Wednesday, October 31, 2012

costume wins

 So while my costume efforts this year were a major fail (see yesterday's post), I wanted to document the fact that not all of my Halloweens have been such disasters. Namely the ones when I was little and had very little to do with my own costumage. My parents are excellent at costuming. 

Obviously my commitment to looking fabulous and non-ugly started early.

Awww...isn't my brother precious?? (That I am precious goes without saying. Obviously.)

And in case you weren't around last year, be sure to read my photograph-filled treatise on my first Halloween: Babies Should Not Be Dressed Like Clowns. It's epic.

Happy Halloween!!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

costume fail

So on Sunday we had our church's annual Costume Bowling event. This is always something that I look forward to, since I am a huge fan of dressing up in costumes and bowling hanging out with other people dressed up in costumes. Last year we even won the costume contest! So anyway, this here blog was supposed to be a picture-filled recap of our awesome costumes and such from this weekend.

But laid plans and all that. Yikes.

Here are the things I was looking for in our costumes this year: CHEAP/FREE. Fun. Not gross/raunchy. A "couple" or themed idea (so that Matt and I "go" together). Not ugly-fied (always a stringent requirement of mine: I do NOT like costumes that make me look UGLIER in any way-- fat suits, ill-fitting/unflattering clothes, bizarre makeup or fake wrinkles/scars/ thanks. I don't have to look like an **OMGsparkleprincess!!**, but I do not intentionally make myself unattractive). So after an intense evening of Googling/Pinterest-ing/blog-searching for eligible costumes (you know...TWO DAYS IN ADVANCE, which counts as major pre-planning on my part), I decided that we would be MIMES.

So apparently some people find mimes inherently creepy. I can get that. But if you just go do a simple Google image search of "mime," I would like to say that most of the pictures are not overly scary. There are lots of preppy, happy, cute-looking black-and-white-clad mimes. So since my wardrobe contains plenty of black and white, including white gloves left over from my drum major marching band seemed like the obvious choice. It also fulfilled all of my requirements-- all I had to buy was the white face paint and black lipstick. Easy peasy.

Fast forward to Sunday. Dressed in my fabulous black and white ensemble, I started the face painting. Unfortunately, what I failed to consider is that the Party City $1.99 white grease makeup might be the most terrible thing ever

Oh. Em. Gee.

You wanna talk about terrifying? Grotesque? Freakish? Extreeeemely unattractive? That would be me in that God-awful white face paint. It basically looked like I'd put a crapload of sunscreen on my face and not rubbed any of it in. Only thicker. And shinier. And as the minutes passed, it sunk into every crease/blemish on my face and somehow managed to MAGNIFY each and every imperfection (and there are plenty-- I have awful skin). Not to mention, every time I opened my mouth (you know, to talk...or breathe...), raised an eyebrow, squinched my slid around my face and settled into a new and even more hideous location. AWFUL. I even used my hairdryer (on cool) to try to dry it, thinking if it dried it would be...better...but that definitely did not help. OK and it wasn't even opaque white!! It was like...well, not thick enough to be opaque anything...but it was like a greenish white or something and it was completely ghoulish. I slopped on about 3 more layers, trying to get it to be thick and white, but no matter what I tried, Matt looked at me like I was a disgusting and horrifying freakshow, so with about 30 minutes to go before we needed to leave for the bowling alley, I had to call the mime plan off.

I couldn't wash that crap off my face fast enough. I would have loved to stop and take a picture for your enjoyment, except that I have waaaaay too much pride to ever show something like that. OMG. It was disgusting. The bloody zombies on Walking Dead are more attractive than I was in mime paint. TERRIBLE, I TELL YOU!!! NEVER PUT WHITE PAINT ON YOUR FACE!! I don't know how those Google image mimes got theirs to look like that...cheaters. Photoshop. Whatev.

So anyway. That gave us all of 30 minutes to come up with a new-and-improved plan. My standards got lower. Cheap. Easy. Semi-attractive.  Free. Already in my house.

So we did what we do best. Threw on some PJ pants, slippers, and Snuggies, popped some popcorn, grabbed the remotes, and went as couch potatoes. 

Years of practice have helped me perfect the look. Unfortunately, we left the remotes on the couch on our way out. So we didn't even have our prop. So we walked around the bowling alley in Snuggies and slippers. It was the weakest excuse for a costume ever...but at least it wasn't disgusting. No pictures, because it didn't even warrant a lame phone picture. Besides, this is a look we regularly sport...and I showed you a picture just recently for proof. 

So Halloween Costume 2012 can be summed up as this: big scary fail.

Better luck to us next year.

Friday, October 26, 2012

fun friday should be every week

Last night I had the weirdest dream. Matt and I were traveling in London and tons of bad things kept happening. Most notably, we drove off a bridge into a body of water. TWICE. Somehow we managed to get our Civic back each time, though...but later in the dream, I couldn't find Matt (or the Civic), so I just stole someone's car and drove aimlessly around London (on the wrong side of the road, of course) thinking that maybe I'd run into him. Tons of other bad stuff happened too, like when a very small person (maybe a child?) shot me, and when we were running into drugstores trying to find a take-at-home AIDS test (????) with no success...and all in all, I woke up very happy to be in Georgia and not looking to plan any trips to London anytime soon. My British alter-ego is just too much. 

I had the day off today, so Matt took a vacation day. This made today qualify for FUN FRIDAY status. We enjoyed the lovely weather and spent the entire day tending our neglected-since-surgery-in-August yard and flower beds. I swear there were weeds bigger than me. Plus it's time to get the flower beds in order for winter. It was a lot of hard work and manual labor, but I accomplished about 75% of what needed to get done, so I called it a successful day. And since we worked so hard and cleared out some space, I decided to treat myself to some new friends (fall/winter plants) at the nursery. 

