random

July/August Favorites

Hello and welcome back to another edition of favorites!

I have officially given up on creative introductions.

.

Podcasts

TheNextRightThing1

I haven’t been in a huge podcast mood these past couple months, so not only am I behind on most of the shows that I already listen to, I haven’t been actively hunting for new ones either. That being said however, I did come across The Next Right Thing, which is a short, faith based podcast that, like the song in Frozen 2 (even though this podcast pre-dates the movie) encourages you to take one positive step forward. Almost all of the episode are less than 15 minutes, giving you a little burst of inspiration each week. Highly recommend!

.

Books

What I’ve been lacking in podcast motivation, I’ve definitely made up for in good books. First off, This is Going to Hurt, written by (now) TV writer Adam Kay. It chronicles his 6 years as a doctor and is full of hilarious, terrifying, and heart wrenching stories. As soon as I started it I recommended it to my mom so we could laugh and cringe our way through it together and we both loved it!

Next, A Very Punchable Face by Colin Jost. This is truly one of the funniest books I’ve ever read. I already loved Colin Jost from Saturday Night Live, but his wit and sense of humor shine in this memoir, and it was exactly what I needed during this crazy year. I listened to the audiobook which was fantastic, but if you are able, I’d recommend reading the eBook/physical copy, as there are tons of hilarious stories that have accompanying photographs I wish I could have seen.

And finally, Black Widow by Leslie Gray Streeter. The full title of the book is Black Widow: A Sad-Funny Journey Through Grief for People Who Normally Avoid Books with Words Like Journey in the Title, which is long, but accurate. After suddenly losing her husband to a heart attack, the author documents the next year of her life, somehow finding humor that can make you laugh out loud. As a writer, I greatly admired her ability to turn to writing during such a hard time, and then to have the courage to share it, it was a very inspiring, heartbreaking and heartwarming read.

.

TV Shows

sphe-COMMUNITY_S2-Full-Image_GalleryCover-en-US-1486136249175._UY500_UX667_RI_VXz8n4eA47bbQaQB2ril6SwQ2rJ1uKWU_TTW_

I don’t know how many times my brother recommended Community before I finally started watching it, but I’d like to formally apologize for waiting so long. It is so funny, so smart, so clever, and it never fails to make me laugh. I’m genuinely bummed I didn’t watch this show when it was on the air, but I’m so glad I’m watching it now! (find it on Netflix)

.

Movies

51vOvYulxIL._AC_

I have been trading movie recommendations with a friend of mine and Enemy came up a couple weeks ago and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. What is it about, you might ask? I can’t tell you. Because 1) it’s really, truly, a you need to see it to believe it type of movie and 2) I’m still not really sure. I will say though, I found this article really helpful in the aftermath. (find it on Amazon)

.

Music

Taylor_Swift_-_Folklore

I don’t think I’m alone when I say that the main album that stole my heart over these last couple months is folklore by Taylor Swift. It was such a great surprise and a welcome comfort in this crazy times. I have fully embraced its rainy day attitude, even on the hottest of days in Southern California.

Alongside that, I have also had a handful of songs I’ve been playing on repeat, some summery, some sad, some comforting. A little bit of everything:

  • MadHappySad by BabyJake
  • Pretty Please by Dua Lipa
  • Catching Feelings by Drax Project & SIX60
  • Famous For (I Believe) by Tauren Wells & Jenn Johnson
  • Hurting by Kygo & Rhys Lewis
  • Closer by POWERS
  • Rager teenager! by Troye Sivan
  • Passerby by Patrick Droney
  • Waste of a Lime by Ingrid Andress
  • Fighting for Me by Riley Clemmons

.

These Amazon Shelves

IMG_9989

I am a collector of vintage cameras, and I have long been looking for a way to properly display them and so I was very excited to find these frames on Amazon. They are affordable, easy to hang, and sturdy enough that I could set up my cameras without fear. I would also recommend some Museum Putty, which I used to stick the cameras to the shelves (and the wall) since California seems to be a little earthquake happy at the moment. (find them here)

.

Face Mask Applicators

31eJremOLgL

I had heard rumblings about these guys around social media, but wasn’t sure if they were really worth the money. But upon finding a cheap two pack on Amazon, I pulled the trigger and can honestly say they are WORTH IT. They save product, help you apply masks more evenly, and make you feel like you are painting a masterpiece on your face, which is delightful. (find them here)

.

