgers
  4. Chewing noises
  5. Lack of decision making
  6. Decision making
  7. People who don’t use their blinkers
  8. People who walk slow
  9. Clothes tags
  10. Nuts in chocolate
  11. When lotion dries out and hardens
  12. Crooked or off-center picture frames
  13. Online articles that promise you lists but give long paragraphs or glitchy slideshows
  14. People who cheat-merge on the freeway (a.k.a wait way longer than they should to merge and then cut you off)
  15. Dictionary definitions that tell you nothing (for example: if you looked up “protagonist” and it told you something like “the opposite of an antagonist”)
  16. Autocorrects that make no sense (I’m looking at you “haga”)
  17. A dirty kitchen
  18. Static
  19. When socks slip off inside your shoes
  20. Being unable to think of anything else to say to someone besides a vague comment about the weather
  21. Car commercials that trick you into thinking they’re advertising something else
  22. Car commercials in general
  23. Wind
  24. The fact that it never seems to get any easier to wake up for work on time
  25. Finally mustering up the energy to go to the doctor, only to feel 100% fine when you get there
  26. Stores with too many scents
  27. My sensitive stomach that gets motion sickness from EVERYTHING
  28. People who say “you look tired.”
  29. TV episodes (especially season finales) that end with “to be continued”
  30. Getting sunburned in the ONE spot you managed to miss
  31. Tea
  32. Loose fitting shoes
  33. Inconsistency (for example: when the first edition of this post was 34 items long, but this one is only 33…smirking-face_1f60f)

Time Capsule Blog Update!

So, we’ve made it. We are officially in the future!

If you remember a few months back—actually I just checked it was in JULY!­—I made a time capsule blog, a blog-sule, if you will, using FutureMe.Org. I gave myself 10 questions to answer and then I sent them off into the universe, promising I would review and re-answer the questions the day before the Olympics started. (Note: The letter didn’t end up arriving until this morning at 2:15, so technically I have to answer them the day of the Olympics, but we won’t worry about the technicalities)

Let’s see what my answers were!

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1) What day is it?

My answer then: Sunday July 9th, 2017

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2) What’s the weather like outside?

My answer then: HOT. AS. HELL. Well, at least it was earlier. It’s actually not bad now. There’s a nice breeze happening and I’m here for it.

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3) What did you do today?

My answer then: Taught in the elementary class at church, went to Quiznos with my mom, then spent the entirety of the afternoon battling the swarm of ants that have taken over our house. #ant-pocalypse2017

Note for past Kim: OH MY GOSH, ANT-POCALYPSE. I remember that day so clearly now. Don’t worry, your efforts paid off! 

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4) What’s your favorite song right now?

My answer then: Thunder by Imagine Dragons

Note to past Kim: This song will probably always hold a special place in your heart because it helped you run 1000 miles last year!

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

My answer then: I think the Broadway Melody, though if we really want to get into the meat of my television/movie watching ways, LET’S TALK ABOUT GAME OF THRONES. How did Season 7 end? How are we doing with the way it ended? Oh my gosh I’m overwhelmed by all the questions I have.

Note for past Kim: No spoilers to anyone who is behind on Game of Thrones but, past Kim, it was EMOTIONAL! And now we have to wait almost two years for another season and it’s awful. Also, my favorite part about this question is knowing that after watching Broadway Melody, I watched about 70 more movies before the end of the year in order to accomplish my goal see every film that ever won best picture. Those last two months of the year were HECTIC. Procrastination at its finest. 

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

My answer then: A text to Natalee & Rachel in our Roomie text string, in regards to #ant-pocalypse: “they were slowing down pretty good earlier, we found some minor survivors, but applied the appropriate force. I’d hold off on calling for now. Let’s see how the next couple days go.” Follow up question: how DID the next couple days go? Did we win the war of the ants? Did we have to call the Terminix guys and let them take our money?

Note for past Kim: The next couple days went well. After we all had minor panic attacks when the ants returned, we called an ant guy who was an actual, real live superhero and he knocked them out completely. So yes, we did win the war of the ants, but yes, we did fork out some cash to win it.

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7) What is your biggest goal right now?

My answer then: Publish a book

Note to past: In many ways this is a long shot, but the way I see it, even if a book isn’t in the cards, working hard and putting yourself out there is going to pay out to something. So just keep dribbling!

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8) What are you most excited about?

My answer then: At this exact moment, this time capsule blog, but in general I’m excited about the possibility of getting a book out there in the world, I’m excited (and nervous) about my brother leaving for college, and I’m excited about all of the possibilities the future holds if I work hard enough!

