Friday, August 29, 2014

Friday Letters Vol. 1

image via
Dear Helene, Thanks for going to bat for the rest of us Lifestyle Bloggers. We owe you big time.
Dear People Smarter Than Me, Is it called something when you suddenly hear a reference to something that you've never heard of before and then within the next 24 hours you hear about it another bajillion times? Because that was basically the theme of my week.
Dear Feather Magazine Life Section Writers, You ladies are incredible and your pitches that came in this week were great — again. So proud to work with you.
Dear Feather Magazine Senior Staff, You're all awesome to work with as well, and I can't wait to "see" you all on the conference call tonight!
Dear Baby Bro and His Friend, Thank you guys a million times for helping me move my furniture to the new place this morning. What do you want for lunch?
Dear Optimum, When I said I wanted to cancel because I was moving and my new area is not serviced by Optimum, you didn't need to send me to Sales. And then Customer Retention. Lease is signed guys, you're not gonna sway me. Especially because, ya know, I've had nothing but problems with you for the last two years. GIRL, BYE.
Dear Comcast, LOL nice try. Not a chance.
Dear Verizon, Please don't let me down.
Dear Chiropractor, You never fail to make my week. And then leave me bruised after prying all those trigger points out of my neck/back/IT band/calf/hip with that medieval torture device you so enjoy. Never change.
Dear Tracy, Thanks for reminding me that this Friday Letters thing was a thing and that I could totally do it this week like I've been meaning to for like six months now. (I thought I remembered this being a link-up. Did I make that up? Anyone know?)
Dear Right Side IT Band/Butt/Hip, Why can't we be friends this week?
Dear Running Shoes, I'm so sorry I've been neglectful all week. We had a beautiful 8 miles together last weekend and then I just left you in the lurch. Forgive me; it's been a busy week (and moving boxes up and down two flights of stairs in about 4 gazillion little trips is a legit workout on its own) and summer decided to have its last hurrah and blast us with crippling humidity this week. We'll be together this weekend, I promise. You + Me + 6 miles = Saturday. Cross my heart.
Dear Public Service Electric & Gas, Thank you for being way more pleasant to disconnect and reconnect than my Internet service providers.
Dear Blog Readers, I learned this week that this here blog is one of the top referring sites to Feather Magazine. Thank all of you SO much for being supportive of this project of ours and clicking over to see what these smart, talented girls are writing about. I love being able to share that with you, and I really hope you're enjoying yourselves over there. :)

Next time you guys see me I will be fully moved into my new place! I'd love to promise a calmer, more balanced and stable me, but there's a good chance I'll be completely distracted by unpacking and arranging until everything is just right (for now).
But then there's also a good chance that I might vlog, so there's that. You're welcome slash I'm sorry in advance, depending on what you think of bloggers vlogging.

Whatchu up to this weekend? If you're in the US, do you have any special plans for holiday?

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Confession: I'm Blushing

Last week I got a really delightful comment/email, and it really couldn't have come at a better time. For a couple of reasons. That email was from Natalie who blogs over at Coral Tinted Perceptions, and it said that she likes my blog enough to think that I/it deserves a bit of recognition. She gifted me my second Liebster Award, and like I said, perfect timing:

1. With so much energy and brain power currently being spent on keeping my head together, not having an anxiety attack every time I walk into my living room, and making sure everything I own gets moved safely and carefully and completely before I have to be out of my place at the end of Sunday, there's very little space left in the noodle for blog post ideas.
2. Awards of any shape or size are nice to receive and that is especially true when your stress level is high and your anxiety is threatening to wrap its arms around you and squeeze tight.

So if you'll allow me the self-indulgence, this week's Confessions are on a bit of a theme. Thank a billion to Natalie!

I think the last time I did this I either didn't know about the part where I had to share 11 facts about myself or it wasn't a thing at that point, but I literally just shared 10 new pieces of information about myself and I'm not that into myself, so here are some links to lots o' facts rather than one list, because I'm a rebel with a cause (and my cause is time and energy preservation, currently. Sigh).

TMI Tag — 50 Facts About Me

Then Natalie went ahead and gave me some questions to answer as well, so here goes nothin':

1. Who's your favourite blogger and why?
Oh good god. I can't possibly. Blogging has introduced me to so many lovely, lovely people and I'm so happy to consider so many great girls from all over the world my friends. I can't possibly choose one. I will say that one of my favorite bloggers that I admire just from afar (and who undoubtedly has no idea I exist) is Katie Shelton. She's so creative and just gives off such a warm, welcoming air. Plus her daughters are adorable, her style is inspiring, and she seems like she would be absolutely awesome to grab fro-yo with.

2. What's your favourite post you've ever written, share the link?
It really depends on the day, and what we're going for. I loved writing this list of 25 things I learned in 25 years, this post about the Hobby Lobby decision, this post about living with a reproductive disorder, and this post about my love affair with running.

3. Kardashians: Love or Hate?
Neither, but when I'm flipping channels and I see their name, I stop on it. They are extraodinarily entertaining, for all the wrong reasons.

