Seven steps to simplify your life.

They say you should live together before you get married. (I don’t know if people actually say this or not, but it’s what I said after my boyfriend and I decided to move in together last Spring.) “You can’t marry someone before you live with them,” I said. “What if you find out you hate each other?!”

Like we would go from “til death do us part” to “til she-leaves-her-curling-iron-plugged-in-and-now-I-hate-her do us part”. 

“Living together is hard,” my friends tried to tell me, “Wait until one of you leaves their socks on their floor. Or you get in fight over who is going to do the dishes, or the laundry, or what you’re going to watch on Netflix.” 

These things seemed preposterous to me. And “preposterous” is not a word I use in every day life – but that’s how crazy it seemed that my friends thought Kyle and I would actually argue over something as stupid as “why are your socks on the floor?”. Granted – up until we moved in together, neither of us had ever lived with a significant other before… but we had both lived with humans before, and I’d never once seen someone get mad over a sock. 

“It’s going to be fine,” I said. 1) because I was moving in with my best friend, and how could that not be fine?, and 2) because who gets mad over a sock?

“We don’t even fight.” I said. “Like, seriously. We NEVER fight.” 

And we didn’t. I couldn’t “imagine” our first fight, but I always assumed it would be over something big. It would have to be, right? We never argued over anything, so it was hard to imagine us arguing at all. I’d assumed it would be over something that would really dig down deep and assault my character, or my family, or my well-being or something.

Our first fight was about a rug. 

Like, the large pieces of carpet that people put on the wood floors of their living room? Yea, those things. We argued about a piece of carpet. Our first argument EVER – after spending nearly a year together and getting on our high horses that we know how to compromise and communicate and “we never fight, like ever”. One stupid rug and it was all out the window.  

When my friends heard this story – they all decided to put on their therapist-hats and insist that “It wasn’t really about the rug, was it?” Like there was some hidden meaning behind the rug. Like the rug is supposed to be a symbol for something.

It’s not. This story has zero symbolism. One minute we’re fine, and the next we’re standing in the middle of a furniture store arguing about the color of a rug. That’s it.

(Well, okay. To be fair – that’s not really “it”, we weren’t really “fine” the minute before. We were cranky because we’d been in that store for over an hour already looking for “just the right shade of off-white” rug. “Not too white, but not too off-white? You know? Just, like, a cream color?”) 

Whatever. It took me three weeks to make a commitment on which color “accent” throw-pillows I should buy from Target. Do you really think I’m going to get all willy-nilly picking out a $600+ rug??

“What about this one?” Kyle would ask, pointing out rugs that were patterned with tones of whites and.. other random colors. To be honest – I don’t remember what they all looked like. I just knew they weren’t… well… 

Ugh. I hate being one of these women who says, “that’s not exactly what I’m looking for”, but they weren’t exactly what I was looking for. They didn’t match the pillows in our living room. They had weird textures or patterns. They weren’t the vision of a simple, classic white rug that I had in my head. 

I know. I hate women like me too. This is probably why Kyle hasn’t proposed yet, because he doesn’t want to see me end up on Bridezillas. 

“What about this one?” he pointed to a different one, and I was like “Ehhhh……”

“What’s wrong with it?” he asked. “It’s cream.”

“Is it…?” I asked. Which is apparently my way of pretending to consider it. By asking my boyfriend to defend his choice/vision/knowledge of colors. “It looks sort of… brown.” I said. “Don’t you think it looks brown? Maybe it’s the lighting.”

“You think it’s brown?”

“I mean, kind of. It just looks… I don’t know. It almost looks dirty, don’t you think?”

“How can you think that’s brown?” He asked. “It’s cream. It’s not brown.” 

“I know it’s cream. But it looks like a brownish-cream.”

“No, it doesn’t.” 

“Stand over here and look at it.” I suggested, pulling him toward my side of the rug. I don’t know why I thought this would make a difference. But, you know. Maybe the lighting is different on his side? “Do you see it?” I asked. “See how it looks dirty?” He looked at the rug, and then back at me, and then the rug, and then me. 

“What are you TALKING about?” He finally asked.

“You really don’t see that?” 

