Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Back to Basics

Confession: Most of my posts in the past couple of weeks have been link-ups and some have been quite lazy. Of course, you already knew this. But I'm confessing it because this is me owning up to it. Hopefully, even though you can predict the theme of each from 10 miles away, once you get here they've been remotely decent and worth the three minutes of your life you graciously choose to spend here with me. And if not, bear with me. The end of some of the madness is somewhat sorta in sight!

I talked to new boo about the nickname business for this here blog and gave him a couple of examples of how that type of thing usually works in bloglandia. He threw out a couple of ridiculous suggestions and then took the rest of the day to think about it. I had told him in the beginning that he was described as "a great big bear of a man" to the gals in my office {he's 6'1" with arms bigger than my head}, so he came back a couple of hours later settled on "Bear." Then I had to crush his dreams and tell him that my friend Whitney has already employed that term for her dude and Blogger Code says no go. He definitely thinks I'm crazy and definitely doesn't really get blogging. Oh well.
Another shot from the weekend because hot air balloons are the coolest thing ever.
My landlord & his brother are an odd pair, though the latter is much less so, so I've been happy to mostly deal with him when it comes to scheduling showings of my apartment while they seek new tenants for after I leave. Brother man has been really good about giving me the day's notice that I insisted on and that we agreed upon. 5 p.m. Monday, I'm sitting in PJ shorts and a wife-beater and no bra, relaxing and enjoying my Monday off, when there's a bang on my door and my landlord with a line of people trying to filter into my apartment. Long story short, I gave him sass but let the people in, because it's not their fault, but oh lord was I pissed. I contemplated pulling every prospect aside and telling them all the reasons not to take the place {unprofessional, useless, inappropriate landlord being just one reason of many}, but decided to be an adult and just give my landlord enough sass that they would hopefully realize on their own what a jackass he is and pass on the place. Not quite vindictive but just vindictive enough, I think? I will not feel even a little bit bad if he misses out on a couple of months' rent because he can't lease the place out after we leave.

Yesterday I, in a maneuver I am still completely unsure of, deleted half of my morning's work in an irreversible fashion. The profanities you heard coming from my neck of the woods? Yeah, that was me cursing both myself for whatever the hell it was that I did, and my company for having literally no backup system. We use Macs. WHY DON'T WE USE TIME MACHINE!? Oh and did I mention that I was behind already? I probably didn't need to, because these days I'm pretty much always behind. I hide it well.

Me all day: Happy dances are occurring all over the place around here because it's CHIROPRACTOR DAY WOOP WOOP OMG I'M AS HAPPY AS THE HUMP DAY CAMEL. I typically see Mr. Magic Hands my chiropractor every other Wednesday, but he had THE GALL to take a vacation last week, so this is our first appointment in three weeks. You guys, I am so jacked up, I need his attention so badly. I also miss him because he's cute. But also, The Gentleman I've been seeing is of large body and rock-hard chest {damn straight}, and it's kind of at the point where snugs with him lead to a serious neck injury because I have to stretch my neck so far to get my head into that little shoulder nook. You know what I'm talking about. 

Sarah Palin is getting her own TV network or something, as far as I can tell from people on Twitter, and it hurts me to think of such things so I'm purposely not going off and finding more reliable information about it because a) it's kind of saddening and b) I would hate to know more about Sarah Palin's TV network than I do about the Israel/Palestine, ISIS, and Russia/Ukraine situations. {To be fair, I'm trying to hard to follow all of that, but it's depressing as shit to read about how high the death tolls are climbing every day, and also there's just a lot of intricacies that my brain doesn't know how to get. I'm trying though.}

Last confession: I'm completely addicted to Reddit. And thanks to my friend who's too much like me for her own good, I'm now aware that there's a subreddit for VACUUMS and that makes me{us} unreasonably happy. Vacuuming rocks.

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Okay fine, one more confession: I'm grossly jealous that I'm not allowed to enter this amazing giveaway {wait, I'm not, right? Because if I can I'm all over this one, and I never enter giveaways. Someone please advise.} I'm thrilled to be offering you with the help of Amanda and a couple of other ladies I like a little bit a whole bunch. Check out the offer for a pair of Tieks ballet flats below and snag all your chances to win!