Shopping for flowers is my favorite because they are beautiful and they never make you look fat. Unfortunately, I've been banned from flower-shopping since June, because in June I made the mistake of adding up how much money I'd spent on flowers this year. Since it added up to more than the GDP of several countries, I had to put an immediate hiatus on my flower-buying. Today I called the hiatus off because I felt like I've learned my lesson and also because it's a new season, so I actually need new flowers...since the summer ones aren't just going to keep blooming...obviously. 

Anyway, while wandering about the nursery in a dream-like state (I HAVEN'T BEEN THERE SINCE JUNE. THIS IS A LONG TIME FOR ME!! Plus it's a really fun nursery) I saw some gorgeous flowers I've never seen before. Attracted by the showy, strangely-shaped hot pink and white blooms, I sprinted meandered over for a closer look.

Sorry that you can't actually see the FLOWER in this picture. I was so distracted by the NAME of the sorta absorbed my attention. Cyclamen??!! I'm sorry, but is this a flower or a fertility drug we're talking about? Oh my gosh. I almost died laughing right there in the aisle. I'm sure no one else in the nursery saw the humor, but SERIOUSLY? That sounds like something you take on CD 5-9 or something. Now I am not only attracted to the flower, but doubly in love because of the name. I want to buy some because I think they will a) beautify my yard, and b) help me get pregnant. Unfortunately, there wasn't room in the budget for them today, but if any of you were thinking about getting me a Happy Fall present...there you go. I'm sure they'll ship beautifully via UPS.

Luckily there was room in the budget for a few beauties. And might I say-- see those giant purple mums? ONE DOLLAR EACH. Thankyouverymuch. You should applaud me for only getting two.

After returning home and spending another few hours potting and planting all the new loot, my back was basically broken (bending over all day will do that to I'm like 100 years old) and I was DONE with the hard work. We decided that the only logical way to finish the day would be on the porch at our neighborhood taqueria with a pitcher of Dos Equis and an abundance of guac/queso/bean dip.

Don't worry, we also ordered entrees, lest you think we starved to death.

And that, my friends, is a perfect Friday off. 

Also-- I've been diversifying my social networking lately. Because sometimes 200 ways of staying in touch with what people are doing isn't enough, right?? So it's good that more things keep getting invented. Anyway-- if you happen to be using Storylane or Goodreads...well, so am I. Both of those links should take you to my profile, so let's be friends!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

the cat lady aisle

On our way home from work today, Matt and I made a quick stop by Target. We needed cat food and Q-Tips, which completely explains why I spent an hour scouring the clearanced workout clothes first. I think I have some kind of workout-clothes-purchasing disease or something. Or maybe it's just that apparently my Zumba class is a daggum FASHION COMPETITION that I always seem to be losing. At any rate, I have a weakness for buying cute new workout clothes. Unfortunately, today I made the major mistake of trying on the clothes first, which meant I had to see myself in the dressing room mirror. That was a total mood-killer. Where the heck does BACK FAT come from and why did it choose me? Disgusting.


So after I chose the least-nauseating adorable neon "body shaping" top (which is bound to encourage me to workout harder, right?), we headed over to get the things we actually needed. Since by this point I had totally wasted a ton of our time with my dilly-dallying in Active Wear, I suggested that Matt and I divide and conquer: I'd go grab the Q-Tips, he'd pick up the cat food. I divided the tasks this way because I live in fear of having to use the WRONG kind of Q-Tips, which would include anything that is not actually Q-Tip brand. Off-brand Q-Tips are definitely one of the most horrifying thing ever.  You may as well just poke yourself with a sharp stick loosely draped with one sheet of toilet paper. Anyways. There is no room for error in my Q-Tip-purchasing. So I do it myself. Cat food, though...ya know, whatever's on sale. 

So I grabbed my Q-Tips and headed over to Pets to find Matt. After scanning all 4 (or however many) aisles and not seeing him, I looped back around for a slower, more thorough search. I mean, Target wasn't particularly busy. There were roughly zero to two people on any given aisle. Why didn't I see him the first time?

Oh, right. Because apparently Thursdays at 5:30 is Crazy Cat Lady Social Hour at the Target  cat food aisle. Fo' serious. I couldn't find Matt because the cat food aisle had at least 14 enthusiastic lovers of cats mobbing the aisles, swapping kitty tales as they overloaded their baskets with all manner of Cat Nutrition and Accoutrements. Matt was the lone male in a sea of feline-lovin' ladies, and the expression on his face as he stood there, furiously calculating out the cost-per-ounce of a few different brands, was priceless. After a few seconds, the panic in his eyes (and heart, I guess) overwhelmed his ability to mentally calculate and desire to pick the best deal and he snatched up a bag and sprinted to the relative safety of the main aisle. I think I saw sweat dripping down his face as he rushed me to the register.

After settling into the car, I casually asked if he enjoyed selecting the cat food today. He gave me the hard side-eye as he declared baby, that was CA-RAZY. He related a few snippets of what he overheard, and despite the mockery and disdain in his voice, I think I detected a little something...else.

"Matt, if something ever happens to me...are you going to pick up your next wife in the cat food aisle? Because I mean, that's okay, I guess. It seemed like a fun crowd."

He laughed in my face, but probably it was because I'd hit the nail on the head. That aisle was definitely ripe for the wife-picking. Single men (my target blog demographic, obvs), you are totally missing out if you're not cruising the cat food aisle for the ladiez.