“See what?” Holy crap. “Jenn, this rug isn’t brown. It’s cream.”

“I’m not SAYING it’s brown. I’m saying it has brown TONES.”  

Ugh.

Eventually a sales associate noticed us wandering around this jungle of not-quite-cream-colored rugs and must have heard us bickering. “What are you looking for?” She asked. 

“A rug,” Kyle said. Meanwhile I was like – “But we’re looking for more of a cream colored rug? But not TOO cream. You know how cream colors can have that, like, brown tint or, like, more of a white tint? We need one with more of a white tint. But not TOO white. We don’t want a white rug, we want a cream rug. But, like, the right shade of cream? It needs to go with our couch.” 

“What color is your couch?” She asked. 

“Gray.” We both responded. (And of course I had to add, “But like, a dark gray? Not like a regular gray… you know?” I don’t know why I felt this was important. I wasn’t trying to get her to sell me a couch. But maybe if she understood the depth of gray that was the color of our couch – I could get her on my side for the whole “cream, not brown” debate.) 

“Well, this rug would go well in any room.” She said, referencing the dirty looking rug we were arguing about.

OF COURSE she said that. At first it caught me off guard – like I was expecting her to say, “Oh, no, this is not the rug for you. This one looks dirty and gross. Maybe you should check another furniture store!” Yea, right.

“My girlfriend thinks it looks brown.” Kyle told her. I don’t think he rolled his eyes – but I’m pretty sure he wanted to. 

“Oh, this isn’t brown.” She assured me. “You could put this next to your gray couch, and I’m sure it would look fine.” 

Oh sure, I thought. Take his side. 

“I don’t know.” I told her. “It’s just not what I’m looking for.” Did Kyle really not see the brown tint? Did he not think we could find a better rug? DID I EVEN KNOW HIM AT ALL? 

“Jenn, we need a rug.” He said. “What’s wrong with this one?” 

Well, for one, it’s brown. 

The woman who had come over to help was slowly starting to slink away. “Why don’t you both take some time to think it over?” she suggested. 

So that’s what we did. We parted ways (in the store). I went pouting in one direction, and he went storming off in another. (Okay, so I don’t remember if he necessarily ‘stormed off’ – but he definitely walked away thinking, “My girlfriend doesn’t know what the color ‘brown’ looks like.” He wouldn’t tell you he was thinking that, but I’m sure he was. Because I was thinking, “My boyfriend doesn’t know what the color ‘cream’ looks like.”) 

After pouting around the store for a few more minutes, we finally stumbled onto another rug. (Well, okay, I stumbled onto it and dragged Kyle over and he agreed – in his pouty, pissed off, ‘this is taking too long and I’m hungry’ voice – “Yea, I like this one. Let’s buy it and get out of here.” 

 So that’s what we did. 

Alright – so maybe the ending is a little anti-climactic, but the point of this story wasn’t about the rug. 

A Pinterest-inspired Friendsgiving!

It’s not that I “can’t” cook. Anyone can cook, right? All you need is, like, a pot. And a pan. And probably some running water. If you made it through a high school level science class – it’s safe to say that you can probably handle Mac & cheese.

It’s just following a recipe, right? “Annnnyone can follow a recipe,” I said. “It’s just reading the instructions and, like, doing those things.” The whole concept of “not” being able to do it seemed a little insulting. “Can I read what it says to do in Step One and then move on to Step Two? Yea, I managed to get through four years of college, I think I can handle a baked chicken recipe from the Martha Stewart Cookbook.”

I mean, really. You’d think so.

“Do you think I could use garlic powder instead of real garlic?”, “How am I supposed to whisk butter…? Do we even have a whisk? Can I use a spoon?”– These are real examples that demonstrate how closely I am NOT FOLLOWING THE RECIPE.

“I mean, whisking is essentially just a fancy term for ‘stirring’, right? Is it not? Can I really not use a spoon?”

The recipe says “whisk”, but sure. They probably meant spoon. You went to college, you know what you’re doing.

The whole “not knowing how to cook” thing used to be endearing, when I was in my early twenties. I tell the story of how I started a small kitchen fire trying to make Hamburger Helper using a Wok. I make everyone laugh when I tell the story of making dinner for my college boyfriend, and having to run out just to buy a pot so that I could boil water for spaghetti. I was an adorable bad chef.

