Monday, August 29, 2011

What I Know

I read Terra's post, Things That I Know To Be True, At Least For Right Now, and I just kind of sat there and stared at my screen. I was blown away by the simple confidence and boldness that she stated so matter-of-factly. I was jealous, really. I'm usually jealous when I read Terra's blog. She writes in such a way that there is no question that there never would have been any other way to say what she said. She nails it every time.

I didn't get to spend very much time with Terra at BiSC, but she's on my target list for people that I am going to force my presence on next year because I want her to be one of my BFFs. I kind of hate that all of my favorite people live so far away. It's something they don't warn you about, when you plunge into that online community. You'll meet some of the greatest people you'll ever know... but you don't get to see them that often. The 20SB Summit was in Chicago a few weeks ago, and Maria and I were going to conveniently time a visit to the Windy City over that same weekend. We weren't going to go to the summit, we wanted to hang out and explore the city and have the equivalent of a grownup slumber party, but while I was sitting in my hotel in Atlanta for work, crunching numbers, I realized there was no way I could afford it. My heart broke watching all the tweets and blog posts from all of my favorite people who were only a few hours away from me, so close and yet I couldn't see any of them. It was an ache I didn't expect. [Side note: I think I have Maria talked into visiting Iowa. I was bouncing up and down in my desk chair when we gchatted some plans. If we can time it right, the agenda includes tailgating for one of our patented Iowa (State) college football game day experiences, a stop at Fong's for crab rangoon pizza, and our newly opened Zombie Burger. Since Maria is an avid zombie expert. (Zombieologist?) I think that was the final puzzle piece.]

Anyway, my point is, I heart Terra and I was inspired by her post to do one of my own.

Here are the things that I know to be true. For now.

***

I know that I am stubborn. I know that I will often listen to other people's opinions, but once I've made up my mind about something, I will dig my heels in and refuse to budge. I don't know if this is a strength or a weakness. I think maybe a little of both.

I know that I stopped reaching for the stars a while ago. I got complacent and confused that with contentment. I think that's why I'm so restless now. I don't know how to sit still. I've been conditioned to always want more. I don't know what "more" is for me right now. It's one of those most frustrating things I've experienced.

I know that I have a weakness for ice cream (or frozen yogurt or gelato). I've been trying really hard to stick to The Plan and keep moving forward with my weight-loss effort, because I still see a fat girl in my mind's eye. But I know that I'm not perfect and I know that I can't deprive myself of the things I love or I'll completely fall off the wagon. And I won't get back on again.

I know that my apartment is almost always messy. I know that this is because I have more important things to concentrate on than cleaning. I know that I could keep it clean if I cared a little more, but sometimes I'd rather read or write or sleep or go out, than do a batch of dishes. I know that I shouldn't just fling dirty clothes into the nearest open floor space, but I do it anyway.

I know that wearing heels, even if it's just around my apartment, makes me feel more feminine and sexy. I know that if I were ever wearing heels and got chased, I'd be doomed. (It's also likely that I could be wearing running shoes and get chased and still be doomed.) I also know that I'm not above removing my shoes in public if it makes it easier to walk or if my feet hurt too much. I know that walking through grass with bare feet is one of the simplest and most underrated pleasures in life. I also know that doing the same thing on concrete or gravel is one of the most ill-advised activities.

I know that I have an intense need to document everything. Words or pictures, it doesn't matter. I don't want to forget anything. Even the things better left forgotten.

I know that memories can resurface years after they happened and can still make me feel awful or sad. I know better. But I can't help it.

I know that I sleep too much. But I also know that I push myself too hard when I'm awake, and I need to be able to rest, too, or I wear myself down until I can't function. I know that sometimes I just need to do what's in my current best interest. I know that this sometimes makes me seem really lazy.

I know that I often focus more on the short-term than the long-term. I sometimes worry about what that means for the future, but the "now" is so much more present, it's all I can do to get through that. I'll worry about the "later" - later.

I know that I have a hard time asking for help. I know that I have an army of support that's just a phone call away, if I ever needed it. I'm afraid to use it, because I have convinced myself that if it's not a dire emergency, people will resent my neediness. I know that I've managed to convince myself that I can do it all by myself. I know that someday I'm going to fall on my ass and it will be all my own fault.

I know that people in large quantities have questionable judgment, but taken one-on-one, they are usually pretty good. I know that I make snap judgments about people even when I shouldn't. I know that if a person can't function with basic grammar skills or spelling, I will judge them a bit more harshly.

I know I shouldn't care what people think of me, my life, my appearance, my choices. I know that some part of me is scarred from high school and prior. I know that because of those years, I will never feel good enough or accepted enough. I also know that since losing thirty pounds this year, I am starting to shake off a lot of the doubt and insecurity, and have been starting to truly embrace who I am. I know I am much more confident now and I can't wait to hit my goal weight.

I know that this list is very incomplete... but I also know what kind of short attention spans y'all have.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Don't Be Jealous

You know what's really bad about knowing there are five weeks in September and thus three paychecks? It has completely nullified any concept I have of a budget, because I did some calculations and strategery and decided that this last August paycheck was not only a chance to catch up but allowed for some frivolous spending.

Here is my favorite purchase. To be fair, it really wasn't that expensive so STOP JUDGING ME OKAY.

I want to go tailgating so bad this year.  Ideally on a day when it's semi-cool. I have so much new ISU shit and I want to wear it all. But mostly this. I am going to wear this mofo as often as I can.




Have you bought anything ridiculous awesome lately?

Friday, August 26, 2011

Someone Drew My Life.

I was scrolling aimlessly through Tumblr images, because, well, you do it too, I don't need to explain myself. Anyway, I stumbled across this:

I'd credit this but I don't know who to credit it to. 
Pretty sure the Tumblr I found it on was NOT the artist.

HOLY SHIT, GUYS. It's me!

I mean, except for the cigarettes. Ew. And the skinniness. Sigh.