So there you have it. Thursday afternoon adventures at Target. You are so welcome.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

the tigers come at night

I feel like a total blogger cop-out every time I do one of these random lists of unrelated nonsense posts, but...ya know, it was an exhausting day at work, I don't feel great, and I can't think of any one entertaining thing to talk at length about...and yet I feel like, it is what it is. So yee-haw, here we go!

1. Did you hear this story about the couple in Houston who are auctioning off a rare baseball card in order to fund their (third and probably last) IVF? If not, you should read it. It made me do that teary smile thing. Like...teary because a) ya know...infertility...b) they've already had 2 failed IVFs...c)...infertility...d) they'll have to part with this incredibly rare, incredibly valuable card (not that I care at all about such things, but as you can tell from the story-- THEY DO, so it's a big deal for them...but not as big a deal as having a chance at becoming parents). But then I smile because a) it's a unique, creative way to raise money...b)Barry Sanders (half the duo on the card) is aware of it and excited and raising awareness for them...c) they're getting tons of publicity, which probably means they'll get a great price for the card PLUS donations on the side as well. And they just seem like a neat couple I want to root for. I hope the media keeps us posted on how the auction and subsequent IVF go.

2. I didn't get to see the debate last night and I honestly kind of regret it now. Based on Twitter (my main news source) (just kidding, kind of) there were a surprisingly huge number of funny one-liners. I think I've watched clips of all of them by now, but still. I wish I'd seen them live. 

3. In an act of pure and selfless love and devotion to his wife (ME), my husband is reading Les Miserables (all 1463 pages of it) so that he will be mentally, emotionally, and intellectually prepared for the BEST DAY OF MY LIFE (December 25, 2012) when the new movie is released. He is also on a strict regimen of listening to the musical score so that he will be fully prepared to compare and contrast all musical aspects of the film. He is also being reminded on a daily basis that popcorn will be required for me at this event, lest I find myself (out)singing the actors. For the record-- Fantine has always been my personal favorite (and the one I would choose to play, should I ever have the opportunity), but good Lord have you seen the actor playing Marius?? I could be singing a different tune (literally...) come 12/25. SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!

4. I've noticed, while perusing my book ratings on Goodreads, that I am very liberal with my five-star ratings. I give almost everything I like a full five stars. And then I stare at all my five-star things and can clearly say "well, that was WAY better than that"...and yet they both earned five stars? For some reason, though, I just feel really guilty giving stuff less stars, if I really liked it. There should be different scales for different genres or something. Like...a five-star classic (such as the aforementioned Les Mis or maybe East of Eden) deserve a STRONGER five-stars than The Nanny Diaries-- which I LOVE!!!!!! and truly think deserves five stars!!!!!-- but...stars of a lesser caliber. :) I'm sure this makes total sense.

5. I'm wavering on my devotion to NaNoWriMo. Already. I knew I shouldn't have gotten so super excited so super early. Now, even though I have some good ideas, I'm feeling wants to write 50k words in a month? Maybe people who get paid to write...ha. 

6. I started listening to NPR last week. It had never occurred to me to listen to it before, but after some girls at Ladies' Night last week all mentioned being regular listeners, I wanted to jump on that bandwagon. I must say-- I'm really enjoying it, despite the fact that it's their "fall fundraising drive" or whatever and all they do is beg for money 90% of the time. The news and stories I have heard, though, have made me feel like a smarter and better-informed person, so...that's always good, right? When I get tired of the begging for money, I switch back over to the Les Mis soundtrack. That's how I keep myself well-rounded.

7. With a mere two weeks to spare, I think I have decided that I will vote in the upcoming election. And who I will vote for. Now all I have to do is figure out if I am even still registered to vote (??? I know I haven't voted since we moved 3.5 years ago...and we moved to a different county, so... how can I figure this out?) and if so, where to do it. Oh, and see if I can get time off of work to do so on Nov. 6. So in retrospect, there are actually still a ton of barriers to me voting, but I'll see what I can do. Now you can all pat me on the back for being so patriotic and caring an appropriate amount (but not too much, because I still can't stand those people. Ha). 

Seven is a great number, so I'll leave it there and get back to my regularly-scheduled reading and DVR catching-upping. Au revoir! (The French is in honor of Matt sitting next to me, still chugging away at Les Mis...which is like half in French, despite supposedly being an English translation...???) (And dudes-- I, a non-French-reading-or-speaking-person, first read the book (BY CHOICE) in high school. BEFORE GOOGLE TRANSLATE WAS INVENTED. I cannot believe no one gave me some kind of trophy for that.)

PS. First person to name the source of the title for this post wins...ummm...a really...valuable...prize.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

weekend edition

Yesterday after work, I made all my own dreams come true. Well, the dreams that involved buying colored jeans, anyway. I stopped by TJMaxx after work and was rather thrilled by the variety of colors, styles, and price points of their colored denim collection. It didn't take me long to justify purchasing a cheapy-cheap pair of teal jeans. I feel like cheap is the way to go when it comes to something this obviously trendy. I mean, they might be out of style by next week. No need to spend a lot of money, right? Right. 

Then I came home and tried on basically everything in my wardrobe, figuring out how to incorporate the new jeans. Am I the only one who does this? Maybe it's just that it's been SO LONG since I've bought any fun new clothes...and it's finally fall, which means a whole new portion of the wardrobe is available for wearing...and whatever, I don't have to justify my vanity to anyone. :) At any rate, Matt enjoyed the fashion show and I came up with lots of fun new outfits, so it was a useful way to spend time.