But it’s not cute anymore. Now I’m just a twenty-seven year old adult woman who can’t follow a recipe. I search Pinterest for “easy” dinners that mostly involve chicken or some sort of pasta dish. I tell my friends that I’ll bring the macaroni and cheese to Friendsgiving and they say, “BAKED macaroni and cheese” like I’m going to show up with a box of Velveeta Instant Mac (I don’t know even know if this is a real thing, but you know what I mean).

Naturally I did what any woman in her late twenties would do who’s trying to impress her friends – turn to Pinterest. Start searching terms like “Best Baked Macaroni and Cheese” and “from scratch”.

(This can be an eye opener, by the way. When you tell your friends that you made “Macaroni and Cheese…from scratch”, they’re like, “What do you mean, from scratch?”…. and you have to explain to them: “You know. I MADE the cheese. I mean, I melted the cheese. Real cheese.”…. The alternative being fake cheese, which is essentially how all boxed Mac & Cheese comes. With the orange powder. Just add milk. Like the astronauts do.)

Melting the cheese was the easy part. The rest of the time, I was saying things like this: “Wait, how much chicken broth?”….. “How do I know when it’s ‘al dente’?”…. “Why is the flour so lumpy?”… “I bet this will taste good with garlic salt”… “Maybe I should sprinkle just a litttttttle more garlic salt”…. “Is that enough cheese? That doesn’t look like enough cheese.”… “MORE GARLIC SALT”… 

Seriously. The recipe was RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME. And instead of just DOING WHAT IT SAID – I ended up stomping around the kitchen being cranky and grumbly and – overall, just a little ray of sunshine – until my boyfriend was finally like, “What’s wrong?”

“The cheese is lumpy.” I said. “The flour wouldn’t mix with the butter, because we don’t have a whisk, and now I have lumpy cheese.” 

“I’m sure it’s fine.” He said. 

“It’s not fine.”

“Did you follow the recipe?” 

No. I thought my way was better. OBVIOUSLY.

But no matter how badly it turns out, even if something’s on fire – I try to convince everyone that “I did everything it said!”. Like someone somehow published a faulty recipe out there. I don’t even know what I’m trying to cover up when I say this. Lying and saying that “I tried!” to follow a recipe when it turns out totally bad? – what am I trying to argue here? That I can’t read?

But, I mean, I did KIND OF TRY… it’s just that the directions didn’t say anything about garlic salt – and I was like, “This will make it better. I’m sure.” Same with the extra butter, and the cream cheese. I was just trying to make it taste better. I was trying to ‘make it my own’, as they say in the culinary world. (I don’t know why I suddenly think I’m Julia Child as soon as I get in front of a stove. It really doesn’t make any sense.)

“I’m sure it’s fine.” My boyfriend kept insisting, because he’s sweet. And because I’ve made him eat pumpkin flavored pasta before when I was feeling “festive” around Halloween time. Nothing can be worse than the pumpkin flavored pasta.

“No.” I argued. “None of this is fine. I’m thirty minutes late because I had to wait for the macaroni and cheese to come out of the oven – because I put it in late, because I was trying to get the clumps out of the flour – and now I’M going to be late, and the food’s going to be cold, and people are going to be eating lumpy macaroni and cheese.” 

Mmm. Mmm. Lumpy.

“What if someone bites into a lump of flour?” I asked, horrified, imagining someone making that face people do when they take a bite of something and realize there’s something in their mouth that shouldn’t be there – like a chicken bone, or a ball of flour. “I don’t even know if I should bring this. Maybe I should just bring wine.”

“I’m sure it’s delicious,” my hostess friend said. I tried to warn her when I got there. “It’s hard to screw up macaroni and cheese.” 

“Yea. I mean, I’m sure it’s fine,” I said. Because that seemed less embarrassing than saying, “I’ve already imagined someone choking on a ball of flour at the dinner table.” Nobody wants to win the argument that they’re the worst little cook.