See my previous favorites post here.

There is More

Since I have been lucky enough to continue going into the office for work, I am among the (far fewer) commuters in the morning and afternoon. And lately on my way home, I have been taking the freeway a few exits past my own, and then driving up and down the side streets around my neighborhood, just listening to music and decompressing. I like looking at the different houses—especially the front doors, I love a pop of color on a front door—and seeing which roads wind into each other, which ones dead end, and which go up into the hills.

I also like driving around and finding the little spots that hold memories for me, some good, some bad, some from over a decade ago, and some from only a few months before everything shut down.

I can drive down the street where the food trucks park on Friday nights, where my cousin once jogged down the very windy, cold street to get a churro for us to split before the cart closed.

I can drive past the pancake restaurant my friends and I use to eat at once a week in high school, before we spent the night driving around blasting music—sometimes with added choreography.

I can drive past the front lawn where I saw the boy I liked take prom pictures with another girl.

I can drive past the park where I ate cake with my best friend the week before she moved away.

I can drive past the house with the orange tree out front, where my grandparents use to live and my papa used to let me sit on his lap while he pulled into the driveway.

On some streets I can hear myself laughing so hard with my friends that I can’t breathe; on other streets I can feel the heaviness of a hard day and hear the sad songs carrying me home; and on some streets I think of a specific person, specific food, specific weather pattern or specific song for reasons I can’t remember anymore.

More than anything, the driving around reminds me that the world is still out there. It reminds me that I’m alive—that I’ve lived a life. And it gives me hope that I still have lots of life left to live.

There are more memories to make out there, more spots to claim pieces of my mind and my memory. There is more than what I see from inside my house, more than what I feel inside my own head, and more than what we hear on the news or social media. There is more out there and we will find it.

My Google Search History (Part 6)

If I’m being honest, I truly thought I was “getting better” at not hoarding internet windows on my phone. I don’t know what gave me this impression—aside from perhaps blind optimism—but when I lost an internet window I was looking at because it got shuffled into the 67 other open windows, it was clear that I was mistaken.

*sigh*

Oh well.

Here are some notable searches from this round of hoarding:

.

1) How many currencies are there in circulation?

Why I Googled this: Sometimes questions just pop into your head for no reason and you have to know the answer—which in this case is 180.

.

2) How many earthquakes happen every day?

Why I Googled this:  My family has felt way more earthquakes than usual over the last few months and we weren’t sure if this is because more are happening or if quarantine’s sedentary nature has simply made us more aware of them. As a result, both my mom and sister have download earthquake tracking apps, and consistently update me on what’s happening in Southern California and around the world. It should also be noted that my sister seems to have developed what I have started referring to as “quake-sense,” as she can seemingly feel an every earthquake, no matter how small it is. So I guess if 2020 brought us anything, it’s a sixth sense for my sister.

.

3) Canceled or cancelled?

Why I Googled this: While driving one day I saw a sign stating that an upcoming concert had been canceled, but canceled was spelled “cancelled”, and I made a passing comment about the editor’s clear lack of spellcheck. But then when I started to think about it, both seemed correct, and when I did a Google search, I found that both are correct. Apparently “canceled” is more common in American English while “cancelled” is more common in British English. While typing this, I honestly can’t decide which one looks more correct and I honestly have no idea how I’ve written it for my entire American life, especially when “cancellation” has two L’s. So excuse me while I have a minor identity crisis.

.

4) Birds in clothes

Why I Googled this: It was late. A couple friends and I were talking about my sister’s fear of birds and the question came up of whether birds would be more or less scary in clothes. You can decide for yourself:

RenderedImage

.

5) Knock you naked brownies

Why I Googled this: Because once you hear about this recipe in passing, you have to find out what all the fuss is about. In my case, I just copied the link and politely sent it to my sister because she is the baker in the family. And while I can truthfully say that I did remain clothed while consuming these brownies, they were in fact delicious.

You can find the recipe here.

1386802337898

.

6) Stefan Tiger King meme

Why I Googled this: After weeks of refusing to watch the widely talked about documentary Tiger King, my sister and I eventually gave in. Shortly after we finished, I came across this meme, which not only called on one of my favorite SNL characters of all time, but gave a hilariously accurate summary of the chaos we had just witnessed.

oq538go015p41

.