Today the weather is beautiful and picturesquely fall, so after we had a yummy birthday breakfast with Matt's family (Happy Birthday Mama Pat!) we headed to a nearby park for a photo shoot in the trees. Guess what pants I wore? Surprise, surprise!

We mostly schlepped around the tripod, trying to get pictures together, since Christmas-card-designing-time is drawing nigh. However...I am definitely not good enough at using this camera to make get most of those pictures to look halfway decent. Too many things going on. I need more practice. But we did get a few fun shots.

Most of the trees here are still green, so it was hard to find the brightly-colored leaves to pose in. When we found one tree with low-hanging colorful leaves, though, we took full advantage!

Most importantly, we had a lot of fun enjoying the weather and the "hike" (which was greatly  influenced by my choice of footwear: great for fashion, not so great for hiking on semi-muddy trails in the woods). If you've never been to Georgia, you are really missing out. I'm so thankful to live in such a beautiful place. And it's a lot easier to remember that on a day like today...and not a day (or months on end) when it's 110 degrees with 400% humidity. So I'll take advantage while I can!

Now-- speaking of things that are SUPER FUN and SUPER FREE-- are you ready for this? 

I'm a huge fan of playing pranks on Matt. He's just SO fun to mess's one of my great joys. And it occurred to me the other day that I've never shared one of my favorite tricks with yall. Surely someone besides me could be getting some mileage and joy out of this one!! So here we go. The first-ever installment of Really Fun Tricks to Play.

You Need: an adult (spouse, roommate, anyone) taking a shower; a cup of tap water; a stool or something if you are exceptionally short 

Procedure: Go in the bathroom where the person is showering. Reach up high, over the top of the shower curtain/door, with your cup of water. Dump it on the unsuspecting person. Double over with glee and laughter as they shriek and curse at the onslaught of cold water. Repeat as necessary-- subsequent attacks are even better because the person is dreading it, but are incapable of escaping (unless, I suppose, you have a really spacious shower). You can even mix things up by not even putting water in your cup (during subsequent attacks), and instead dumping a "cold cup of fear" (trademarked) on them! 

Pros: Everything. It is so hilarious. It's free. It doesn't make a mess. It doesn't actually hurt or damage anyone or anything. It's HILARIOUS.

Cons: Nothing. Except for revenge...but lucky for me, Matt almost NEVER remembers to get me back. 

I feel a lot better now that I've gotten that recorded for posterity. If you ever hear angry shrieks and maniacal laughter coming from our bathroom while the shower's you know why. Let me know how it goes if you try this one out for yourself! Free entertainment! Woohoo!!

I read this today and found it very interesting. Did you know Marilyn Monroe had endometriosis? I'd never heard that, but a quick Google search revealed quite a few sources confirming that fact. Some people, in fact, partly attribute her death (drug overdose) to the huge amount of narcotic painkillers she regularly used in order to control the pain of the disease. Very interesting and sad, in my opinion. 

Well, better get back to cheering on the Aggies and begging Matt to fix me some lunch! Have a great rest of the weekend!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

save the drama for yo' mama

Alright. I guess I should preface this rant with a disclaimer. In case you aren't already aware:   I don't like politics. I don't like thinking about politics. I don't like talking about politics. I occasionally read something about politics, mainly so that I can understand whatever memes are floating around the internet. But on my list of Things I Care About In Life...politics doesn't even like...make the list. Now don't get me wrong-- certain issues make that list. But I'm talking about the whole big-picture party/candidates/debates/fighting/right-wrong politics monster. That I have no affection and very little tolerance for. As if you didn't know.

So you know what REALLY drives me crazy?

People who care too much about politics.

Like the way Michael Scott cares too much about people? Some people care too much about politics. And here's the gold standard for measuring whether someone cares too much about politics:

If they have ever said "if ______ wins the election, I'm leaving the country."

That statement? It infuriates me. And you know what I would like to say to those people?


Because I don't need your drama here. I don't need your bad attitude, and I certainly don't need your negativity clouding the air I have to breathe. Or my newsfeed. So by all means-- if that guy wins? LEEEEEAVE!!! As a bonus, if you and all your fellow caring-too-much, overly dramatic cronies leave, that will free up some jobs and opportunities for the rest of us. You know, those of us willing to stick around and deal with life even when it isn't measuring up to our personal perfect standards. Those of us who don't base our entire identities on who sits in the White House. Us.

But while you're packing your bags, I have a quick question for you. 

Where exactly are you going? I mean, what country is it that more closely aligns itself with your personal political, social, moral, and economic ideals? Where is this mythical land where everyone believes the exact same things that you do, where no one dares to offer an alternate opinion, where each and every leader epitomizes your obviously-correct standards for everything? Where the job market, housing market, and healthcare options are exactly to your liking? Please tell me, because surely this place exists...because this is what you're implying when you roll your eyes, sigh in disgust, and declare that if ____ wins, I'm leaving.

And not to be rude, but it makes you sound like a sore loser and a dumbass. 

So with that, sore loser, I bid you farewell. Enjoy wherever it is you're going...we certainly won't miss your drama and hate here.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

on needing a wealthy benefactor

So last night a friend of mine called an impromptu Ladies' Night (the proper punctualization of that phrase really stresses me out. Feel free to correct me if I botched it). I mean, tell me-- is there anything more exciting in life than a Monday night text that says "margaritas tomorrow at 8 at ___?" (If your answer is "yes," then...well, good for you. Hope you enjoy your super fab life.) Unfortunately, I did not take any pictures. I was too busy laughing and actually having fun. Imagine that.