So, people ate it. Nobody died. If anyone tasted a lump of flour in their mouth, they didn’t let on. Friendsgiving 2017 was a success – much to the guidance of our Pinterest pages and a mutual obsession to make everything “cute”. (You know what I mean. The table settings, the decor, the festive drinks, etc.)

If you’re going to do Friendsgiving – DO IT RIGHT. To help you out – I’ve created a handy dandy guide to everything that we pinned to help make YOUR Friendsgiving a SUCCESS!

Travel Diary: Las Vegas, NV.

I would love to be the kind of blogger who can start off a travel diary by saying, “Earlier this year, I booked a spontaneous trip to Las Vegas!” and make it sound totally normal. Like I’m the whimsical kind of girl who does this sort of thing all the time. “It was completely spur of the moment, tickets were cheap, and I thought – hey, why not! Let’s go to Vegas!”

 “Hey, why not! Let’s go to Vegas!” is not something I’ve ever said in my entire life. I was whimsical for like, twenty minutes. The twenty minutes that it took for some woman on the phone to convince me that Vegas was all the rage. “Oh, you haven’t been to Vegas?!” She asked in a tone that suggested ‘eeeeeveryone’s been to Vegas!’. But, like, in a nice way? I don’t know. It was weird.

The woman calling me worked for the hotel chain that I frequently use when traveling for business trips (therefore they assumed that I would have the money to, like, travel). “Now is a GREAT time to come out to Las Vegas.” She said – (as if she would have called me to say, ‘You know, now is not such a great time’) – “We just opened up a BRAND NEW hotel on the strip. It’s a FIVE STAR resort situated next to Miracle Mile – so you can go SHOPPING” – because that’s how I pick my vacation spots? “or you can lay out by the POOL…” appealing to her audience here “with a DRINK…” – all things I could easily do at home, fo’ free. “And don’t forget about the CASINOS!” She added. “Maybe you could win some MONEY! Wouldn’t that be fun?!” ‘Wouldn’t that be fun?’ – like I’m really going to say, ‘no – winning money? Geez, that sounds awful.’

“I’m not much of a gambler,” I told her. “Thanks for the offer, but I don’t think now is a good time.”

The end. Hang up. I studied Communications, I work in SALES management, I am a MASTER of persuasive strategy (I mean, not really, but I took a class on it once in college). I knew what this woman was doing. Trying to convince me to stay at her fancy hotel so that I could go SHOPPING and have a DRINK by the POOL. Please. She called the wrong loyalty program member.

“You don’t have to use it right now!” She said. “You can use it anytime. Six months, a year – It doesn’t matter!”

“I don’t have time for a vacation.”

“You’re saying you won’t have the time in a YEAR?”

 “I’m… busy.” 

Probably.   

Look – I’m not saying Vegas was at the BOTTOM of my bucket list, because it genuinely is some place that I’ve always wanted to see at least once –  but, like, not spontaneously because some strange woman on the phone acts like she wants to go shopping with me. “You know, we’ve got a lot of great stuff going on this year,” she said. “A lot of great shows. Criss Angel is in town, Celine Dion, Cirque du Soleil…”

Cirque du Soleil. She was trying to sell me Vegas on Cirque du Soleil. Not that it isn’t a great show, I’m sure it is… it’s just… I don’t know. I don’t think that people go to Vegas JUST to see Cirque du Soleil. 

“Britney Spears.” She said. She might have been grasping at straws, but whatever. “She’s still in town. Do you like Britney Spears?”

I bought a shirt once just because I saw Britney Spears wearing it in a Kohl’s advertisement. True story.

And I didn’t even really LIKE the shirt.  

Granted, I was like fifteen at the time, but still. Here we are, over ten years later, and all it takes to get to me book a spontaneous trip to Las Vegas is twenty minutes and the mention of Britney Spears’ name. Sold.

Reality set in later. Not too much later – about thirty minutes after I hung up the phone. What did I just do? VEGAS? Someone called me from a random number asking me if I wanted to go to VEGAS and I gave them my credit card information? If that clown in the movie “IT” told me that Britney Spears was down there hiding in the sewer, I’d probably just crawl on down there.

This is how people get their identities stolen.

Correction – this is how STUPID people get their identities stolen. Regular people just get them stolen from a sneaky scanner at a gas pump or something.