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Vodka and Soda
Oh and I'm linking up with Kathy, like everyone in their right mind on Humpday. What are you confessing this week? Join the party, there are plenty of snacks and someone's out on a beer run right now.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Up in the Clouds {+ a Tieks Giveaway!}

Better late than never right? Let me slide today, guys — I've been enjoying my first Monday off from work in... actually, I don't think in the entire 2+ years that I've been with my company I've taken a Monday off from work. I didn't have any big plans today, but I knew I'd enjoy and really need the personal day to sleep late, catch up on some tasks, and lounge a little bit after the non-stop movement from this weekend. Speaking of which, a picture's worth a thousand words, so here are a couple from the last few days...
On Saturday, my friend B and I made our annual pilgrimage to the NJ Festival of Hot Air Ballooning. We happened into tickets a couple of years ago, and have gone ever since. Aside from the musicians {Meatloaf, REO Speedwagon, and 3 Doors Down — heh} we return to see, and of course the incredible sight of the balloons, the shop tents set up by vendors from all over are always fun to check out and keep us returning. 
Last year I picked up a dreamcatcher; this year I came home with three new charms {middle} for the Origami Owl necklace my cousin got me for Christmas last year. To join my previous three {"I love you" in sign language which my cousin and I speak, an elephant for good luck, and a purple ribbon for Alzheimer's which we lost our grandmother to last year}, I added the tree of life {an important symbol to me and an upcoming project of another sort}, an anchor {to keep me grounded and signify my love for the ocean & boating}, and an evil eye {B and I have taken turns gifting each other many evil eye bracelets over the years}.
And then, finally, it was time to send up the balloons.
The happiest balloon that we ever did see!

On Sunday, a couple of pals and I headed up to Raymondskill Falls, a gorgeous hiking area in Pennsylvania that I frequented as a {nature-ambivalent} kid but haven't seen in about 15 or so years.
We paused for a peanut butter break at the top of the falls. Hard to tell from this picture but there's a good 30-40 foot drop beneath my feet. Eeep! 
Little baby mini falls near the middle falls.

Post-hike, the girls and I grabbed a delightful late lunch in sweet Milford, PA before heading home. I wrapped up my weekend with the new boo {who is currently working on coming up with a nickname he's comfortable with me using here. He's already — inexplicably — suggested Archibald, but we haven't come to a conclusion yet. Stay tuned!} It was another amazing summer weekend, and I have not one single little complaint.

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Oh and in other news that you're really going to love, some fabulous ladies and I are working together to give YOU a pair of Tieks ballet flats! Check out the talented bloggers below for your chances to win. And know in your heart that I wish I was you so that I could also enter to win, because these flats are so on my wish list and SO not in the pre-move budget! Anyway, make sure you're following me on Bloglovin & Twitter for your chance to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
What was the highlight of your weekend?

{ Linking up with Biana for another issue of Weekending!}

Friday, July 25, 2014

Friday: The Sweet Life Edition

Sitting down to write this post, I realized it will be the last edition of Friday Favorites for July. August lurks just around the corner — and before we know it, summer will end, fall will be here, then the holidays, and just behind them, 2015. It does feel sort of strange to think that it's already more than halfway through the year, but for the first year in a long time, I'm realizing that I actually find things to be moving at a steady pace. Months aren't dragging along like they did in college, or whizzing by in the blink of an eye like they have been in the years since. I guess life is finally starting to just be what it is, ya know? Settling into a routine of change, if that makes any sense. No? Okay, we'll talk about it another day.

Thinking back on everything that's happened in 2014, and especially everything that's happened since my birthday, I feel really happy to say that 25 has really been a wonderful year so far for me, and certainly the best one in many, many years. Though that's all a post for another day, let me just say that while I'm narrowing it down to just five below, there are so, so many things that are making me smile these days — despite the job and apartment stress, believe it or not! Life is sweet when you let it be.
image via
1. Sunday night the new boo {I'm working on a formal nickname, gimme some time} and I trotted over to the Rutgers Agricultural Center and took a stroll through the gardens, peeped in on a wedding happening there, and then hung out with some goats. {I almost made a tacky joke about something something kidding something, but I didn't, you're welcome.} We capped it off with some Italian food and getting-to-know-you-better, don't-have-to-ask-for-them-now kisses. Name one thing better than that combo. Seriously, I'll wait...
{You can throw things at me if you want, I totally understand. If it were anyone other than me behind these obnoxious displays of affection, I'd be nauseous too.}

2. I had a "moment" on Monday. See, I'm moving out of my apartment that I've called home for the last two years at the end of next month. And in spite of/because of the fact that I found my current place's posting, met the landlord, looked at the place, met the roomie, forked over all my cash and signed a lease in the space of about eight days, I would ideally like to know where I'm moving too with a liiiittle more time to spare this time around. Problem is, most landlords are still trying to lease for August and there just isn't a whole lot to be found.

So on Monday, in my panicked state, I went to look at a place a few blocks away — I told you a bit about this the other day. And while I at first had an oh-my-god-never-gonna-find-a-place-gonna-be-homeless freakout, I went for a run, cleared my head, and realized... I have plenty of time. And I have enough on my plate right now to reasonably set this house-hunt aside at least until after August 1, and just generally calm my shit down. It's been a pretty nice week since then.