But as I was enjoying my mojito (because I'm a rebel like that and drink mojitos on Margarita Night), I had flashbacks to another wonderful and fun and delicious moment in time:

Why can't I just live on vacation? WHY!??!! Why is life so unfair??!! I mean, this picture is perfection. Granted, it's not a mojito (I believe this drink was called the Bob Marley)...I had to switch things up some times...but oh man this picture makes me feel happy. Tan legs. Frosty drink. Kindle (in its lifesaving AND cost-effective "waterproof case" (Ziplock bag)). A pool. Neon nailpolish. 

I need another vacation.

Which brings me to my final point (as though there were other points before this...): I need a wealthy benefactor. Or a genie. Or something/someone along those lines.

In addition to all-inclusive vacations, here are the things I currently "need" my benefactor/genie to fund:  A pair of colored jeans (mustard or plum, I'm thinking). A manicure. New workout clothes (I've decided most of mine are totally uncool and not flattering). New running shoes (preferably the trendy ones with neon/bright colors). A haircut. The Naked palette (I have been wanting it for over 6 months, which qualifies it as a need now). A non-Ziplock case for my Kindle.

In other words, hardly anything at all. Clearly I am not a materialistic or selfish person at all.

But seriously. I'd settle for just another vacation. 

The End.

(PS. Relatedly, is anyone else loving this season of Modern Family as much as me?? I mean, I get a ridiculous perma-smile every time I think about that show. LOVE IT.)


(PPPS. My gym is sponsoring a ZOMBIE ZUMBA night on Friday in downtown Winder-- how fun is that??!! Doing Zumba while dressed up like a Zombie? Could you possibly combine the loves of my life any more perfectly? The answer is yes: Zombie Zumba could take place on a beach.)

Saturday, October 13, 2012


Today turned out to be a ridiculously fun day. And I even have a few (hundred, but I'll spare you) pictures to prove it!

First thing this morning I went on a run (generous terminology) with Cat. The weather was perfect, and going for a run on a Saturday morning just basically makes me feel like I'm winning at life.

Then we came home and Matt joined us to OD on pumpkin spice waffles. And pumpkin spice coffee.

Then we hit up the library and a thrift store.

THEN Matt and I got ready to attend a 2:00 wedding for old friends of his. Although I've met them many times, I knew I wouldn't really know anyone at the wedding. Luckily, Matt's brother Stephen is also friends with the guy, so Stephen and Jessica came down from Charlotte for the wedding. So I was excited to get to spend a few hours with Jessica (who also wouldn't really know anyone).

After I dominated a Catholic wedding mass (considering I've been Protestant most of my life, I can hang pretty well with a Catholic wedding. Spending summers at Mass with Catholic family members obviously paid off), we headed to the reception venue for the cocktail hour. 

The weather was absolutely perfect for the indoor-outdoor reception. We spent most of the afternoon/evening outside, and the grounds were beautiful.

Here I am with my crew. It was such fun being able to spend time with Jess and Steve-- especially with someone else providing and funding the food and beverages! 

Jessica cut her bangs so that she could be just like me. Aren't we cute??!

Once the sun went down, Jessica and I (with Matt and Stephen occasionally joining us) dedicated our lives to tearing up the dance floor. I feel like we were enormously successful, given how extremely sore, sweaty, and hoarse I was once the DJ shut it down. I was a big fan of the DJ and all of the people requesting music (like us). We enjoyed a wide variety of tunes, including Sexy and I Know It, Gangnam Style, Livin' on a Prayer, Wobble, and Ice Ice Baby. Basically it was awesome. 

After dancing we waved sparklers while the bride and groom left. Notice that my hair-- which I actually WORE DOWN and STYLED for once-- has migrated back into its normal twisty bun position. Long hair is no bueno on the dance floor. Here I am a hot, sweaty, nasty, happy mess.

All in all, the afternoon/night was fantastic. And I would be remiss to finish my summary without sharing the words of wisdom Jessica bestowed upon me early in the evening (before dancing) when I expressed that I was feeling a tiny bit cold. "You're cold? Drink more alcohol! It warms you up! I mean...that's what homeless people do..."

Upon coming home, we spent some time chatting with our roomies about the phenomena of people using their children's/baby's pictures as their own FB profile picture. Cat happens to be one of those people, because-- and I quote-- "I just don't like any pictures of myself."

Determined to remove that barrier to her FB profile picture freedom, I took it upon myself to "fix" one of her pictures to make it a little...better.

What can I say? I'm a giver. Profile picture conundrum SOLVED!

Thanks to PicMonkey for the amazing special effects. 

And with that, my evening of ridiculousness is complete. 

Friday, October 12, 2012

worst blogger ever?

I think I deserve the Worst Blogger Ever award this week. I mean, what kind of person just drops off the face of the earth (after leaving you with some admittedly freakin' hilarious reading material) and ceases to blog for like...3 whole days? Anyways. My guilty conscience has me here trying to fill the blogging void in my heart at 11pm on a Friday night.

Here's the things that've been absorbing my time and thoughts this week:

1. Pumpkin stuff. It's a little bit out of control this year. Here are a few things I came home with from a trip to Trader Joe's this week. As a note-- these are all repeat purchases. As in...I've already bought them at least once this fall and ran out and am back for more. I just felt like that was relevant information.

Basically, I need my mouth to taste like fall at all times. Also, on this particular trip to TJs, I noticed that there were pumpkin spice DOG TREATS. Amazingly, I resisted the urge to let Lola in on my pumpkin love-fest. 

