Mushy Stuff

Every year, I like to do this thing I call the New Year’s Sum-uppance. It’s basically a self-assessment, so I can look back each year and be like, “ahh yes, that’s what I liked/was doing with myself at that time.” Part of the whole “this blog is kind of a diary” theory.

Here’s where things stand going into 2012:

Age: 24 (yeesh…)

Location: New York

Status: Married!

Occupation: Social Media Specialist (AKA, Professional Facebooker)

Favorite food: I think I’m going to take a leap this year and say seafood pad thai. Because that never DOESN’T sound good.

Favorite color: Gold, grey, and basically any jewel tone.

Music I like right now: Adele, Snow Patrol, Augustana, but mostly anything that I haven’t heard on the radio 8,000 times.

TV shows I watch: I really don’t want that much TV, but I kind of got into the trashy stuff this year. I mean, I’m still into Modern Family and 30 Rock, but I rely on Bravo and MTV’s “I used to be fat” to get me through the tough times.

Book I’m reading: I’ve been working my way through Dracula for a while (it’s suprisingly unsettling), mostly because without my daily commute on the train I don’t have as much time to read. I have a few things in the queu on my Kindle, though, so hopefully I’ll be moving on soon.

Favorite magazine: Self, Women’s Health, GQ, and of course, Glamour.

Goals for next year: Figure out what I really want to do with my life, build up the blog into more of a business, travel, find a way to get a puppy. Obviously. (Side note: One of my goals last year was lose 15 pounds. Suck it, self, because I lost 30. …this now ends me telling myself to “suck it.”)

Overall opinion of my life: Good. Ha.

But seriously, there are things in my life that are SO good. Marriage, friends, the fact that we live in a great apartment and have supportive jobs and aren’t threatened by scary diseases or natural disasters or war. There are things that I want to improve on, of course.

Susan once said something to the effect of that I’ll never be completely satisfied because I always want things to be better and want better things. (It was something like that, but that was the gist.)

Which is probably true. But I’m hoping to work on that. So I guess my main goal for the year is to find more contentment in things. Well, first to figure out exactly what I want, and then to actually be content if/when I get it.

If you’re reading this, leave a comment with the number one thing you want to improve on/change this year. I’m not talking resolutions, because those are like setting yourself up to fail. I mean something big, something small, something really specific that will stick in the back of your mind. Can’t wait to read them!

Every year I post my Top Ten Posts of the Year. I do this mostly because it’s kind of interesting to see what you all like to read, or what just seems to spark your interest.

As you know, this year I made the leap into self-hosting, which unfortunately, meant losing all my old stats. So this year I’m going to pull the top ten from the old stats, since most of the year’s figures are on the old blog anyway.

What I’m saying is, it might not be EXACTLY accurate this year, but it will be pretty close.

So, without any further ado, THE TOP TEN POSTS OF 2011.

10. How to quit your job I really like this post. I think it’s one of those times I was able to put into words exactly what I was feeling at the time. And plus, it was the post that brought my blog soul mate Stacey and I together. So you can’t argue with that.

9. Can’t sleep; won’t sleep This is the second post to make the list two years in a row. Wanna know why? A lot of people image search “sleeping person drooling” or “embarrassing sleeping man”. I can’t tell you why, but I guess I’m grateful all the same.

8. Dear blog troll… Ok, I’ll be the first to admit I let my irritation get the best of me on this one. In the future, I’ll just be sticking to my “be nice or you’re not allowed to play” rule in terms of which comments are allowed to stay. Seriously, guys.

7. How not to rent an apartment on Craigslist I’m really happy to see this was a popular post. Because you know what I lot of people suck at? Renting apartments on Craigslist. Learn, people. Learn.

6. Hey there, sweet potato It’s entirely possible this post was so popular because people like Mad Men. Or sweet potatoes. I’m fine with either option being true.

5. That time I was a model This post was really fun to write. Plus, my hair still looked really good when I wrote it. Win-win.

