Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Bless Me, Internet, For I Have Sinned

...it's been a minute or two since my last confession.


1 || I have been the best procrastinator of all time lately. It doesn't help that I'm able to talk myself into or out of anything in five seconds flat. I'm seriously hoping my mini-vacation this weekend will snap me out of this and get me back on the grind.

2 || There's someone I really need to let go of — I know this, the tarot reader I spoke to a few weeks ago knows this, my friends know this — and yet I just can't. This person keeps popping up in my mind, in conversations with others, in the faint memories I'm trying to forget, and even though logic is telling me to let go and move on, my heart is telling me I'm having so much trouble doing so for a reason. I'm not sure where that leaves me, though, because I'm not the only person who determined months back that it was time to give up on each other. Sigh.

3 || I ran over to the library the other day to grab some books for my flights this weekend, only to realize that one of the two books I picked up... I had read already. Less than a year ago. And unlike me, I actually remember the plot of it quite well. {I tend to forget 95% of the plot of a book/movie/TV show in less than a year, unless I've read/watched enough to memorize it.} I'm really smart, guys.


4 || I made a goal this month to submit a piece of writing I'd penned back in January to something — Thought Catalog or some other lit mag type thing, because it can be best described as creative non-fiction — and I still haven't done it. The piece itself is really emotional for me, but most of my CNF is. And I don't think that's quite why I'm hesitating. I happen to think that this piece is quite special, too. I'm a writer, rejection is a familiar concept to me, and yet I still fear it deeply. I need to get over that.

5 || I don't like Bloody Marys. {Can I still be a lifestyle blogger, please???}

6 || My old gym sends me an email about once a month asking me to come back, each time with a new promotional rate, new perks, et cetera. I know I won't go back, because I prefer running, yoga, and bodyweight workouts to the gym, yet I keep a stack of these emails tucked away safely in my inbox, just in case. They typically only make me feel guilty, yet I keep them around. 

7 || I've just realized that my email inbox is an excellent metaphor for the rest of my life. Go figure.

8 || I despise taking baths of any sort, but since taking up running, the suggestion of {shudder} "ice bath" has been tossed at me many times to ease my angry lower body. Oh, I also despise being cold. But I bit half of the bullet and went ahead with an Epsom salt bath the other day and I am a changed woman and can't understand why I never did this earlier. {Is this really a confession? I dunno, it just felt right.}


9 || As much as I can't wait to be in North Carolina with my sweet friend L this weekend, I'm starting to bug a little about the whole "getting there" thing. My flight is at 6:30 a.m., which means I need to be at the airport at 4:30 a.m., which means a 4 a.m. wakeup call, and I have to be somewhere until 11 the night before. Oh and I have no idea who's taking me to the airport and am so reluctant to hire a car.. for no good reason, really. Add this to the list of reasons I'm not a good traveler.

I feel cleansed, you guys. This was good. Let's do this again. Same time next week?
{Linking up with Kathy, but of course.}


Monday, April 28, 2014

Numbered

Because it was about time I hopped on this bandwagon too...

23 — number of years old my young friend turned this weekend, prompting a celebration

76 — number of years old I felt the morning after that celebration {#canthang #oldlady}

92 — number of doll hairs I spent in Target this weekend {nearly a record low, it's cool}

3 — number of races I'm registered for through the end of this year

2 — number of races I'm looking to add to my 2014 list because I'm greedy

46 — number of days until summer show season officially begins with two nights of DMB on the water

90 — number of delightful minutes spent at a boozy Sunday Funday lunch yesterday, meeting my brother's ladyfriend for the first time {she's a doll!}

16 — number of different types of tea in my cabinet

4 — number of times I've talked myself out of submitting a piece of CNF I wrote recently to any lit mag because I'm still dissuaded by the thought of rejection

7 — number of times I've listened to this song before noon on a single day

3 — number of candles I accidentally bought over the weekend to feed my addiction

4.5 — number of sleeps until I make it to North Carolina for a much-needed weekend in the South with one of my best friends

The forecast for Raleigh during my trip :)

Happy Monday, kids. Let's have us a good week, shall we?


Friday, April 25, 2014

The Job I'll Never Quit

I never got much of a chance to recap last weekend — I know, you're all so disappointed.

There's not all that much to say, but I do want to share a few photos with you. Apologies in advance — they're all iPhone shots, and there's a lot of bad hair in them.

This past Sunday was Easter, as I'm sure most of you are aware. In my family, it was our first ever Easter without this gal.
That's my grandmother, Mema. Millie. Meems. Little lady. Granny, to the ever-so-clever boys in the family. She spent her last day with us last August, the 16th to be exact, before her years-long battle against Alzheimer's came to an end.

We're still going through our firsts of everything without her. We barely survived our first Thanksgiving without her. Christmas was unusual. For her birthday this year — it would have been her 88th — I was down in Nashville on business, barely managing to keep it together as I waited out the day in my hotel room.

This Easter, we went through the motions like normal. My father was late. The Yankees-loving cousins and the Red Sox-loving cousins battled it out and swore like mad at the TV. My grandfather made a few empty threats with his cane. My cousin M and I were mocked for our dietary restrictions. I forced my brothers to take photos with me.
Three clicks to get one decent shot is actually our personal best.


Not without a few bloopers first, of course.

Just like every other year, even with every single one of us now in our twenties, we hunted for Easter eggs through my aunt and uncle's yard.


We posed for a family picture on the front steps like we always do.



We are always super appropriate and well-composed.