7) Which “character” are you personality quiz

Why I Googled this: My sister heard about this quiz that compares your personality to characters found in popular movies and television shows and then gives you your closest match. Obviously, I had to know.

You can find the quiz here.

You can also find more personality tests in this blog post from last week.

.

8) “Shitting the old block”

Why I Googled this: While on a zoom call, my cousin told me a story that included this phrase, which she used as a hybrid of “making something up” and “talking shit.” I immediately flinched and asked her to repeat it because 1) I was 99% sure this wasn’t a phrase and 2) if it was a phrase, I wanted to get on board. As of now, the internet claims it doesn’t exist, though everything has to start somewhere.

.

9) Rocking chair

Why I Googled this: I have absolutely no idea. Did I want a rocking chair? Was I curious of how much they cost? Had I temporarily forgot what a rocking chair was? The world may never know.

.

10) Stodgy

Why I Googled this: My sister and I have recently gotten into a British cooking show on Netflix called “The Big Family Cookoff,” and sometimes the judges make comments regarding the dishes using words we’ve never heard before. “Stodgy” is defined as “heavy, filling and high in carbohydrates”—or what I would probably describe as “dense.”

.

11) Hummingbird mating ritual

Why I Googled this: My mom had mentioned to me that a hummingbird kept showing up in the backyard and flying in these big, sweeping patterns and so we took to Google to figure out why. According to this article, when courting a female, a male hummingbird will do “insane aerial moves to show her how strong, controlled, and just general fantastic he is.” So, go off, Mr. Hummingbird. Get your girl.

.

12) Would You Rather questions

Why I Googled this: It’s summer now, which means (at least in my family) there will be a lot of barbecuing in the backyard while talking, drinking and watching the sun go down. And sometimes it’s fun to throw curveballs into the conversation. One night I scrolled through this list of questions and my family and I spoke animatedly about how we would answer them. Our favorite (and most dividing) question: Would you rather find your true love or a suitcase with five million dollars inside?

.

13) How to water a prayer plant?

Why I Googled this: My dad gifted me a prayer plant a few months back and I have been desperately trying to keep it alive. Though, if you read this post from a few weeks back, you’ll know this is not necessarily my specialty. Nonetheless, I’m trying my best.

.

14) Trapper Keeper

Why I Googled this: Some friends and I were talking about school supplies and someone mentioned having a “trapper keeper.” The name didn’t sound familiar and instead sent me on a tangent thinking about “tracker jackers,” which are genetically engineered wasps mentioned in the Hunger Games trilogy. Upon seeing pictures, I realized I did know what they were, however, I had no idea that is what they are called.

rs_1024x759-131216141827-1024.-90s-trapper-keeper

.

15) Corfu

Why I Googled this: Because nothing makes you want to travel more than being temporarily banned from traveling. And because the pictures are pretty and when I close my eyes I can almost pretend I’m there instead of at work.

Porto-Timoni-corfu-beaches

.

And just like that, all my internet windows were closed again.

Until next time.

Because let’s be honest there will probably always be a next time.


 

You can read the previous episode of this series here. 

If You Have Time to Kill, Take These Personality Tests (Part Two)

One of my favorite ways to kill time—quarantine or not—is to take personality tests. I love unlocking new sections of my mind, gaining a new understanding of my psyche and defending myself against results that seem too dead on to be possible.

So, if you are looking to get to know yourself (or your friends and family, your dog or maybe a houseplant you’ve started openly talking to at this point) a little better, and start arguments that are sure to expedite the time between sleep and snacks, take these tests for a spin.

You can also check out this post from last year with even more personality tests, including one that tells you what kind of potato you are, which I personally think is a VERY important thing to know.

.

1) What character are you?

This will tell you which fictional character you are most like.

My Result: Rosalind Walker

IMG_9820

Also, if you scroll down and click “show all” next to full match list, it gives you 800 other characters that you bear some resemblance to. I highlighted a few of my favorite top matches:

IMG_9821

And a few that I was very glad to be very dissimilar to:

IMG_9823

Find the test here.

.

2) Visual DNA Test

This test uses images in the place of text for you to choose from to answer each question. (And to be honest gives you scary accurate results.)

My Result: The Olympian

Screen Shot 2020-07-18 at 6.27.16 PM

Find the test here.

.