Look at the evidence:

Wine? Check.

Cat? Check.

Pillow + Sleepytime? Check.

Notebook of scribbles? Check.

Ballet flats? Check.

Out of control red hair? Check.

I also have a hardwood floor in my living room. Not that I generally fall asleep there, but, you know. I could.

Man. I'm so tempted to re-create a live-action shot of this now. This might have to become a Project.

Have any of you stumbled across a piece of art that reflected you? Link up in the comments! Maybe I'll do a compilation post if I get enough. That would be fun, right?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Klouty.

I'm not entirely sure what the point of Klout is, other than some sort of ego-boosting tool or bragging device, which, frankly, I'm okay with. I like having my ego stroked. I'm really not sure what a "good" score is, I think I tend to hang out somewhere in the middle/upper-middle? I added a bunch of other networks in addition to Twitter but it really didn't seem to affect my score much, so I suspect that Twitter is a major player in how the score is calculated.

Anyway, here's a screenshot of my Klout score today:




Here are the things that I am (supposedly) influential about:

Iowa
Blogging
Shoes
Movies
Facebook
Kitchen
Food
Music
Chicago
Coffee


All of these make me sound really cool, right? And most of them are things that I tend to be quite interested in. The one that baffles me, though, is "Chicago." Seeing as how I have NEVER BEEN THERE. I'm wondering if it picked up on the fact that I was really, really sad about not being able to go this month, as my planned visit to meet/hang out with Maria while also conveniently lurking around the 20SB Summit to hang out with some of my Vegas bloggy peeps all fell through due to monetary issues and the lack of having any thereof.

Otherwise, I've got no clue.

But if you want to know something about Iowa, I'm definitely your girl.

What are YOU influential in?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Corntastic.

I know nobody else gives a flying shit about this BUT you will probably get a good laugh out of the proposed design, so I'm sharing ANWYAY.

So, we have our two major state universities that have a pretty big inter-state rivalry, right? (Intra-state? I never know which is right.) I mean, other than the fact that U of I is actually a solid football program and ISU (my alma mater) pretty much sucks, which makes it a huge deal if we win, which rarely happens, so it's not really "big" so much as it is "tradition." Anyway, this rivalry has been in place for a long time, back when we'd pass the "title" back and forth a bit, and there naturally is a trophy that gets passed back and forth too. And by "passed back and forth" I mean, it sits wherever Iowa keeps its trophies and ISU only really gets to see it on game day. Whatever.

Anyway, a new sponsor of the series took over and decided to unveil a BRAND NEW TROPHY.

Big in-state college football rivalry. Helmets smashing! Burly men grunting and tackling! Beer being consumed on all sides! Profanities being spewn from both sides! It's intense! It's COLLEGE FOOTBALL!

This is what they unveiled.

just screams "football" doesn't it?

..... yeah.

You can imagine how well this was received. On the one hand, it was nice to see the Iowa and ISU fans unite over a common enemy, on the other... what the fucking fuck were they THINKING? This is not a football trophy. It's like a county fair trophy.

Even the governor was like, "um, well. it's interesting..."  EVEN THE BRANSTACHE HATES IT, GUYS. YOU LOSE.

After everyone had thoroughly bruised their craniums from all the headdesk-ing that went on, there came a beacon of hope: THEY ARE GOING TO REDESIGN IT.

I immediately plastered my channels with this and this was my favorite response:



TINY LITTLE FOOTBALLS OF LOVE.

I love Twitter.

Anyway, my POINT: They actually LISTENED to the backlash and backpedaled and are taking that monstrosity back to wherever it came from. You know that if it weren't for Twitter and Facebook and the ability for information to travel faster than anyone can even think via the tubes of the Internets, there wouldn't have been quite the same proliferation of negative responses. Likely nobody would have really seen it, and even then, their only recourse would have been to write angry letters to the editors of their local papers, which is pretty much ineffective. FEAR THE POWER OF THE INTERNET.

Anyway. That wraps up our Big News in Iowa report for the time being.

PS, here's the old trophy. It's nothing stellar, either, but at least it made sense.


Oh yeah, I totally found an image from a year when ISU won it. Suck it, Hawks.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

All Shook Up

Holy backlog, Batman. I have a nice handful of posts in my drafts folder that I totally meant to already post. So, um, if you see some random crap pop up that seems like it might have been suited for a week or month ago, it probably was intended for such.

Moving on: there was an earthquake out east today. I heard rumors that it was felt as far west as Michigan. About twelve hours earlier, Colorado had felt one too. Basically, everywhere but here.


Twitter kind of blew up and I remembered why I loved Twitter because it's such a glorious cluster of information and snarkery. Especially since I follow a good chunk of people on both coasts.



 Of course, I'm only building up to the fact that I had a small moment of brilliance and people retweeted the shit out of it* and I felt very important and special.




*actual metrics may vary. It was the most retweets I'VE ever gotten off a single nugget, anyway.

I guess this was fun too. (It's not shameless screenshot day? what?)




Also, this was my very favorite thing to come off the Internet today. If you follow me anywhere else you've probably already seen it.

Devastation caused by the East Coast earthquake:

[via]


Anyway. It's all in fun, but mostly because from what I can tell, nobody was seriously injured and nothing was terribly damaged. Thus: fun shall be poked.

Tomorrow's post: local fuckery. Stay tuned.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Still No Cure For a Monday

Hello, blog kittens. (Blittens?) I trust you are all having a superb Monday. I spent my weekend binge eating and hanging out with my family and trying to keep my crankiness in check, and then I started cleaning my apartment. How about you? I wish I would have gone to the State Fair. Not because I like the State Fair, per se, but because it's interesting and would have given me something to post about given the fact that I am experiencing somewhat of a brain shutdown at the moment. I probably gained five pounds this weekend, and while I'm generally not of the type of girl to obsess over every ounce, that would be quite the disheartening setback when I go weigh in this week. If I do. I sometimes skip the weeks where I expect a gain. I don't consider it cheating so much as I consider it to be softly buffering my self-esteem from plummeting. Or something.