Every year we make wonderful memories together. Every year we grow closer as cousins, make more promises to spend more time together, and make more plans to actually do it. We grow up a bit more and learn to appreciate each other and our relationships more. I feel like we did so even more this year.

Because this year marked the first year without Meems. In all her over-blushed, layered-up, floured-handed glory.

And while we'll never stop missing her presence at our family table, and never let a holiday — or any other day — go by that we don't think of her and love her and wish we could have her back, at least we'll still have everything she gave us: Each other.


Looking back on these photos from Easters past makes me feel so warm and full inside. My family has had our issues and our ups and downs, like any family. We've screamed at each other, yelled, cried. Some of us have less-than-perfect relationships with parents or other members of previous generations.

But my cousins and I have something so very, very special that I know exists only because of the matriarch of our family. The loving, kind, compassionate, sweet, beautiful woman who made all of this for us and gave it to us to protect. And I'll be damned if I ever let that responsibility slide.

Seriously. We heart each other.
///

How was your week?
{Linking up with Whitney}

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Making My Goals Matter

Have you guys heard of Bucketlist?

I don't mean the concept of having a bucket list — if anyone not in the know still exists, a bucket list is a list of things you want to do before you... wait for it... kick the bucket.

Anyway, I'm talking about Bucketlist.org, a website I heard about some time ago that helps you create your ideal bucket list, track your goals {in case you haven't noticed by now, I'm a big fan of anything that involves "tracking" and "goals"}, add photos, talk about and share your experiences and just generally live life to your fullest.

I've had different versions of bucket lists over the years, but none of them have made it to existence today. That's probably for the better, as I am also very impulsive with my list making, and previous bucket lists likely include really stupid, dangerous, or downright ridiculous items that I maybe wanted to do for 5 minutes and that's about it.

I've written haphazard 25 x 25 lists. I came close to penning a 101 in 1001 and a 30 x 30. But I worry that listing items in arbitrary numbers correlating to a random age leads to a lot of filler. Do I really want to cook my way through Julia Child's publications, or do I say I want to because other people do and I need to add something else to that list? Spoiler: No, I don't want to. I have no special inclination toward French cuisine, I have way too many dietary restrictions, and the only reason I even care about Julia Child is because Queen Meryl played her in that movie.

So I decided to take a more deliberate approach to setting these goals and such, and wanted to share my Bucketlist bucket list with you guys today and keep it around here on the blog, hopefully updating alyssagoesbang with stories about my experiences in crossing items off the ultimate List of Things to Do.


Here's what I have so far:


The items I've chosen to add here are specific, thoughtful, and speak to goals I've had in mind for a long time. I've turned these all over several times, thought about my personal timeline, and how old I want to be when I accomplish certain things.

I want to make sure my life is filled with things I enjoy, things that make me happy. Of course, not all of those things really have a place on my bucket list. Things like weekly mileage running goals, keeping up traditions with friends, spending enough time with my family, and branching out in my writing career aren't for the bucket list. They're things I need to be conscious of every day, and making progress toward in every breath I take.

And of course there are things that I'll add to this list as we go along. As I try new things and get new hungers for different experiences. As I learn new things that I'm capable of, and discover new things that are within my reach.


In the meantime, why don't you go ahead and create your list on Bucketlist.org and connect with me over there too? The thing I think that's cool about the site is how it suggests different things for you and introduces you to new ideas and experiences you may never have considered. I've had a couple brought to mind that I'm still considering before I go ahead and commit to adding them to my list ;) And you can then categorize your hopeful adventures, add notes, set individual deadlines and learn about how to cross items off from people who have been there, done that.

I doubt I have to actually say this since I'm not a big-time blogger, but no one asked or paid me to write any of these words. I just think the site is cool.

Tell me, what's on your bucket list?

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

You're Making Me Blush

It's like you people actually like to hear me ramble about nothing myself all the time or something... ;)

Quick, someone take me down a peg before my ego gets big enough to need its own zip code. Krystal from The Kay Times has nominated me for a Liebster Award! Thanks so much, Kay!



So I guess there are one or two strings attached to this ol' thing, and here they are:
The rules:
1) You must link back to the person who nominated you — Check!
2) You must answer the 10 Liebster questions given to you by the nominator — Alright then!
3) You must pick 10 bloggers to be nominated for the award (with a small following) — Hmmm...
4) You must create 10 questions for your nominees —OOH how I love a Q&A!
5) You must notify your nominees — On it!
Here we go with step 2:

1. What made you decide to start a blog?
Yikes. There's a lot more to this answer than I want to burden you with here, since I already shared a bit about it here and here. Let me put it in simplest terms and say that this blog exists because I feel comfortable here in bloglandia, and I know what a wonderful place it can be thanks to the fact that I started writing my thoughts on the Internet way before I had any right to. Anyone remember Geocities?

2. How did you choose your blog's name? 
I told you a bit about that here too. Basically, I was young and inappropriate and trying to be suggestive and then I was too lazy to try and get people on the Internet to call me anything else.

3. Dogs or Cats?
Sigh. I suppose both have their value. But dogs. Definitely, always dogs.

4. What is your favorite color?
Red.

5. Celebrity crush (girl crush included)
I don't really have just one. Usually I crush on whoever is the most attractive-to-me actor or actress in whatever I'm currently watching. Which is why as I binge on House, M.D. I'm currently crushing on Hugh Laurie and Olivia Wilde. Oh and I'm always, always crushing on Christian Bale. And Jennifer Lawrence. And ya know what, Meryl Streep too.