Note to past Kim: see above. winking-face_1f609

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9) What are you most worried about?

My answer then: Not accomplishing anything I want to. Being sad, alone, and covered in left over ice cream. The ants coming back. The Dodgers never winning a World Series in my lifetime.

Note to past Kim: Wow, I was feeling pretty down/snarky that day. Don’t fret, past Kim, good things are coming your way! And while the Dodgers still haven’t won a World Series, they did make it to Game 7, and you actually got to go to Game 6!! Bet you never saw THAT coming, did you?! 

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10) Tell yourself a really bad joke.

My answer then: You know you still like the “outstanding invoice” joke from your book. Just admit it.

Note to past Kim: You’re right, I do still love that joke, though only a few people have heard it, since “my book” is not really a thing yet. Maybe one day everyone will hear it. Like I said, keep dribbling!

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Okay now I don’t know about you, but I absolutely loved that. I felt like I was having a great conversation with past me, checking in on where she was then and where I am now, so we can now move forward into what’s coming next. In fact, I think I might just make this a thing. For now I think I’ll stick to the same questions, just to keep things consistent, and then I’ll check in about every 200 days. We’ll call it the 200 Day Time Capsule! You are welcome to join me! If you missed the first time capsule blog, try this next one!

Here’s how it works:

1) Go to FutureMe.org

2) Fill in your email address & put “200 Day Time Capsule Blog” (or whatever you want) as the subject line.

3) Copy and paste the questions below into “Your Letter”

  • What day is it?
  • What’s the weather like outside?
  • What did you do today?
  • What’s your favorite song right now?
  • What’s the most recent movie you’ve seen?
  • Who did you last text and what did you say?
  • What is your biggest goal right now?
  • What are you most excited about?
  • What are you most worried about?
  • Tell yourself a really bad joke.

4) Answer each question

5) Set your “Deliver on” date to 200 days from now, so: August 28th, 2018

6) Click “Send to the Future!”

Note: It will ask you to verify your email before it “officially” sends, so after you click “Send to the Future!” go to your email and click the verification link to make sure your letter officially enters the internet machine!

Note #2: After you click that link, it will take you to a page that tries to get you to donate money. You do not have to donate money. If you want to, you can, I’m sure the lovely people at FutureMe would appreciate your generosity, but otherwise you can just close the window. 

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Come August, we’ll check in on how we’re doing, which I hope is fabulous!

If you did participate in the first time capsule blog, I’d love to hear your results! And if you have any suggestions for future questions, I’d love to hear those as well. If you can’t tell, I’m minorly nerding out about all of this, so any and all suggestions are welcome.

I hope you have a wonderful day and I’ll see you in the future!

Sometimes Friendship is Gummy Bears

About 3-4 years ago I was going through a period of my life when I genuinely believed I didn’t have very many (see: enough) friends. I considered myself a master of acquaintances, succeeding in keeping most people at arm’s length to ensure that a) I wouldn’t get hurt and b) I wouldn’t disappoint anyone. Some days I told myself I was satisfied, other days I wasn’t so convinced.

Combined with shyness and bouts of social anxiety, I struggled knowing what kind of friend I should be. I read articles and watched how other friendships worked, and though I wasn’t necessarily dissatisfied with my relationships, I constantly worried that other people were. I thought I was too boring, I thought I was too quiet. I was too this or not enough that and I drove myself crazy, making notes on what I could improve on or what I should do differently.

In time, I came to realize that these fears were all linked to the insecurities I felt as a person, rather than the weaknesses I had as a friend. I’m not saying I am or have ever been a perfect friend, however, in not accepting and loving the person I was, I was doing a disservice to both myself and to anyone I tried to start a friendship with.

These days, I consider myself very lucky to have an amazing group of friends. And while I would still consider myself a guarded person, I have a much easier time opening that door because I’m proud of the person I’m introducing on the other side. In light of this however, I still find myself having those doubtful days. With a constant stream of articles, quizzes and social media anecdotes that define what friendship should look like or feel like or sound like, sometimes I’m still left wondering if I’m a good enough/entertaining enough/honest enough/etc. friend.

For example, the other day I read an article that was titled something like, “You Can’t Consider Yourself Best Friends with Someone Unless…” and it went on to list a number of conversations and experiences the author considered defining for a friendship. I clicked on the article in hopes of finding relatable experiences I could share with my friends, however, as I read through it I didn’t recognize myself in a single thing. Does this mean all my friendships are fake? Of course not! Does it mean that we live in a world where friendships are as unique as we are and should be understood accordingly? I’d like to think so!