I did not get my identity stolen. But as a general public service announcement – don’t be stupid. If someone calls you from a random number, don’t give them your credit card information. K? K.

Anyway, the anxious, cautious part of me who can’t plan a trip without first making a Pinterest board began to panic about thirty minutes later. Assuming I didn’t get my identity stolen – I can’t just go to VEGAS…? BY MYSELF? What am I supposed to do out there? Just wander around searching for Britney Spears? So I called my mom, canceled my credit card, and spent the next three months trying to get out of it.

I told them I couldn’t go, I wasn’t thinking. I didn’t want to go. I didn’t have the time. I wanted my money back. Please and thank you.

I tried to get out of it. For THREE MONTHS I tried to get out of it.

But they wouldn’t let me out of it. They told me I could cancel the trip, but I wouldn’t get my money back. So I called my boyfriend and said, “Heeeey, wanna go to Vegas?” And he was like, “sure, why not”.

 (It turns out, of the two of us, he is the more whimsical one. Who knew.)

Decorating our place for Fall.

My mom used to have these Halloween-inspired window clings that she let me bust out every October. Stickers of ghosts, witches, pumpkins – I think one of them said Happy Halloween? Probably? Every October she’d pull them out of her “Holiday Decorations” bin and let me stick them onto the glass door leading out to the deck. I loved it. This – aside from the in-school Halloween parties where the teachers handed out candy and we got to play games all afternoon – was my favorite part of Halloween.

I mean, I was like seven. The majority of highlights at that age were: candy, that giant parachute thing they let us play with during gym class, and stickers. It’s the little things.

I told my mom I wanted to start hanging them in the giant full-story window in the front of the house. “There’s more space,” I said. “It’s going to look so pretty!” I said. And I’m pretty sure if I’d had a more pronounced vocabulary at that age, I would have said, “It’s going to be so festive! It’s FALL! Let’s decorate for FALL!!!!” 

So, for the record, that is who you’re taking advice from. Someone whose Fall decor once consisted of the desire to stick glass cling-ons of witches and pumpkins to the front of her house. Because she thought they were, like, “so pretty”.

Fortunately my decorating style has evolved since then. Our apartment doesn’t have any glass sticky cling-ons that say “Happy Halloween” or a stuffed black cat sitting around on the couch. Mostly because we don’t have room for holiday decorations. I like to pretend that I live in a lavish, luxurious apartment – but the truth is, it’s just that: an apartment. A one bedroom, small bathroom apartment. And, to top it all off, I’m on this “minimalism” kick – which basically means that I have all of our “stuff” stashed into the laundry closet and pretend it’s not there when people come over. I don’t think that’s what “minimalism” actually means, but I have a lot of stuff, okay? If I can fit it all into the closet – trust me, we’re off to a good start.

Minimalism is a journey, not a destination. I think.

To better accommodate my “minimalist lifestyle” (aka: space in my closet), here are some Fall home decor tips that I’ve found to make our home feel a little more cozy while still serving a purpose. This way you don’t have to run out and buy a bunch of “Happy Halloween” throw pillows.

Spanx. They aren’t just for Moms.

I wouldn’t say that I have “anxiety” about wearing Spanx (and honestly, no one SHOULD have anxiety about wearing a brand of sucky-in-y underwear – because that’s essentially all they are) but I HAVE noticed that when I’m wearing a tight dress, along with – what is essentially a modern day girdle – I feel, a little…. well, anxious. Stiff. Uncomfortable. There’s a tightness in my chest…/abdomen. 

I mean, most of that is the sucky-in-y part of the underwear that I paid $50 to literally wedge myself into so that I could look good in a dress for a few hours, but you know what I mean. I worry. The Spanx alter blood circulation to my brain (probably, I don’t know.  You’d think they’ve got to be cutting off some circulation around my torso. Otherwise, are they even doing their job?) My inner fat girl that needed the Spanx in the first place starts sending paranoid, worried signals to my brain. 

“What if people can tell?” I think. “Can people tell that I’m wearing a girdle?” 