4. The breakdown and building up of me I think we can officially identify this as the scariest thing I’ve ever published. For those of you who have never worked in the industry, journalists aren’t supposed to talk about hating their jobs. If they do, it’s supposed to be with a cavalier, joking tone about how it just means we’re so much stronger than everyone else. Which might be true. But it also might mean we’re just unkind to ourselves. I’m still undecided, but this was one of the only posts I’ve ever gotten texts from people I haven’t spoken to in years about. So you be the judge.

3. Repeat. And again. I’m really hoping this story was popular because you all know bad story tellers and not because you all think I’m a bad story teller. Oh well, I guess either way, you’re reading.

2. Check me out! I’m so humbled by everyone’s support over this. As anyone who has lost a significant amount of weight can attest, it is scary as hell to discuss out loud. Everyone was so nice and I feel truly blessed to have so many people on my side. And if anyone was inspired by my story, well, that’s just icing on the cake. (Because yes, I still endorse cake. Read my story, people!)

1. Narwhals. Seriously. I don’t know about you, but I find it mildly hilarious that this wins year after year. But I have sad news. Because all of the search engine traffic for this post goes to the original on the old blog, my self-hosted blog gets zero benefit from it’s popularity. Guess now I’ll just have to get page views on the merit of my writing…gulp.

So there you have it.

I feel like I don’t say this enough, but I really appreciate all of you who read this blog. We topped out over 80,000 total views this year. That’s insane. Mostly because there’s no way my dad is responsible for that kind of figure, and lord knows I don’t have that many friends, so there must be people out there who I don’t even know who read this. And I just think you’re all pretty amazing for that.

So thank you. Thank you to my sponsors. Thank you to the people who subscribe. The people who like the blog on Facebook. Who follow me on Twitter. And a huge thank-you to anyone who ever tells their friends about something they read on here. That’s pretty much the greatest gift you can give me.

Ok, enough mushy stuff. I’ll be posting once more tomorrow, and then you won’t hear from me until the new year! The hubs and I made an impromtu decision to spend the weekend in Boston, and I have zero intention of writing anything while I’m there. But don’t worry, you know I’ll tell you all about it when I get back.

I’ve been doing a bit a guest posting lately, but I have to admit, this is my favorite one I’ve done so far.

Liz of the blog Happy Sighs (incidentally, she’s also one of my new sponsors!) has been working on an on-going project on the subject of Why We Wed. Here’s the philosophy behind it, in Liz’s words:

Why did you get married?

I think it’s a question we once-wedding-bloggers discuss often enough, and many of us probably think the answer is obvious. Because I’m in love. (sometimes with an added DUH.) But, recently a group of us really talked about it. Why did we get married instead of simply continuing to date, co-exist, even live together? What does “marriage” mean to each of us? It’s interesting to discuss. It’s illuminating about what the word “marriage” means for each of us. And hell, it gives us an excuse to look back at our awesome wedding photos. (win, win, WIN)

I debated writing in. I mean, I have a lot of thoughts on marriage (ask my friends), but some of what I had to say isn’t always accepted by the general public. In the end, though, I felt that I owed it to my marriage to put it into words. So here it is, my public love letter to my husband and to marriage.

Check it out on Happy Sighs here.

{Lime Green Photography}

Does anyone else have a random running list in their head of things they’d like to buy when their financial situation would make it not a crazy thing to do?

Or is that just me?

Anyway, here’s a quick breakdown of what’s on my wish list currently.

1. Iceland-worthy boots
I’ve had a cautious crush on Sorel boots for a while now. I used to talk myself out of it because they were pretty industrial-looking, but lately they’ve upped the style in the most attractive way. Case in point: The Cate the Great boots.

Gush. And so WARM. And good for icy scenery. Like, say, if you were hiking a glacier. Just saying.

2. Some kind of puffer jacket
This is another search inspired by Iceland. And, you know, my hatred of the cold. I haven’t landed on which one I want yet, but I like this J. Crew version because it’s not too puffy but still looks super warm.