The way I see it, friendship is what you make it. There is no definable timeline, there are no parameters and there are no “you’re not actually friends unless…” Friendship can be big, it can be small, and it can be shown with words and actions alike.

About a week ago, after having a terrible day and coming home on the verge of tears, my roommate, Rachel, presented me with a small packet of gummy bears. It was the last packet leftover from my sister’s birthday—which featured a taco piñata full of mini alcohol and candy—thus making it precious cargo.

“I just want your day to be better,” she said as she handed them to me. And it genuinely was!

I know it sounds silly and small, but in that moment it made me feel loved and understood, which is really what friendship is all about. It’s not about being a specific this or that or talking about this or experiencing that. Sometimes it’s just someone willing to give up their gummy bears. And when you can find people like that, you stop worrying about whether you have “enough” friends, because having even one friend like that is a far greater gift.

34 Things that Make Me Happy

While reading Lily Collins’ book, Unfiltered, I fell in love with a chapter where she listed things that maker her happy. She made sure to be specific, which I thought was important because it made the list unique to her, and I can only assume made her smile while she was writing it. After reading through her list, I was immediately inspired to make my own. So, here are 34 things that make me happy:

  1. Writing (figured I’d start with an obvious one)
  2. Night driving with loud music
  3. John Cusack movies
  4. Laughing at commercials that shouldn’t be funny
  5. Macaroni & cheese
  6. Watching sports (on TV or in person, both ones I know and new ones I can obsessively ask questions about so I can learn the rules)
  7. Converse shoes
  8. Chocolate milk
  9. Watching awards shows and crying when people achieve their dreams
  10. Getting even one Jeopardy question right
  11. Houseplants (especially those that don’t die right after I buy/plant them)
  12. Fishing
  13. Harry Potter
  14. Finding the perfect gift
  15. Collecting ticket stubs, programs, menus, or any other souvenir I can get when I go somewhere new
  16. Proving myself (and others) wrong
  17. Listening to podcasts when I get ready in the morning
  18. Saying words that end in “-sts” (a.k.a lists, casts, etc. I just love that noise!)
  19. Ice cream in waffle cones
  20. When waiters bring you mints with your bill
  21. A clean house
  22. Making people laugh
  23. Dangly earrings
  24. Excel spreadsheets
  25. Going to church
  26. The Olympics
  27. Trying every single new flavor of Oreo
  28. Crossword puzzles
  29. Dancing at weddings
  30. Requesting Whitney Houston’s, “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” at weddings
  31. A good playlist
  32. Big cozy jackets
  33. Finding weird places to stop/things to look at on road trips (i.e. WLRA’s)
  34. Ending this list on my lucky number (17) multiplied by 2. (a.k.a nerdy math-ish things)

My Google Search History

Did you know there is a limit of Internet windows you can have open on your phone? Did you know that it is extremely possible to reach that limit?

Well I do, and I have…5 times.

The first time was an accident—well actually, every single time has been an accident. I’m just a very curious person who will Google anything and everything, if only to level up in the fun fact department. Though I suppose that doesn’t necessarily explain why I never close any windows. Maybe I subconsciously keep them open in case I need to refer to them later, like it’s my own personal detective’s notebook. Or, more than likely, I just Google something and then turn my phone off and never think about it again.

Regardless, as I am once again approaching the window limit, I thought I might look back at (at least some of) what got me there. Let’s take a dive into the mind of past-Kim.

(Wait, is this a good idea?)

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1) Dodgers radio

My best guess why: I was desperately trying to find a way to listen to the games leading up to the playoffs and ultimately the World Series…which we ended up losing. Ouch. The wound is still fresh, let’s move on.

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2) How long are diced tomatoes good for?

My best guess why: It was a classic “I’m so glad I saved this Tupperware of diced tomatoes so I can make the most of the groceries I bought. But, uhhh, are these still any good though? Strictly speaking, what are my odds of dying if I eat these?” You know, one of those conversations you have with yourself—too often, probably—and so you turn to the Internet for guidance. FYI: when stored in a Tupperware, diced tomatoes are good for one week in the fridge.

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3) The best of 80s fashion

My best guess why: A friend of the family was having an 80’s themed birthday party and my mom and I were at Target next to the chokers trying to figure out if we wanted to go halfway or all out. Spoiler alert: we went all out.

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4) Cajeta

My best guess why: Whenever I go out to eat and find an ingredient on the menu I don’t recognize, I look it up both for educational purposes, and to ensure I don’t accidentally order something spicy because I’m a giant baby and would start profusely sweating/crying/begging for milk, etc. FYI: it’s essentially caramelized goat’s milk.