Anywho. I must get back to cleaning my apartment. In the heels that I am now wearing because I almost tripped over them earlier. And also the black fedora that has been sitting on my desk for weeks. I mean, doesn't everyone randomly put on articles of clothing they find while they're putting things away? No? Whatever.

Lest you feel cheated because I usually ramble on for about an hour, here's some linkage for you. Not a lot of it, because I hadn't planned on doing any sort of link feature, so: I'm too tired to wrangle up more for you. When I was a kid, we took what links we could get and we were happy. *fist shake.*

Things of note:

I made a new gallery page featuring all of my super awesome photoshop pieces. (Yes. "Pieces." Because they are ART, dammit.) It's up top. Next to the page of post summaries that I have long since abandoned. I need to get that thing updated. Someday.


Linkies from the Internet that I found to be awesome:

Alice Bradley: Write Anyway

How to take engagement photos. (also known as: the greatest engagement photos known to mankind.)

Stratejoy: The Internet is Fake (needed this: I've gotten caught in the comparing my measly little existence to all these jetsetting, uber-successful bloggers, so a reality check was nice)


Friday, August 19, 2011

Luck Be a Lady

I found this in my drafts folder. I think it's from last month sometime. Enjoy.

I'd never been in a casino before Las Vegas, and even then, most of the weekend was spent merely cutting through the rows of tables and slot machines just to get outside. It wasn't until the last morning that I decided to do at least SOME gambling, lest I waste a perfect opportunity. I shoved some money into a penny slot and just pushed buttons and pulled levers until it told me I won something and then I cashed out with about four dollars. Woo.

My sister lives pretty close to a casino, yet I've never gone to it. We always talk about it, but we just always find other things to do. This weekend though they were apparently giving away Snuggies (!) so we figured, what the hell?



In addition to scoring a free terry-cloth Snuggie (A BEACH TOWEL WITH SLEEVES! Yeah, I didn't know they made those either), I decided to cut my teeth on some low-pressure gambling, Iowa-style. My brother-in-law was kind enough to give me twenty bucks to play with, and so the three of us wandered to the slot machines. I... still don't understand them. I just pushed buttons until at one point I found myself up seventeen dollars and decided to cash out. My sister wandered off in search of the blackjack tables and I went to cash in my voucher.

We finally found her in the maze of machines and tables and the bored roulette dealer (are they called dealers in roulette? I don't know) indicated that we should come play. So my brother-in-law and I pulled up a chair and the dealer explained how it worked and the different ways you could place bets and what the payout was and so I figured I'd give it a shot. It was kind of fun, I stayed up the whole time (I could have really been up, as at one point my sister joined us and was all "TWO! PICK TWO!" and while I put the chip on the corner of the two... it actually LANDED on the damn two. Go figure) and was kind of getting a feel for it before we decided to peace out and go get lunch. I made $14 on the deal and was still able gave the BIL back his twenty. I think roulette is more fun because you have a little bit more control than the slot machines, plus it makes a hell of a lot more sense.

Anyway, it's kind of a relief, because now I don't have to eat Ramen all week off the two dollars I had left from my can deposit redemption. I only need to make it until Friday, which, with a short week, wasn't too bad of a prospect, but still. I hate having to get creative about such things.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Whose Timeline Is It, Anyway?

I think this article from the NY Times - entitled "What Is It With 20-Somethings?" - probably made its way around the Internet this week faster than the speed of clogging arteries currently occurring at the Iowa State Fair. (Fried butter, anyone?) I myself posted it to facebook, Twitter, and Google+ (my "big three", though, let's face it, this article about G+ is kind of about where I'm at these days - yeah, it's great, but nobody's using it, and it's an awful lot of work to try to shift your entire social network over to a new platform... I feel like I'm talking to a wall sometimes in G+. While the exclusivity was part of the draw, it also kind of defeats the purpose of a social network. I'm not calling it quits yet, but my interest is largely waning.)

The psych minor in me was practically bouncing up and down in my chair while reading it (though, if I'd actually been bouncing up and down in my seat, I probably could have gotten a nice lower-body workout, as the article spans nine pages, which, on the Internet, is pretty much the equivalent of War and Peace.) This is the kind of thing that fascinates me. If I hadn't gotten into our exclusive selective graphic design club program, I would have gone into that field. I'd actually probably still be in school, too, as a psych degree is fairly useless unless you go all the way. And you know I'd get ridiculous amounts of joy from being called Dr. Kelly.

The confused twenty-something in me, however, suffered from a blown mind and narrowly escaped a stiff neck from all the nodding along I was doing. I think it is safe to attribute all of my current angst and restlessness to this particular phenomenon, and while I'm not always keen on being lumped into generalizations (I am a special snowflake, dammit!), it's nice to know that I'm not a freak or a failure. This is happening to my entire generation. Sure, some people have it figured it out, but on the whole, we're lost. We're moving at a different pace than all of the generations before us... and yet, those generations have sent the benchmarkers for the timeline we're supposed to be following. We're playing by someone else's rules - no wonder it feels like we're not getting anywhere. What's more, I really do feel like an obscene amount of pressure has been placed on our generation to Be More, to be everything, do everything. We have all these opportunities and resources at our fingertips, but it's so overwhelming to even know where to start.

It doesn't help, either, to see all these other backyards that our peers are playing in, where the grass most definitely looks greener. But we can't all work for startups or be entrepreneurs or freelancers. It doesn't fit for everyone. I don't think it would work for me. I need stability and a steady income - I have far too many financial obligations and debts to pay down to play a paycheck roulette every month. I'm not sure I have the unbridled ambition, either. There are some days where I am definitely phoning it in - anyone who says they don't is a liar. But I can pick up the next day and it's okay. When my entire livelihood would revolve around being "on" all the time... I don't think I could do it. I'm exhausted and burnt out now, and I'm not working for myself. I'd either turn that perfectionist switch back on and run until I was probably actually hospitalized from exhaustion, or I'd get discouraged and hide under my blankets. Neither one is a desirable outcome. So I will stick with my 9-5 (or, um, 9-6ish, as it were) and try to make my path from here.

