Thursday, May 31, 2012

You, Too, Could Attend BiSC For Free. But Honestly, I'm Greedy And Hope I Win Again.

I know, I know. I haven't even written about 2012 yet and I'm already doing some pimping for 2013. Truth is, I haven't had a chance to sit down with anything yet because I've been trying to sort out my life and finances and magically train for a 5K that's at the end of June. I KNOW, WHO AM I?! Ridiculous.

Anyway. One of our sponsors from 2012, The Lucky Bloke, is teaming up with Bloggers in Sin City to give away... a spot to 2013! (Cue cheering and the rejoicing of peasants). They're an international condom company and their founder, Melissa, attended this past year and she's an absolute sweetheart. Not that that has anything to do with anything, other than it makes me a fan of this company automatically. Oh, and they donate 10% of their profits sales to urgent charitable causes. There's that, too.

Now, I know. This isn't a sex blog, and I don't think I've ever once talked about sex, and now I'm talking about a condom company. (Though this blog IS quite sexy, yes? I mean, in the LMFAO "Sexy and I Know It" sense.) (I hate LMFAO. But DAMMIT this song has grown on me. Mostly because of the readily available jokes and puns ("I work out!") that make me somewhat culturally relevant.) (With all these parentheticals, I've forgotten my original point.)

 My blog. In theory.

If you want a sex and dating blog, I'm going to redirect you to my lovely friend and fellow BiSC-uit Simone. It's not a topic that I'm entirely comfortable writing about because I have no idea who reads this and, quite frankly, for me it's a very personal subject and I feel like there could be awkwardness, somewhere. Not the kind of adorable awkwardness that's fun and quirky, but, like, legit awkwardness, of the blushing and stammering and averted glances. I don't consider myself a prude, but, hey. I live in Iowa. There's still a certain conservativeness in the air. Also: I have family members lurking in the wild of the Internet. Who knows where they'll end up?

OH GOD WHAT IS THIS POST TURNING INTO.

Lordy. Anyway. Sex! Safe sex! Because safe sex is responsible and mature and quite frankly if you're not responsible and mature you shouldn't be having it, because you're likely to be one of those people that ends up with unwanted pregnancies and forces me to go red in the face screaming about a women's right to choose, when quite frankly, if people would just be responsible in the first place, they wouldn't happen and it would save me a lot of angst and ranting because the abortion rate would stay low and maybe we could all just get along. So just remember: no glove = no love, and also = no baby drama. THE END.

Moving on... condoms are pretty much the easiest method of birth control out there. If you're poor and still want to fool around, find a college campus, they generally tend to give them away. Ours did, anyway. However, if you're feeling a little fancier and want some special selections, you should check out The Lucky Bloke's offerings. I'm too lazy to try to reword things in an attempt to not plagiarize the BiSC site post, so I'm just gonna outright quote it, because why reivent the wheel, right?:

1. Lucky Bloke Pleasure Packs ~ the Ultimate Pleasure Subscription
A monthly subscription box filled with high-end sensual treats, including everything from aphrodisiac chocolates to luxurious massage oils. Each delivery will be filled with a selection of internationally curated treasures that are a perfect addition to your sexy arsenal!
2. Lucky Bloke: the Ultimate Condom Subscription Service
Their flagship site offers a carefully researched and hand-selected assortment of the very best international condoms and lubricants for both one-time and recurring delivery. International shipping is only $2.50 and 10% of all sales go to urgent humanitarian causes.

Fancy, right?

So, in summary, The Lucky Bloke can help you (a) discover some new adult goodies and (b) possibly pay your (or preferably my) way to BiSC 2013.

More details about the BiSC spot giveaway here.
Follow The Lucky Bloke on Twitter here.

Meanwhile, I shall sit and wait to see what this post does to my traffic sources. Heh.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Some Freebies While You Wait...

YOU GUYS. I... well, it's been a hell of a week. Firstly, thank you to everyone who commented or texted or gchatted or emailed me about my previous post. It basically made me cry over and over (in a good way) because I am a basket case now that I'm in my late 20's. (Yes. I said it. I've finally given up the pretense that I can get away with saying I'm in my mid-twenties. No longer gonna fly. Now I'm going to have tears, for other reasons). It was nice knowing that (a) I'm not alone in feeling like that and (b) people still seemed to like me anyway. I will respond to you all individually when I can find my words again, but in the meantime, HUGS.

