I am not what you would call a “scattered” person.

One of the things I have always known about myself (and that my friends and family have come to love…right, guys?) is that I have a type A personality and it affects the way I live. (For more specific information about my personality type, I refer you to this satireperfect article.)

I’ll give you an example: I can tell you with alarming description the exact location of almost every item in my apartment. Right now. With little hesitation. My mutant power manifests itself in acute awareness of every single bit of stuff that surrounds me at all times.

Yeah, it is a little scary.

There are few things in the world that stress me out so much as the few pockets in the apartment that I have not organized within an inch of their lives. (Lookin’ at you, front closet, crawl space, and filing cabinet.)

I hate not knowing exactly what is in there. Being forced toLearning to live with the stuff of another person, even if I don’t understand or like that stuff, was by and large the hardest adjustment of married life for me. (Sorry, babe, you know I love you. Just not your piles and piles of papers ;))

So, in short, I am a freak. It may concern or, at times, annoy others, but in general, knowing where just about everything is at a moment’s notice a pretty useful skill to have.

Which is why I bug out when I can’t find something.

Because, you guys? There is only one place I would have put it. And that’s the place it belongs. So if it’s not there, I am left with very few options:

1. It has been stolen.
2. Our apartment is haunted and it was spirited away.
3. I AM ACTUALLY LOSING MY MIND BECAUSE IT SHOULD BE RIGHT HERE RIGHT HERE RIGHTHERERIGHTHERE.

As you can see, this is how civilizations break down.

In the last two months, I have lost (in chronological order) my wedding band (oops), my favorite pair of leggings, and my watch. About a week ago, they were all missing at the exact same time. And I may have considered tearing the apartment apart with my bare hands to find them.

Much like the loss of a person, there are emotional stages to the loss of an object:

1. Indifference – “I’m not going to freak out…I probably just left it in my other bag.”
2. Denial – “If I don’t check my other bags, I won’t have to admit I don’t know where it is.”
3. Determination – “Today is the day I find it!”
4. Frustration – “Ooookay…I’ll check my other bags. I know it’s in one of them.”
5. Panic – “It has to be in this bag! Okay, no, then it HAS to be in THIS BAG. IT HAS TO BE IN ONE OF THESE BAGS.”
6. Paranoia – “Someone stole it. My husband moved it. PEOPLE ARE ALWAYS UPSETTING MY SYSTEM.”
7. Depression – “It’s lost forever. How could this happen? I’m a failure.”
8. Acceptance – “It’s lost forever. I will learn from this and NEVER LET IT HAPPEN AGAIN.” (Cue an additional mental complex.)

OR

8. ELATION (possibly coupled with an inflated sense of accomplishment) – “I FOUND IT! I KNEW I would.”

I went through literally all of these steps with the three things I had lost. I didn’t help that they were three of my favorite possessions.

Fortunately, one by one, each piece materialized. The ring had fallen out of my jewelry holder and was hiding between my wardrobe and the wall. The pants had just fallen down behind the bigger pile of pants in the wardrobe. The watch was — get this — with all my other bracelets.

The fact that two of these things were technically exactly where they were supposed to be and I just didn’t see them might be evidence that I am, in fact, losing my mind. BUT THE SYSTEM STILL WORKS.

Does anyone else completely lose it when they can’t find something? Or have any mental tricks to recalling the location of an item? Help a (possibly insane) girl out.

I’m writing this post before the sweat has even dried from my body so you get as accurate a recall of this class as possible.

A few weeks ago, my friend Sabine reached out to me because she had semi-recently become an instructor at SoulCycle.

I had only ever taken one SC class before, and, it has to be said, I wasn’t that impressed with it. But I’m a firm believer in second chances, so when Sabine offered me a free class in exchange for an honest review on my blog, I told her to sign me up.

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The Gym
Space: If you’ve never been to SC, the aesthetic is actually really similar to Drybar. If you’ve never been to Drybar…it’s modern and uses a lot of white and yellow. Shoes are included in the cost, and water is $2 extra. One of the biggest pros to SC is its locker room. Y’all know I love amenities, and these locker rooms are fully equipped with fancy soaps, good hair dryers, hair accessories, and the various toiletry and product accoutrements you need post-workout. (Basically, FREE STUFF!) The spin studio itself isn’t remarkably different from any other spin studio. The bikes are arranged in a semi-circle around the instructor’s stage. Throughout the class, the instructor has control of the lights and music.
Cleanliness: The locker room was a little messy, probably because it was the end of the day. Everything was wiped down and sterilized though, just a little cluttered.
Attitude: Before I attended spinning classes regularly, I think I would have been a little intimidated by SC classes. Most of the people there have been going for a while, and, in general, they go hard. If you have a few classes under your belt, though, you’ll feel right at home.