Scientifically speaking, I always focused more on social psych than developmental psych, so I'm not qualified to really sit on a soapbox about it, but it sounds like the adoption of a New Life Stage OMG is a pretty big deal, and it sounds like the rest of the psychology community isn't really having it. I can see their argument - for it to be An Actual Phase, it needs to be "universal and essential." This whole quarterlife crisis ("emerging adulthood") era seems to be pretty confined to, well, first world countries. Boo hoo, poor us and our problems. Not everyone goes through it. Not everyone will. But more and more of us are, and even if it's not a concrete developmental phase, it's definitely SOMETHING, and I think it's worth paying attention to. It's more than just a handful of us being in a rut - it's our whole generation, and it's not slowing down. I think it would do us well as a society to start adopting some new mindsets and possibly some modifications of social traditions and expectations, even if this phase doesn't get chiseled in the Rock of Developmental Stages. It clearly needs to be dealt with; left unchecked, it's going to have an effect on not just our generation, but the ones around us. (I'm not going to repeat the examples the article gave, you can read those if you want). It's especially going to be an interesting mix of demographics about ten, twenty years down the line when those of us who have pushed back some of the more traditional timelines are interspersed with those who haven't. I don't want to be picking out wedding flowers at my ripe old age of thirty-who-knows-what alongside some perky early-twenties recent college grad. It would make me stabby, I think. Granted, there will probably be another world-weary thirtysomething right there beside me, so there's that. I don't know where I'm going with this. My brain has wandered away from me.

In summary: there are a lot of social implications to our generation taking its sweet-ass time getting to where we're supposedly supposed to be. Good, bad, otherwise, who knows? On the one hand, our meandering paths might mean that we have had a chance to weigh our decisions and get it right the first time, because we felt confident about making up our mind. On the other, if the traditional status-quo timeline still exists and continues to be shoved down our throat, we might feel so rushed that we just give up and grab the first thing that comes along when we hit that ominous three-zero. I had a moment the other day, maybe it was today, I don't remember, where I suddenly felt very zen about turning thirty. It suddenly didn't bother me. Which is probably good, because I'll be turning twenty-seven next month and I can see Russia 30 from my house. Let's not dwell on this. On the third hand (because it's the future and we're now mutants), it doesn't even affect some of us at all - some people know what they want and by God they already got it. They've left us in the dust, those of us that struggle to figure out our place.

What about you guys? Are you part of this transient generation? Do you feel pressure to hurry up and hit those milestones? Have you already checked those things off your list? Do you second-guess yourself? Do you roll your eyes at the quarterlife-crisising group and mumble to yourself, why can't they just get their shit together? I'm really curious as to where everyone else lands.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Blog Swap: Summer!



Look at me, playing nice with the other Internets. I've missed every other 20SB blog swap to date but I actually managed to catch one. Whee! Anywho - today I will be over at The Frugal Farmhouse, and Brandi will be... right here. As is how swapping generally works. It's like Trading Spaces, but with blogs. (Is Trading Spaces still on? I don't know. I don't have cable. Sometime you'll have to come over and I can show you the rock that I live under.)

The theme for this swap was "Summer" (as you may or may not have already noticed from the title) - I wrote something nostalgic and slightly angsty (as I am wont to do) and Brandi wrote something useful and insightful. Naturally.

Without further ado (that's right, you heard me: NO MORE ADO), it's swap time!

***


Summer Money Savers

It can get really expensive to occupy all the kids time once they are out of school for the summer. Here are a few money saving ideas to combat the cost of having fun this summer.

  1. Cook on the grill- Why not make it a grilling affair! I don’t think you will find a person who doesn’t like a hamburger or hot dog. They are often one of the cheapest meals you can make. Why not take advantage of that wonderful weather and not heating up your house by cooking dinner.

  2. Drink water! There is nothing healthier for you that water. Rather than stopping at the gas station and grabbing a pop, fill up a jug with water for each person and take it with you.

  3. Get outdoors- go hiking, walk by the river, can you fish in your area? Each year in my area they have a free fishing day. Everyone can go fishing without having to buy a fishing license. Call your local fish and game office and see if they have a similar program.

  4. Take advantage of all the free activities- Check with your community there is always something going on for free, especially in big cities. Search craigslist, your local newspaper even online forums for free activities. It is a great way to get your kids involved in your community.

  5. Yard sales- Hear me out; you don’t have to necessarily buy anything. We look online for our local paper, scout out the most garage sales in one area then I park my car in a central location and we walk. We walk through looking at all the fun “junk” and if I see something on my need list for a great price then I get it, but only if it is on that need list. It is often a great experience to sift through some old antiques and see what people have.

  6. Line dry your clothes- Why heat up your house with a dryer when you can hang things outside? It saves energy and heat. If you run an air conditioner and your dryer that is just that much more your air conditioner has to combat the heat that your dryer is giving off. An added benefit also goes to your clothes. By line drying them you save years of wear. Constantly being heated up and tumbled around takes years off the life of your clothes.

  7. Garden- While this is the cheapest season to eat. Veggies and fruit are often well below $1 a pound. But you can even get the cost down further buy growing your own. You don’t have to have a huge yard to have a garden. I live in an apartment right now and have had success with growing tomatoes and carrots in a container. Every little tomato I pick is a great success to me!

  8. Suspend your cable- With all the outdoor fun you have planned now you won’t be hanging around the living room watching Jersey Shore.. so instead of paying that bill each month many cable/satellite companies will let you suspend your service for a certain number of months without interrupting your contract. This is a great solution to getting the kids outside and away from all that wonderful tv.