Also, I've been itching to finish my Vegas recaps, but you know what has to happen first? The sorting and selecting of the pictures. Because Vegas recaps without pictures is just... well, it's blasphemous, is what it is. I'm actually getting stressed out about how long it's taking me to do, because OMG I LOVE DOING THEM, WHY DO I HAVE TO WAIT..for... myself.

sigh.

Also, I met the BF's parents this weekend. It went well, I think. I hope. They were very lovely and nice and I really really hope they liked me. Did I say that already? I'm still nervous and it was TWO DAYS AGO. I've never met the parents of a significant other before (which may have had a lot to do with, you know, being chronically single for the last *cough* number of years.) So, y'know. Things have been happening that have been distracting me from everything else. Including my baking column. (SORRY DONI!)

ANYWAY. ANYWAY. I was reading the recaps of people much more prompt than I, and it occurred to me that: PROMOTIONS! I have promotions and codes from a couple of the BiSC sponsors and HOLY SHIT THEY ARE GOING TO EXPIRE BEFORE I EVER GET AROUND TO WRITING ABOUT THEM so I am doing things ALL OUT OF ORDER and doing that... now.

FIRST.

One of our sponsors is a company called 4x6 that prints stuff. What stuff, you might ask? Oh, y'know. Postcards, business cards*, YOU NAME IT. They teamed up with Paper'd (youuuuuuuuu know, the super snazzy iPhone app that I am jealous of because I have a Blackberry that's so old it belongs in a museum, the app with beautiful and fun and awesome and pretty wallpapers. Also the one that sponsored YOURS TRULY to attend BiSC free of charge this year.)

*Such as the business cards that the Shatterboxx gals whipped up for us for our opening meet-and-greet mixer that of course you don't know about yet because I haven't told you about it yet. It was nifty. We were given a box of 60 cards - one for each attendee. We then had to find each person and give them their card back, so when we left, we each had a box of our own business cards. Neat, right? Because, well, all the icebreaker get-to-know-you games out there are awful and Queen Goddess Nicole, Grand Czarina of Las Vegas (as I shall now refer to her) will not allow us to have awfulness in our lives.


Photo stolen from another BiSCuit. I'm a picture klepto.
I don't remember who and I'm sorry.  Tell me if it's yours and I'll credit it. 
UPDATE: It's from Suki! Thanks Suki.

Where was I? Oh yes. They teamed up with Paper'd to give us some lovely 4x6 (ha! no pun intended, there) postcards that had awesome prints on one side and info about their biz on the other.

You know what else they had on one of them? A CODE. FOR FREE STUFF. FOR YOU. In this particular case, 20 free 4x4" prints on their super awesome satin finish stock. (yes. 4x4. Which feels like it should be a type because I've said 4x6 roughly a hundred times but - no. It's correct. They are squares. Cute, yes?) Guys. That's a $30 value. THIRTY DOLLARS. Or, y'know. NO DOLLARS. You pick.


You may or may not recall that I was a graphic design major, yes? You also may or may not recall know that the company I work for does commercial printing. Which means... I know paper, and I know printing. And this stuff is divine. The stock is nice and thick and the finish is luxurious. Yes, I said luxurious. (Or, to quote one of my fellow BiSCuits, Michelle: "I want to rub these cards all over my face cause they feel so freaking nice." Yes. That.)

So hop on over for your free cards. (I think you still have to pay shipping, though, which is usually par for the course). I think they even have some sort of design support available. Or you could hit me up. My feeble little freelance career hobby and what not. I would be happy to help you. (They also have a really sweet tutorial page that helps you adjust your files correctly. Or you can use their File Valet service. Whatever.)

Or, you could perhaps make some... Save the Date cards, if you're like my dear friend Ashley who JUST GOT ENGAGED!!! (That faint sound you hear is the echoes of all the squee-ing that went on when she told me.) Congrats, lady!!

Anyway. (I'm terrible at this, no wonder I will never be a professional blogger). Go to 4by6.com and enter promo code BISC4by6. Please note that this expires on June 2nd so you have a grand total of four days to use this. You're welcome.