The Workout
Difficulty (Out of 10, 1 being “could do it in my sleep” and 10 being “omg I can’t walk”): 9. As I said before, I didn’t really care for the last SC class I went to mostly because I didn’t feel like I got a really solid workout. Sabine’s class was entirely different. Girl makes you work. Between continuously harder “climbs” and sprint intervals that had me literally dripping sweat, not to mention a tough arm circuit in between, I had a little trouble walking down the stairs to the subway after.
Experience: Sabine did a great job keeping the energy level up, even though class was on a Friday night. Classes like this are really all about the instructor, and I liked her style of providing cues and how smoothly each interval flowed into the next. One thing I don’t always love about SC classes is that you do a lot of arm work while you’re riding, including tricep dips and pushups on the handle bars. For me, it interrupts the flow of riding a bit, but I do like ending the class feeling like I’ve worked out more than just my legs. I think this is something I would probably get used to as time went one — even this time around, it was easier. Speaking of arms, there’s a portion of the class where you slow the bikes and do an arm circuit with light weights (at least, they feel light in the beginning). Sabine will be happy to know that my biceps and shoulders were burning (in a good way) by the end of that portion. Plus, she actually played music I hadn’t heard a thousand times at every other spin class, which is a big bonus.
Afterburn: I was already feeling wiped when I left the class, and I have a feeling my shoulders will be sore tomorrow morning. Definitely tough one.

Final grade: A! I’m not sure if I can afford regular SC classes, but if I go, at least I know Sabine’s classes are worth the cost.

And, for the record, I’m not just saying all this because Sabine is my friend. If I hadn’t liked the workout, I would say something like, “It’s really great for beginners!” This was tough in the best way possible.

Thanks again for having me, Sabine!

When you tell people you are thinking about getting a dog, there are a lot of things they will warn you about.

It’s a lot of work. They will inevitably destroy your stuff. (Remind me to tell you about the new ink stain on our couch, courtesy of a certain fuzzy-faced culprit.) They have expensive medical bills. They need training. They bark. They pee on things.

The list goes on.

One thing no one warns you about? You’re going to have to get over any social anxiety you have about chatting up strangers.

Because, here’s the thing: My dog? My dog may not always love new people, but he loves new dogs.

Bogey thinks every other four-legged thing is his best friend. He tries to play with other dogs, but also cats and even squirrels. The only animal he shows an ounce of aggression toward is birds. (Seriously, he seems convinced he could catch one if I would just let him try.)

This is great because I don’t have to worry about him inflicting harm on another living thing (unless it tweets). This is sometimes annoying because we have to stop and meet every. Single. Other. Dog.

In the month we’ve had the Bogster, Joey and I have spoken to more people in our neighborhood than we had in the entire first year we lived here. Sometimes (and I’m doing the momma humblebrag thing here) it’s just people telling me how cute he is. Seriously. He’s that adorable.

"Oh, hi. Just sitting here. Being the cutest freaking thing you've ever seen."

“Oh, hi. Just sitting here. Being the cutest freaking thing you’ve ever seen.”

The rest of the time, though, they also have a dog and Bogey wants to be their best friend.

I mean, it’s fine. These encounters rarely last more than a few minutes. There’s always some awkwardness as the dogs immediately start to tangle their leashes. And the conversations are usually some (slight) variation of this:

{Bogey spots a dog and immediately starts straining toward them}
Me: Oh! Is he friendly? (indicating the other dog)
Them: He’s friendly!
{dogs sniff noses and then IMMEDIATELY butts}
Me: They’re so shy, right?
Them: (polite laughter) I know!
{pause for sniffing}
Them: What kind of dog is he?
Me: Cavalier/cocker spaniel mix.
Them: Oh, I love his coloring. (ed note: This is not me bragging. Literally everyone says this.)(Okay, bragging just a little.)
Me: What’s yours?
Them: [insert breed]. How old is he?
Me: Eight months.
Them: Oh, he’s a baby!
Me: Yeah…how old is yours?
Them: [insert age]
Me: Oh, that’s great. (ed note: What, Justine? Why is that great? Shut up.)
{more leash shuffling and sniffing, possible dog tussling}
Me: Oooookay, Boges, let’s go. (Literally DRAG Bogey away from his new soul mate like the heartless wench I am. But, dude, life must go on. Especially if I’m holding a bag full of your poo and just want to get to the nearest trash can without interruption.)