  9. Have a picnic- pack a simple lunch with a fun blanket and head to the park. It really doesn’t need to be a Martha Stewart spinach salad with roasted lamb, come on, who does that? Pack some sandwiches, grab a bag of chips and bottles of water and enjoy just being with your family. It would be the same amount of money to eat that at home, but why not drive down the road to the nearest park and make it a fun experience? Or even make it a family date night. Throw a roast in the crockpot in the morning, when done, grab a couple citronella candles and fancier blanket and place everything for your roast dinner in individual Tupperware containers, so when you get to the picnic you can just hand everyone their own Tupperware container and the mess in minimal. Set up the candles for “romantic” lighting and have a candle lit dinner in the park. Your kids will never forget it!
Whatever you decide to do this summer, make it one to remember! You don’t have to spend money to have wonderful memories.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Tuesday. Also known as Monday Lite.

Something strange seems to be in the air these days. I'm not exactly sure what it is, but it feels like everyone is infinitely more tense than usual - almost unhappy, even. It's like there's something that's been building up and everyone is on edge. People are frazzled with their jobs, extra-annoyed with their family, snapping at their significant others, and every conversation is full of angst and frustration. Me included, where applicable. Everyone seems to be going through a rough patch right now and I am at a loss as to explain why this seems to be happening across the board with almost everyone I know. Perhaps it's been brewing for a long time and I've just been focused too much on myself to notice, but it's like I looked up, looked around, and was suddenly startled by what was happening around me.

I can't remember another time when everything seemed to be colliding like this... it's so odd. Maybe it's just a good run of bad luck, as they say (do they say that?) or maybe I'm just displacing my own frustrations so that I'm seeing them more clearly from everyone else. Maybe I've just had enough of my own moping and emotude that I've started empathizing hard-core with people around me. It feels like I'm on the outside, though, nose squished up against the glass, getting it all fingerprinty as I try to peer inside. Maybe that's not right - maybe I'm on the inside of the glass looking out, maybe I'm trapped in my own little box. It would explain why I feel so stuck. I can see what's happening around me but I'm not a part of it, not quite. It's a hard feeling to explain. 

I'm finding myself to be more and more content in my solitude. Possibly because I'm still recovering from my sudden crash-and-burnout and I'm just so sleepy and spent all the time. I look forward to the work day ending so I can go home and collapse on my bed. Fortunately, by the time I'm actually "free" I usually end up doing something slightly more productive. Last night I went for a walk with a friend, then did a batch of dishes, made some muffins for future breakfasting purposes for the rest of the week, and experimented with a low-point dessert recipe (it turned out okay, but I think I might tweak it a bit... I'm thinking peach instead of cherry, next time.) I wrote my post for tomorrow's blog swap and got it sent off; I caught up with a section of my Reader, fondly recalling the time I'd gotten through everything and brought the number of unread items down to zero. Seems unlikely that it would happen again. But it was the little victories that made me feel rather accomplished yesterday. I didn't really get anything DONE. I have a ton more dishes to do, and I've got clothing strewn about my apartment, and various boxes and other crap to get rid of or at least organize. My apartment is a mess. My head's a mess, too, so I guess that's only logical. 

Still not quite over this whole random questioning-of-everything phase I seem to be going through. It's not a full-fledge existential crisis (yet) but I'm frustrated at the rut I seem to be in. I think the biggest problem is that I miss being creative. Back in college, it was required that I be creative every day. I miss that. What I want to do more than anything in the world right now, is run away from everything with my laptop and start hammering out some of these ideas that have been floating around in my head. I've got so many of them and I will never be content in my life until I write something of book-length and at least attempt to have it published somewhere. Unfortunately my current schedule isn't particularly conducive to any sort of serious writing. By the time I get home in the evenings, provided I don't have any other obligations or plans, I'm pretty beat. (See: second sentence of previous paragraph.) Granted, a lot of brilliant ideas come to me as I'm half-awake. (The other night, I decided that all of my bridesmaids will have glitter shoes too. Maybe black dresses and the shoe will be the accent color. Or if we do color dresses, then black glitter shoes. Why I am thinking of these things, I do not know, as I am about as single as they come, but I feel like it was a very important decision that has been made.) (I don't suppose this is a great example of the type of "brilliant" ideas I referred to, but I thought it was quite ingenious on my part. I'll have my damn wedding planned before I ever get my book written. Truth.)

Sometimes I wish I didn't have to work. I think I could be content as a kept trophy housewife... I could divert my anal-retentive focus to keeping the house clean (a clean house! of my very own! it's nonsense talk, I know)... and then I could spend the rest of my time either writing or pissing around on the Internet. BLISS. I need to find a rich man to marry. This much has become apparent. That, or I need to find some other means of becoming independently wealthy. My most likely option for this is to play the lottery. And yes, I do actually mean this is my most likely option. There are no other avenues for becoming filthy rich in my particular station in life. The miniscule odds of winning the Powerball jackpot are my very best option at this point. Which means I best keep my day job. 

Life is hard, guys.

I've gotten off my original track, though, which is simply: I'm worried about everyone else. I can handle my own angst. I just don't like seeing it in other people. And right now I seem to be seeing it everywhere and it's vexing me greatly.

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Fates Have Spoken...

Hello, hello. I know why you're here. It's not for my dazzling wit, either. You want to know who won the glitter shoes, don't you? DON'T YOU?




I was going to do the usual thing where I use a number randomizer and then match it against the spreadsheet. But that's boring. So, to add some pizzazz, I decided... to draw from a hat. Not just any hat... the HOT PINK SEQUIN FEDORA. I mean, really. It's like it was meant for this.

THE ENTRIES...




THE DRAWING...



THE FAIL...