2. I got my bribe cookies from Canada!!!

What could be in this mysterious box?

Just some amazingly delicious (and still chewy) double chocolate chip cookies from Natasha in CANADA!!!!

And to answer the inevitable question-- no, they did not come via UPS. Looks like the good ol' regular USPS took care of the delivery. But I wasn't even home when they came, so it really didn't matter at all. In the end, homemade Canadian cookies are fantastic no matter who delivers them to your doorstep. (Note to blog readers in other countries: My next life goal is to receive cookies from a non-North American country. I know you guys are out there--just let me know if you want to help this dream come true!! Haha.)

3. Related to #1 & #2...I made my official Zumba comeback this week!! I haven't been since JUNE, when I had my unfortunate foot injury. And then surgery in August. And then I got better from surgery, but my foot is still stupid. But then I committed my life to eating pumpkin-flavored junk food and Canadian cookies and if I ever hope to fit into my clothes, I'm going to have to say DAMN THE TORPEDOS (or foot, as the case may be), FULL SPEED  AHEAD (to Zumba). And so I did, on Wednesday, and it was GREAT!! I definitely took it a little easy, modifying all of the jumping moves, but judging by the way my entire body (not just my foot) feels like I was ran over by a truck even two days later...I will call it a rousing success. I can't wait to get back into going regularly (and not looking like a professional cookie eater anymore).

4. Finally, I've been completely absorbed in my NEW FAVORITE BOOKS EVER. And yes, I find new favorite books every single week. But that doesn't make it any less thrilling. Trust me. Anyway-- THESE books are filling the Hunger Games-shaped hole in my heart. I have a love for young adult dystopian novels, but the recent rash of poorly written HG knock-offs is NOT what I'm jonesing for. Luckily, I happened upon "The Last Years" series (only 2 books so far, will eventually be four-- a quadrilogy??) the other day.

I managed to snag the first book, Whispers in Autumn, for free on my Kindle (it's now back to $3.99). It was SO GOOD! It felt like a really good mash-up of Hunger Games and the Giver, obviously two of my favorite books/series of all time. There were quite a few new/different elements to the story/world, though, so it felt fresh and new, and the story was fantastic. This is the author's first novel and I was SO impressed. Actually, I pretty much want to be best friends with the author, Trisha Leigh. So Trisha Leigh, if you're out there and you read this, call me, maybe? I think we could be besties. This book actually made me SO happy that upon finishing it I immediately downloaded AND PAID FOR the second book, Winter Omens.

The fact that I paid for it should really tell you something, because I really despise paying for books. And I was super willing to pay for this one. And I just finished reading it a few minutes ago and am now basically dying inside until the next one comes out (which I believe will be in December? Trisha Leigh, can I get like an advanced copy or something? Since we're BFF? Kthanks) So anyways, if you have no exciting weekend plans, you should go read both of these books (in order). I'm letting my roomie Cat read them (on my Kindle) now, but after she's done, if anyone wants me to do the Kindle-share thing, I'd be happy to let you borrow them. But seriously, the $8 investment would be well worth it to just get them now. So don't delay. 

Whew. Well, now that I've unloaded all those exciting stories on you (just pretend they were exciting, okay?)...I think I need to hit the sack. Tomorrow promises to be full of fun things (like a wedding! and pretty weather!), and then Sunday is WALKING DEAD I need my rest. Happy Weekend to you!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

people are funny

Today I came across a few things on the internet that made me laugh so hard I cried. And then I found something that was so touching and happy, it made me cry, too. So basically, no matter what in life I hear/think/see/do, I end up crying. Mascara is never safe with me. Annoying.

But right now I'm going to share a few of the positive tear-inducing things I came across. Because I know everyone needs a good laugh.

So you already know that one of the best things about the internet is that you can research ANYTHING before you buy it. And the best source of information for said research is customer reviews, because CUSTOMERS can be trusted. COMPANIES cannot. Since I spend about 90% of my free time downloading and reading books, I consequently spend a lot of time reading book reviews on Amazon. Most of them are helpful and informative, if a bit boring. But sometimes...sometimes they are not.

Today a friend pointed me in the direction of some hands-down FREAKIN HILARIOUS customer reviews on Amazon. And then I found some more on my own. And then I laughed until I cried. And I felt happy knowing that there are such funny people on this planet. And I hope I can meet them all someday. Or at least find more things that they wrote. So here's what you need to do. Go to the following product pages and READ A FEW REVIEWS. And enjoy.

First and foremost, please go read all about the Hutzler Banana Slicer.
 I know, what could possibly be funny about a banana slicer? I'll tell you: a lot. Just trust me.

Next, you may find yourself wanting to purchase a book entitled How To Avoid Huge Ships.
Because I don't know how you've even made it this far in life without the knowledge that this book contains. Seriously. According to many commenters, Captain Trimmer's authoritative tome on the topic has timely and relevant information, although many lamented that they didn't read this book until it was too late.

Afterwards, feel free to peruse Bic Cristal for Her pens.

And...I'm just going to entice you with a simple screenshot-sample of the amazing reviews this product garnered:

Yes, so, basically...if you are a company busy creating a ridiculous product, don't think you're going to get away with it unscathed. Also, People of the World: Writing funny/sarcastic reviews is a FAR PREFERABLE way to express your disdain for something than like...getting all political, boycotting, or otherwise acting obnoxious. Let's use that energy for something positive, like writing hilarious fake reviews. Thanks.

And finally, the one kind of story/video that guarantees to make me cry happy tears 100% of the time: a surprise military homecoming. This one happened to occur at the (otherwise awful) Georgia-South Carolina football game last weekend. At least something good came out of that hot mess of a game.