3) Color Personality Test

This test asks you to select colors first based on your most favorite to least favorite, and then least favorite to most favorite. I have absolutely no idea how it calculates your personality from this, but science is weird.

My Result:

Color test results

Find the test here.

.

4) See My Personality IQ Test

This test will make you feel like you are back in school again, which for me was not extremely enjoyable, but it was fun to stretch my brain a little.

My Result: 119

iq pt1

Find the test here.

.

5) Which artificial flavor are you?

This test gives an answer you’ve clearly been looking for.

My Result: Blue raspberry

Screen Shot 2020-07-18 at 6.14.04 PM

Find the test here.

.

Once again, I cannot and will not claim any responsibility for any emotional confusion/identity crises that may result in the taking of these quizzes. However, it is worth stating that blue raspberry is the best flavor of Jolly Rancher without any competition at all. So I personally I am walking away feeling pretty good today.

Strange Things I’ve Heard My Sister Say While She was Playing Animal Crossing

My sister works hard. She has a tough job that keeps her mind (and schedule) constantly busy and so when her workday comes to an end, it’s no surprise that she looks for ways to decompress. Sometimes this comes in the form of an early bedtime, sometimes it’s exercise, sometimes it’s dinner with friends, and sometimes it’s Animal Crossing.

Having played the game when it first came out on the Nintendo Game Cube in 2001, she was excited when the new version for the Nintendo Switch came out earlier this year, and bought it on a whim while we were out on one of our very first quarantine shopping trips.

Personally, I don’t play the game and so my understanding is based solely on what she tells me. Thus, in the time I’ve spent sitting in the living room watching TV while she plays Animal Crossing in the chair next to me, I have heard plenty of out of context comments that, while I have no doubt make sense to her and other players of the game, tend to sound a little strange to those of us who remain uneducated in the *island* life.

Here are some of my favorite things I’ve heard her say:

.

How much is this antique chest? Ugh, it’s 20,000? I only have 80,000 left because I spent all my money on turnips.

.

I feel like there’s a trick to catching sharks that I don’t know.

.

Damnit! I got stung by bees again.

.

I dug up all my money trees today.

.

*talking to our friend Kristine on the phone who was also playing Animal Crossing*

Kristine: Would you like a piano, a guitar, or a keyboard?

Natalee: I’ll take any of those instruments because I’m trying to create an instrument land.

.

Should I give my sea things to back to the beaver or sell them to Tom Nook?

.

I’m just shooting down balloons with presents.

.

I love that you can change clothes in the refrigerator.

.

I need another retro chair to complete my kitchen.

.

*gasps* I’VE FALLEN IN A HOLE!

.

Me (while Natalee showed me the house she’s built in the game): What are those things hanging on the walls?

Natalee: All of my awards.

.

How do I make my mailbox cuter?

.

This green goat really isn’t that nice. I tried to make him leave by giving him a trash wall that I built, but all he said was, “not sure what I’ll do with this.” I hate him.

.

I made a new summer wreath for my door.

.

Somebody gave me a karate outfit today. It wasn’t very flattering.

.

Has anyone seen where I put my scuba mask?

.

Hold on a second, I have to take my fossils to the museum.

.

May/June Favorites

Hello friends! We are back with another addition of favorites, and we’ve got some good stuff!

.

Podcasts

It has been a dark time without sports, and I have particularly missed baseball, but Off Air with Joe & Orel has helped fill the void. If you are a Dodger fan who has both missed the boys in blue and is excited they are finally coming back this week, this is the podcast for you!

Also, a big goal of mine for this year has been to get to know myself and find a better foundation in my values, beliefs, opinions, etc. To do that, I have made an effort to better educate myself on the different stories, perspectives and opinions of others. Over the last couple months, there has been a surge of resources, both in the news, on social media, and among friends and family and 1619 was definitely a standout. It is a well made, very thought provoking podcast that follows the start of slavery after the first ship carrying African slaves landed in Virginia in the year 1619.

.

Books

While I don’t always have the patience for suspenseful books (because I just want to know what happens NOW) The Woman in the Window was worth the read and especially worth the wait. It follows Anna, a psychologist who is currently unemployed and living alone due to a mysterious onset of agoraphobia. I listened to the audiobook  and I definitely had a few moments where I stopped dead in my tracks and gasped out loud.