4. Would you be able to recognise Prince Harry or a fake knock off on a TV show?
Hm. I know what he looks like, but it probably wouldn't be hard to fool me with a good look-alike.

5. What's you're favourite book and why?
I have a few, and it all depends on my mood and the time of the year. I usually say that my favorite book is whatever I'm currently reading, because I don't stay with books I don't enjoy. But if you twisted my arm I'd say The Great Gatsby. I've loved this book since I first read it in high school and I've read it ever year since, around Christmastime. There are so many reasons I love it, the language chief among them and Carraway himself a close second. Sitting down with Gatsby feels like coming home after a long time away, wrapping up in a blanket, pouring a cup of tea, and settling into the pillows.

6. Biggest Pet Peeve?
Honestly, I have a lot, but that makes me sound like an awful person. I REALLY don't like when people scrape their forks on their teeth or their plates. And open-mouth chewing. And whining.

7. Who do you think could be your best friend if only you two actually met?
Jennifer Lawrence. Also John Mayer.

8. Dream holiday destination?
This is tough. I'm not very traveled yet, but I'm on a mission to go to all 50 states. I'd love to see the world, but I think there's so much to see right here in the ol' U.S. of A. that gets taken for granted. I've got 12 down already, and though there are other places I'd love to see as well, right now the next "big trip" on my radar is to Portland & Seattle next year, so I'll say that. It's my current goal, which is kinda like a dream, no?

9. You can have dinner with any four celebrities, who's invited?
I'm going to not even attempt a deep response here, I'm looking for a good time: Jason Bateman, Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, and J-Law.

10. Why did you start blogging, are the reasons still the same?
Well when I first first started, it was back in 2007 or 2008 and I honestly can't tell you what compelled me to do it back then. When I started alyssagoesbang 1.0 (in 2010 or so, I *think*) it was to house and work on creative non-fiction writing and become a part of writing communities. That fell apart sometime early in 2013 (again, I *think*) and then I relaunched it as this spot your eyeballs are on right now in February 2014.

I did that because I was still an avid blog reader, and I terribly missed being a part of the community. Previous adventures in blogging gave me connections that I still have today with some swell people and I missed the experience of "meeting" people with stories so alike and so different from mine, who could teach me things, who I could share thoughts and ideas with, who I could laugh with and learn from and enjoy wonderful conversation with. That, in combination with feeling jaded about writing (because I was only doing it for my day job and had lost my creative hobby and outlet), is what brought me back, and why I stick around.

11. What's your most played song on your iPod/iPhone?
No idea. I use Spotify, and thank god it doesn't record number of plays.

Okay now next up I'm supposed to nominate a whole buncha people, but again, I'm a rule-breaker. I know the purpose of this is to attract attention to bloggers with fewer than 200 followers, but so many of my lovely blog friends are breaking that barrier left and right and/or being inundated with other fine bloggers' Liebster Award nominations. And I know not everyone enjoys filling these things out and/or reading them, and I'd hate to be a source of contention here.

So I'm gonna keep it simple and forward this lil' trophy along to my friend Tracy, who writes a kick-ass blog about her adventures in triathlon training, going back to school, and being awesome. Tracy has given me some great advice over the few months we've spent getting to know each other and has been an incredibly encouraging and supportive presence in my life as a runner and human bean. So here are my questions for Tracy:

1. Whats's the coolest/most interesting thing that has happened since you started your blog?
2. Smooth or crunchy peanut butter?
3. Who would play you in a movie about your life?
4. What do you wish you could tell your 16-year-old self?
5. If you could look ahead to the future, knowing you could do nothing to change the outcome, would you and why/why not?
6. One-way plane ticket in your hands right now to anywhere in the world. Would you take it and where would you go?
7. Show us your favorite post you've written!
8. What's the worst part about blogging?
9. What's your favorite place in the world?
10. What is the best "first" of yours that you can remember?
11. What is the number one thing you're working toward right now?

Linking up with Kathy for Humpday Confessions because I confess I love talking about myself sometimes and I just kinda confessed to being entertained by the Kardashians and I should probably do some Hail Marys or something.
Vodka and Soda
Spill your secrets, tell me your lies. Come on board the confession train.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Picking Things Up and Putting Them Down

This weekend, pretty much all I did was pick things up and put them down.

Well, if you want me to be more accurate, what I did was pick them up (in my apartment), put them down (in my car), drive 3.6 miles, pick them up (from my car), and then finally put them down (in my new apartment). I should mention that this involves two staircases, three outer doors, a cramped parking lot, a busy parking lot, and hunger pangs that sound like something fairy tale characters hear coming from the forest right before they're almost eaten by a wild animal.

But it was a good weekend nonetheless; moving just sucks. And it's hard. Especially when you're doing the bulk of it alone because you know how much moving sucks and you don't want to be the person who asks others to sacrifice their Saturdays to such an activity, knowing that all the free pizza and beer in the world doesn't make moving someone else's stuff suck less.

Know what else is hard? Running 8 miles. But I did that this weekend too.