SECOND... Actually, you know what? I'll save the other things for other posts as filler until I get my real posts ready. BRILLIANT.

So, go forth and printify. Tell them Kelly sent you. They won't care at all but at least I'll feel mildly important.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

After the Neon Fades


I’m struggling. I’m not sure what it is, exactly… maybe I’m just in a post-vacation funk and the number of things flying through my inbox needing immediate attention is simply overwhelming me. While that’s probably not helping, but I don’t think that’s it, exactly. I’ve been trying to reflect on BiSC and figure out why I don’t have that same euphoric high that I did last year when I got home. I stayed an extra day this year, maybe it gave me time to unwind a little bit, and wean myself off the city. By the time I was on a plane home, I was ready to be home.

I took over 500 pictures this year (which was actually LESS than last year, if you can believe it). I was going through them last night to fix the red eyes, rotate the ones that needed rotated, maybe strategically crop a few, and, oh hey, adios blemishes. You know. My usual post-event routine. I’m really excited to post them, because I feel like I got some great shots, and I think people will enjoy them. I worry that by taking so long, they’ll get lost in all of the post-BiSC haze, the flurry of recap posts, and the very important business of Internet-stalking all of the new BFFs that everyone made this weekend. I want to post my stuff, as kind of a reminder: Hey, don’t forget me! I want you to like me, too! Time feels like it is of the essence, and I’m trying to distract myself from the weird feelings I’m having by focusing on concrete tasks. Edit the pictures. Post the pictures. Write the posts. Post the posts. Sit back. Remember. Enjoy.

I feel empty and irrelevant, and I can’t figure out why.

I was so, so insecure this year. A large part of it was due to my constant struggle with body image. Last year at this time, I was in the beginning stages of my weight-loss journey, and was feeling optimistic about the way I was starting to look. This year, I’ve gained back almost everything I lost last year, and I’m so aware of it. I see it with every piece of clothing I put on and every time I look in the mirror. I jokingly told myself it was mostly because I was worried about how I was going to look in all of the pictures (because I’m silly and narcissistic and vain), but… I think it runs deeper than that.

The physical insecurities have eaten away at me enough to tap into my emotional insecurities, and I feel kind of the way I did when I was in fourth grade – standing on the outside, looking in. Feeling like people are humoring me and tolerating my presence. Feeling like I maybe don’t really belong here, and I’m forcing my way in. (I actually flat-out ASKED the popular girls at recess one time if I could hang out with them. If I could be part of their group. They let me, at least for that day, and they told me I could be an “alternate” for their “club”, but I’m sure they made fun of me later. At the time, I didn’t care. It was just a little bit of acceptance, and I hungrily took it.)

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve feared failure much less. Maybe I’m less ambitious now, I don’t know. But the thing I fear is Not Being Enough. Not being a good enough friend, not being a good enough employee, not being a good enough sister/daughter/granddaughter/niece/pet owner. Not having a clean enough apartment. Not being thin enough to fit into my clothes. Most of all, not being a good enough girlfriend/partner/other half. These things eat away at me and every time I feel like I’ve let someone down (even if that someone is simply myself), I fall into one of those cloud-covered anxiety-ridden depression holes. Those are not terribly easy to get out of, but they’re not the deepest pits I’ve found myself in. I’m still standing, I guess. So there’s that.

I digress.

I’m reading the recap posts as they’re going up, and the most prominent emotion I’m identifying is… jealousy. I didn’t have an earth-shattering experience this year. I got to spend time with some of my favorite people, but I don’t feel like I connected like I did last year. I was simply… there. The closest I got was a short conversation I had with Stacey on the roof of Chateau on Saturday night, where she made me feel like I was a valuable person who was worth being friends with. I wanted to cry then, and it makes me want to cry now. I’m not sure she knows how much her words meant to me, but they meant a lot.

All these years later, I think I’ve figured it out: I’ve always felt second-rate. Like I didn’t deserve to have the friendships and relationships I have now, because I am a nobody. That’s why I hold them all at arm’s length – if they get too close, they’ll see I’m a fraud. That I’m a nothing, that I’m not worth their time.

I want to say it felt like I was holding back in Vegas,  but I don’t think that’s quite right. I think it’s actually the opposite. I was trying too hard.