Speaking of reasons to gasp, I am now listening to a book about dead bodies. Stiff is a book I started a while back and LOVED but never got the chance to finish. It is a very scientific read, but also finds a way to be quite funny as you learn about the lives (?) and history of cadavers, as well as the decomposition process as a whole. I will admit, it is not a book for everyone, but I think it’s absolutely fascinating.

.

TV Shows

Depending on what you’re in the mood for, I’d first and foremost recommend Dark, which is a sci-fi show on Netflix that I’d love to explain and summarize for you but it is one of those shows that you just have to watch to understand. I was hooked after one episode and was constantly sending my brother (who recommended it to me) texts loaded with caps lock and explanation points as I watched the story unfold. Note: it is in German, but you can choose to watch it with subtitles or dubbed in English. Personally, I preferred the subtitles because I liked being able to hear the actors’ real voices. (You can find it on Netflix.)

Next, Normal People. Based on the book by Sally Rooney, this show follows the story of Connell and Marianne, who fall in love in high school, but have a lot of growing up to do  before they can find truly find their way to each other. It is beautiful and sad and a little frustrating at times, but so so good. Plus, I love any show that takes me to Ireland. (You can find it on Hulu.)

On the lighthearted, funny, and undeniably witty side: Never Have I Ever. I was pretty much sold on this show the minute I saw Mindy Kaling’s name on it, and it did not disappoint. The episodes are short and charming and often made me laugh out loud, I look forward to (and hope for!) another season. (You can find it on Netflix.)

And finally, my biggest commitment of the last couple months: The Last Kingdom. This was another recommendation by my brother, who has slowly become my Netflix guru. I was unsure at first if I could get into a show about Vikings in the middle ages, but by season three I was calling my brother, complaining that one of the characters didn’t even get to “die a warrior’s death.” So. It’s safe to say, I got into it. (You can find it on Netflix.)

.

Music

I have mostly been in the mood for some slow, calming music these last couple months, but I have also had bursts of wanting to dance around to some fun, summery goodness. That being said, these are some albums that have given me both.

Lady Like by Ingrid Andress

Go Somewhere by John Splithoff

Patrick Droney by Patrick Droney

Golden Hour by Kygo

.

Aveda Shampoo

613YTRX1uDL._SL1500_

I have long been at war with my hair and I had reached a point where I thought it was as good/clean/healthy/etc. as it was going to get, but this shampoo from Aveda has changed the game for me! It popped up as a recommendation for me after looking for shampoos that can help with the ever fun combination of a dry scalp and oily roots and it has truly made all the difference! Pro tip: wash your hair twice.  (You can find it here.)

.

The Daily Page Planner

il_1588xN.2098407604_1vtm

If you are someone who 1) loves being organized and 2) often has trouble staying organized, this planner is for you. It was recommended to me by someone I follow on Instagram and it is truly a treat. It helps you track your goals for the day, your water intake, your meal planning, and pretty much anything else you just want to write down and get out of your head. I like to sit down each morning and do it as I eat my breakfast, and even if I don’t get to check every box throughout the day, it is a great resource to better organize the jumbled mess that is my mind. (You can find it here.)

.

Tangle Newsletter

2efeeccd-ba29-42c1-bfe3-923b60061e9d_1100x200

This is perhaps one of my favorites of my favorites because it is something that I have been looking for for a very long time. I have subscribed and then unsubscribed to a number of e-newsletters, constantly discouraged by the one sided nature of the content or overwhelmed by my lack of understanding of the content. While I want to stay informed and aware of where I stand on important issues, I find it hard to form a valid opinion when someone is essentially telling me that if I don’t agree with every aspect of their opinion I am a terrible person. Thus, I bring you Tangle, a bipartisan newsletter that gives a good roundup of important facts and figures, and then focuses in on one important issue each day and breaks down the opposing arguments.  I am currently subscribed to the free newsletter, which sends you an email every Monday-Thursday, but there is more content available with a paid subscription.  (You can find it here.)

.

Have anything you’ve been loving over these last couple months? Let me know!

See my previous favorites post here.

Learning Internet Slang (Part 5)

It’s that time again, my friends.

Time to search the corners of the internet for the strangest slang terms in circulation and then see if my friends and family have any idea what they mean. As always (in my opinion) the guesses were better than the actual answers, and we even decided to completely redefine one of the terms—at least in the confines of our family.

Here were the results:

1) Speaking cursive

Urban Dictionary Definition: speaking so abstractly it sounds like gibberish; usually performed when intoxicated.