6. Which is worse? Lizards or Frogs?
I think frogs can be actually kind of cute, and I don't exactly find lizards inherently bad. So let's say neither and give frogs the slight advantage, how's that?

7. If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?
Sometimes I wish I were way less emotional in my responses, because at times it gets me into trouble. I do eventually stop and think logically, but my initial reactions to things are typically entirely emotion-based. Which I'm mostly okay with — it's just the way I am — but it can be a pain in the ass sometimes.

Oh but wait if I'm not being all self-secure and all that, someone get me prettier feet, stat. I was a ballet dancer for the first half of my life and now I'm a runner, so there's nothing cute happening south of my ankles. #sorryboutit

8. Read the book or see the movie?
I'm not good at seeing movies. I just never get around to it. But if it's a title that I'd ultimately like to see and read, I'd like to read it first. That way I can imagine the characters, the scenery, the voices as I think they were written, not how a director told me the author thought they should be. Also, I cried when The Great Gatsby disaster film happened last summer, so that should tell you plenty about me.

9. What is something about you that not many know?
Hmm. This is hard — since I never stop talking, and the subject I know the most about is myself, I think I've probably covered just about anything. But most people in bloglandia probably don't know that I met Henry Winkler a.k.a. Fonzie when I was 11. Pro tip: Don't call him Fonzie.

10. Link your favorite post!
I think this is my favorite post I've written on this blog to date — it's everything I've learned about life so far.

Okay, step 3...

Here's the thing. I'm a rule breaker. So while I would love to nominate 10 bloggers I love for this award (and believe me, there are plenty more than 10) it seems that many who sprang right to my mind have already been nominated. And I don't want to force anyone to answer another 10 questions, because God knows if I wrote the nomination they would all be compelled to do exactly as I said. Also one of my biggest blog crushes has just announced her exodus from the blogosphere, so I'm a sad lost little duck now.

So instead, I want to just nominate one lady who I really think is the absolute bee's knees, because I know she'll appreciate the Q&A too ;)  But, since I know the purpose of this it to share blogs we love and help others discover new ones to #fangirl all over, I'm just going to leave this here and insist that you all go follow every single being on this roll.

Oh and the person I'm nominating is Emily from My Favorite Day. Go shower her with love and kisses.

Step 4:
1. What's the best/most interesting that's happened in your life due to blogging?
2. Where do ideas for your post topics come from?
3. Who would play you in the movie about your life?
4. What is one thing you wish you could tell yourself 10 years ago?
5. Tell us one quirk that you feel is uniquely "you."
6. What song will always make you sing at the top of your lungs?
7. What movie will always make you cry?
8. What are you allergic to?
9. What do you think is your best character or personality trait?
10. What one event has had the most significant lasting event on your life?
Thanks again, Krystal! I'm off to complete step 5. Catch you guys on the flippity flip.

Monday, April 21, 2014

My Life on the Run

Disclaimer: I am not a very experienced runner. I am not a trainer. I'm just a gal who couldn't run at all five months ago and now runs five days a week. A couple commenters and friends have asked about my process of becoming a runner, so here's the how. If I can run, so can you, and here's why.

///


My first run was on December 26, 2013. I'm a lunatic who remembers these types of things.

When I say it was my first run, I mean the last time I attempted any semblance of running was when, in high school gym class, they made us get around the track four times every class. We usually walked the curves and "ran" the straights.

So years later, I have a friend who is a seasoned runner — 20-something races under his belt. Let's just call him "my trainer." So my trainer was the first person I ever told about my desire to run. There was no point really in telling anyone else: I didn't have any other runner friends, and anyone else would have laughed in my face if I expressed this. See, I was a looong-time smoker when I began running. But that's another post for another day.

So my trainer helped me realize that I could be a runner, if I really wanted to {I did}, and promised he'd help me. So on that December day, we set out for a run. He said we'd just do a mile and a half that day.

I probably made it about a tenth of a mile before I had to stop. My chest was burning, I was gasping for breath and kicking myself over smoking that cigarette less than an hour ago. Stupid.

So we stopped, walked for a bit, picked it up again, called it a day. In that first run I MAYBE ran a total of one mile. The next couple of days went like that.

Eventually my trainer stopped letting me walk. When I had to stop, I stopped and stayed where I was until I caught my breath, then resumed running — I guess he was getting me to be able to at least run the full distance.

About three weeks after my first run, we set out for a mile and a half like usual. Something felt different on that day. I wasn't keeping track of my own distance yet at that point; I just relied on my trainer to give me the stats when I asked for them. But I had a vague idea of where the turnaround point was, and the closer we got to it the stronger I felt. For the first time ever, I hadn't had to stop yet, and I felt great.


I thought for a second about stopping for a few breaths at the mid-way point, but my trainer's supportive nod kept me going. Before I knew it, we were rounding the corner and the end point was in sight. I wanted to stop so bad — my chest hurt, I had a side stitch — but more than that, I wanted to finally finish one run without stopping. And I did, and I could barely believe it. It was only a mile and a half, but it was more than I had ever done, and more than a lot of people would have thought I could ever do.

From that first non-stop run day, I stopped making excuses. I eventually quit smoking, which obviously helped with the feelings of aliens trying to break through my chest cavity. I set a race-day goal — my trainer suggested in the very beginning that I aim to enter a 5K in March, and I laughed at him. But I got comfortable at 1.5 miles, and then upped it to 2. Then 3. Then 4.... you see where I'm going with this.