3. The pile of deadlines and To Do's that I've been trying to crawl out from under all week has, no surprise, roughed up my training schedule a bit this week. I had to skip one run altogether, and rearrange a couple to accommodate my jam-packed weekend and a long run. I almost gave myself permission to skip last night's run as I worked to get edits done on Feather stories {you're gonna love 'em!}, but I decided I needed a break instead. About a mile into what should have been a simple-pimple, know-this-route-like-the-back-of-my-hand four-miler, I had to stop. Like, full-on stop. My left leg was acting like an asshole, to put it simply, and I thought about turning back around and calling it quits, justifying to myself that I just didn't want to risk injury.

Six months ago, that's exactly what I would have done. I would have hobbled on home, sat in an ice or Epsom salt bath and said that was all I could have done. But last night I gave myself a break, sat down, gave my shin and calf a 3-minute massage, and then beasted the next three miles. Yeah, it's like that, leg! Boom. I'm so cheesy, I'm terribly sorry. The point is, it was one of those moments that reminds me why I'm training for a half marathon, and why I laced up last night in the first place.

4. Generally, I cook for a couple of days at a time. I come from a big, food-obsessed Italian family — we don't know anything about cooking for one. Or portions. Or putting down the garlic. Anyway, I tend to cook about 3-4 times a week, making enough for a couple of lunches and dinners, and always have a couple of things to rotate with. Last night one of the dishes I tossed together was a super-duper simple new potato and green bean salad {that I didn't take any pictures of, but you can find a similar recipe for the look of it here}. It's a favorite this week not only because it is a delish, easy dish, but because it always reminds me of my grandmother whenever I or anyone, really, makes it. She had hundreds of specialties that she painstakingly prepared for us — the bow cookies, homemade sauce, meat and sweet pies at Easter, I could go on for ages — yet this little chilled side is still special to me. I really couldn't even tell you why, but as I chopped the potatoes and sliced red onion, I thought of her like I do everyday and felt a bit of comfort. As we approach the one-year anniversary of her passing, which is just weeks away now, any thought of her that brings a smile to my face rather than a tear is one I'll call a big winner for the time being.

{Our recipe — all measurements are eyeballed but feel free to use Paula's quantities if you'd like: 1. Chop potatoes into even chunks; boil til fork tender. 2. Cook green beans to al dente, shock in ice water when done. 3. Slice about half a red onion. 4. Begin to chill beans and potatoes, then combine all in a large mixing bowl. 5. Add enough olive oil to coat the mixture. Shake in salt, pepper, and dill to taste. If you're like me, shake on a little garlic powder too. 6. Serve chilled and bring as a cheap and easy side to every BBQ you're invited to for the rest of the summer.}

5. Sushi dinner date. Yum & yum.

And the smiles don't stop all weekend: Balloon Fest, a hike at a beautiful falls, hangs with the new boo thang AND I don't have to have Sunday Night Dread because who's off on Monday? This gal. {I'll be doing laundry and working on side projects, but whatever. Let me have this.}

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Oh and psst — I've got another post up on the Feather Magazine editors' blog, Ruffled Feathers, today! 
I know you want to sneak a peek at what I've been doing elsewhere. :)
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What was your favorite thing about this week? And what kind of fun are you up to this weekend??
Linking up with Amanda ++ Whitney ++ Lauren


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Jumping the Gun

You need no introduction. It's Wednesday. It's Humpday. It's time for Humpday Confessions with Kathy. I confess...

Vodka and Soda

...I'm feeling stupidly giddy about the new dude in my life. Like, stupidly. It's been such a short time and I'm probably doing the absolute worst thing possible by putting this in writing, out here on the blog, but whatever. I'm smiling like an idiot all day every day. I'm an idiot. Check in with me in a month and smack me in the face if this goes south.
All the happies.
...Yesterday I found myself in traffic directly behind the person who broke my heart treated my heart like a chew toy for too many years. We haven't spoken in nearly a year and I don't anticipate that changing, but part of me was tempted to roll down the window and blast "Problem" as I sped past him with deuces up. Because I'm totally well-adjusted and mature.

...I have had absolutely awful time management skills the past couple weeks. I mean, it certainly doesn't help that the to-dos keep piling on and the time commitments keep growing longer and there's that whole I-want-to-spend-every-minute-with-you phase of new romanticals {gimme a break, I haven't fluttered like this in quite some time — let me just have this} and when you smoosh that all together and add in deadlines and promises and goal lists and apartment hunting and half marathon training, you get a giant mess of crap and a lady {that's me} who can't remember when she's supposed to be where and what she's supposed to be doing. I'm hoping to just kind of ride it out through the end of the summer and look back on the wreckage then. Maybe.