Soldier Surprises Family at South Carolina Football Game

With that, I can sign off feeling like I have positively contributed to the world today. Go forth and enjoy! (And be sure to share any other hilarious reviews you've come across. I really don't get tired of them.)

Monday, October 8, 2012

my awesome life

Just in case there were any doubts about how awesome I am:

This is how I spent this afternoon, in celebration of the nice cool weather. One of my (many) Snuggies, my beloved Kindle, and a nice cuppa decaf (which I just spelled "decalf," by the way...weird) on the front porch. Welcome to my awesome life. Please ignore the fact that my front flower bed is growing out of control and spilling vines all over the porch. And that most of the potted plants have died. 

That's about all I have to say today. Oh, I thought I should clarify something about the corn maze from my last post. It was not the haunted/spooky variety. Just a regular ol' nighttime corn maze. I don't think I could handle the man-chasing-you-with-a-chainsaw kind. Although on a related note, this year in Athens there is a Zombie Farm haunted house farm-type thing that opened up. I'm actually kinda wanting to go, because I totally love zombies.

And on that note, can we all just spend a moment reflecting and SQUEEEEEALING with joy that Walking Dead returns in LESS THAN A WEEK??!?!??!! I can barely focus on life right now, so great is my excitement.

And on that note, I'm done.

Saturday, October 6, 2012


You want to know what's great about fall? Well, basically everything. I feel like such a traitor these days, feeling as passionately about fall as I do. For my whole life I was on Team Summer. You remember back in the mid-90s when the internet was first invented, except it wasn't really the internet yet, it was just Prodigy and AOL and CompuSomething? And all there was to do on the internet was go to chat rooms and make up lies about who you were and what your life was like and then spend the evening chatting with other lying strangers via your ultra-spotty dial-up connection? (Let me know if you want me to reveal my "online persona" of that time. I had a completely untrue identity and I STUCK TO IT, yall.) (Anyone remember when a/s/l? was a totally legit question and everyone knew what those letters stood for? Do people still use that question?) Anyway. Back then my chat room screen name was always "SummerGirl." Which was a really long and windy way to get to the point: I've always loved summer. But lately I'm just loving fall.

Last night Matt and I joined his family for some quintessential Fall Fun. First we hit up our favorite (year-round, hands-down) restaurant, Cali 'n Titos, for some delicious dinner (I had the fish burrito and maduros. HEAVENINMYMOUTH). THEN we went to the Athens Corn Maze for a little nighttime maze-exploration. I have only done a corn maze one other time, about 6 years ago, during the daytime. I enjoyed it. But last night was totally the bomb (still mentally thinking about 90s chat rooms, so it's okay to say "the bomb"). 

Don't you love the awesome quality of this picture? Just pretend it's still the 90s and roll with it. It would be amazing, back in the 90s, to even HAVE a photograph on your focus on that.

Anyway, Matt and I paired up with his uncle and cousin to dominate the maze, and for reasons I will never understand, they basically let me be the Maze Boss of the group. Despite the fact that I practically require a GPS to get out of my driveway, I ended up being the one calling the maze shots. It was amazing, but what was even more amazing was that I WAS AWESOME AT THE JOB. Apparently I have some sort of sixth sense for maze strategy or something. I just used my innate knowledge of corn, the North Star, and terrain navigation ("we're going uphill!! We're going downhill!! It's flat!! Crap, I'm the idiot wearing sandals and slipped in the mud again!!!") and I got us through that maze (including all 6 "check points", which qualifies us/me for a $25 restaurant gift card!) like a BOSS.

Is it weird and slightly unnatural to be this excited about figuring out a corn maze? Yes, probably. But I haven't experienced nearly enough winning in my life lately, so I'll take what I can get. And I'm unapologetically excited about being awesome at that maze. And now I sort of want to go to all the other corn mazes in Athens and see if I'm awesome at them, too. Luckily, there's plenty of fall left!

After the corn maze, we jumped on a hay ride, which was pretty high-quality as far as hay rides go. While waiting for the ride to start, Matt and I tried to take pictures and faced the age-old Taking Phone Pictures At Night quandaray: Flash or no flash?

Yeah, both options are pretty terrible. But whatever. I'm over it.

We finished off our night with a stop by the petting zoo. I was all about petting the baby cows, bunnies, goats, ponies, and pot-bellied pig, but I had to draw the line when they tried to convince me to pet the duck. Oh, he's nice, he doesn't bite, he's so soft! the little girl (who lived on the farm) tried to convince me. I let her know in no uncertain terms that I DO NOT TOUCH BIRDS and that's the end of the story. Back AWAY, farm girl, and take your soft, non-biting duck with you!

All in all, it was a fantastic fall night-- much better than sitting around and moping, which was what I was previously scheduled to be doing all evening. Now I'm trying to figure out if there's a way to make a living out of Corn Maze Domination. Do corn mazes need to hire, like...lifeguards? I could swoop in and rescue people who are not awesome at figuring out mazes? Could I design corn mazes? Could I join the competitive maze running circuit? Do I need to start one?

So many questions. Try not to be overwhelmed. And have a super fun fall weekend!