For over two months now, I've been running without my trainer. He sprained his ankle on some black ice during one of our runs, and then our relationship disintegrated went up in flames not too long after for unrelated-to-running reasons. But I quickly — not immediately, I'll admit — realized that I didn't need him to run anymore. I'd already proven to myself that I can do it, and that I could do it with just myself to motivate me. I never ran for anyone else. I run for me, and I always have. In the beginning I thought I needed my trainer to help me, to motivate me... but look who's crossing finish lines all on her own now.

It's been a process, and I've had some injuries and setbacks and days where running hurt like crazy or seemed like the worst idea ever. But because it's something I really wanted to do, and truly love to do, I kept at it. And I kept getting better. Because the only thing that will ever make you a better runner, the only thing that makes it easier, the only thing that makes you stronger when it comes to running, is running more.
Icing screaming shins the smart way. {I rocked this look at work on more than one occasion.}
Here's what I've learned that I want you to know, if you're just starting:

1. Find someone to run with. In the beginning, this is going to be huge. Ask a friend, sign up for a running group in your area, check out a running shop and see what they have as far as training programs. Having someone to help keep you accountable is going to help you get through those awful days — which you will have. Want a virtual running buddy? Email me. :)

2. Find someone who can answer your questions. You won't know everything, and you will have questions. You'll have questions about rest days, what kind of pain to run through and when to stop, what to wear. Diet, protein, hydration. No one can tell you exactly what your body needs — you'll need to learn that yourself. But you'll need someone athletic and experienced to answer certain questions. I might be able to answer some — email me and we'll see! :)

3. Neon running shorts, FitBits and heart rate monitors, Bluetooth headphones and tech compression gear are all optional. You don't need them to be a runner. Sure, sometimes they help. And sometimes they're fun. But don't let your lack of them keep you from running. Grab yourself a good sports bra, shorts and a t-shirt. But here's what does matter: Your shoes. Do yourself a favor and go to a running shop. In my {granted, limited} experience, the last thing you want to do is run on the wrong shoes. Get a gait analysis and invest in the right shoes. Tell the pros about knee problems, joint pain, whatever you have. Have them analyze your arches, foot shape, all that. You'll save yourself a lot of injuries and a lot of pain if you run on the right shoes. This is the one place I will advise you to splurge 100% of the time.

4. Set goals. For me, it was a distance to run without stopping. Then a total number of miles per month. Then a race. I'm currently signed up for three more races this year, but my next milestone goal is this damned hill in my neighborhood. I'll get all the way up it without collapsing one of these days.
You know yourself better than I do. What will motivate you?

5. The Internet is a really smart place sometimes. /r/running and this blog have been so clutch for me. Find other runners to talk to. Follow motivational Instagram accounts. Download an app like RunKeeper, MapMyRun, Nike+ Running — whichever works best for you. The community is a pretty damn cool place. Come on in and get comfortable.



6. You will have great runs and bad runs. One day you'll break a personal record and the next day you'll slog through a mile. It happens. Give yourself a high-five for making an effort that so many are unable to or unwilling to make, and do better next time. A bad run does not a bad runner make.

7. Track your progress. A day will come a month or two or three into your training where you think about giving up. When you look back at how far you've come and the fact that you're now able to do things you never were before, you'll likely banish those negative thoughts right out of your mind.

8. Get a foam roller and thank me later.
Sweet, heavenly roller stick, I would be lost crying over my enraged muscles without you.

///

We're bordering on obnoxiously long now, so I'll wrap it up. But if there are any specific questions you have or things I should elaborate on or things you think I got dead wrong, please shout it out in the comments! Let's get some good information-sharing happening here! :)

Side note: Today is the 118th Boston Marathon! Those who experienced the tragedy there last year, my heart is with you. You inspirational maniacs running it today, my heart is with you too. #runhappy

Friday, April 18, 2014

I Believe We'll Be Okay

You all know this is going to be a Friday post, wrapping up the week and looking ahead to the weekend. I don't need to fill this space with some introductory blabber to prepare you, do I? Let's get right to it, I'm on deadline...

{as always, thanks to Cait for this #TGIF format}

The low of my week was learning the hard way that I really do need to take rest days more often than I thought. I was under some delusion that I could run five days straight — which I could when I was only going 1-2 miles at a time! — but I can't with the mileage I'm able {yay!} to do now. I've gotta embrace a good rest every three days.

This just felt like a good place to put this.

The high of my week was learning about today's surprise half day at work on Wednesday! We weren't expecting it, but because of the holiday, the bosses are letting us skadoodle at 1 today. Usually when we get a "surprise" half day before a holiday, we're informed by the boss walking into the offices around 2 p.m. with a "you guys can leave if you want." I'll be spending my afternoon at the DMV, but at least I don't have to do it tomorrow, so, yay.

Oh and high of the week #2: Finding this guy I had forgotten I'd saved on Reddit. CUE ALL THE AWWS.

He just wants to say hi and love you forever!
A link I loved this week was this brilliance from Nicole. Even if I weren't aspiring to be a marathoner on her level, I'd still be crazy about this blog. Though she's talking specifically about her training for the Boston Marathon {go girl!} in this post, I find that a lot of these are applicable to anyone in the running game. Especially #26 :)

My plans for the weekend include a bunch of errands, a run with my new running buddy and one with my big bro, FINALLY watching Frozen with my favorite gals {while sipping frozen cocktails, because of course #frozenparty}, and gathering with the family for the annual Ammirato Easter, egg hunt included.