I honestly do not know how anyone would ever be able to “tell”, unless they came over and lifted up my dress and said, “Hey I see you’re wearing some funny underwear under there.” And if someone ever does that to you, I can PROMISE you that the the highlight of that story will not be “I was wearing Spanx”, it will be “A stranger lifted up my dress. It was weird.”

Sometimes I worry that if I give someone a hug, they’ll be able to tell. Like they’ll feel it under my clothes and be like, “HEY WHAT’S THAT?” or worse – “Wow! Your core is ROCK SOLID! Have you been doing Pilates? Let’s see that six-pack!” 

Again. That would require me to lift up my dress. And the highlight of that story would be, “Someone asked me to lift up my dress in order to show them my super rock-hard abs. It was weird.” 

But what if they can FEEL it, I think. What if someone has their arms around me and feels the top of the Spanx? Or that little rod-stick thing that goes down the sides of some of them like a legit corset? I mean, I’m wearing this super tight dress. Surely they can FEEL that stuff.

In all of my years of hugging people – all of the people, including ones who are wearing tight clothes – I have never once embraced someone long enough to literally FEEL THEM UP. I have never tried to rub my hands along someone’s side while hugging them, unless I was, like, DATING that person. Because otherwise it’s super inappropriate – and the highlight of THAT story would be, “Someone tried to feel me up while they were hugging me. It was super inappropriate.” — not, “Someone tried to feel me up while they were hugging me and THEY COULD TELL I WAS WEARING A GIRDLE. IT WAS SO EMBARRASSING.” 

Vintage fashion debunked.

Is “debunked” the right word? I don’t know. I used to think that I looooved vintage fashion. The idea of a string of pearls sitting around in a jewelry box that’s been passed down since the Titanic? Maybe it belonged to Rose De… Dewitt? Google says “Dewitt-Bukater”, but I’m just going to call her Rose Dawson because we all know she should have scooted over and let Jack climb up on top of that door with her. He didn’t have to freeze to death. It’s not always all about you, Rose, people are dying.

But the pearls. Let’s get back to the pearls. Did she have pearls? Oh, wait – no, she had that gaudy necklace that she chucked it into the ocean at the end of the movie. Way to be a hero, Rose. People have been looking for that.

But when you say something is “vintage” – that’s what people imagine. That’s why they say “ooh… ahh…”, because they’re envisioning something that somebody wore back in the day. It’s a romantic idea that something has been around longer than, you know, a Forever 21 t-shirt that you ripped and threw away after one wash. It tells a story. It’s been around the block. It’s seen some stuff.

When I was in high school, one of the girls came to school one day wearing dangly paperclip earrings. Like, dangly earrings, made of paperclips. Tiny paperclips clasped together dangling from her ears. And when everyone said, “Oh! Those are… different!” – she told us that she found them in her grandmother’s jewelry box and that they were “vintage”.

Vintage paper clip earrings. From Grandma’s jewelry box. Like Grandma was a true fashion pioneer back in the 40s who just strung a bunch of paper clips together and then said, “Yea, I’m gonna keep these. Let me just put these in the jewelry box next to my pearls.” 

Did they even have paper clips back in the 40s? When did they start making paper clips? Were people even writing on paper back then, or was it all parchment and quill pens?

Okay, I guess it’s the 1940s, not the 1800s. You shouldn’t come here expecting a history lesson. We’re here to talk about clothes and stuff.

How to be a fashion blogger.

I don’t know how to ask someone to take a picture of me “for my blog” without sounding like a… like a total… what’s the mom-approved-PG word for douchebag? Because that’s what I sound like. A pretentious douchebag. It’s hard for me to take myself seriously when I’m saying, “Hey will you take a bloggy picture of me in front of this fountain?”… which is usually followed by, “What should I be doing? Should I, like, look off into the distance? Or, look over my shoulder? Should I smile? Is that weird? Smiling is weird, right?”

Sure. Smiling in a picture? Totes weird. Only serial killers and ax murderers do that.

Rarely is this magical moment complete without me asking, “Is it cute? Will you take another one? What should I do with my hands?” 

I never know what to do with my hands. And I alwaaaays ask if it’s cute. Like the person behind the camera is ever going to tell me:  “I don’t know, Jenn. You’re twenty-seven years old and still pretending to be a model. Is THAT cute?”