Wait, hold on. I need to be more clear about that. I ran 8 miles — and I did it without stopping — for the first time ever in my entire life on Saturday. I can't explain why, but this felt like a huge leap from the 7 miles I ran not long ago, though 7 didn't feel like a huge leap from 6. (Yes, I am aware there's just one mile difference between each. It's weird though.)
Long, long, long live the #sweatyselfie. 
I was flying higher than high after this run, guys. And then I foam rolled my quads and legit almost cried. But after the feelings of frustration that come with moving, I needed a strong release on Saturday and a really big win. Sweet lord did I get that. And then I went to my friend's house and watched The Dark Knight Rises and drank rum + Arnie Palmers because that's what a coupla twenty- and thirty-somethings do on Saturday nights. #can'tholdusdown

I can pretty much sum up Sunday with the same, except 86 the running and add a Slurpee (Coca Cola, of course) because there's nothing like moving into your first 100-percent-mine, no-roommate-to-split-rent-and-utilities-with apartment to make you hanker for the tastes of your childhood, I guess. I took a photo of my Slurpee in my car in the 7-11 parking lot and the dude in the car next to me definitely saw but YOLO.

Then I picked up, put down, unpacked, and packed more of the things, all while periodically scanning both my current living rooms and wondering to myself, "I've done a HUGE purge of my things. HOW DO I STILL HAVE SO MUCH STUFF?"

And now today I'm exhausted because I was up late last night tossing and turning about where I'm going to place my ginormous antique dresser that I totally need for the storage but that is also 22" deep thus making it awkward as hell to place near almost any other piece of furniture that is about half as deep as it is. I really wish part of me was even remotely kidding.

I was also a terrible blog friend and terrible editor and terrible everything but mover because I answered one email all weekend and read zero blogs. I'm sorry, I suck, but so does moving so this week I guess I'll just try to suck less.

Also please be advised that although this probably sounds like a huge downer I'm actually in great spirits, if not a little stressed but when am I not, so don't worry about my sanity. I have just about as little of it as I normally do. It's just in about 60 different boxes in two different living rooms in two different towns.

How was your weekend?

Friday, August 22, 2014

Friday: The Link Party Edition

We did it. Sweet lord, we did it. I don't know about any of y'all but this was the. longest. week. ever over here! I was supposed to have {ugh} jury duty yesterday and today — and I'm not opposed to performing my civic duty; I'm just opposed to going to Newark at 8:15 in the morning — but some miracle happened and I receive the best text message ever Thursday evening as I was looking through a rack of patterned leggings because omg fall is almost here:
Bullet dodged. Seriously. I mean that literally and figuratively. It's Newark, friends. I love Cory Booker and all he's done for the town, but this. And this. It's actually bizarre to think that a city just 10 miles from where I live is so many worlds away in another sense. Anyway. /tangent. I'm done being morbid on this fine Friday morning.

I'm really all over the place here.
And now, time is of the essence. I {fingers crossed} get the keys to my new place this weekend, and I'm trying to get as much of the "little stuff" over there throughout the week before I call in the big guns {my brothers} for help moving the furniture next weekend. If I go missing, just look under the piles of bubble wrap and newspaper.

So that being the case, I'm sending you off into the weekend with some of my favorite links of the week to keep you entertained since I'm clearly not up to the task...

I mean, you could always start with the archives here at the ol' bang blog. I added a couple links to the Best Of page, if you've been wanting to catch up on the good stuff {seriously, is it horribly obnoxious to call my own stuff "the good stuff"? Whatever.} around here

Nick Offerman reading the best of r/showerthoughts

This song, because I have no self-respect

Actually, this whole website, because it's run and written by some pretty awesome people. Present humble-bragging editor excluded. Ahem

Alison wrote a great post about finding goodness in a world that so frequently goes dark

My sweet friend Kay celebrated her 100th post {!!} with some confessions about blogging

My favorite #badyogi has another yoga challenge coming out in just eight days! If you've wanted to give yoga a try but are intimidated by a studio {or are a seasoned yogi and just prefer home practice, like me}, Erin is your new best friend. Here's her first 30-Day Challenge. Go here to sign up {and unlock more weeks!} for the next one. Please. No, she's not paying me. I just fangirl for her that hard

Peter Rabbit is a plebe.

What have you been reading, writing or listening to this week? I'll need something to read during breaks from packing my life away...

You know what I've got planned for the weekend. What are you up to?

{Linking up with my Friday Favorites | AmandaWhitney}

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Hold On, We're Going Home

I confess that it'll likely be quiet here over the next couple of weeks as I finish The Great Stuff Purge of 2014, move whatever remains from a two-bedroom apartment into a "bright, sunny, and extra-large" studio, toss more things, and buy more things to make whatever still remains fit into an appropriate cabinet or drawer. This kind of thing completely consumes me, and though it's probably annoying to anyone who tries to get me to make a plan from now until September 10, I love it.

Moving is cleansing. Donating items to friends and charity is cleansing. Buying new furniture and bath towels is cleansing. Jumping up out of bed in the middle of the night to move the end table to the other side of the couch or write down another item for my IKEA list (Confession: I only have like three things from IKEA. Am I a bad millennial?) is cleansing. What, no? Just me? Okay.