Dad’s Guess: Being very elegant and precise when you talk. Because cursive is impossible for me.

Natalee: You have the most “print” style writing ever.

Mom’s Guess: Quoting someone else.

Natalee’s Guess: Talking fancy? Like, “Now you’re speaking cursive.”

.

2) Simp

Urban Dictionary Definition: someone who does something nice for the person they have feelings for in the hopes that it will make that person want to date them.

Natalee’s Guess: I put “so important.” As in the “s” from so and the “imp” from important, and you would say, “that’s a simp thing to remember.”

Mom’s Guess: Simple. “That’s so simp, I could do that in a minute.”

Natalee: That’s where my head went first too, but then I thought, “That’s too simple.”

Mom: Too simp?

Natalee: Exactly! That’s so simp!

Dad’s Guess: I did the same as mom. I said easy, as in, “I could do that for you, it would be totally simp.”

.

3) Big yikes

Urban Dictionary Definition: a situation that has evolved from a “yikes” to a more severe type cringy, uncomfortable, embarrassing or otherwise unfortunate moment.

Mom’s Guess: Holy moly! Big yikes! Something bad.

Natalee’s Guess: Oh no. Wowza. That’s a bummer. Big yikes.

Dad’s Guess: Super scary but in a stupid sense. Like if my parents almost caught me with alcohol when I was younger, big yikes.

.

4) Wheeling

Urban Dictionary Definition: used to describe the phase before two people start dating

Dad’s Guess: When you decide you’re down with being a third wheel on a date, you’re just wheeling.

Natalee: Hey guys, I’m wheeling tonight.

Everyone: OOHH I like that!

Natalee’s Guess: Following someone or going after them in a pining or obsessive way. Like, “I’m wheeling for you.”

Mom’s Guess: “I’m taking off, I’m wheeling to the beach.”

Me: *gives real definition*

Natalee: I like dad’s way best.

Me: I agree, do all parties agree that this is our new definition?

Natalee: Motion carries.

Me: *bangs imaginary gavel*

.

5) Periodt

Urban Dictionary Definition: when you finish a sentence and you know you were damn right, another way of saying, “and that’s final.”

Natalee’s Guess: End of story.

Mom’s Guess: Over it. Periodt. Done.

Dad’s Guess: Mine’s horrible. I thought it was something a guy would say to his friend about how he was on his own tonight because his gal is on her cycle. Like “period time.”

.

6) Curve

Urban Dictionary Definition: to ignore, avoid or sidestep someone’s obvious expression of interest through flirting or any means of advance.

Natalee’s Guess: An unexpected turn. That took a curve.

Dad’s Guess: When someone’s telling you to change the subject fast. Like if I was talking to Troy (my brother) and he saw mom coming and thought I should change the topic he would say, “curve.”

Mom’s Guess: Twisted. She cray cray. She is curved.

.

7) I’m dead

Urban Dictionary Definition: you died of laughter; something was so funny that you laughed so hard you died.

Mom’s Guess: That’s when I’m in trouble with my mom. Big trouble.

Natalee’s Guess: When you are so over or cringed out by a conversation that you are dead.

Dad’s Guess: Anytime that something affects you so much that you can’t take it anymore.

.

8) JOMO

Urban Dictionary Definition: Joy of Missing Out; when you cherish moments of aloneness.

Natalee’s Guess: It’s the opposite of mojo. When you’ve lost your mojo, that’s when you’re jomo. “I feel really jomo right now I need my mojo.”

Mom’s Guess: I don’t know, something with motion? Like, join the motion.

Dad’s Guess: Well that’s funny, because mine was join the movement.

Mom: Come on, jomo with me!

Dad: We’re going to the park today, come on jomo!

.

9) A Karen

Urban Dictionary Definition: the kind of person who is unhappy when little things don’t go their way; the “can I speak to your manager?” kind of gal.

Mom’s Guess: Is it the opposite of bye Felicia? Instead of I’m over you, bye Felicia, it’s *smirk* hellooo Karen.

Natalee’s Guess: She’s like that voice command in your car that always goes, “please fasten your seatbelt.” She’s such a Karen. Like, she’s such a bitch.

Dad’s Guess: It’s the boomer version of a female. When a younger person feels that they are out of touch with reality or too set in their ways. “Don’t be such a Karen.”

.