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5) Prohibition Facts

My best guess why: Your guess is as good as mine. I have no idea when or where I would have needed/wanted to drop knowledge about Prohibition, but apparently that conversation happened at some point.

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6) Last minute Halloween costume ideas

My best guess why: I’m really not a Halloween person, so “last minute costume ideas” is really just code for, “someone made me dress up this year.” That being said however, I’d like to think my costume this year wasn’t a complete and total failure. I put on my best set of nerdy glasses and a dinosaur shirt I bought at a greeting card store, and then I spent a solid hour gluing Smarties to my pants, thus transforming me into “Smarty Pants.” Fun fact: my sister stabbed plastic knives into cereal boxes to become a “Cereal Killer.” Sorry not sorry for the puns.

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7) Chow Chow Dog Yoga

My best guess why: My sister gave my dad a “Dogs Doing Yoga” calendar for Christmas last year and this image headed one month:

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It instantly became one of my favorite images of all time and so sometimes when I’m feeling down I give it a glance. It’s almost a foolproof strategy for joy, if you’re ever looking for one.

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8) Rapper with Pointy Teeth

My best guess why: My roommate asked me, “have you ever seen that rapper with the pointy teeth?” And then I said, “What are you talking about?” And then Google was like, you mean THIS GUY:

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I’m still traumatized.

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9) GOTR abbreviation

My best guess why: While on vacation in Colorado last year, my best friend and I saw Needtobreathe in concert at Red Rocks Amphitheater. As we waited for the show to start, we came across a guy in a shirt that said “GOTR” across the front. A Google search would reveal the initials represented a band called Ghost of the Robot, but before doing so we decided to make out best guesses:

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10) Brian & Brittney Kelley Fashion

My best guess why: In September of last year I went to a Florida Georgia Line concert where I was showed a series of photos of the band, some of which included this jacket:

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Upon arriving home that evening and over the course of the next few weeks, I was OBSESSED with finding this jacket, unfortunately to no avail, and this website is a residual breadcrumb. It’s the clothing brand of one of the lead singers of the band, which I’m pretty sure I tried to put a hex on after sifting through every single page of the website at two in the morning and coming up empty. Apologies for that, Brian and Brittney, I’m sure the clothes are lovely if not severely overpriced and completely lacking the one item I was looking for. I’m totally over it though. I’m not bitter and I’m not spiraling back into Google to find the jacket that I still need would very much enjoy owning. I’m totally in contro…

Just Keep Dribbling

There is a boy in my neighborhood, probably about 12 or 13 years old, who is constantly dribbling a basketball on the sidewalk in front of his house. When I get home from work, he’s out there. When I go to the gym, he’s out there. When I sit on my couch trying to find inspiration for a blog post, he’s out there, just like he is right now. Dribbling and dribbling and dribbling.

Now, I don’t know what this boy’s dreams are. I don’t know if he wants basketball to be his life, or if maybe it already is. I don’t know if he wants to play in the NBA or if dribbling on his front porch is just how he blows off steam. But when I hear him out there, I smile, because I recognize the habit or the vice or the passion or whatever basketball is to him. For me, it’s been writing, it’s been photography, it’s been books, it’s been sports, and a number of other things.

These passions, these vices, these dreams all start small. They all start with just a dribble. And in order to make them real, to turn them into something tangible and successful and satisfying, we have to keep dribbling. Even when the days start to go by faster, even when our schedules start to get fuller, even when our bodies start to grow tired.

In my life, there are things I want to accomplish. Tons of things. Heck, I even have lists of them on the Internet. But while some of these things may seem impossible, some of them may seem far-fetched or unlikely or incredibly difficult, some of them might even be things I’ll change my mind on in a few years, what’s important is that I’m trying. Day in, day out, I’m trying. I’m working. To make myself better. To make myself stronger. To remind myself that no matter what life throws at me, I can keep working.

When I see that boy outside his house, I wonder what he’s working towards. If it’s basketball, I wonder if there are days when he sits inside with the ball in his lap, telling himself to just give up. Then I think about the things I’m working towards, some of which I’ve grown frustrated with the lack of progress on, and I ask myself if it’s because they’re not meant to be, or if I’ve just spent too many days indoors with the ball in my lap.

At the end of the day, it’s all about taking those small steps. As hard is it is to believe, they do add up and they will pay off. We just have to keep dribbling. And dribbling. And dribbling.

The Lavender Milk & Honey Cocoon (Adventures at the Spa: Part 3)

If you’ll recall this post I wrote a couple of years ago, I was…anxious about my first ever massage. But since I survived, and—with some reflection—understood there were in fact benefits, I decided that once I hit my 1000-mile running goal, I’d give massages another go.