To help me gear up for the next few fab days, I'm gonna #backthatazzup to this feel-good tune:


What are your plans for the weekend? Do you celebrate Easter? Can you beat the lunacy of a group of 20-29-year-old cousins darting through the yard hunting for Easter eggs filled with Jelly Beans that no one wants? :)

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

I'm It! || TMI Tag 2

If you stopped by yesterday, you probably won't be totally surprised by today's lack of a "real" post. Good thing the talented and gorgeous Emily tagged me in this TMI post recently, and I've still got plenty of answers left to share. Here are some more little things about little ol' me. {Here's Part 1 in case you missed it.}

Oh and, since I'mma be doing some confessing in the answers below, I thought this would be the perfect Wednesday to link up with the super awesome Kathy for Humpday Confessions.



///

16: Favorite Quote?

You're crazy if you think I'm able to pick just one — I've filled countless journals over the years with quotes I want to remember. Here's one I strive to live by though:


17: Favorite actor?

I'm partial to the likes of Hugh Laurie, Jason Segal, and Christian Bale. And Jason Bateman.

18: Favorite color?

Red.

19: Loud music or soft?

Loud almost always, but soft when I'm writing or editing.

20: Where do you go when you're sad?

Like my gal Emily, I like to drive. Find some clear roads {as best I can here in North Jersey}, find the right tunes, and eventually clarity finds me. In a perfect world, that drive lands me on a quiet Jersey Shore beach at night. Perfect place to find my center.

21: How long does it take you to shower?

Base: 3 minutes.
Hair washing day: Add 2
Deep conditioning day: Add 4
Shaving day: Add 6
#girlproblems

22: How long does it take you to get ready in the morning?

I can be out the door in 20 minutes, but I like to take my time. I'll spend 4 hours getting ready if you give me all Saturday afternoon. That's when wine, blogging, looking at my butt in the mirror and checking Twitter and Instagram become key parts of the getting ready routine.

23: Ever been in a physical fight?

Yep. I'm a bad bitch, guys.

24: Turn on?

Make me laugh so hard my nose wiggles, care a lot about something, and it wouldn't hurt if you were a tattooed runner too. Also... shoulders.

25: Turn off?

I'll sound very high maintenance if I list out all the things I'm thinking as a response to this, so I'll just hope that "negativity" will be sufficient to generally capture the essence.

26: The reason I joined Youtube began blogging?

The first thousand times {going back to like, 2007, I do believe} were because I wanted to broaden my horizons beyond my hometown. Share my writing. Keep a readable log of my life. {My journals were so cringeworthy I couldn't even stand to review them.} Then I switched to purely blogging my creative writing, and I used the old alyssagoesbang as a sort of writing exercise room. And then I quit and rebooted it, which is what you're looking at now, and I talked a bit about why I did that here.

If I'm being very honest about why I'm doing what I'm doing right now in terms of blogging, it's simply because I love the sense of community and I had missed it. I have some lovely relationships with people I met through our blogs in the past, and coming out of the blogosphere put an end to the ability to reach out and connect with people who I wouldn't otherwise have met. Geography, schmeography. It's 2014. One of the coolest things about being alive and mature today is the ability to form connections with people all over the place. I've already done so with a handful of great people, and AGB2.0 has only existed for less than 2 months!

And if I'm being super duper honest, I will say that no, I don't strive to be blog famous. I probably won't ever make any moves to leverage this blog as an income stream. However, I am a writer, and even though I have a day job, that doesn't mean I'm not always looking for new working connections, freelance opportunities, the like. A lot of my prior work {before I started this job, where most of my work is licensed or in print only} was held online by a company that is now defunct, thus many of my writing samples are gone. You can't be a writer today without having writing to be found online. So let's say this blog is also acting sort of as my calling card. Theoretically.

That'll teach you to ever ask me a question again, huh? That's what I call an "Alyssa-length answer."

27: Fears?

Spiders, birds — although I have been getting better at managing this one — being buried alive/drowning {shudders}, and wasting opportunities.

28: Last thing that made you cry?

Okay, here's some real talk. Last Saturday I was cleaning my windows and I broke one when I pulled it into the room to clean the outside side and it wouldn't go back on its track correctly. I got it fixed, finally, after much Googling and swearing and hitting things with hammers, but I definitely cried somewhere in there. It was just so frustrating, took way longer than it should have, and I was JUST TRYING TO KEEP A CLEAN HOME, DAMMIT.

29: Last time you said you loved someone?

To my friends last night as we were leaving pub trivia {#TriviaTuesdayTradition}.

30: Meaning behind your YouTube blog name?

Oh man. All sorts of real talk happening today. Okay, when alyssagoesbang was first adopted as my Twitter handle way back in the way back, like 2008 way back, I think it had been taken from a song lyric. At this point, I honestly couldn't tell you.

And then when I launched the OLD alyssagoesbang blog, in 2010 or 11{?? I should really have kept better track :(} the reason I gave was that I wrote and posted my creative writing on it because I had these ideas just piling up in my mind and my fingertips and absolutely no place to put them, so I started the blog so I'd have a place to empty out my ideas so my head wouldn't explode and if I did explode, alyssa would go bang. Like explosion sounds. Except that was really stupid because explosions sound more like boom than bang.

I was honestly trying to find a justification for a name I picked simply for the fact that it could have been suggestive if I wanted people to think it was, in fact, suggestive. These days, it's not so suggestive. It's just my name on the Internet, and I'm too lazy to change it on all my social media sites.