I was trying so hard to be cool and funny and interesting and I didn’t really feel like myself most of the weekend. I felt like I had to live up to the “me” that I’ve presented via this blog, not the confused, insecure girl I’ve been lately. I needed to be witty and fun! People will only like me if I’m witty and fun! I was sure of it. So I tried really hard to be witty and fun, and I kept catching myself, and then I just felt like I was being loud and obnoxious and forcing my way in to other people’s fun. Once again, I was intruding, all but shy of coming out and asking if I could be part of the club.

And that’s not how it works here. BiSC is not a club. There are no exclusive groups to try to break into. It’s a family. These are my people, my “tribe” if you will. They are just like me (albeit cooler and more awesome), and they think the same way and they also live through their words and their writing, and they not only do not mock my excessive picture-taking, but welcome it and encourage it. They don’t judge me for finding certain things interesting or wanting to do certain things (Germana even walked with me half a mile down the strip in the blazing afternoon heat to go on an adventure to check out some of the other hotels and see what they were like, plus I was on a mission for the BF to find the hotel he’d worked on at his internship, back when), though I suspect they might physically pick me up and throw me in the damn pool next year if I don’t voluntarily go myself. (Which, given the aforementioned blazing heat, might not be the worst thing ever.) They’re not judgmental people. They are the very best people you could ever hope to find yourself surrounded with, which is why I didn’t think twice about going again this year. It wasn’t even up for debate. I had to go, and I was going to find a way to make it work, even if I was short on cash for a few weeks in January.

So I’m sitting here, and I’m struggling, because what the hell is my problem? Why couldn’t I properly engage with people this weekend? Why am I a fucked up ball of crazy?

But I can’t help but feel like I crashed the party this year. I KNOW, it’s ridiculous. I’m not looking for a chorus of people telling me I’m being ridiculous. I’m just trying to sort out my head and figure out why I feel that way. I had fun. I had a LOT of fun. I enjoyed every single minute I was there and as soon as I left, I was already mentally calculating my budget to go again next year. It was amazing, like always, so I can’t figure out why I have all these odd feelings now.

I’m giving myself another year. I will return to Las Vegas for Bloggers in Sin City 2013 and face these demons head-on. I’ll give myself an honest-to-God shot at recapturing the magic from 2011. I’ll give myself another try to silence the voices in my head. I’ll stop trying so hard and start trying to be myself, whatever that ends up meaning.

If I can’t do that next year, then I think I will be done. I will let someone else have “my” spot in 2014, so that they can experience the magic I felt in 2011. They can sit by the pool in the VIP area, sipping on free drinks and stealing the rays of sunshine from the Nevada sun. They can dance all night in a fancy nightclub. They can have their names written on their arms in Sharpie and bounce excitedly when they finally meet somebody that they already sorta "know." They will eat all of the amazing food and wander down the strip and complain about the fact that their feet hurt all while not really caring because it's totally worth it. I will watch them from Twitter and nod knowingly and approvingly at the way their lives are changing for the better, and I will hold on to my own experiences, because even with the weird funk and the barrage of frustrating emotions that I’m feeling now, I know that my life has been forever changed for the better by the people I’ve met at this magical event.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Leaving Las Vegas (Again)


I’m sitting in the Las Vegas airport right now, en route for fabulous Des Moines, Iowa (doesn’t have quite the same ring to it, does it?) and trying to wrap my mind around the weekend that just happened. I’m on my way home from Bloggers in Sin City, and it was amazing. I can’t say I liked it more or less than last year, because both years were equally amazing in their own ways (can I say amazing a few more times? Amazing amazing amazing). If I don’t go again next year, I will cry all of the tears that are available to be cried, because it has become less of a Las Vegas experience and so much more of a reunion with a bunch of friends I only get to see once a year. The goodbyes are definitely the hardest part, but the word “goodbye” has largely been replaced with “are you coming next year? Great, see you then!” because, yeah. It’s a sad time, otherwise.

I’m ready to go home, though. It’s been almost a week, and I miss my boyfriend and my cat and my apartment and my Diet Mountain Dew* and everything being cheap.

*Diet Dew = seriously hard to find in Vegas. There was ONE place in the hotel that had some bottles in their soda case, and it cost me four fucking dollars. I didn’t even care. I had to have a fix.