Before I ever went to a spa, I used make passing comments that if I did, I’d rather they “wrap me in a leaf” or “put me in mud for a few hours” than give me a massage. While one of those wishes was more or less fulfilled a few years back (which you can read about here) I decided that this post-running spa trip probably would (and should) consist of a massage.

Fast-forward a few weeks to the Friday after Christmas. My mom had put in an extensive amount of research to try and make my spa day dreams come true, and as we sat on cushioned lounge chairs in white cloth robes, waiting to be called back to our individual rooms, I was both anxious and excited.

“Kimberlee,” a woman said as she approached us.

“That’s me.”

She guided me down a hallway and pointed to a white door, all the while explaining what would be involved in my lavender milk and honey cocoon. (Yeah, remember that leaf I’d always wanted? That idea went out the window the minute I learned of the opportunity to go full insect on the world.)

I walked into the room and my masseuse, Natalie (the same name as my sister, a.k.a her first win in my book) told me she was going to step out of the room for a few minutes. In that time, I could adjust the lighting, the music being played, the temperature of the room, and finally, take off my robe and lie on my stomach.

I didn’t end up changing any of the settings she mentioned, but on par with both of the other spa experiences I’ve had, I spent a solid amount of time on the underwear debate. Do I keep it on? Do I take it off? Should I have taken it off before she led me back here?

With my robe already off, and my underwear in my hand, I paced back and forth across the room—in perhaps the strangest way I’ve ever thought something over—and eventually decided to tuck my underwear in my robe pocket. When Natalie knocked, I was under the covers with my face stuffed into that pillow that always seems one size too small.

“Alright Ms. Kim, we’re going to start with the body buff.”

And for the next twenty minutes, I was quite literally buffed. Using a scrub that felt like sandy soap (in a good way?) I felt like she was exercising every imperfection out of my skin. The only hiccup was when she reached for my stomach and my skin literally moved away from her hands, like a cartoon character fidgeting away from danger. Luckily Natalie seemed unfazed and finished the spiff job like I was a classic car going to auction.

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She then asked me to stand up, rinse off in the shower—which I didn’t even notice was there—then come back in with my towel open in the back and sit up straight on the table. It was pretty straightforward. And aside from feeling slightly like I was at the gyno, I was excited for step two, a.k.a THE COCOON.

Now, it’s probably clear—or if it isn’t, allow me to clarify—I am a human girl. However, once my masseuse began to lather—not sprinkle, not dab, LATHER—the honey & lavender milk mixture on my skin, I quickly began my transformation into a mouth watering KFC biscuit. And while I kept wanting to feel, I don’t know, gross because of how much I undoubtedly resembled a human flytrap, I managed to maintain a head space of bliss rather than bleh.

I’d like to say this was from my newly found spa-maturity, however, I’m 100% sure it was attributed to the fact that after she finished a section of my body she would layer on hot towels, making me feel like a moisturized mummy, something I never knew I wanted to be. And if that wasn’t great enough, once I was to honey what Eggo waffles should be to syrup, she pulled the sides of the weighted blanket I was laying on over me and tied me into it.

I repeat, SHE TIED ME INTO IT.

It was like I was a 5 year old being burrito-ed into bed by my dad all over again and I was LIVING. FOR. IT.

As a final step, she turned off the lights, giving me an ample atmosphere for my caterpillar/peasant to moth/full blown goddess transformation. Then, after just the right amount of time (i.e. long enough that I could have grown honey scented wings but not so long that I’d develop cocoon claustrophobia a.k.a a level of fear I never want to unlock) Natalie slowly lifted the lights, unzipped me and told me to rinse off in the shower again.

Once I was back on the table, we began the 50-minute massage included with the package, which was substantially less terrifying than my first one. Mostly because I knew what to expect, but also because by that point I felt like Natalie and I had been through a lot together and I trusted she wouldn’t do anything to break the strong (probably one-sided) bond we’d built. In the end, I’m happy to report the massage went off without a hitch, save for the few minutes at the end when the music changed to what sounded like the soundtrack to The Godfather, and I lost focus on relaxation and started thinking about you know, murder.

When Natalie was finished, she heated my robe in…umm…a magical robe heater…I assume—I honestly have no idea—and then she once again stepped out, giving me privacy to get dressed. As you can imagine, getting up sounded impossible at this point, let alone getting dressed and reentering the real world. But I managed to muster up the strength (see: courage). Afterwards, Natalie led me back down the hallway to the cushiony lounge chairs where it all began. She also gave me an apple and a magazine with an article about JK Rowling in it, making me wonder if I should just propose. Before I could decide however, she was gone.