Because I'm super special, I somehow managed to pull out two name slips. I was going to just throw those two back in the hat and re-draw, but my cat seemed to be quite intrigued, so I set both slips in front of her to let her pick. After batting them both off the chair, twice, she finally managed to be useful and grab one of them and started trying to eat it. 

What, isn't that how they decide all official things?



THE WINNER:



Congratulations to...



My very own sister, who has never commented on my blog before except to enter this giveaway and never uses her Twitter account except to get extra entries. Well played, my dear, well played.

Watch your email - Katherine or I will be in touch with the deets on how we make your dreams of sparkly shoes a reality.

Now, I know the rest of you are going to be very sad pandas, but don't forget, you can still get 15% OFF a glitter shoe purchase from Katherine's Etsy Store - just enter "KELLYROCKS" when you check out. Code is good until the end of August.

Thanks for playing, everyone! I hope I didn't crush your spirits too much. I'd give everyone glitter shoes if I could. I'm pretty selfless like that. I should probably be Miss America or something. Glitter shoes would be my platform. It's right up there with world peace, right?


Thursday, August 11, 2011

Something Sparkly This Way Comes

Just a friendly little reminder that the Glitter Shoe Contest is still open and I will be selecting a winner TOMORROW at NOON. Which means you have until 11:59am to enter. I will be announcing the winner shortly thereafter in however long it takes me to put together a post with said announcement. 

Also don't forget, even if you don't win, you can still get 15% off your own shoe glitterization. So that's a nice consolation prize, right? 

Click on Mariah Kelly right here to be magically transported through the tubes of Teh Internets to the place where you can enter and get all the super wonderful details:

 
I've really outdone myself with this one. I'm so proud. *sniffle*

Thank you, and goodnight.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

If You Need Me, I'll Be Over Here With The Covers Pulled Over My Head

Guys. I am burnt out. I have reached this very professional diagnosis by way of the fact that I am, well, feeling burnt out. (I should have been a doctor.) I am exhausted and unmotivated and everything feels like a struggle. I feel crappy more days than not and am wasting too much of my PTO bank at home in bed feeling wretched, instead of being able to use it for something fun on a planned day off. Either that or there's some sort of other underlying medical issue which I refuse to Google because I'll probably change my diagnosis to something completely bizarre and unlikely and probably terminal and then where will we be? I'm going to stick with burnout, since it seems the most likely answer.

That said, I don't know how to fix it, either. I finally had a weekend to myself this past one, where I wasn't driving all over the state, and I'll be honest, I spent the majority of it passed out in my bed trying to recharge myself. I don't know how to get my spark back and I don't know how to get myself back. It's quite frustrating.

Even more so because the more exhausted I get, the easier it is to feel depressed and let all the feelings of defeat and despair crawl back in and lodge themselves in my brain. I don't have the energy to fight them off and so I not only am too tired to run around being awesome like I usually do, but I'm too tired to even mentally feel awesome. And all the bad thoughts take over and that makes it even harder to want to get out of bed.

It's a super-fun vicious cycle, is what it is. It's annoying.

Sorry for the downer post. I'm just cranky and needed to bitch about it.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Don't Step On My Blue (Glitter) Shoes

If Elvis can get away with writing a love letter to a pair of his shoes in song form, I am totally going to do it to my shoes in blog form.

So, yes, let's talk about MY shoes. My super wonderful pair of glitter shoes made by Ms. Katherine that accompanied me up to a wedding in my hometown last month.

(Note: this post was supposed to be about said wedding... it kind of turned into a post about shoes instead. Oops.)

I've been obsessed with having a pair of glitter shoes ever since I saw Katherine's original post. I tried to glitter them myself for prom, and it was an epic failure (as the kids say nowadays), so I ended up shipping them off to her directly so she could sparkle 'em up for Vegas.


Katherine, me, and the gold shoes at Bloggers In Sin City
for the Black, White, and Gold Party - naturally

(If you make it to the end of this post, I will tell you how to get your OWN glitter shoes!)

I LOVED my glitter shoes. I actually loved all of the glitter shoes she brought (a suitcase's worth!) and best off all, none of the glitter fell off. Well, okay, some did. It's GLITTER we're talking about. There was a bit of stray sparkle in the suitcase when I got home, and a little shook off during the shipping of this next pair, but honestly? Whatever she does to these things, it's some solid craftsmanship. Once they're sparkled, they STAY sparkled.



Shoes, glorious shoes

I even borrowed a pair of her shoes while we were there because suddenly my black flats seemed really boring, and her turquoise shoes matched my dress quite nicely. They were a half size or so too big, and I've never been very great at wearing heels, but I managed to wear them the entire evening without falling on my face or injuring myself, so I'm gonna call it a success. I got a ton of compliments from random people on the strip - which is saying something, I think, to be able to stand out in a city such as Las Vegas.



Career choices I can rule out: foot model.

That kind of spurred my addiction to heels. Because it was proven that I COULD wear them.

I found a great pair on Target's website on clearance for about ten bucks, so I snatched them up and practiced wearing them around and breaking them in, because not only was I addicted to heels, but to GLITTER heels. I decided I needed my own pair, and since blue is my signature color, it was an obvious choice.

I sent Katherine a link to the dress I had purchased and that I was planning to wear to this wedding. After examining it, she recommended a darker blue than the turquoise I thought I had originally wanted. Of course, she was right, and the “new blue” matched perfectly. (Just another service she offers, folks.)

The wedding I went to was its own experience that will now have to have its own separate post because I have gotten a wee bit off track. In summary: I was a bit anxious about returning to my hometown area because I don't make appearances all that often and I've changed quite a bit over the last eight years. I used to be this painfully-shy, nerdy girl that never quite fit in... and all of that rushes back to me as soon as I enter those city limits. Physically, I've gained a bunch of weight since then (I've also lost a bunch of weight since then, but total net weight change is UP, because I was a glorious 120 when I graduated). I've grown my hair out, I've cut it off, it's been a handful of different colors, currently, it is unmistakably red. I've gotten bolder with my personality and my appearance and now I am wearing flashy blue shoes that I spent every step praying I wouldn't fall down in. Did I mention that I was attending this wedding solo? Like I always do? Sigh.