I don’t even know where to start.  I suspect I will do what I did last year and just do a day-by-day recap, so brace yourself for VEGAS WEEK: THE SEQUEL over the next few days. If I’m really on top of things, I’ll get them all written before I even land at home (I do have a million hour layover in Denver, after all) so that all I will need to do when I get home is dump in some photos and voila! A steady stream of Vegalicious posts for you.

And the photos. Omg, the photos. I have some fantastic ones. And I don’t want to spoiler you or anything, except if you follow me on Twitter, I already did, so: I MADE IT TO THE LAS VEGAS SIGN FINALLY.

So, there’s that. Here, have a sneak peek.




Monday, May 14, 2012

Apartmentalized.

One of the most exciting things I've ever done was sign a lease for my very first apartment. It kind of felt like cheating, because I had subleased an apartment over one summer while I was still in college, but it was only for three months and it wasn't really "my" apartment, and I had a roommate. Which, don't get me wrong. Roommates are great. But after four years of living in a dorm room with one, I was ready to have my own space to breathe. And to decorate. And to sprawl out. And, ostensibly, to make a huge freaking mess in. (My cleaning habits are a tad bipolar. I'm either on a spotless-apartment-or-bust streak or a "this place looks disturbingly like what I imagine the apartment of a bunch of dudes looks like." When it's the latter, I'm super embarrassed and refuse to let people come over.) But this apartment was mine, all mine. I'd picked it out by myself and signed the lease by myself and moved in, well, with the help of my family after a frenzied day full of graduation activities, but when the dust settled after that, it was just me and my newfound adulthood. And a lot of white walls that needed things hung upon them.

I've lived in three different apartments since I've graduated from college. The first move was spurred by landing my first grown-up job, ironically in the same college town I'd just left. The second was just across town, to a smaller yet more charming duplex-style upstairs apartment that was cheaper and closer to work. What I saved in rent money and gained in convenience was worth the loss of square footage. I still miss that gloriously large kitchen, though. Sad sigh.

I'm reaching an age where (in theory) I should be possibly (in theory) looking at buying a house. Or, given my unmarried status, a condo or townhouse or something. That's what grownups do, right?

Not this girl. I love renting. It makes the most sense for me, financially and situationally. Allow me to elaborate:

Kelly's Top 5 Reasons For Living in an Apartment

1. Maintenance = not my problem.

This one is huge for me. If something breaks, I call my landlord. If something stops working, I call my landlord. If the grass needs mowed, I call my landlord. (LOL JK, I don't - he shows up eventually and gives it a haircut, all of his own doing.) I don't have to worry about things like water heaters and plumbing and any of the other money-eating appliances that coincide with having to pay for everything yourself.

I don't consider myself a feeble damsel-in-distress type, but if we're being honest (and why shouldn't we be?) - I know little to nothing about home repair and maintenance. I would be screwed if I had to fix my own kitchen sink or rewire anything. Generally, the only thing I've ever been responsible for is changing the lightbulbs in my unit when they burn out. And that, I can handle. (I've also switched to CFLs, which means this happens on a next-to-never basis.)

2. Amenities and Utilities = PAID.

I live in a college town, which means a lot of apartment complexes and property management companies will do battle for your attention... which means they'll offer a LOT of freebies. In my last apartment, I got free Internet, free cable, and a free membership to the local gym that I used all of one time for a kickboxing class with one of my coworkers that was apparently an intermediate level and that almost killed me. I didn't go back. (Another post for another day. Gyms terrify me.) In my current apartment, which is privately owned, I get free Internet. Which is worth all other freebies combined because apparently Internet is not cheap (I had to pay for it in my first apartment, which was NOT in a college town, and it was a tad bit depressing). And also because I use the Internet a lot. Like, right now.

You know what else is great? I only have to pay for electricity. I've been pretty lucky - in all the places I've lived, I've only had to pay the electric bill. Water, garbage, heating, whatever else, always included. These are things that I have no idea how much they cost, because I've never had to pay for them. And I can control my electric bills pretty well.

I also don't have to pay property tax or whatever various fees probably go into home ownership. Because I own nothing. Which leads to...