...I am absolutely BEYOND myself with anticipation for the relaunch of Feather Magazine. I was an editor for this fantastic online mag in the past before stepping aside when life got to be a little too crazy and the time was just right for me to pass the torch. {Is anyone sensing a biting-off-more-than-she-can-chew theme here? Whatever.} Then the mag took a brief hiatus, but we're so happy to announce that WE ARE COMING BACK! Our fearless leader, Editor-in-Chief/Founder Brianti has been painstakingly working to put the wheels in motion and we're back on August 11, baby! Okay, this isn't much of a confession — except the part where I'm damn near pee-my-pants happy about it and barely containing my urge to show you guys some of the awesome stories my girls are working on for the first issue. Sign up here to receive updates about the mag's relaunch and follow the editors' blog {I write there!} here for some tasty bits to hold you until the official launch. Eeeeep!

Your turn bbz, spill your weekly confessions and link up with Kathy because anything else would just be irresponsible today.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Rolling Around in the Noggin

Since I'm really doing quite terribly at this "being a blogger" thing lately, I thought it was time to call in reinforcements. And by reinforcements, I of course mean a link-up prompt. Today's apologetic-but-not-quite-good-enough post is brought to you by Juliette and her pals during a delightful little adventure called Blog Every Day in July.
The Other Juliette

I'm about to drop a big ol' shocker on you guys: I think a lot, even encroaching on what some would call "overthinking" territory. I KNOW ISN'T IT UNBELIEVABLE? Jay kay, that's been made pretty clear since day one here. And since my intelligence does have its limits {ANOTHER HUGE SHOCKER FOR YOU I KNOW I KNOW CONTROL YOURSELVES} I, unfortunately, don't have all the answers I seek. And those orphaned thoughts are...

The things that make me go "hmm..."

++ Why do mosquitos seem to be drawn exclusively to my below-the-hip half? I swear, every time I wear shorts — or hell, even pants and sandals — I come inside after as little as two minutes with a new archipelago of bug bites swelling into the size of golf balls on my legs or feet. It's so very attractive.

++ Am I actually as swift with the Command+Tab as I think I am at the office, or are my bosses actually fully aware of how much time I spend blogging, commenting, and Redditting during the day and are just not saying anything because I do an obscene amount of work regardless?
Painfully accurate these days.
++ Is it really possible that this new little romantical thing I have going on is actually so freaking new and yet I'm more comfortable with this person than I am with many people that I've known for years? And is it any coincidence {or red flag} that similar feelings came at such a pace last year with someone who turned out to be a great big ol' flaming bag of crap?

++ This is pretty much the first mention of my romanticals that's ever been here on my blog. And yet I've talked to you people about my back sweat. Is there any more evidence needed that the romantical life has been pretty unconsequential when not downright non-existent over the past couple months? Also if I have a sir to talk about occasionally here does that mean I'm allowed to be a Real Blogger now? #singlebloggerproblems

++ Whenever I see posts that I'm not promoting anymore or anything still getting a pretty solid number of hits daily {this one and this one, because I'm shameless like that}, I kind of go into panic mode wondering where they're being shared/have been sent/getting clicks from. And this makes me go "hmmm," and then it makes me go hide behind the couch.

++ HOW IN GODS NAME ARE THE OWNERS OF THE APARTMENT I SAW LAST NIGHT ASKING FOR SO MUCH FOR THAT TINY, DINGY, 100% SLOPED-CEILING SPACE?? As if that wasn't bad enough, the realtor showing me the digs mentioned the {owner-occupied — not ideal, but not a deal-breaker} first floor is home to a couple with four kids and then I noped right the hell out of there. BYE.

Seeing as my blog is basically a{n almost} daily collection of things that make me go "hmmm," I'm throwing on the brakes right here because I just got in from a run and I need a shower before the health department comes knocking on my door. How's that for a Tuesday morning thought?

What makes you go "hmmm?" Linking up with Juliette — why don't you do the same?

Friday, July 18, 2014

Friday: The Fill-in-the-Blank Edition

Big thanks to Erin for taking the leg work out of today's post. I present to you, my inaugural Blogmopolitan Quiz:
Forgive me for the brevity today, but I've got a hot date to freak out over for the next 12 hours get ready for, so I'm linking up with Erin for some more get-to-know-me fun & my lady Whit to get this slow dance out of my system.