Hand to God, I have had that exact conversation no fewer than 12 times since we got the dog. Bogey always acts mildly traumatized when it’s time to say good-bye, but it’s nothing compared to when he meets an unfriendly dog. He’ll do his usual choking-himself-with-the-leash-to-get-to-the-other-dog-quicker routine, and then if the dog snaps at him or barks aggressively, he immediately regrets his life choices and backs up until he’s sitting on my shoe. He’ll glace up at me with this incredibly concerned look like, “What the heck, Mom?”

But he’s young. Eventually he’ll learn the world is not full of best friends like he thinks it is.

Honestly, I don’t mind having 2-minute conversations with fellow dog owners. It’s cute when Bogey and another pup bond immediately. It’s the people who use the dogs as an opener for an actual chat that I get testy with.  (Which is probably the most cynical, New Yorker-esque thing I’ve ever said. But what do you expect? I’ve been here half a decade now.) Or the people who want you to continue to chat like nothing is happening while you juggle leash handles and try not to act nervous about their 50-pound dog who “isn’t mean, he’s just playing when he barks and growls like that!” Riiiiight.

There will probably come a day when I don’t feel at all weird chatting someone up while our dogs stick their faces in each others’ rear ends, but I’m not quite there yet. The point is, if you’re thinking about getting a dog, prepare to make a lot of friends. A LOT. Like, all the friends.

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“Let’s go find some pals.”

Today is the fifth anniversary of my move to New York.

First NY apartment

First NY apartment

When I used to talk about moving here, I would always add that the official plan was to move here for ten years, and then probably head west to California.

Now that I’ve made it halfway through that timeline, I’m less confident in my ability to stick it out the full ten years (it’s hard living here, yo), but I wouldn’t trade that time for anything.

My sister and I on one of my first trips to the city.

New York is the city where I met, dated, and married my husband. It’s the first place I lived entirely separate from my family. It’s where I’ve made some of my dearest friendships. It’s where I had my first (and second, third, fourth, and fifth) real, grown-up jobs. It’s where we started our life with the Boges.

ahhh the dating days

ahhh the dating days

New York City is a city like no other in the world. Where “only in New York!” moments happen literally every day. I mean, yesterday during work, there were Broadway show previews happening in the alley behind my building. Just because they can.

In this place, I’ve almost been hit by a car, encountered traumatizing wildlife, and survived a hurricane. I’ve eaten amazing food and celebrated anniversaries and gotten to do things I couldn’t done have pretty much anywhere else.

In short, as much as I rag on the NYC, this city has been pretty good to me.

And whether I’m here for another five years or not, it’s safe to say a part of me will always heart New York.

As much as I love a major overhaul, in general, it’s not possible. (Thanks, budgets.)

Rather than mope at the fact that I’m not a millionaire (forever), I try to embrace the tweak. You may remember this was the basis of my Spring Simplification List.

Well, lucky for you (okay, mostly lucky for me), I’ve crossed a few more things off the list. Here’s the latest update (new crossed off things in purple):

BEDROOM
Move bed back
Hooks for hats and bags
Move trunk into bedroom
Hang curtains
Fix pictures over drawers

LIVING ROOM
New coffee table or TV dinner trays
Clean up corners
Map for over couch
Organize desk area
Create more organized entryway

CLOSETS
Straighten linen closet
Clean out front closet
Reorganize crawl space

KITCHEN
Get Norden IKEA table
Sell dinner table (added to Craigslist)
Clean out pantry

The new map over the couch is probably my favorite update.

living-room-map

It’s quite nice not staring at a blank, empty wall. Even Bogey likes it!