3. Flexibility.

If I want to leave... I can leave. I mean, sure, I have a lease, but it's on a year-by-year basis, and if something huge came up where I had to skedaddle, I could probably work something out. With a house, I'd have to endure the nightmare of trying to sell it. And I know it's a nightmare because I know enough people trying to sell houses right now and apparently the market sucks hard right now.

4. No (extra) debt.

If you hadn't noticed, a lot of the things I love about renting an apartment are largely financial. My dad hates the idea of renting, because you're spending money and spending money and don't have anything to "show" for it. I get that. I also get that I'm recently out of college and have towering piles of student loan payments and credit card payments and all these other grown-up bills to pay that I didn't have five, six, seven years ago. College has put me severely in debt, and the last thing I need is another one. No mortgage for this gal. I will pay a lump sum every month to put a roof over my head, and quite frankly, the benefit of having someone else be responsible for the problems and maintenance (see point 1) is worth its weight in gold. (Whatever that means. I feel like there's a pawn shop joke to be made here.)

5. No extra hassles or people to have said hassles with.

I don't have to hassle with a realtor. I don't have to hassle with sellers. I don't have to hassle with home inspections and mortgages and banks and loans and other bidders and having my hopes and dreams crushed when someone outbids me on my dream home. I only have to work with one entity, I sign my lease and I mail (or hand deliver) a check every month. That's it. There aren't a lot of extra parties involved. No fuss, no muss. Or something. I don't know. Basically: it's easier, and I like easy. I have enough other stuff to worry about. (Like... getting everything packed for my trip to Las Vegas. It's too much math to figure out the hours until my departure, but.... eeeee!)

Bonus reason: Independence.

Okay, I'm adding this one on unofficially because it's kind of cheesy and lame, but... having my own apartment makes me feel like a successful adult. I've got my own place! I decorated it myself! I have a job and a cat and dishes and furniture! Sure, it's not a chic little studio in some big fancy city, but it makes me feel like an independent career woman. Or something. Even when I struggled to find a job after college, I never had to move back in with my parents. I made it work. And being able to afford my own apartment even in the midst of economic shambles was kind of a point of pride for me. I managed to stay on my own two feet. Having my own apartment was the key symbol of that. I was officially part of the Real World.

In summary: I adore living in an apartment. Sure, sometimes you have neighbors and they're loud, or you have to fight over the laundry facilities (my dream apartment is one that has its own in-unit washer and dryer - because I am officially old and my dreams have shrunk), or parking sucks... but in my opinion, these are vastly outweighed by the fact that someone else is responsible for the upkeep and I don't have to do it - and, more importantly, I don't have to pay extra for it.

I could also go into the perks of living *by yourself* in an apartment (never having to close your bathroom door, anyone?) but I think that's another list for another time.

Disclaimer: this is a sponsored post. I totes just wrote a sponsored post. I HAVE ARRIVED! Who's a big fancy blogger? Me! No? Okay. I tried. Anywho, this post is part of an ongoing series sponsored by UMoveFree, a Texas-based apartment relocating service. Everything I said above was my out of my own brain, though. 

Moving soon? UMoveFree complaints are few and far between.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

I'm Freaking Out, Man.

I'm leaving for Vegas in two days and I am not packed. I started making a packing list, but I have no idea what to bring to wear because all of the cute things I've been stockpiling for Vegas since, well, last BiSC, likely do not fit anymore because I made the awesome life decision to go ahead and gain back twenty pounds. At this point, I'm not even sure what options are available. To add to my predicament, I am in great need of doing some laundry. As it stands, I currently only have two decent pairs of clean underwear that I can take with me. (Ironically, one is the pair that we got in our swag bags last year from Think Geek that have "I'm blogging this" printed across the front. So, I mean, I definitely need to bring those anyway, right?) I mean, I have more pairs that are clean. They're just falling apart and uncomfortable and the kind you only wear when it's time to do laundry. The situation has become dire. (I'm out of socks, too, but I think I can circumvent that by just wearing flats the whole time again.)