{LOVING this song & album <3}

What are you up to this weekend? I hope it's perfect.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

How It's Only Thursday & Other Inexplicable Things

Try as I might, there are just some things I can't understand. Like:
  1. Why is there not yet an app or function of the iPhone or Reddit that allows me to have Reddit threads read aloud to me while I'm running and I can't decide on which playlist I want to run to and there's a particularly good /r/AskReddit or AMA going on at the moment.
  2. Why I actually have to show up to my office every day when working from home is more effective {in my case} and I can do literally everything I need to do at the office from the comfort of my home and without pants or mascara.
  3. Why it's "the future" and we still don't have a method of lightening-fast transportation.
  4. Why people shout things to me from their cars as they drive past me running. Gentlemen, do you think I can hear you? Do you think I can actually understand what you're saying? Do you think I care enough to follow up? Do you think you don't look like a totally disgusting pervert when I can HEAR YOU slowing down and SEE YOU staring with your mouth open when your eyes should be on the road especially since we're in a school zone and there are kids playing baseball right over there?
  5. Why there are people who seem to think dishes are clean if they've just been rinsed under lukewarm water. Here's a Pro Tip: If I can still see what was cooked in it last, the pot isn't clean yet.
  6. Why everyone seems to need more hours in a day and yet nothing about neither the number of hours we have in a day nor the amount of things we have to do in the hours given has changed yet.
  7. Why I went for a swim run in 93% humidity earlier this week and this morning I got out of bed freezing cold. Is Mother Nature entering menopause with these hot flashes?
  8. Traffic.
  9. Why I woke up with my right hamstring feeling like it's one good stride away from completely snapping and sending me into a fit of pain and how to make this not be a thing that happens, while still sticking to my training schedule and getting a couple of miles in tonight. {Tracy? Kathy? Bueller?}
  10. Why it's still not Friday night and I'm still not sitting down to dinner with the person who has been making me smile like an idiot all day, all damn week. 
Me, currently.
What just doesn't make sense to you?

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Life with Endo

It's a day for confessing, as every Wednesday is here in bloglandia, and it's a day I love so much. I mean, how can you not love a day we call Humpday in which all of our nearest and dearest gather round the campfire at Kathy's place and spill our dirtiest little secrets, cop to our madness, and share our best misdeeds with each other?

Usually I'm all for a good shame-spilling sesh — except, let's be real, I basically am incapable of feeling shame, as evidenced by all the weird shit I've told you guys over the past couple of months. But I guess it's worth noting that there's one area of my life or topic of conversation that, while I'm not exactly ashamed of it, I at least am very self-conscious of.

If you caught this post about my reaction to the Supreme Court's decision on the Hobby Lobby case, you might have picked up on something I mentioned about halfway down. I mentioned that I use hormonal birth control to manage a chronic and lifelong reproductive condition.
image via
I have endometriosis and a collapsed Fallopian tube. 

On October 23, 2012, I had a diagnostic laparoscopy to detect and confirm. This surgery — my first time ever under anesthesia — came after two ultrasounds {yeah, both kinds *shudder*} found no trace of anything wrong with me, though I knew there was. I knew the pain I was feeling wasn't normal. At 23, I had already been on birth control for many years as a method of pain management and all that other fun stuff, and it worked. So why was I suddenly doubled over, day in and day out, at times literally unable to move from the pain in my abdomen, lower back, and pelvic area?

During my surgery, my doctor found a moderate amount of endometriosis spread all over my ovaries, which were also found to be just a tad too big for my small size. {This is totally not a humble brag. My hips are too narrow making my midsection too small for the robot to have gone in for the laparoscopy as it normally would have, and everything's kinda cramped in there — even more so thanks to the endometriosis adding more bulk where it shouldn't be.} The layer was expansive but thin, so thin that it could not be removed without my doctor risking damage to my ovaries in any attempt to remove it.

For those of you who don't know, a simple explanation goes like this: with endometriosis, the endometrial layer grows outside of the uterus, where it isn't supposed to, over other organs. It can lead to the organs {like the ovaries} getting pushed around and kind of out of place, which I shouldn't have to tell you isn't ideal. It's characterized by pain. Sometimes, if you're really lucky, it can seriously disrupt your cycle. You're even luckier when random bleeding occurs. In many cases, during the laparoscopy, if endometriosis is found, it can be removed during that very surgery. In some other cases, like my own, it can't. In every case, it will continue to grow back.

I also have a collapsed Fallopian tube. This also means pain. And it also also means that 50% of the time I have no egg, so that if I ever tried to get pregnant, {that's if, and a big if at that; an if that won't even be addressed for a number of years} half the time our attempts would be useless. And that's, of course, if the endo doesn't take away my fertility by then anyway.

So why do I tell you all this today? It's not for sympathy, I swear. I've been living with endo — knowingly, at least — for nearly two years now, and the collapsed Fallopian tube for my whole life. It's just kind of something that's become like any other part of my life. It's not a secret — I'm willing to talk about it, especially because so few people seem to know about it, and I want to help change that. {Ladies, if something feels wrong, if you feel like you're in more pain than you should be, talk to your doctor. Tell her/him your symptoms and keep a record of your pain levels.} Sometimes, though, it makes me feel some small degree of shame.