But its also very time- and attention-consuming for me. When my home isn't orderly I find it really hard to focus on much else until everything has found its right place. And though I'm never really "done" — I rearrange furniture for fun and on total whim — there's a degree of finality that I'm looking for, and I'm not exaggerating when I say I won't rest until I find it. Not until every box is packed, moved, and unpacked will I feel like I can put any significant amount of attention elsewhere.
My living room, currently. Confession: I'm an "organized mess" kind of packer. No other messes are permissible.
And I come here to say these things as if I've even been a consistent presence here at all lately. I know I haven't. But I know you'll stick with me while all the chaos sorts out. And I know you understand because you get that I'm so obnoxiously Type A that I won't post a post just to post, and that I'd rather post something I'd really like you guys to read. Right? Right. Current post excluded, sorta.

And besides, it's summer, and as we get down to the bitter end (Confession: As far as I'm concerned, Labor Day Weekend is the definitive end of summer and start of fall) we're all trying to enjoy our last moments in the sun, on the water, at the beach, doing all those things we can only do in summer. Blogging isn't one of those things, but at least we're doing things to blog about. And by we, I mean the rest of you who aren't packing and moving and unpacking.

Confession: I {hopefully!} get the keys this weekend and mentally have 90% of my things arranged and stored where they will go. I have to-scale sketches of a home I don't live in yet. I know this sounds crazy, but trust me — if I hadn't been able to plan like this, I would have certainly gone mad.

I really can't wait to share some before/after shots with you guys. As long as you're not expecting anything extravagant of course. Remember, it's just a rental. It's just a studio. I'm just a broke joke lowly little writer at a mom-and-pop publisher. Don't get excited. I'm trading hard-wood floors for carpeting, ACK. But all the same, it's just right and it's just mine. I can't wait to call it my new home.

Confession: I still love this song, and I always get really lame and smiley when it happens to come up on my running playlist as I round the corner to run the last half-mile straightaway to my apartment. It's like Spotify knows. #fullofcheese.

Vodka and Soda
{ Linking up with Kathy }

Monday, August 18, 2014

One Kool-Aid, Please

This is going to be really tough to publish, so bear with me. There are few topics I've ever approached here that might come so close to making me a total outcast in bloglandia, but what's life without guts, right? Whew. Here we go... I have a big confession to make today:

I never enjoyed reading Harry Potter. I had no desire to see the films and attempted to read the books THREE times with no luck. I set Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone aside in apathy after less than 20 pages every time I attempted to read the series.

Please, don't shoot. There's more!

So I wanted to try again, and give it a real, fair try. My step-brother loaned me book one (I've been staring at it on my bookshelf for a good two years now) and all of you Potter-loving bloggers doing your big summer re-reads have inspired me. So recently I sat down, dusted off the paperback copy and dove in. And I am VERY happy to report that the fourth time is apparently the charm.
Remember that night when laying in my bed, reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone was inst-worthy?
Yes, I have drunk le Kool-Aid.
I wouldn't say I devoured the text, because it is still not exactly my genre. But I thoroughly enjoyed all of book one and made a beeline this weekend for my friend's bookshelf to borrow book two. I can definitely see myself working through the rest of the series before I even look at another book — and considering my budget will have to take a bit of a hit over the next few weeks as I prepare to and go through with moving apartments, I'm already looking forward to more than a few nights in with Harry and friends.


So I was thinking about all this and realized that this isn't the first time I've been the last one to arrive at what proves to be a kick-ass party. Some other notable examples of bandwagons I've dragged my feet to join and turned out to be the one steering the buggy, or some other effective way of delivering that metaphor:

1. The Hunger Games. Both the books and the movies I'm talking about here. No hate on J-Law or anything because that girl's da real MVP. Again, this just wasn't my genre. Cut to me reading all three books in about 18 hours each and begging my friend to go see Catching Fire in theaters for a second and third time.

2. Sushi. Yeah, hated it. Hated it, hated it, hated it. Then, one fateful New Year's Eve, many moons ago, my friends sprang for a couple of boats to feed the beasts at our annual gathering. A friend's girlfriend encouraged me to try again, starting with the basics and then working my way up to the real stuff. These days hardly a week goes by where I'm not on a mission for some shrimp tempura or spicy tuna.

3. DMB. I know, so many haters are likely among you. But whatever. See, when I was in high school, it was kind of like we all woke up one morning and everyone in my school decided Dave Matthews was their new BFF. I didn't get the insta-boners for the band so I just pretty much stayed away, not caring about what I was "missing out on." Cut to college when a good deal of my friends, all older than me and mostly (wannabe) musicians were DMB fanatics, having seen the band live upwards of 30 times. Nice guys, but MAN was it obnoxious to be shushed so they could hear (and tap out on their thighs or the steering wheel) a drum solo. I hated the band purely because of the fanbase that tried to force them on me. Then one day on a nice quiet drive with one of the less-obnoxious members of that friend group, I heard "Grey Street." And then I heard this recording and at 4:25, I fell head over heels {#grux. RIP Roi.}. Ten shows of my own later I see no reason not to shout my love for Dave from the rooftops.