So, I'm not even remotely packed, though a preliminary list has been made... I'm behind on my Twenties Hacker columns because softball has TAKEN OVER MY LIFE (remember how I coach? Probably not unless you were hanging 'round these parts last summer, because I have not had time to talk about it yet, but anyway, I am coaching again. And also how I play slowpitch? Yeah, that's all in full swing right now. To make it even more special, I pulled my hamstring on Monday or Tuesday and by Friday evening, not only was that leg still in a degree of pain, but the other leg decided to join the party. But that didn't stop me, oh no. I am a trooper with a very keen sense of pride. I played two full games of softball with two pulled hamstrings. Let me tell you, that hurt like a motherfucker. I'm sure the faces I was making when I was running were priceless. Because I could get about halfway between bases before pain would shoot through my legs. I did it, though. I did it and even made it around the bases a couple times AND had some awesome hits. I could revel in the glory of these hits but you probably don't care. Except the one where I knocked down the pitcher from the other team. It wasn't even that spectacular of a hit, but it was hard enough and straight at him that he fell down. It was awesome. Also, remember how I started a parenthetical statement like six sentences ago? Here's the end!) So, anyway, I've been a busy little bee. Softball takes up a lot of nights, and I've hit the busy time at work right now, so I've been pulling some late nights there, and I'm trying to check some things off my to-do list that have been hanging over my head since forever, all while trying to keep my apartment from devolving to look like what I assume the inside of a frat house looks like.

And in two days, I am leaving for a week. A WEEK. That's, like, a year in Kelly time. I get twitchy just putting things on hold for a weekend... but a week? MENTAL SPASMS. THEY ARE HAPPENING.

I'm excited, don't get me wrong. Once I get to the airport and switch into vacation mode, I am going to be deliriously excited to be reunited with my BiSC alums, and to meet all the wonderful friends-to-be that I haven't met before. I am going to stalk down Katherine's gate at the airport since she arrives not long after I do, and I am going to tackle hug her, then we're going to stake out a place to catch up while we wait for some other ladies to arrive so we can carpool/taxipool/shuttlepool to the hotel. At that point, all will be well.

Until then, though... gah! I am going to be a giant stressball.

Speaking of stress (and balls?), about ten minutes ago I found a little bottle of aromatherapy lotion that's all "STRESS RELIEF!" in oversized letters, something that I had acquired somewhere down the line. I was all "sweet! My skin is in dire need of moisture and I could use some stress relief! Eucalyptus spearmint? sure, why not, mint is kind of a soothing scent..." and, long story short, I now smell like a man.

That's neither here nor there, I suppose, but I really thought you should know. You'll thank me someday if you ever find yourself in a similar predicament.

With that, SLEEP! And the countdown to Vegas begins in earnest...

Monday, May 7, 2012

Bloggers in the Wild

*Not to be confused with Bloggers Gone Wild, because that would be an entirely different post.

Ugh, this post is SO overdue that I kind of want to poke myself in the eye with a spoon. What actual purpose that would solve, I don't know.

Sooooo earlier this spring, I got to hang out with not ONE but TWO of my fellow Internet dwellers. Nothing makes me happier than hanging out with My People, which is why I'm going to basically be in Heaven when I find myself in Las Vegas in ten days (TEN! DAYS!) for Bloggers in Sin City (HOLY SHIT I NEED TO START PACKING OR AT LEAST MAKING COPIOUS AMOUNTS OF LISTS). It's going to be one part epic reunions with last year's returning #BiSCuits and one part epic new-friend-fest with all the newbies. Not only that, but airlines are ridiculous, so it was cheaper to come a day early and stay a day late - I'm sorry, extra quality time in Vegas for less money? SIGN ME RIGHT THE FUCK UP.

But, I digress.

Every January (and July) I find myself in the land o' peaches for the twice-a-year gift market/trade show held in the heart of downtown Atlanta. You know who lives in Atlanta? Jenn and Tiffany. Unfortunately (for me), Tiff was (ironically) in Vegas that week, but luckily Jenn was around and had time to hang out.

After pulling off a somewhat convincing performance of being a jet-setting businesswoman for a few days, I met up with Jenn and a couple of her (awesome) friends on my last night in town. We had the most amazing queso dip in the history of queso dips and I had some pretty stellar tacos too. Oh, yeah, and it was absolutely kick-ass to be able to hang out with Jenn again. I basically adore her, because she is basically awesome. I'm super sad that she won't be making it to BiSC again this year, but with any luck, I'll be back in the ATL this summer, and we can slo-mo frolic through a meadow for a reunion hug. Or, something.