///

Sigh. I shouldn't be allowed to have a blog.

At least I make up for my faults with double doses of the Gos'. Y'all are welcome.
Arite, what do you have to confess this week? Spill your secrets or answer one of the questions I did!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Choosing Optimism

Sometimes, I have to try really hard to be an optimist.

On some days — days full of sunshine, warm smiles from strangers, face-up pennies, and green lights — it's easier than easy. The world just seems and feels open to you, like a gift just for you, like it's telling you it's on your side. Conversations are effortless, the bumble bees keep a wide berth, you get your ice-to-coffee ratio just right. I love those days.

Then there are other days, where it seems like every doubt you've ever had about yourself, your life, your plan, your skills, your journey, crop up just to remind you that they're there, always waiting, just waiting to catch you in the briefest moment of darkness and threaten to consume you. They're waiting for you to be sidetracked for just one second. Waiting for you to let your guard down and remember that thing, that guy, that conversation, that nagging feeling that brings you to places of bleak uncertainty, fear, doubt.

I'm having a mix of these days right about now. Everything is lining up right, life is good, the plan is on track. But there are things in the back of my mind that, due to their nature of chaos and that they're unresolved, threaten to unravel me every now and then. I'll be sitting at my desk, working away, or scrolling through to see what my friends have to tweet or 'gram today, and BAM. Like a ton of bricks I'm hit with a reminder of something I try so carefully to keep banished to the dreary, nearly inaccessible depths of my mind.

But we can't unknow things we know. We can't unhear things we hear, unsee what we see, unfeel what we feel. So no matter how diligent we are in keeping those negative thoughts, those painful triggers, those threatening reminders in the back of our minds, you never know what song lyric, fleeting image, casual turn of phrase will slam into you like a sledgehammer, just because it can, and just because there's nothing you can do to stop it.

In those moments, on those days, being an optimist is hard. It's hard to think that a day will come that this all-consuming thing won't consume you anymore. That this person or place or feeling you miss or want so much will one day just be a thing that exists, and not a thing that matters to you anymore. It can be impossible to imagine a time where the greatest things on your mind today will one day be distant memories or, in many cases, gone from your memory altogether.

And then you remember that optimism is a choice. And that barring extremes, happiness is too.

And that eventually, no matter how long the winter, how high the snow, how fast the winds, spring will inevitably spring again.

///

Here's a haiku I wrote a couple of months ago. It somehow feels even more fitting now than it did when I first penned it back in January.

a bloom finds fresh air
beneath the blistering wind
winter springs new life

I'll be back tomorrow with something more blogworthy. Until then, have a sweet Tuesday.

Monday, April 14, 2014

I Take Dumb Photos

After beautiful weekends like the one we just had in NJ, Mondays are usually extra tough. I've just had two warm, sunny days, spent outside, with family and friends, welcoming spring and just feeling happy and free.

But today I'm still feeling happy and free, even though I'm typing this from my desk chair with a calendar full of deadlines right in front of me. We have the windows open, my officemate and I are in floral shirts, and we're having an office lunch of sushi to {belatedly} celebrate my birthday. As Mondays go, this one is pretty sweet.

Before I go attend to those deadlines, let's rap for a sec about this amazing list of blog post ideas Kay shared with us. I'm going right for number one and showing you some of the recent shots* I've taken with my trusty iPhone camera. Let's have some fun.

When M and I went to the Devils game last Monday, this is what the ladies room looked like — and yet there was still no wait. I guess only at an NHL game is 3 working ladies room stalls sufficient. The sight made us chuckle, which made us take pictures, which makes us really lame.

My officemate K and I have been really, really pumped for today's sushi lunch since we heard the news on Friday. She drew me a picture to celebrate.

And then I took a step back after taking the sushi picture picture and again chuckled to myself at the sight of our office. This is really the best representation of our typical workday: K and I looking at each others foreheads, drawing each other pictures & passing notes, and Bloglovin open on my computer. #breaktime

Remember that time I had a vegetable garden on my legs because sometimes running sucks? Those are peas on my left and broccoli on my right. #runnerproblems #whatsfordinner

8:27 p.m. 76 degrees. 8:27 p.m. 76 degrees. Life is finally worth living again. Hashtag dramatic.

*Kay asked that we not delete any shots, but I decided to skip the photos of other non-blog-aware friends' faces and ones that have already been shared on my Instagram. Gotta keep things fresh for y'all, ya know? 

Hope your Mondays are sweet and sunny. How was your weekend?

Friday, April 11, 2014

Favorite Things

So, remember how yesterday I said that 3:24 p.m. today me was going to hate rest-of-the-week me for procrastinating so bad? Well, turns out, it's 9 a.m. me who's ready to strangle past me, so we're gonna make this Friday wind-down a quickie. Because who doesn't love a quickie on Friday mornings?

Spreading the love around a little bit and linking up with Lauren Elizabeth today to talk about my five favorite things from this week:

1. On Monday I went to my first ever hockey game, and I told you all about it here. It was beyond fun, a great new experience, and I got to spend some time with one of my oldest friends who I don't get to see much of anymore. Success!