Signing off,
Erika B.
Maze Master 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

for Holly

In October of 2002, I was a 19-year-old sophomore at UGA. I spent the evening of Thursday, October 3 much like I did most nights of my life those days—finishing up my school work and then spending time chatting with my friends on AOL Instant Messenger. That night I remember chatting with several of my friends from home—the following day many of us were going to be traveling home to attend our alma mater’s football game and enjoy a weekend of hometown fun. Although I loved my school and my life in Athens, I was more than a little pumped at the prospect of a weekend home in Augusta—especially one filled with fun plans with high school friends. I spent several hours that evening IMing with my friend Holly. Holly was several years younger than me and still lived at home and attended our high school. We’d met and become friends while I’d still been in school because we were both active in band, but our friendship had grown and sustained even while I’d been away at college—primarily due to the convenience of IMing and the fact that both of us had blogs (Open Diary). I know—blogging in 2002? We were like the frontrunners for this thing. So anyway, we spent some time chatting that night—we would see each other the following night at the football game, and probably grab some food afterward with our group of mutual friends—and then said good night. I was heading to bed. She was going to get a snack and do the same.

On Friday morning, October 4, I awoke to the news that my friend Holly, along with her parents, had died during the night when their house burned down.

Even now—10 years later—I sob when I write these words. She died that night. Probably a very short time after we finished chatting. While I enjoyed my peaceful slumber, Holly died of smoke inhalation in her home that had no working smoke detectors.

I felt like the world stopped spinning. And isn’t it funny how in these situations, it’s suddenly all about me? My world stopped spinning. I was so distraught. But that’s how grieving is, I suppose. All you can think about is yourself.

Well the main thing I felt, at first, was guilt. It might not make sense, but I spent years feeling guilty that I hadn’t stayed up later chatting with her. If I had, maybe she would have smelled the smoke and been able to wake up her parents. But I didn’t. I wanted to sleep. And so she went to bed too, unaware that it would be her last time. And because grief makes you a little crazy, I felt guilty. I could have stopped this tragedy, and I didn’t. I chose to sleep. I don’t feel that way now. I know it wasn’t my fault. But I still wonder if this story might be different if I’d stayed up a little later that night.

I guess besides sadness, obviously, the main emotion I remember feeling (and still do, to some extent) was anger. I was angry at Holly’s parents because I’d heard that they were both smokers and that is why they disconnected their smoke detectors—because their cigarette smoke would cause them to go off. I don’t even know if that’s true (well, I do know they were smokers), but it made me mad to think that it might have been. If you want to ruin your own health, fine. But you stole a vibrant, intelligent, and kind sixteen year old girl from this world with your choice. THAT isn’t fair. Never mind that anger made no sense—they died, too. Never mind that they OBVIOUSLY didn’t intend for that to happen, if in fact the smoke detector rumor was even true. It just made me feel a little better to be able to point some blame somewhere.

I was angry with God, of course. Because really God? How could He let this happen? I believed in God then, and I trusted Him to be a God who loved, a God who helped, a God who protected. I didn’t have any room in my mind for a God that let awful things happen to innocent children. I couldn’t reconcile my image of the kind, gentle shepherd with the God who sat idly by while peoples’ houses burned down. While neighbors rushed in to see their friends already dead. While high schoolers wept at the loss of the clarinet player in the front row. I don’t understand that God. And I don’t know how He plans to use this tragedy for His glory, like He says He does. I hope He does. Maybe He has, and I just haven’t seen it. Because ten years later, I still just feel sad.  

You want to know the worst part of this story? Holly had an older sister. I don’t know her name. I never did. She was much older than Holly (and me), and had never moved to Augusta with the rest of their family. I believe that at the time she was in grad school in Chicago. And on October 4, 2002, she awoke to the news that her entire family was gone.

I think of this sister so often. I can’t imagine how she felt. I think of how sad this tragedy made me—and I was only a casual friend of Holly’s, at best. So I multiply my sadness and anger and tears by a billion, and I bet that’s how Holly’s sister felt. Feels. I don’t know how you ever get over something like this. But I pray that she has, or that she will. Wherever she is, I pray that she has found friends and maybe new family (by marriage or something) that have taken her in and given her a place to call home. I hope that she clings to God when she’s sad, even if she doesn’t fully comprehend the way He works.

 I wish I could talk to Holly's sister, just once, and tell her that I will never forget. I haven’t. For ten years, I’ve carried the memory of Holly with me. I remember her smile, her sarcastic sense of humor, and her emotionally open blogging. I remember her constantly changing the CDs in my car when I gave her rides, searching for her favorite songs. I remember our shared passion for band (both marching and concert) and the dorky conversations we enjoyed.  I think of her and sob every time I listen to Sussex Mummer’s Christmas Carol, a song that we both loved. I remember that every time she wrote her name, she drew a star next to it. Her life was too short-- and I only knew her for a few years of it—but it was beautiful.

If Holly were still with us, she would be 26 now. I can only imagine what her life would be like—she was ambitious and smart, motivated and talented—she could be anything she wanted to be. I have confidence that we would still be friends, even if it were just by means of blogging. I mean, we were blogging in 2002. People that dedicated to the cause would definitely still be doing it. And I bet you all would love her blog, too. She would be able to tell us what new music to be listening to, and what books to read—she was always good at that.

I wish things had gone differently during the early hours of October 4, 2002. I wish I had told Holly how much I appreciated her friendship, how she made so many of our lives more full. I wish she’d had the opportunity to grow up and see where life would take her- to spread her wings and fly. I wish that at the football game on October 4, my friends and I could have been laughing and cheering on the band, instead of sobbing as they donned black armbands and left Holly’s spot open on the field. I wish I knew why God works the way He does. I wish I were better at trusting that His plan is actually best.

Holly’s sister…wherever, whoever you are: I want you to know that her life was not in vain. She made her world more beautiful and I will never, ever forget her.