 

Then, in February, as part of Treavor's plan for world domination to do one crazy awesome thing every month, he decided to take a solo road trip through the Midwest. I half-jokingly asked if Des Moines was on the itinerary (because, let's face it, nobody comes here to visit me, which makes me ALL OF THE SADS).

...and it was! Much chair-bouncing ensued. I suddenly felt an immense amount of pressure to put central Iowa's best foot forward to impress my future fellow #BiSCuit. Naturally, I was going to do this with food. I opted to introduce Treavor to Fong's Pizza, home of the crab rangoon pizza and the kamikaze crash helmets [see: my profile picture off to the side].

Treavor seemed appropriately enthused about said cuisine and even tweeted that Des Moines did not, in fact, suck. (I swear I didn't force him to say that.) (Though I maybe encouraged it.)



I don't remember what else I was going to say because I never finished this post and I should have done so, like, two months ago, but I didn't, sooooo... YAY BLOGGERS IRL! FTW! ACRONYMS! YAY!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Five and Six

Five years ago today, I was walking across a big ol' stage after an hour or so of hearing other names rattled off, to receive a fancy leatherette folio with a piece of paper that was all "congrats! Your diploma is in the mail!" and to shake the provost's hand and smile for the masses and giddily take my seat, knowing that I DID IT, MOFOS. I GRADUATED FROM COLLEGE. In the prescribed four years, no less. I crossed the finish line, and then landed promptly in prime "now what?!" territory. But that wasn't on my mind, that day. I was happy to have made it, and sadder than anything to leave that world behind. 


The cloud over the day, of course, is the same cloud that always rolls in that day. Six years ago tomorrow, I received the worst kind of phone call that you can get... because six years ago today, a car accident took away one of the brightest, loveliest people I have ever had the privilege to have known. After all this time, there is still a sting of loss and a void that can never be healed, but it's slowly starting to heal. It will never be something that I am 100% over, but I can breathe again when the calendar reads "May 5" - so that's something.

[Previous tribute posts are here, here, here, and here, if you care to read them.]


Friday, May 4, 2012

Assembled.

I know I said I wasn't going to do any more midnight showings because I'm an old lady and I get tired but I also said I was probably going to make an exception for The Avengers because I've been waiting and waiting and waiting for that movie for ages, and now that I'm a seasoned veteran of the midnight movie experience (yes, one time does make me an expert, thank you for asking), I decided it totally needed to happen. Fortunately the BF was equally as nerdily excited for this movie as I was, so it was Game On.

I won't get into too much detail (I'm still sleepy - I didn't get home until 3am, after all, and my apartment decided to trap all of the humidity available within our city limits and that made it somewhat difficult to sleep comfortably), but if I had to describe it in one word: AWESOME. It was everything I hoped it would be and more. Joss Whedon's involvement (and witty dialogue) was heavily apparent - and as we all know, Joss Whedon is the epitome of all things that are awesome. The casting was great - to be fair, most of the main cast had already done their respective movies already, so none of it was particularly new, with the exception of Mark Ruffalo stepping in to the role of Bruce Banner/The Hulk, but it was fantastic. Robert Downey Jr is still hilarious and awesome as Tony Stark. I think, probably, he's my favorite. But they're all pretty kick-ass.

As far as the plot and story - I was impressed. I was really curious as to how they were going to tie all the characters' stories together into a cohesive plot that wasn't totally contrived - and they nailed it. Everything intertwined in a way that felt like each individual story was always leading to this story all along (and maybe they were?). There was some pretty solid character development, and the effects were good. The dialogue was my favorite, though. Like I said, Joss Whedon's humor was sprinkled throughout, and there are actually bits of dialogue I missed because I couldn't hear it over the theater's raucous laughter. So I'll probably have to see it again. Heh.

Lastly: the sequel has totally already been set up, if you watch, like, thirty seconds into the credits. However, if you stay all the way through all of the credits, there's a hilarious little bonus clip at the very end. Trust me.

Most amazing of all, I was able to easily stay awake AND I even made it to work on time today, though I came armed with a can of Diet Dew and I suspect there will need to be a caffeine IV running through my veins by noon. But I DID IT and it was awesome. Awesome awesome awesome.

Now, if you'll excuse me, it's a food day here in the office and I need to go binge. Don't tell Jillian.