2. I had one of the most successful runs of my short running career this week. I didn't get my best ever time or run my longest ever distance, though I did come really close to both of those things. What was so great about this run, though, was that I almost didn't go. I had just come back from the chiropractor after a loooong day and was feeling lazy as hell. But I went, and I was feeling tired, and my knee was acting up, so I told myself that once I got to a certain mile mark I could stop and take a rest. And then I passed that mile mark and kept on running. I felt amazing. And then I DOUBLED that mile mark. And then I felt even better. And then I was in front of my apartment and could have kept going for another mile or two... but it was getting dark and I wasn't in reflective neon and I didn't want to kill myself, so I called it a night. A great night.

Anyone else love nighttime runs? 
3. I learned this week that THIS IS HAPPENING. And if you read this post way back when, you can probably figure out how freaky-outy I am over this BEST. NEWS. EVER.


4. I finally got 5 minutes to sit and breathe one night this week, and I used it to have some sweet prickly snuggs with my little man. 'Nuff said :)

Awk hog
5. The absolute highlight of the week, though, is that I FINALLY booked a long overdue {like, 4 years overdue} trip to see L, one of my best friends, in North Carolina! I've had NC on the mind since, I dunno, when I started fantasizing about moving there after I saw A Walk to Remember for some reason. Yet I've never been, and I've never been to L's new home to see her, and finally this shall all change in 21 days and I am simply overjoyed that I finally just bit the bullet, bought the plane ticket, and told L that I'll be seeing her soon. 21 DAYS!

Remember that time we laid across the NJ/PA border so we could be in 2 places at once?
{Hmm. Second reference to AWTR in this post. God I miss you, Shane West.}
Also, we need to take more pictures together because this is from maybe 2012 & one of the most
recent ones I have. Oh, the graininess. Oh, the poor phone pic quality. Sorry guys.


Coming up this weekend some friends and I are hitting a comedy club, I'll be getting some good running in to celebrate the springy weather and help reach #118forBoston, and heading down to my mom's on Sunday to get some laundry done spend some quality time with my mom and stepdad.


And now in true Friday fashion, I'm linking up with Whitney so we can all groove into the weekend on a high note. Gonna #backthatazzup to this one:
because just the other day I found myself looping it because, as I was debating with myself, is a running playlist really a running playlist if it doesn't consist almost entirely of songs with "run/running" in the title?


Enjoy, babes. I'll see ya's in a couple. Hope you have delightful weekends — what do you have planned?

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Senioritis

There's something funny going on around here this week. My officemate K and I are both completely lacking in motivation and actually working at work this week has been the realest struggle you ever did see. At least K has the excuse of cold- and cough-medicine-fog to fall back on. I'm just procrastinating because... I have no because. I just am, and I'm going to hate myself for it sometime around 3:24 p.m. tomorrow when I try to get 5 days worth of work done in an hour and a half in order to meet deadline.

Right now I'm assuring myself that I'll just take a lot home with me tonight and work really, really productively out of the office, but as long as there is a Reddit to read or a Bloglovin' feed to clear out, I can't make any promises. The other day I noticed how much my butt hurts from sitting all day — I hate, hate, hate sitting all day! — and decided I need a standing desk. So I researched standing desks and how to DIY one {since there is no way on earth my bosses will spring for one to save my lil' ol' rear end} for a good hour. Ish.

This happens every now and then: I get really apathetic about my job. Which makes me feel terrible, because I know I'm lucky to have one, especially one that, on most days, I really like. I'm convinced it's the monotony of my calendar that gets to me, if I'm being honest. I work on a revolving cycle of publications, with my schedule set for the year in January. If you asked me right now, I could tell you in 5 seconds what I'll be working on on June 10, September 9, November 24.


And while I enjoy what I do, where I work, the people I work with, the fact that people pay me to do something {write} that I would do for free, and that I get to write about things that {for the most part} are important to me, isn't variety the spice of life? I feel like any routine, no matter how sweet the results it brings, gets old to the point of hazardous every now and then.

Luckily, I can say that routine is only applying to work lately. Since spring has decided to grace us with her presence finally, all of our adventurous sides are ready to come out and play. I went to my first hockey game this week, caught up with friends over trivia and drinks, got outside for some glorious runs and have some fun plans for the weekend. It's just the work part that's feeling a bit like a broken record right now.

I know there are much worse problems to have. And to be sure, there is so much about my 9-5 to be grateful for, and ultimately I know how lucky I've been. We're just having a bumpy week. Maybe I need to go on vacation and readjust. Then I'll be so busy catching up at work that procrastinating won't even be an option. I better go look at some deals on TravelZoo for the next hour or so...

Please help me out — what do you to motivate yourself at work when you're feeling like a high school senior on May 31st? I think senioritis has followed me into adulthood...

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Into the Devil's Den

To hear me tell it two weeks ago, the day I turned 25 would begin a long, slow, painful spiral toward death.

Well, nearly 2 weeks later, I'm happy to report that I may have overreacted a little.

Because 25 and careening toward death or not, I'm still kicking, having "firsts" and everything!

Like last night, for example.

A friend of mine works for the Prudential Center in NJ, home of the New Jersey Devils and a bunch of other things like Disney on Ice and Walking with Dinosaurs and Taylor Swift concerts but mostly, the NJ Devils hockey team plays there and that's mostly what he's concerned with.

So anyway, as a super important guy at the arena, he always receives a certain number of tickets for games to hand out to friends and family members at his discretion. He tries to spread it all out pretty evenly and has offered me tickets before, but I've always declined. See, I'm just not a hockey fan. {However you will pry my NY Giants and Yankees fan cards out of my cold, dead hands.} And I don't know many people who are, so I didn't anticipate being able to find a game buddy, especially on short notice. #grownups need to plan ahead and stuff.