I know that my femininity is not defined by whether or not I have children. I know that I am a woman in whatever ways I choose to define myself as such. I know that infertility, if that is something I face later in my life, does not take away my identity as a woman. But sometimes, it can get into your head and make you wonder things, things like why the very system that is universally understood to make you a woman rejects your body... and if your body isn't capable of things other women do with ease, how do you measure up?

Don't get me wrong, those thoughts are very few and far between, and I don't share them here for sympathy or words of encouragement. They pass almost as quickly as they arrive because I know that I get to decide what kind of woman I am, and what makes me one.

So, right, back to why I'm sharing this. Well, like I said, to inform and encourage women to check with their doctors if something isn't right. To promote awareness and understanding of this disease. And to some degree, to ask for your forgiveness. Over the last couple of days my posts haven't been prepared in advance, haven't included the best images, and haven't been the most thoughtful or entertaining reads. It's hard to describe this disease and its tendency to "come and go," because that might give off the impression that it ever goes. It doesn't. It never, ever goes. But sometimes, like the last few days, it decides that it doesn't want to let you forget for even a second that it's there.

So I hope you understand when I say my lack of attention here is not because I don't think you guys deserve the best of me — I know you do, which is why I decided to be so completely honest with you here today. As much as I enjoy the fun stuff, the sharing of our quirks and recounting our weekends with one another, it's the ability to share and talk about this stuff — the real, raw, not-so-cute-on-the-outside stuff, the stuff that makes us human and vulnerable — that makes blogland a really great place, and helps us bridge gaps set only by geography and happenstance.

If any of you have questions about endo or want to talk about anything mentioned here, or reproductive health, or fertility, or choosing to have or not have children, or having that choice made for you, or just want to ask questions or anything remotely related, you are very, very welcome to ask them. {Feel free to email me if you'd like to keep your comments or questions private.}

Regardless, just let me say thanks for sticking around even when I'm a bit off my game. You know I'll be back to normal shortly, and you know I'll make it up to ya.

{Linking up with Kathy for Humpday Confessions}

Monday, July 14, 2014

Disconnect

I've noticed a habit of mine lately; maybe some of you have noticed it too. Over the past couple of weekends, I've been mostly absent from social media. It's been both intentional and not. I mean, it's not like I said to myself, "Okay self, you're not going to check social media at all this weekend!" More like, I haven't wanted to, or had the time to, and I let myself off the hook from tweeting, liking, instagramming, and taking pictures {for the most part} in general.

I'm happy to report that this is mostly because my weekends lately have been so full that there's been little time to be anywhere but where I am at any given moment. Like this weekend for example. It started out with my first "official" half marathon training run {5 sweaty, hilly, humid miles Saturday morning, ACK!} and then I never stopped running. Next up was my friend's baby shower, then speeding down the shore to pull off a couple of surprises for my big bro's birthday dinner, then one of those perfect Jersey Shore nights surrounded by family and friends at Bar A, making memories and having a perfect time. I ended up crashing at my mom's Saturday night {if you can count Sunday 5 a.m. as Saturday night — I'm still exhausted} and spending the day with her, my first real Lazy Sunday in longer than I can remember. We lounged on the couch, watched a Carol Burnett special and just enjoyed each other's company, something we don't get to do nearly as much anymore. I capped off the whole weekend with an impromptu date of sorts — we can get more into that another day though.

But anyway the point is, in the midst of all this, social media was the farthest thing from my mind; and when I finally did get home last night and log in, I did something I normally wouldn't: I just scrolled right to the top and bypassed every tweet and snapshot I missed. And it's not because I don't love reading about and seeing what you guys are up to all weekend; I do! But disconnecting like that makes it so much easier to enjoy exactly what I'm doing when I'm doing it.

I spend all week — between my 9-5 and the time I spend blogging and on freelance writing and editing projects after work — forcing my eyes onto a bright white screen with tiny black text. Good god, does a break from that feel like a green tea detox cleanse for my eyes!

Okay this probably sounds pretty self-serving. Let me clarify — I don't expect that you're tripping all over yourselves to get to my instagram and twitter accounts and see how I'm spending my Sunday afternoon, or notice my lack of updates; I don't mean to suggest anything about people far better at juggling than I am who manage to exist both in real life and on the Internet at the same time. {I've honestly never been good at multitasking, unless we're talking about looking like I'm listening to a person talking and mentally constructing my dream home or writing my grocery list at the same time.} Alls I'm sayins is, unplugging feels pretty damn delightful lately.

I realize I'll be singing a different tune when the summer's over, the weather turns south and my complete intolerance to the bitter cold has me confined to my apartment and I start to get mad because I'm refreshing twitter and instagram roughly 8 times per minute and people are not fast enough with their clever and witty updates to keep me entertained. But I guess we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.