All while attempting to project a facade of, it ain't no big deal.

Other than not being recognized a few times, which was a new and odd experience, I had a great time, I didn't fall down, and despite the fact that these shoes might have been a little over the top for a small town Iowa gathering, they did get compliments and they anchored me back to my own reality. It was a small reminder to myself that I was more awesome than I gave myself credit for, and that I was doing just fine in my new life, blah blah self-confidence blah. I'm glad I didn't talk myself out of wearing them. They are very much "me" and I wasn't going to let myself care what other people thought. They had plenty of time to judge me in high school, but not anymore. It's my turn to, erm, sparkle.

Speaking of weddings, I'm pretty much going to wear these shoes at my own as my “something blue” - although I'm not sure I'm keen on wearing heels for that long. Maybe just for pictures. I'll see if she can do me up a pair of flats for the rest of the time. (Any of my real life friends who are not yet married: if you steal this idea from me I will cut you. It is the only definite I have planned for my hypothetical future wedding.)



Me with the dress and the shoes, in my dad's backyard



Me and the lovely (and sunburned) bride



Eight years later, reunited at last



THE SHOES. 

OKAY now listen up, here's where this all becomes relevant to you. I've basically become part of Katherine's street team of shoe-promoting because they are my favorite things ever, and she is now officially OPEN FOR BUSINESS.

Here's how it works in 3 easy steps:

1. Pick out which pair of shoes you want to have glittered. Something that you know fits you, preferably. (I like to lurk around Target's clearance section of their website. If you need a pair RIGHT NOW, I recommend something like this, they are marked down to $8 - however not all sizes are still available and I don't know how much longer these will be either. Or, even better, buzz on down to your local Goodwill. Ugly shoes for a couple bucks? Sexy 'em up and no one will ever know.)

2. Pick out what color of glitter you want them to be. (this is the kind she uses because it's the most sparkly):


3. Visit Katherine's Etsy shop. When you purchase your shoes, she will contact you with directions on where to ship them, etc etc.

NOW! There are two exciting things that are about to happen here.

1. Katherine has set up a special discount code for y'all: get 15% (FIFTEEN PERCENT) off your glitter shoe order by entering the code "KELLYROCKS" when you check out. (She created that, not me, but it's true: I do rock.) This will expire at the end of August, BUT! You can use it on multiple orders if you have a wardrobe of shoes that need sparkled.


(Disclosure: as one of her original customers and an avid member of the Glitter Shoes Fan Club that I totally just made up, Katherine is graciously going to give me a free pair of glitter shoes for every five referrals I send her way. So at least five of you need to go buy shoes because I don't need to tell you how poor I am (again) and I have another pair of shoes just waiting to get sparkled!)

2. Fifteen percent off not enough for you? How about this: KATHERINE AND I ARE GOING TO GIVE ONE OF YOU LUCKY BITCHES A FREE PAIR. Yes, that's right, I said FREE. (You'll still have to provide the shoes. Who are we, Oprah?)

Here's how to enter:

Leave a comment below telling us either (a) what color of glitter you would choose (see image above) or (b) where you would wear your sexy new shoes.

If you want additional entries, tweet this:

I want to win a pair of #glittershoes from @kelalea and @purekatherine! http://bit.ly/nz7Ez5


or, you know. Something like that. Get creative. Just make sure you mention me and Katherine. If I don't see it, I can't count it. (That said, if you want to shamelessly tweet that thing every day for the next week, I will count each tweet as an entry.)

(PS: the bit.ly URL above is a link to this post, you can use whatever shortener you want, if this one displeases you.)

I'm going to create a fancypants spreadsheet with all the entries and a winner will be randomly chosen and announced NEXT FRIDAY (August 12) because what better way to start a weekend knowing that you are a motherfucking WINNER?

All right, my bloglets... go forth and sparklefy. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Wordle To Your Mother

I remembered that Wordle existed and made another one for this blog.


If you care to see how much it has changed since the last time I did it, here is my Wordle from September 2009:




If I was more ambitious, I would do a full-on comparison of the two. Instead I will say that I apparently have always used the word "know" a lot and apparently have a penchant for that font.

What do your word clouds look like?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Getting With The Times

First things first: I made a facebook page for this little ol' blog. Everyone else was doing it so I figured I may as well too. Come be my fan, or "like" me, or whatever it is that we do nowadays. I will perhaps eventually incorporate it into my next giveaway which will probably be around post #700 or so, which is coming up fairly soon.

Second things second: I am so fucking exhausted. I can't even put together a more extensive post than this. I suck, I know. But if I can get my act together, I should be able to put together some posts with some nice pretty pictures because I have been taking a lot of them because I have been Doing Stuff during the entire month of July. And various things. I'm so tired, guys. I just want to sleep for an entire day. Since this is not feasible anytime soon, I'm going to just whine about it instead.

How are things going with all of you? Fill me in on your lives. I feel like I have missed a lot what with constantly being on the go. CATCH ME UP.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Emotional Whiplash

On second thought... I don't really know if this is such a good idea after all.

The first day or two of this endeavor was great. Easy. I hadn't even really gotten a chance to browse around yet and I was being inundated with messages and pageviews. I'm at an unfair advantage, really: I know how to write a bio page like nobody's business. I've gotten some great photos lately what with my not being as fat anymore, and I know that I have put my best foot forward. I felt confident that what I wrote was truly me, and that it would be simple to continue to project an aura of desirability even once I started, you know, communicating with people.