It’s not cute. In fact, the whole thing usually feels so awkward that I fidget for about five seconds in front of whatever fountain/brick wall/lake front/rooftop view I’m standing in front of and then ask, “Did you get it? Is it cute?” 

Like I’m Beyonce or something. IS IT CUTE? Sure. Like my personal paparazzi fan club was just begging to take a candid picture of me. “UGH. DID YOU GET IT? ARE WE DONE HERE?” 

Wearing a leopard print bra to a job interview.

I’m not big on superstition, but I once held a rabbit’s foot in my pocket while I was taking an important exam.

And by “important exam”, I mean a sixth grade science test, and by “rabbit’s foot”, I mean a picture I ripped out of magazine of Justin Timberlake. It was earlier that year when I discovered a “lucky rabbit’s foot” was legitimately supposed to be, like, you know… a rabbit’s.. FOOT… and I was like “What kind of sick person carries around some dead rabbit’s chopped off foot? How does that bring them good luck?” 

It doesn’t. When you think about it, the concept IS a little Jeepers Creepers, ya know? 

But a picture of Justin Timberlake during his Ramen noodle hair and N’sync days? Yes. That will TOTALLY bring you good luck! Probably. If you write the answers on it somewhere in very small print and only look at it occasionally when the teacher isn’t paying attention. Ya know, for luck.

Of course I wasn’t smart enough to do that. Which is probably why I thought I needed a “lucky charm” to get through a sixth grade level science test in the first place. As long as I had a picture of my fake boyfriend “Justin from N’sync” in my back pocket, I was sure to do well. It was magic, and luck, and the Gods and a higher power – and my crazy little eleven year old brain that legit thought some sort of voodoo could make me a really good guesser – all working together.

Ah, to be eleven and weird again. 

I don’t remember how I did on that test. But – to ease your mind – I went on to go to Junior High, and High School, and College, and now I’m a Regional Sales Manager in Chicago, so – however it turned out – I guess not being able to retain information about volcanos and bugs didn’t ruin my life. 

Decorating our new apartment!

Here’s something I never thought I’d say: “We need shelf liner.”

Shelf liner used to be just one of those dumb “extra”, “Mom”-type things that somehow found it’s way into every apartment that I’ve ever lived in – cut up, and laid flat in the kitchen cabinets.

I say “somehow” like it magically appeared there. It didn’t. My mom would buy this stuff for me – because she’s a mom, and it’s kind of a “mom” thing – and say “This is to line the shelves of your kitchen cabinets before you put the dishes away.” And I would say “Oh, okay, cool” – even though I had no idea why. Does it stop your plates from sliding around? (Can plates really just “slide” around in there?) Does it stop your glasses from smelling like *shelf*? (Aka, wood). Can it keep you from getting splinters?

I don’t know. It might just be wallpaper for the kitchen cabinets. But – whatever it does – I knew that I needed it for our new apartment before I could put the dishes away. God forbid we put away our Target brand plates and funny wine glasses that say things like “I make pour decisions” into a cabinet with naked shelves.

That time I bleached my hair.

I wasn’t allowed to dye my hair growing up. It wasn’t a ‘religion thing’ or a ‘Conservative thing’ or an “afraid of chemicals” thing – my parents just told me that I wasn’t allowed. End of story. My mom said I had “beautiful hair” and dying it would be like “ruining it”.

These kids today walking around with “Mermaid hair” will never know the struggle.

I mean, I get it. My natural hair had “dimension” (I think that’s the word that hair-people use). So many shades of brown – natural highlights, natural LOW-lights – just growing out of my head. And it was healthy! Ugh. SO HEALTHY.

But, you know, I was a teenage girl and thought that dying my hair was the equivalent of a Mia Thermopolis make-over. (Dye hair = look like Princess of Genovia.) But my mom wasn’t having it. “Pick your battles”, they say, and this is the one that she picked.

A lot of parents put their foot down about partying and premarital sex, but my mom has never been like a “regular” mom. She’s a cool mom.

(Also, I didn’t get invited to parties in high school and boys didn’t talk to me. So if she really wanted to put her foot down about something, the hair thing was kind of all she had.) (Click the heading to read more)