In the meantime, a few snaps from the birthday celebrations:


{ Linking up with the beautiful B for Weekending }

How was your weekend?

Friday, July 11, 2014

Friday: The Hey Brother Edition

It's been some kind of week, you guys. Between starting Monday off with a holiday hangover — and being behind all week, including right this very minute — I feel like I haven't taken a deep breath in days. It's rained nearly every evening for the past two weeks and my running game is so off. Tomorrow will be my first attempt at a sunrise run — yeah, on a Saturday. Wish me luck — and it better go well, because mama's got some energy to burn.

But more importantly, tomorrow I'll be celebrating someone who's really, really important to me. More important than words can say, really. He's my big brother, and one of two of the best guys in my life (the other would be my little brother, naturally!). He's my hero, my best friend, my coach. He encourages me to push harder, do better. He's an incredible athlete, an amazing running buddy, and I can't wait to have two races with him this fall. His adventurous spirit is always inspiring mine — not that I can even remotely compare to the man who's been to Thailand, Australia, England, Scotland, Italy, France, Belgium, Budapest, Prague, and too many U.S. states for me to list. He's not always easy to deal with though — I've had to push him just as much, and god knows he's made me cry. But at the end of the day, I know how much he loves me and I can only hope he knows how much I love him. How lost and alone I would be without him. And how awful my childhood would have been without him.

So for today's Friday Favorites, I'm giving credit to that guy. He turns the big 2-8 on Sunday, and though he'll likely never see this post, here are some of my favorite photos and memories with him over the years...

I remember this day so well — parts of it, at least. There's baby bro in the background. He's 21 now, but he'll always look like this to me. And my big bro is probably 8 or so in this shot. That day was shortly after we'd gotten our new dogs, one a rescue and one, a puppy who chose us immediately, and had a family picnic in the park. Also, let's not let these shots go by without mentioning our awesome sense of style.
L to R: Big bro, me HENRY WINKLER, cousin M
Story time. In October 2000, my family celebrated my grandparents' 50th anniversary by taking them to see Kiss Me Kate on Broadway {my only theater experience to date} and then to dinner in a limo — fancy stuff. While we were waiting for our limo post-show, we spotted the Fonz himself walking down the street with his cigar. So... we chased him, I guess. {I was 11. I didn't know better. I was just doing what my big brother and cousin were doing!} Bro took off yelling "FONZIE" down the street while my cousin, trying to be more polite, called him by his name. Or what would have been his name if his name was Harry. I just ran. They both got scolded by Henry Winkler, and I got a half hug and a snapshot. I don't think any of us will ever forget that day.
Don't judge me for the nails in this one — it was 2008. So that's me on the left, my brother in the middle, and a friend on the right. My tattoo says "Hold Fast" and is a reference to a military command as well as a poem by Langston Hughes. My brother's says "Carpe Diem" — "seize the day" in Latin. I got my tattoo in May 2007 when my brother, a then-active reservist {he completed his active duty while I was in high school} in the U.S. Navy, had recently returned home but still had to spend a bit of time at New Jersey's Fort Dix sporadically. That spring, three brothers were spoiled just days before carrying out their plot to raid Fort Dix and shoot everything in sight.

While I knew my brother wasn't in harm's way during his time abroad, having him away during my sophomore, junior and senior years of high school was so hard to endure. I just missed him. Facebook wasn't ubiquitous, Google Hangouts wasn't a thing. He sometimes was able to call once a week, Saturday mornings. We had letters, and a few unexpected calls — like the time a friend of ours told him I'd been caught canoodling with a boy {I WAS 16!} and he called to scream in my ear for 20 minutes at 5 a.m. — but mostly, we just had to miss him. And then he came back and they threatened to take him away from me again? No way. My family is something I hold fast to, and I want them to always know that. Especially him.
Trying to take pictures at family holidays shouldn't be so difficult, should it?
Last year bro and I took a road trip up to Cooperstown, NY to check out the Baseball Hall of Fame. I was able to nab this shot without him knowing and it's one of my favorite photos of all time. I'm thankful to him for his never-ending patience in showing me the ropes of sports as a kid and fostering my undying love for the New York Yankees and the New York Football Giants. We've had so many great times together going to games or posting up at a sports bar or hanging home with brews to catch the game. This was great to share together and I can't wait until we make our voyage out to Canton, Ohio — after our guy, Michael Strahan, is inducted of course — to check out the Football Hall of Fame.
And here we are again, just last week, out on the boat with our family. {Say hi to cousin J in the background! Eyooo!} This is one of a few shots I managed to take this weekend, and it's one of us doing what makes us really happy — enjoying people we love, getting out on the boat, doing things, having fun, living life to the fullest and enjoying every moment we have to make it great.