4. Chipotle. I had never had it, not even once, until I came to the company I work for now, a little over two years ago. The office had a birthday lunch with Chipotle and that was my first experience. Now, like with sushi, I have a weekly debate with myself about whether or not I can justify a burrito bowl for lunch.

5. Guacamole. Related. Hated, hated, hated it. Then I dipped one of Chipotle's magical lime-and-salt corn chips into my friend's little cup of guac and, well, since then, let's just say it's serious.

So if we've learned anything today, it's that my own deprivation of wonderful things that I was too stubborn to admit could possibly be wonderful are indeed punishment enough, so please don't throw things at me for only just now adventuring into the wizarding world of Harry Potter and even saying the word "hate" in the same sentence as the aforementioned wizard's name. I'm on book two now, guys. Let's be civil about this.

Please take some of the pressure off — what's something you were hesitant to try, or even adamantly against, that you ended up loving later?

Friday, August 15, 2014

Friday: The Survivor {Wo}Man Edition

Back in high school my girlfriends and I would play the "Desert Island Game." Basically the premise was to name a couple of items you would want to have with you on a desert island. Sometimes we made the rounds themed — pick three makeup items, pick five books, one senior guy... you get where I'm going with this.

It was always intended as just an innocuous way to pass time, but I kind of think this type of game helps you really learn a lot about someone. When I'm dating someone new, or just trying to really get to know anyone new, I like to ask what their most valued possession is. Some people can really surprise you, and if you think about it carefully {and we all know there's no risk of me not over-thinking things, let's be real} learning what people consider to be their "needs" is a really interesting way to get to know them without the obnoxious questionnaire. {But if you have a questionnaire I'll definitely take that too. I love them. I have a sickness.}

Over the years what I consider necessities in life have changed a lot. For example, if you asked me in high school, I wouldn't go anywhere without thick black eyeliner and concealer. Swear to god. But these days, I rock the cat eye so sparingly I can barely do it right, and I line my waterline with a white pencil because looking awake is more important at my office than looking "edgy." And since I quit smoking and got into the habit of drinking more water, my skin has stopped being so angry at me and I'm happy with my no-makeup face more often than not. Yay for good changes!

Years ago, Red Bull and Marlboro Lights were also on my "need" list — not so much anymore, thank god.

So what does make the cut these days? {Assuming, of course, my basic human needs are met and we're talking strictly objects, not people and pets.} If High School Alyssa could see me now...

​1. Coffee. Okay, this one has been true for a while now. But trust me, it's for the greater good of humanity that I have uninterrupted access to coffee.

2. Running shoes. LOL, who am I? Seriously though, running keeps me sane now that I've ditched the Marlboros and found how much I really, really love running.

3. Journal and pen. I am a writer, after all.

4. I would say Kindle to get the point across, but I don't have a Kindle, so I'm saying my iPad with its Kindle app. In real life, I much prefer real, paper books, but as much as I love some of my favorites, I need a little variety. And I imagine with little else to do I would burn through any novel rather quickly. Hopefully I would have the foresight to load up a couple of titles on the iPad before I got shipwrecked on this island, of course.

5. Lip balm. I always say that if I ever go missing you should just follow the trail of lip balms to find me. I keep Palmers sticks, EOS eggs, and lip butters everywhere: My desk at work, multiple in my purse, my bedside table, my home desk, my vanity table, and a drawer stuffed with backups. I can't go more than about 20 minutes without reapplying.

What's on your list of absolute essentials? What are your five desert island items?

I was contacted by Man Crates to write a post as part of a "survival essentials" campaign for their service. I was not compensated for my comments. Be sure to check out Man Crates and their variety of gift boxes for all the men in your life, from golfers to grillers, here!

Oh, AND — Happy Friday! I'm looking forward to quieting down and taking some "me time" this weekend. Tomorrow is the one year anniversary of the day we lost my grandmother to Alzheimer's, so I'll be spending some time with family and then getting back to basics with a hike, some more family time, and {no doubt tripping down memory lane} packing up the apartment. What do you have planned for the weekend?

// Linking up with Amanda + Lauren for Friday Favorites & High Five for Friday //

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

My Romance Bone is Broken & Other Revealing Things

For my 100th post I wanted to mark the occasion symbolically, because I like to pretend I live in an over-written novel and give excessive meaning to things that have none. So I thought about something on theme — 100 facts about me? 100 things you didn't know? 100 reasons I'm blogging here like an idiot? — but then I realized that I didn't want to actually mark my 100th post by losing all my readers because I finally pushed you over the edge.

But I am a "lifestyle" blogger, and obviously quite enjoy talking about M-E me, and I'm not even gonna feel weird about saying that because for what lifestyle blogger is that not true?

Do I still have you? Okay, great. So I decided to mark post nĂºmero 100 {wooo! I haven't abandoned this blog yet!} with 10 things you don't know about me, and I'm trying my best to keep it not aggressively self-aggrandizing. You'll have to tell me how I managed on that one.