The especially obsessive readers will also notice that I added (and then promptly crossed off) a new item on the list: organizing the entryway. Now that we have the Boges and his various accoutrements, we needed a better way to store leashes, keys, wallets, etc. (Okay, so Bogey is only responsible for one of those things. STILL.) Our old front door rug also needed to be replaced because it would slide way too easily under a rambunctious pup, meaning I had to fix it about three times a day.

keys

keys-close

A new key hook, a bin for bulkier items, and a new front rug with a grippy bottom (for when games of fetch get out of hand) makes for a much more streamlined entryway.

I also finally added some more organization in the bedroom with a few hooks.

hats-hooks

By taking those things out of my wardrobe, I have more room inside for things that aren’t as pretty to display. (Looking at you, pile of jeans.)

As for the kitchen table, I haven’t sold it yet, but I added it to Craigslist, so hopefully soon.

The next things on the list I’m prioritizing are cleaning out the crawl space (so I can finally finish organizing the bedroom), updating the art above our dresser drawers, and an IKEA run to get the kitchen table replacement.

Right now, I’m on the hunt for something inexpensive to do above the drawers. I have three small frames, but I’m not sure if they stand alone very well. I kind of want to do some kind of horizontal poster or painting because I need another gallery wall like I need a hole in the head. So…stay tuned.

What home tweaks have y’all been making. And any tips for what to put above my dresser? Here’s what it looks like now for reference:

IMG_7583

Help me end the blank wall epidemic in my home for good.

If we’re friends on Facebook, yes the idea for this post did come from my status yesterday. Apologies for what could arguably be called leftovers.

Yesterday, I was thinking about strengths and weaknesses in a joke-y sort of way. (I’m such a card.) Like, what if the next time a job interviewer asked you what your weaknesses were, you were really honest?

Not like, “I check Facebook a lot during work and get hammered every weekend” honest. Like, what are you actually kind of terrible at?

I’ll start. Here are my three biggest real life weaknesses.

1. Making spontaneous dinner plans.
You guys. I am so annoying to make plans with. Turns out the biggest downside to being SUPER organized and having a very up-to-date calendar is that I get very stressed out if I don’t have things planned out in advance. Sometimes this means my calendar is booked up for up to two months at a time.

THIS IS NOT ME HUMBLEBRAGGING THAT I’M POPULAR. I’m not. Not even close. I just get plans with my little circle of friends down in the books tout de suite rather than wait to see what the weekend holds.

I’m pretty sure this has something to do with a particular scarring Saturday in middle school when literally EVERYONE had plans except me and I spent the afternoon holding back tears and eating string cheese while watching a marathon of Even Stevens. It was a dark time.

The point is, I am a master plan-maker. Which is helpful if you want the next two months booked solid at a time. Not so much if you just wanted to see if anyone was free to try the new sushi place in the east village? Hmm? Anyone?

Spoiler alert: Rarely me. I am rarely free. If I have a free night, it’s because I did it on purpose so I could hang curtains and clean my kitchen. Sorry for asking if you have August 23rd open instead.

2. Parallel parking.
YES, I know I can’t really be an adult if I can’t do this. And, yes, it is hard living in Queens if you can’t do this. And, actually, I’m only really bad at this 95 percent of the time. (The other 5? I nail it, you guys. It’s like a driver’s ed video example of how to correctly parallel park.)

The problem is that other 95 percent, also known as most of the time.

You guys. I have literally attempted to parallel park, then messed it up SO badly I just drove away because I was so embarrassed. I’ve abandoned spots, the cardinal sin of city living. But if people start honking and staring and piling up behind me, I can’t deal with it and bail out.

I am being totally sincere when I tell you that if I take the car out, I will double-park in front of the building and wait for Joey to come out and park the car.

To answer the question on your mind, yes, it is embarrassing and pathetic. AND YET HERE WE ARE.

3. Judging character.
I sometimes fool myself into thinking that I am a great judge of character. I definitely pick up on people’s vibes right away.

But you know what? There have been at least five times in my life when I was convinced that someone was just the coolest for months at a time, when suddenly something happened that their true colors reared their ugly heads and I was dealt a very rude awakening that I had been totally wrong.

And I’m just sitting there like, how did I not see that? At all? Not even an inkling!

So, I’m throwing in the “good judge of character” card. Because the times I was off I was that far off. Apparently I can’t trust anyone, least of all my own judgment.

Ok, now YOU go. What are your three biggest real life weaknesses?