If you've made it all the way down here, I salute you.

So anyway, a bunch of us will be doing the dinner-and-drinks thing to celebrate that guy this weekend, and I just hope he has a great time. And I hope all of you have great weekends too — what kind of trouble are you getting into?

{ Linking up with my other Friday Favorites // Whitney & Amanda }

Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Mind, it Runs Crazy

For your what-the-hell-is-wrong-in-that-girl's-head enjoyment, I present to you: A sampling of thoughts I had during last night's run...
Alright, feeling good. Freshly adjusted, taped up. Feeling good.

Aaaaaand here comes the shoulder pain. Am I the only runner in the world whose shoulder acts up during a run? I really am a freak I guess.

Why is it that I only ever see these little empty nip bottles of Fireball littered along the side of the road? When was it decreed that Fireball is the only thing we're ever allowed to drink anymore?

Ugh, Fireball.

Who throws a pregnancy test out the window?

Wait, where was that pregnancy test taken? Because either she peed on the stick in the bathroom and then transported the pee stick out of the house where she or a friend or significant other tossed the evidence, most likely from a car window; or she took a pregnancy test right here on the side of the road. The tree line here is just not thick enough for that.

Oh, cigarette butts. I wonder when I'll completely stop craving you for good.

Another runner coming. Head up. Back straight. Chest up, eyes front, runner wave ready.

I hate when runners don't wave back or head nod.

YAASSSSS he acknowledged me as one of his kind.

Bug went straight into my eye.

Ooh Afrojack, you know how to get my heart pumpin'.

*humming* ten feet tAAAAAAAlllllllllll

I've never wanted to un-ironically fist pump more than I do right now. I'm killing this run and this song is everything.

JK, not killing anything, it's been like two miles.

Still though. Remember six months ago? When you couldn't even run this far if there were wild horses chasing you? It's pretty cool that you've got four races under your belt now.

A lot has changed in six months. A lot.

Okay, don't go there. We're not going to think about things that aren't part of our life anymore.

Until the song that reminds you of them comes on. Skip.

Swallowed a bug.

Skip. I said skip, damn it, not volume up. Shit. Not pause. Come on Apple, these headphones are garbage.

Remember to put "running headphones" on your list when you get home.

Okay, hill. It's you versus the glutes.

Jesus. Tapdancing. Christ. Shut up legs. Shut up butt. Shut up hips. Shut up glutes.

Whoooooooooooo damn girl, you be killin' 'em. Time to fly down this biddy.

Wait, seriously, another pregnancy test? Where are these girls coming from? I wonder if they were positive or negative. I hope a girl who thinks it's a good idea to throw a used pregnancy test into the street hasn't just gotten a positive read.

when a fire starts to burn

Damn, Disclosure is good running music.

I have to pee. Clench, clench, clench, clench, clench.

Running sucks but this is amazing right now.

Yeah, people who say runners are crazy are right. Now I gotta get 13.1 miles crazier.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Trapped in a Box

Bless me, blogosphere, for I have sinned; it's been a week since my last confession. {That's how that goes, right?}

Seeing as Humpday Confessions needs no introduction, I'm diving right in.

Ugh, that half smile. #ded
So remember the wine fiasco from a couple of weeks back? Well it looks like I wasn't charged for the second bottle {I'm obscenely on top of my finances, I notice these things} and I don't even feel bad about it. At least I'm not like {most of} these people, right?

That was a lot of links in one little confession. Two of them were shameless self-plugs. Woops.

So True Blood was a great show for about three years. And then it was an awful show. And then it was an okay but kind of pointless show... and I can't stop watching. BUT... I am beyond grateful that it will be over after this season and I can be set free.

Actually, that's my attitude toward a couple of shows. HIMYM, glad that's over. Glee, ugh. I still have to catch up on the last season. But the thing is, as much as a show annoys me, I can't not see it through to the end. It's like Stockholm Syndrome. But with something really stupid.

This Jersey humidity has been absolutely kicking my ass lately. If I can't get out for a run after sunset {but really, like 9 p.m. when it's nearly dark is preferable} I'm not running. Because as much as I love running, I like being able to breathe more. So needless to say, I'm falling a bit off on my schedule lately.

Speaking of which, this Saturday is the official start date to my half marathon training program. Holy. Balls.

Today is a chiropractor day, so today is a good day. Seriously. I'm a maniac. All it takes for me to have a smile on my face, apparently, is knowing that I've got an adjustment coming my way in a couple of hours. Mmmmmm.

And that's about all I got for ya's today. The rest of my brain that I would use to write a tippy-top notch post has been melted in this heat and is in a puddle on the floor — enjoy that visual. Later skaters, I love you like XO.

Oh but before I go — what are your confessions? I want to know the dirt.

{Linking up with Kathy as always!}