Even on a holiday I can barely get them to cooperate
1. I am the middle child in my family, both biologically and when step-siblings are taken into account. I have two amazing brothers {one older, one younger} who mean more to me than any other man ever has or ever will. My big brother is one of my best friends. We have so much fun together, and we take care of each other. My little brother is a little less family oriented, but I love that little shit anyway — even if he is too busy enjoying his first legal summer to spend much time with me these days. I also have a step-sister who's two years younger than me, and a step-brother eight years older. Just call us the Brady Bunch — except not because my step-siblings are each on different sides of the family.

2. When I get very angry or frustrated, I tend to cry. It's just a physical response to the emotion that I have a really hard time controlling. I hate this because I feel like it makes me appear weak, and signals to other people that they've affected me in a way that they actually haven't. I'm also bothered that I'm bothered by that.

3. I currently have 11 tattoos and am working out the budget for adding number 12 this year. You've seen and heard about this one, got the scoop on another here, and I've shared sneak peeks of two others, and definitely plan on sharing more about the rest in the future. At a point in my life, I had many more piercings than I do now, but today the count stands at three/five {depending on your view}: two holes in each earlobe and one ring in my right rook. I used to have another rook ring, but it just kind of disappeared one night. I had my bellybutton pierced since freshman year of high school, but took it out for my surgery and never put it back in. I've had my nose pierced for a collective total of about four years, I think, but just kind of got tired of it and took it out. Having experienced both, I have to say I'm way done with piercings, but just try and stop me from getting inked every chance I get.

4. I started doing yoga about nine years ago, when I was 16. Until then, I was a ballet dancer and a cheerleader, but I worked a part-time job all through high school and couldn’t attend rehearsals or practices, so I picked up some yoga DVDs and discovered it in the comfort of my living room. I finally went to a studio years later and took a yoga class for my phys ed requirement in college, where I really committed to my practice and started to really, really love it. After college I slacked off a bit but over the last year I’ve recommitted to my practice, and I plan to pursue my instructor certification next year!

Yeah... You can tell that my books are, let's say, "well loved."
5. No matter how old I get, I will always love to read YA fiction. I've been a fan forever, and I consider Judy Blume to be the authority on the genre, and a true pioneer. I learned so much about life and the world from reading her books growing up, and she has a really special place in my heart. {Everything I Needed to Know About Being a Girl I Learned from Judy Blume is a collection worth reading if you're with me on this — edited by one of my absolute favorite YA authors, [Jersey-born & raised!] Megan McCafferty.}

6. Speaking of books, there are a couple I read every year. I read The Great Gatsby at Christmas time, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, On the Road and anything by Bret Easton Ellis in the summer, and The Catcher in the Rye in the fall.

7. I am an empath and a "highly sensitive person" {HSP}. For a lot of people this is kind of a difficult concept to understand or take seriously, and they make me feel crazy when I try to explain it. Good thing I know I'm not crazy {well, not about this at least} and I don't need anyone to believe me for me to know that I'm an empath. The wonderful thing is when people who do recognize these types of things tell me they know I am before I've said it to them myself — it's really heartwarming, honestly. Anyway, I think this explains a lot about me and makes it a bit easier to understand why I am the way I am — but perhaps this is more apparent if you know me in real life.

8. I am not at all romantic in a traditional sense. I appreciate thoughtful gestures, sure — but I enjoy them from friends, family, and love interests all the same and don't consider taking five minutes to give a damn about someone a romantic gesture. But I don't swoon over typically gooey romantic stuff. Back in high school, I had been dating this guy for a couple of weeks. {We were totally falling for each other and would go on to date for two and a half years.} One day in the summer — I remember this so clearly, I'm weird — I was home laying out in my back yard when I get a call from him and he says he's out front: He'd just dropped by because he "had to" see me and just wanted to say hi. You guys, I was so irritated. SO irritated. Flash forward a couple years later and a guy I'm crazy for asks for my opinion on a manuscript he's drafting... the look on my face would have made you think I'd just gotten a proposal. That's the kind of "romance" I like. Yes, I realize, I am unfit for human interaction.

Embracing it for Halloween 2013 as Rosie the Riveter
9. Though I embrace the term "feminist" now, there was a long time where even though I looked like a duck and walked like a duck and sounded like a duck, I refused to believe I was a duck. This was because I never had a woman in my life, ever, identify as a feminist. I never knew women who were feminists, at least not on an intimate level, until well after I graduated college. I sort of "discovered" feminism for myself — way to go, Internet! — and showed myself the ropes of being one. In a way, I'm really glad. This way, I know my beliefs are indeed mine, and that though they are controversial within my family and I am very much alone in them among certain groups of people I know, I believe them with conviction and with intelligence behind them. I'm proud of this, if I can be honest. I am educated on the issues, I am fully aware of opposing beliefs and will gladly justify my position on what I think and feel and believe. I am a feminist, and one day I'll sit down and tell you all about what that means to me, and why I think we should all embrace the F-word.

10. If I'm stressed out, anxious, nervous, uncertain, or overwhelmed, the first thing I do is make a list. This usually turns into a whole bunch of lists. It helps me to keep track of all the things swirling around in my head and when I put them down on paper, I can sometimes get my thoughts a bit more organized. It doesn't always work, and sometimes all I do is feel anxious about when I can start doing the action items on my list, but I do know that if I didn't have my lists, we would all be in big trouble. My name is Alyssa, and I'm addicted to lists. AND I SWEAR TO GOD it didn't even occur to me until just now that this is item number 10 on a... list.