10) Clout

Urban Dictionary Definition: being famous and having influence.

Mom’s Guess: If you have clout you are respected.

Natalee’s Guess: Yeah, you carry weight around here. You’re important.

Dad’s Guess: Reputation that elevates your status.


 

You can find the previous version of this post here.

Some Haikus Written By All the Plants I’ve Killed

I have a terrible track record when it comes to plants—especially house plants.

I don’t know if it is where I put them (probably not), the hot environment I live in (eh), how I water them (maybe), or if it’s just me (definitely), but I just kill them left and right. Even the “low maintenance”, “hearty”, “unkillable” plants. Once I get my hands on them, they die. It might not be immediate, but it also isn’t a long, drawn out process. I will consistently have a strong first week—or longer—in which I have time to get cocky and brag about my incredible plant child and how I am keeping it alive with my bare hands (and water), and then everything goes downhill very fast.

Eventually I’m knee deep in Google articles all telling me the yellowing of my leaves is caused by something different, and then I start putting my plant in different corners of the room, watering it more, watering it less, whispering sweet nothings to it, apologizing to it, giving up on it, finding a second wind and dedicating my entire life to it, deciding I need to approach it from different angles, occasionally lifting it up so the pot it’s in can “stretch its legs”, panicking as all the leaves start to wither, smothering it with even more water, sunlight and attention until ultimately, it meets the fate of all of its brothers and sisters that came before.

So, to remember and honor those that have been murdered by me fallen, I decided to give them a voice. To allow them to express themselves and their woes about having me as a plant mom. I am also hoping this might impress my current houseplant (who I’ve named Esther) and encourage her to stay alive.

Please, E, I’m trying my best.

.

I am new, alive

Ready to grow, blossom, bloom

Wow, you killed me quick

.

I need more sunlight

My leaves, my soil, they are parched

Scorched, drowned, I am dead

.

Your words, they are kind

Your efforts, they are noble

But you suck at this

.

Some have thumbs dipped green

Some have hands purposed for soil

You have neither, dear

.

I have slipped your mind

Unwatered for days and days

I die, you TikTok

.

Water, a life force

Water, a true source of hope

Waterboarded: me

.

Maybe leave me be

Give me time and space to grow

Helicopter mom

.

Fate has many paths

With you, it seems mine is set

Do plants go to heaven?

.

Leaves, water, pots, dirt

Sunlight, temperature, food

What? I am a plant.

Why Finding Your Own Voice Can Help Everyone

Not too long ago, I did a thorough cleaning of my house in which I gave away things I didn’t use, threw away things that were broken, and, more than anything, found things I forgot I had. One such thing was a book called “Music Listography,” which I’m pretty sure I impulse bought from Target, and seeing as its copyright is from 2009, it’s safe to say I bought it a while ago.

The point of the book is to flip through the pages and fill in the music related prompts with lists of songs, bands, concerts, albums, etc, until you have a kind of music autobiography (or listography) of your life. It’s a cool idea, and the creator, Lisa Nola, has a whole series of “listography” books to help you create a simplified, listified story of your life.

Looking at it now, I have no doubt why I bought. And to be honest, there is a part of me tempted to add the rest of the series to my Amazon cart as I write this. For as a writer, it is not only important, but vital to me to constantly get to know myself—what I like, what I dislike, what I’m working towards, and what I believe in—because it helps me continue to write, which in turn helps me understand myself, the world around me, and where I fit in it.

Perhaps one of the most important things we can do with our lives is understand it. Not understand the who’s and how’s of everything and everyone around us, but the what’s and why’s of our own personalities, beliefs, behaviors, and dreams. It is important to know where we stand, and to discern and feel confident about our opinions, from music to politics to religion, and everywhere in between.

We are all born into different families and different circumstances, in different environments with different obstacles. That gives us each a unique perspective. We all have our own reasons to believe in what we believe in, and different motivations to fight for what we fight for. So it is crucial to get to know ourselves and accept ourselves, so that we may be better equipped to know and accept others. In knowing where we stand and what we believe, we are given the opportunity to talk to other people from a place of confidence and grace, rather than fear and defensiveness. It also gives us the opportunity to see a new side of things, to explore a new avenue of thinking, and perhaps even change our mind.