Last week my friend sent out the text offering me the last pair of tickets he had for the season. In my new-found spirit of embracing life and sort of starting over/kicking everything up a notch now that I'm 25, I grabbed my gal M and said we'd be there.

So last night, M and I — both in our mid-twenties — both attended our first ever professional hockey game.


As a big baseball and even bigger football fan, I just never really had time for hockey, I guess. I also didn't grow up watching and loving the sport like I did with the former two. But after last night's game, M and I quickly decided we want more tickets and we're going to find our happy asses at more Devils games next year.

It was just fun. The energy was crazy, the athleticism was unreal, the excitement just kind of wrapped its arms around us and sucked us in to the fun.


And M and I just about died when this started happening during the first intermission {is that the right term?}:



THE LITTLE ONES! Oh man they were so freakin' cute, with their too-long jerseys, and their falling down, and their huddling in little pint-sized packs. We literally sat there squealing. That happened.

Afterwards we met up with my friends from the Center for a quick drink and intros all around, and altogether an inappropriate amount of fun for a random rainy Monday evening. M and I toasted to new experiences, to friendship, and to LIVING WITH MY BITCHES HASHTAG #LIVE.


{I'm sorry. I'm obsessed. Also this song came on approximately 463 times in the arena and I chair-danced in each and every instance. #LIVE.}

Are you a hockey fan? {Be honest, do you just go for the fights? :P} Or are you more into baseball and football like me? {Basketball fans, I'm not sure how you do it, I could never get into it. Please tell me your ways.}

Monday, April 7, 2014

I'm It! || TMI Tag 1

Morning, glories! How was your weekend? Aside from the patio drinks and dinner date with my friend B yesterday {#sundayfunday y'all!} I can sum up the best parts of my weekend with

This lovely trail picks up just steps from my apartment. Can't wait until spring is in full swing and it's even prettier to run on!
 and
What can I say, I like to look like a clown exploded on me when I run. I guess.
We had a lovely spring weekend here in NJ, so I had to spend as much of it outside as possible. Great runs on Saturday and Sunday, with some errands, house-cleaning, Angry Orchards, and people I adore thrown into the mix.

///

I thought for today's post I'd take up the torch passed along to me from the sweet and beautiful Emily from over at My Favorite Day. I am an absolute sucker for survey posts, and have been back since the MySpace days {#throwback}. That probably says plenty about me, in that I like talking about myself, but who in bloglandia doesn't, amirite? Anyway, this #TMI tag seemed like oodles of fun so here's part one! 

Grab button for My Favorite Day TMI Tag
<div class="My-Favorite-Day-button" style="width: 200px; margin: 0 auto;"> <a href="http://myfavoritedayblog.blogspot.com/2014/03/tmi-part-1.html" rel="nofollow"> <img src="http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-F1_xwWHFTVU/UzGw-bHKVaI/AAAAAAAABZw/4UJNfRVt-wU/s3200/tmi+tag.png" alt="My Favorite Day" width="200" height="200" /> </a> </div>

1: What are you wearing?

Yoga pants, because it's Sunday night as I write these answers, and Sundays are for yoga pants.

2: Ever been in love?

Yeah. Like all the time. Too much, probably.

3: Ever had a terrible breakup?

If by "terrible," you mean "inspired a lot of very emotional and gut-wrenching writing," yeah. Ohhhhh yeah.

4: How tall are you?

I tell people I'm 5'2. That's what it says on my driver's license. I'm pretty sure that's somewhere in the neighborhood of my actual height. I'm shorter than most people I know, if that helps you.

5: How much do you weigh?

I look at a scale exactly once per year when I go to the doctor, so I'll let you know next month when I get my checkup.

6: Any tattoos?

10. I gave a preview here, and you can sneak peaks of two in the shot above. I'll tell you about more of them all someday. Hopefully by then I'll have saved up my pennies for #11.

7: Any piercings?

As of now, I only have 2 holes in each earlobe and one ring in the rook of my right ear. I had my nose pierced until I took it out for fieldwork during college and never put it back in; I got my belly button pierced back in high school but took it out for surgery in October 2012 and let it close; and my rook ring used to have a buddy until one miraculously vanished one day. I prefer tattoos, so I'm done with the piercings now.

8: OTP?

I beg your pardon?

9: Favorite show?
I go through phases — rewatching House right now and as addicted as ever {thanks, Netflix!}, was loyal to HIMYM through the end {ugh} and I believe the first season of Friday Night Lights is the single best season of television ever...
Be still, my heart <3
But Friends has got to be my all-time numero uno.

10: Favorite bands?

I go through extreme phases there too and am usually more inclined to latch onto a song or album than a band. But John Mayer is evergreen, the John Mayer Trio makes my whole body smile, and DMB summer shows are the best thing coming up in my life. Story of the Year is definitely an old reliable for me too.

11: Something you miss?
My grandmother.

12: Favorite song?

See number 10. But if you insist, this week I can't stop blasting this one:
Alone Together by Fall Out Boy on Grooveshark

13: How old are you?

25 years young.

14: Zodiac sign?

Aries and every single bit of it.

15: Quality you look for in a partner?

Integrity. Can I name more? Hell, I'm a rule-breaker, I'm going for it. Add: similar sense of humor as me {read: deadpan sarcasm, slightly twisted}, passion, motivation, compassion.

///

I know some of you have to love surveys and Q&As as much as Emily and I, so go ahead and chime in down in the comments with your answers!

{ Linking up with Nicole today! :) }