And also this sleek version from Helly Hansen:

3. Pretty plates
Ok, stay with me on this one. It has nothing to do with Iceland, but a lot to do with how much I like pretty things. I am totally obsessed with this dinnerware. Plus, I get 40% off from my job. But it’s still an investment, so I’m trying to hold off until at least next year.

BUT THEY’RE SO PRETTY.

Phew, just had to get that out of my system.

And really, that’s it. I mean, sure, I could make lists of things that I wouldn’t be mad if I owned (see also, my I Would Wear That board on Pinterest), but in general, I’m pretty happy these days.

We’re both reasonably healthy (these lingering cold symptoms and Joey’s still-as-of-today-unexplained migraine aside)(OK, maybe we’re not that healthy…bring on the vitamins), our marriage is better than ever, we have good friends, we live in a really great apartment, we both have good jobs — I mean really, God has been pretty good to us.

I hope everyone has a safe, happy, stress-free weekend (I’m saying this to myself too…don’t stress, self!). I’ll post tomorrow for the blog-iversary (remember, big announcement!), but other than that, you won’t hear from me until Tuesday.

See you then!

So for the second time in the last couple of months, I missed my exit driving to work. (Ironically, the same exit that I claimed stresses me out so much. Does it stress you out, self? Does it?)

It might be time to start worrying that I’m not paying as much attention as I should be.

Anywho. It has been an interesting week. Last Friday, Joey got his first migraine ever. Those of you who suffer from them regularly know what a life suck they can be, but for us, there was the added panic of, “What if this is more than a migraine?”

It didn’t help that as it was coming on, Joey was texting me things like:

“I’m getting these weird spots in front of my eyes…and I can’t remember anyone’s name.”

“I feel really nauseous.”

“I just got a nose bleed.”

Is it just me, or is an unexplained nose bleed like, the SCARIEST symptom ever? Bleeding out of face orifices just makes my mind automatically jump to “The brain is bleeding.” Egads.

It didn’t help that when I googled his symptoms, Dr. Internets was like, “It’s either a migraine…OR A BRAIN TUMOR!!!!”

Thanks a lot, Dr. Internets.

Eventually he called me from the nurse’s office asking me to pick him up. (He works in a school…yes, it was kind of adorable to pick him up from the nurse’s office.)

When I picked him up, he was in bad shape. He couldn’t focus on anything and couldn’t stand or lay down without feeling nauseous. The nurse had given him a few physical test to make sure he wasn’t having a stroke. (SO reassuring…not.) He was also crazy pale. (Which is saying something considering he’s usually a steady shade of Irish.)

On the way home, I got him some Excedrin Migraine. He took one and went to sleep for a solid three hours. Like, solid. Like, I-had-to-keep-checking-to-make-sure-he-was-breathing-deep sleep.

He was pretty much out of commission for the rest of the weekend, though nothing was as bad as that first day.

Since then, he’s had a CT scan and gotten blood work done. The CT scan came out normal (no tumors or bleeding), and he gets the results of the blood work today. He has to have an MRI next week. (He had a really bad concussion when he was younger, and apparently he was supposed to get one a year after that. Guess what his doctors never told him?)

So the point is, he’s OK. He might be having some issues with scar tissue from the concussion, but we won’t know that until next week. But he’s OK.

All right, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, can I just tell you how completely terrifying the whole ordeal was? I mean, I know he was freaked out. There’s nothing worse than something being wrong with you and having no idea what it is or what to do to make yourself feel better. And top that with knowing it has something to do with your brain? T-E-R-R-I-F-Y-I-N-G.

As for me, I hadn’t really felt relaxed until he had the CT scan, and I’ll still a bit apprehensive until he gets an official diagnosis. What if something was seriously wrong? What if something happened to my best friend and love of my life?

I think the craziest thing about our life after marriage has been realizing that we really do fall more in love with each other every day. (Sorry, should have warned you this would get mushy.) But in all seriousness, our relationship is a thousand times stronger than it was the day we said “I do.” And I’m sure that in another eight months, it will be a thousand times stronger than it is today.