But less than 72 hours into my newest online dating experiment, and already I've got myself falling down a familiar spiral of self-doubt. I'm a fake. I'm not desirable. Yes, I look like my pictures, and yes, the words in my profile are accurate, but I'm not the sassy, spunky girl that I am behind them. Not the same sassy, spunky girl that I am even here on this blog. I'm neurotic and strange and I've been single for so long that I don't know how to be anything else. I feel like I have to be perfect to be wanted or even worth a second look, and I gave up being perfect a long time ago... so where does that leave me?

What's worse, is that because of this underlying self-doubt, I'm practically sabotaging myself in the process. I'm letting myself start off on the wrong foot, a lot. I'm overthinking, and my words sound forced. Or I don't think at all, and then I make myself look stupid. What the fuck happened to the cool and confident girl that wrote that profile? All of it went out the window as soon as I hit “save.”

Maybe it's just that I've been rejected one too many times in the past. I haven't had a solid relationship in years, and even the frequency of flings has dwindled considerably. I've allowed myself to retreat into my comfort zone, and I stayed there. What was once a protective mechanism has proven to be my downfall, now that I don't want to hide anymore. I can't seem to pry myself out of it.

I've managed to come around on the “love yourself first” part. I think I'm pretty awesome. I know that I am smart and funny and cute and charming and all of those things that are generally pretty good traits to have. It's the things that run deeper than that. All the pep talks in the world don't do any good at this point. I know I'm awesome.What more can I possibly do to convince myself? It's there. It's as good as it's going to get.

I just can't seem to follow through. I get (metaphorically) tongue-tied and I'm trying to keep myself in check from saying stupid things. My entire profile should consist of a warning: I'm awkward. Pretty, but awkward. Continue at your own risk.

I've got a bad taste in my mouth from the last go-round. They weren't all bad guys, but it's the experience of assholes like Bachelor #3 that I can't seem to erase from my mind. It's put a dark tint over the whole experience. It's almost as though I am expecting that the only guys I will manage to pick up are going to be complete jerks. That's all that's left out there for me.

Because the truly nice guys? The ones that are also smart and funny and cute and charming? I still don't feel like I really deserve them. There are a hundred other girls out there that are maybe smarter and funnier and cuter and more charming and, more importantly, know what they are doing.

I have lost that skill. I don't remember how to play the game anymore.

I had a pretty good handle on it once. I was so eager to get back out there, too, and show them how it was done. I had complete confidence in myself. Then the months started to tick by and then years and now? Now it's all a vague, rusty memory. If I was out on the scene more, I could maybe brush up. I used to be the master of learning by observation. The problem is now that everyone I know is into happily-settled-down territory. The beginning part confuses me. I don't remember how it goes.

I don't know what to say anymore. The words jumble up and it's just SO AWKWARD. There are probably a handful of canned witty replies I could come up with to respond to all of the various inquiries I've gotten. Yet I just stare at a blinking cursor. It's worse when I get blindsided by a chat window. Last summer, chatting with the Med Student (I think Bachelor #2? I can't remember my numbering system anymore), I was full of sharp, witty comebacks, and chatting and texting with him was a piece of cake. Then I got burned by him. And the other guy. And then it quickly dissolved and the only decent guy I had left, I had absolutely no romantic feelings for at all. So I retreated.

I'm back to where I was a year ago, with even less confidence, if that's possible, even though I've had more confidence lately than I've probably ever had. The passive non-rejections from last summer were apparently enough to make me gun-shy all over again. They were easy; nothing had really been invested yet. They should have been as disposable as Kleenex. And yet, and yet. It obviously rattled me. Online dating was kind of the last frontier, you know? All other avenues having been used up. I was saving it for last, because that was the thing I had been counting on to work, if nothing else did.

And it didn't.

So I'm sitting here, now, attempting to give it another shot, and I feel... almost painfully shy. Like I was in high school. When I was even more socially awkward than I am now (if you can believe it) and avoided the whole thing.

Now? I don't even know. I'm not a shy person. Most of you can attest to that. I'm the loud one of the group. I got on a goddamn airplane to go to Las Vegas to hang out with fifty-six other people that I didn't know. Though I'm not even sure that's a good case study because I knew on some level that it would all be fine. They were my people. Internet people.

Maybe that's the problem. I don't know how to interact with non-Internet people. Have I lost the ability to function in real life? I hadn't thought so, until just now. I have lots of friends in real life. Yet I do most of my communicating with them online, still. That's how we keep in touch during the week, when we don't get to see each other all the time.

I don't know how to go looking for someone that doesn't spend 90% of their time at a computer. I don't know how to talk to someone that doesn't blog or tweet or facebook or know what a hashtag is or the beauty of separating people into Circles. Maybe that's the problem.

Yes, blame the Internet. Why not?

On some level, though, it has to be me. Something inherently wrong with me that has rendered me unable to be my usual charming self when it comes to the opposite sex. Something that makes me want to smash any potential matches from the get-go, so I don't have to go through with getting to know them or meeting them in person or jumping on that dizzying rollercoaster of emotions that accompanies a new relationship. What I thought I wanted, I am preventing myself from having.

I don't know why.

This leaves me with a painful ache. The kind that takes over when you realize how lonely you are. I know I don't need some guy to be happy. I've been perfectly content the last five years without one, without my facebook page being tied to someone else's with those four weighty words: “In a relationship with...” It's fine. Really. I don't need anyone. But I don't know if I can truly express how much it hurts to admit that at the rate you're going, you are probably going to be alone for quite some time. I joke about it, how I'm going to be a cat lady, or how I'm going to die alone. We laugh about it, we brush it off.

But last night as I was crawling into bed (alone, of course) it hit me like a 2x4 how eerily it all sounds like foreshadowing now. I do feel like I'm destined to be alone. Maybe it's time I tried to make peace with that, instead of holding out ridiculous hope for... something. Anything. It's been nothing but disappointment and it's probably no one's fault but my own. If I could truly give up, I would. It would be easier, don't you think? Easier than making myself miserable like this.

And that, my friends, is all of the internalized angst that I have been building up for quite some time.