Sometimes, you just gotta see if you can fit in a beverage bucket.

So there you go. Ten things you might not have known and probably never, ever wanted to know about this little ol' blogger. Do we have anything in common? Share with me something I don't know about you yet! The whole part of this is so that we all become best friends, right? :)

Ninja number 11: My two best friends in high school and I went to see Ashlee Simpson perform at the Roseland Ballroom in NYC when I was a sophomore and we made shirts for it and it still to this day is one of the most fun nights of my life. Hate away.

{Linking up with Kathy for Humpday Confessions}

Monday, August 11, 2014

Fest My Life Away

I sat down to write this post not knowing really where to begin. Should I recap the real events of my weekend?
  • Celebrating my pal at his birthday party {hey Dan!}
  • Annual voyage to Bethlehem, PA for Musikfest — a seriously good time if you're ever in the area this time of year — with my cousin, aunt, uncle, and some new friends 
  • At said Fest, feasting on the best thing to ever tickle the taste buds: Aw Shucks Roasted Corn {I seriously look forward to this stuff all year. I walked out of my office Friday telling my coworker M about how much I couldn't wait to get my hands on some. #sick}

Not exactly lookin like a million bucks after the hour-long drive home, but trust me. This gluten-free, vegan chocolate peanut butter cake is one of the most delicious things ever created.
  • Turning my living room into a war zone {by that I mean packing/sorting/organizing} in anticipation of the end of my lease on the 31st
Should I gloss over the lowlights?
  • Driving my bro & his girlfriend to the airport at 3:45 Saturday morning
  • Having my landlord scream at and threaten me over the phone Saturday morning because I tried to, ya know, hold him to landlord/tenant laws and not letting him once again show up unannounced with prospective renters in compliance with our perfectly reasonable {as I've paid my rent through the remainder of the month} and legal one-day's-notice agreement. {I triple checked the laws and he's guilty of breaking SO many, particularly ones pertaining to my security deposit and forcible entry, the bastard.}
  • Missing a four-mile run on Saturday because of all the chaos and last-minute scheduling surprises
Or should I just get to the really good, really happy, all-I-can-think-about news?
  • I'm not going to be homeless in 20 days! I went to look at two apartments on Saturday and one of them is it. I found my next place! Signed the lease and I'm going back tomorrow with the security deposit and hopefully to snap some more {read: halfway decent} photos!
I really was starting to get nervous about the apartment hunt. But I'm so relieved, and this weight off my shoulders has me feeling super good about what's to come for me.

The place is a studio, but a decent-sized one. More importantly, I won't be sharing it with a roommate, so nothing else really matters. But to add perks to perks, it is literally in the perfect location for me. I'll be right in the center of a town I absolutely adore with wonderful running routes right from my front door. I'll be walking distance to a couple of bars, a couple amazing restaurants, my running shop, tons of other stores, boutiques, cafes and yoga studios, a Whole Foods {god help me my wallet}, parks, and tons more. I'll only be adding about five minutes to my {currently six-minute} commute to work. I'll be just moving one town over so everyone I love having close by will still be close by. Ahhhh.

And now that I'm finally back {I feel like my weekends have been stuffed to the absolute gills lately!} and can settle down some {not much though, because now it's time to condense a full apartment's worth of belongings into an organized studio. Time to be ruthless with my sorting!}, I've gotta get back to mentally arranging all my furniture in the new place. Ya know, the one I'm not living in for another three weeks. It's all good.

OH OH OH AND ONE MORE THING! Feather Magazine is BACK today! Come check out the relaunch and be sure to bookmark, because we'll be rolling out amazing content every day from here on out! And don't forget to follow us on Twitter and Facebook!

What was the highlight of your weekend?

Linking up with the beautiful B!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Friday: The Running Yogi Edition

Now that I'm starting to push the "pushing it" territory of my half marathon training, my body is really starting to pitch a fit. With no rhyme or reason either, it seems. This week's long run in the training plan I'm following is seven miles, which I managed last night, but let's not forget about how awful I felt on Tuesday when I attempted a measly four miles and had to call it quits at two. Running is weird, guys.

But one of the reasons I even wanted to take up running was because it's obviously a great way to stay fit {HAH it's really hard to feel "fit" when every joint in the lower half of your body is mocking you, but it's all part of things sometimes} that doesn't have to cost me the price of a monthly gym membership that I won't use. I'm sorry, I just won't. I've been down that road before and while there is absolutely nothing wrong with weight training in a gym, it's just not for me. I prefer a bit of a more natural approach I suppose. Running was intended to be a nice complement to my years-old yoga practice.

If you've been around here for a while you probably know by now that I'm a yogi. And if I haven't talked to you personally about her yet, consider this your recommendation to get to know Erin Motz, the #badyogi who keeps me moving every morning and who makes yoga accessible to everyone, at every level. I'm a bit of a fan girl — and I get to see her in two months! Anyway, moving on, I got off topic, surprise surprise.