Throughout this whole ordeal, I had to actively keep myself from thinking about “the worst that could happen.” Because the worst that could happen is literally the worst thing I can imagine happening. I think what I’m trying to say is that having our immortality and the fact that something very well could be seriously wrong made me realize even more how much he means to me. And I cannot begin to tell you how relieved I was when he told me everything actually was fine.

Ugh, sorry, didn’t mean to get all heavy on you. (And on a Friday no less…) I’ve just been carrying this around in my head for a week and needed to get it out. Anyone have any similar experiences (or even just something heavy they want to let go of)? Feel free to leave a comment so we can all have a cathartic moment together.

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In general, I am not a reckless person.

When people talk about the crazystupid things they did as teenagers, I usually cannot relate. I’m a play-it-safer. In general.

I can think of two things I’ve done in my life that were probably stupid, even though both of them worked out. One I’m not allowed to tell you about because it happened during the JAB Florida Trip of 2007 (a) the third best trip I’ve ever been on and b) OMG we’re old that was in 2007), but the other…the other I can tell you about.

I was actually reminded of this bit of recklessness by my friend Michelle’s blog post that she recently wrote about quitting a job she had just accepted because she realized she would hate it (even though she could really use the money right now).

When I first moved to New York over two years ago, I had an internship that paid me a solid $20 a day.

I think you probably read that over kind of quickly, so I’m going to need you to take a second to really think about what I’m saying. I was living in New York City. And my only income was $20 a DAY. You probably spent more than $20 on your last dinner out. You probably spent more than $20 on the last T-shirt you bought.

Plus I was only working four days a week, so I was pulling in $80 a week, about $320 a month.

I don’t really want to get in to what I was spending per month on rent and food, but suffice to say it was more than that. Thank goodness I got hired when I did, because my entire savings account was steadily depleted, including the money I got when my parents finally sold my car. Times they were a-dire, folks.

However, I wasn’t totally insane. I fully intended on finding other employment for that extra week day and the weekend. Enter me applying at a shoe store that was actually right next to my internship.

And wouldn’t you know it, they actually hired me. And I actually went to my training day. And then I never went back ever again.

I know what you’re thinking:

Whoa, whoa, WHOA! Hold up a second. You’re telling me you were suddenly gainfully employed, and then you just flaked?

Well…yes. Allow me to explain.

You know that guy I talk about a lot? The one who asked me to marry him and with whom I live happily every day? Well, I had really started to get to know him a couple of weeks before I was offered the job (though we weren’t officially dating yet). And the only time I could ever see him was on weekends when I made the jaunt out to Long Island.

So when they told me on my training day that they wanted me to work that Sunday, and I had already been invited out to the Island for a party by the fella in question, well, I found myself with a little dilemma.

I knew what I wanted to do. I also knew what I probably should do. Incidentally, it was my dad who made the decision for me.

I had called my parents to explain the conundrum and ask their advice. I expected my father, a former lawyer and analytical to a fault, to launch into a speech about work ethic and rational thought processes and the dire straits of my finances, but instead, he got on the phone and said simply, “I think you should go to Long Island.”

It was my turn to start throwing around a “whoa” or two.

So the decision was made. In all fairness, there were other red flags to accepting the shoe job. For one, they had scheduled me on both of the days/times I told them I absolutelypositivelywasnotavailable. Did I really want to make a pattern of that? Plus, the manager was really creepy. So…yeah.

So I went to Long Island. And about a week later, I had myself a boyfriend. And about a year later, a fiance. (I think you see where this is going.)

Am I aware that I’m saying “I chose a boy over a supportive job”? Yes, yes I am. And I’m not making any excuses for that. It was reckless and motivated by emotion and so downright female that my first instinct is to cringe whenever I tell the story.

But you know what? I would have hated that job. And I love what I ended up with instead. Supportive husband>supportive job.

So I like to think that someday if I have a child and they come to me with a moral dilemma where they either need to choose rationality or happiness (provided it’s not too reckless…I’m still planning to be a responsible parent after all), I’ll have the guts to tell them to take the chance. And maybe I’ll even tell them this story. Without any cringing at all.