So as our world continues to demand change, I have made it a mission of mine to learn all that I can about the world I live in, about all the sides of it that I know and all the sides I don’t. I’m looking at different perspectives, listening to different stories, and hearing different voices. In doing so, I am getting a better idea of who I am, what I believe and how my unique voice can help advocate for this much needed change.

The day I bought that “Music Listography” book I know it was from a place of longing. I wanted to fill the book out, but I wanted to do it in a way that would be impressive to others. While I was curious about “who I was” I was more concerned with whether that person was cool. Today, as I flip through the pages, I have a much clearer idea of how I would actually fill them out, and I might even go through and cross out the answers that were so clearly reaching. For now I know the music that moves me, and I know the reasons why. And though a small part of me will always want to be “cool” I don’t want it at the expense of being honest—not just in the context of this book but in every aspect of my life.

I truly want to know and be known, so I will keep learning, keep growing, and keep listening. I will keep asking questions, not only to get an answer, but to hear the many answers until I find one that aligns with who I am and what I believe in. I will share the things that give me comfort in the hopes it can comfort others, and I will share the things that make me uncomfortable to find out why, and to see if I can help change them.

I also think it’s important to note that we all fight on different stages and at different volumes. So as we work to figure out who we are and where we stand, let us also discover how we were made to stand. It might not be in the same place, in the same spotlight, or in the same style as those we know—even those we share beliefs with. And that is okay. We all have a unique voice and a unique way to share it, and so long as we keep working to find that voice, find the honesty in it, the fight behind it, and how we can best use it, we will find our way to not only stand, but create lasting change.

In Case You’re Looking for Some Happy

These days I think we should all be on the lookout for things that bring us joy, peace, happiness, or just a break from everything else, and then share those things with our friends, family, or online acquaintances, so that they too can get a little piece of that peace, you know?

So, if you’re in the market for some happy, here are a few places I’ve found some.

.

My Puzzle

cabinfever__01540.1472803370.500.659

Yes, that puzzle that I wrote a fake article about last week. Sure, it brings me moments of great frustration and devastation, but for the most part I absolutely love sitting on the couch on putting it together. It makes me feel like I’m accomplishing something, and it lets me think about nothing for a while.

I’m not sure if my specific puzzle is still available for purchase, but there is an entire section on Amazon of the same brand and they all look great!

.

Spring

My sister and I have been trying to go on walks at least once a week, especially now that the weather has been warmer. We’ve walked a different route each time, discovering different parts of our neighborhood and finding all of the pretty houses, gardens, and trees they have to offer. I’ve taken pictures on every walk we’ve gone on and forwarded our findings to our family, these are a few of my favorites:

.

This Podcast

IMG_9400

I would recommend this podcast in general because the concept is so simple and so enjoyable to listen to, but this episode in particular is a true DELIGHT. It involves comedian and host Jo Firestone calling her grandparents and asking them to tell her about their day from start to finish, and it is just so wonderful and wholesome and I loved every minute of it.

.

This List of Drinks

One of my goals last year was to try every drink on this list of “most iconic drinks in every state.” Sadly, with a busy schedule and, you know, just forgetting, I ended last year having only tried ONE. However, seeing as this is the perfect time to try new things, I pulled the list back out for my sister and I to work through at home. As of now, we’ve tried the “Copperhead” from West Virginia and the “Whiskey Ditch” from Montana, and I look forward to making our way around the rest of the 50 states!

If you’re interested in trying any (or all!) of these drinks, I typed them up in a list you can check out here.

.

This Yoga Series

Before all of this, I was a very consistent yoga class attendee, usually trying to make at least one class a week. So when the gyms closed and that option was taken away, I quickly began searching for alternatives. Finding this channel and specifically this 30-Day series (ironically titled “Home”) on YouTube has been such a blessing. The teacher is super sweet and encouraging, and she always has her adorable dog close by. I’ve been doing one or two “classes” per week and it has greatly helped manage my stress and anxiety, and given me a reason to move my body off the couch.

.

Dance Church

Speaking of moving my body off the couch: THIS. Dance church is a one hour dance class that you can stream to your living room. And seeing as dancing spastically around my house has always been one of my favorite pastimes, adding minor choreography and dance based strength-training exercises has easily made Dance Church of my favorite parts of the week. Classes stream online every Wednesday at 5:00 p.m. (except for this week, the Wednesday class was postponed until Friday @ 5:00 p.m.) and Sundays at 10:00 a.m. Check it out here!