So anyway, for me, running and yoga have gotten along famously, as I do my cross training with pure body weight and get deep into muscles I didn't even know existed before. And after some runs, there is absolutely no better way to soothe my body and recover from owning it #likeaboss on the road than with a couple of key yoga postures. Here are my favorite asanas* for a post-run deep stretch, but you can do these any time.
Please excuse the photo quality — I'm poor and don't have a DSLR so these all came from the ol' Macbook.

My favorite is a headstand because it doubles as a core workout and helps me really clear my mind. But Legs up the wall is a great way to spend 15 minutes pre/post-run when I want to kill birds with stones and I settle into the pose with a book. {Don't try to make sense of things I do.} I'm also a big fan of shoulder stand and the related plow pose, and apparently did them all the time as a kid before I even knew what yoga was, just because I was flexible and weird and the postures felt good. I know, I'm insane.
Yep, boobs right in the face.
Bringing your legs up over your heart offers a gentle hamstring stretch and helps to calm angry muscles as you release the blood flow from tired legs.

Ah, down dog, the butt {heh, no pun intended but kinda intended a little bit} of many a non-yogi's joke about doing butt stuff, the apple of many a straight boy's eye, and one of my absolute favorite yoga postures at any time. Done right, this pose gives a good stretch to the shoulders, low back, hamstrings, and calves. A runner knows the importance of stretching that calf all the way through the Achilles' tendon too, and this pose helps you do that safely and slowly. Variations on this pose can help you really open up those hips as well as work the core.

Seated Figure Four Pose
Over the past five or six weeks my right hip has been extremely vocal every time I go out for a run. My hip alignment isn't perfect, says Dr. Dreamy {my chiropractor, duh} and we're working on it but I notice a significant reduction in the  hatred my hip feels for me when I open up my hips before and after a run. You can also do this posture standing up, but after a run I prefer to do it from a seated position. The deeper you go into this stretch the more you'll feel it in your hip which is a good thing, as long as you don't cross the boundary into actual pain.

I love pigeon pose for getting deep into the hip joint while also working the lower back and hamstring of the extended leg. When I go into pigeon, I tend to hold upright for a few breaths and then come down onto forearms and bow my head for a good minute or so, sinking deep into the stretch and beginning to really let go.

And speaking of letting go, there's really no better pose for that than child pose. Whether I extend my arms out ahead of me, lengthening my spine and feeling a stretch through the arms and shoulders, or tuck my hands behind the feet until I'm in a perfect little egg shape, this pose helps me come back to center after an intense run and deep stretch. Since I'm a totally normal person who gets shoulder pain while running {??}, this pose helps to calm that and is just a nice restorative posture for the end of a practice. And since I tend to run in the evenings, holding child pose for a couple of minutes helps me transition out of my day and into my night and get ready for a refreshing sleep.

Hey other runners, and other yogis, I'd love to hear your favorite postures or best stretches for after a run!

*Before we forget the disclaimer: I am not a licensed yoga instructor and this shouldn't be construed as professional advice. I've been practicing yoga for years and these are just the poses that I like best for post-run. Please never exceed your comfort level and be sure to take all necessary precautions when beginning a yoga practice! Disclaimer #2: I'm not just trying to be sassy with that wardrobe. You'd typically wear more clothing than this in a practice and definitely to a studio class, but my apartment is a sauna and pants are not an option in August.

And that's gonna do it for me around here this week. I'm super pumped to visit my cousin over the weekend and indulge in some live music, good crowds, and the best corn on the cob ever. But more about that on Monday. What are you up to this weekend?

{ Linking up all over town this Friday || Amanda | Sarah | Lauren }

Thursday, August 7, 2014

What's My Age Again?

After reading this post by Helene {and contemplating how simultaneously immature and old-lady-trapped-in-a-young body I am, proven by my desire to live in a new place with nice countertops and fixtures but feeling too lazy to call a damn realtor}, I decided to go ahead and find out what "My Mental Age" is.

It should be noted before I go on that a similar quiz {although this one was presented by Buzzfeed, so keep that in mind} told me a couple of months ago that I was a solid 45 though I was actually 24 at the time, and at first I was almost tempted to be upset but then the picture they used to illustrate the results page was one of Tina Fey as Liz Lemon and I just really couldn't argue with that at all.
So anyway.

Whatever highly qualified minds there are making these things took all my answers to very important questions about Twitter and Barack Obama and Miley Cyrus and fine dining and decided that my mental age is 27.
I gotta be honest, this one took me by surprise.

I have to wonder. Do most 27-year-olds worry {or "think" if you want to be an optimist} about things like:
  • When am I finally going to be able to find an apartment that allows me to have a dog?
  • LOL I'm never buying a place, am I?
  • Nah it's cool, I don't need roots. Traveling should take precedence for at least the next couple of years.
  • I need to get my friend a baby shower gift.
  • I need to get my friend a wedding shower gift.
  • I need to figure out how to let my friends and family understand that I'm not suicidal because I have no impending wedding or baby shower.
  • Where is my career going? Shouldn't I have a little bit more of that thing figured out at this point?
  • 401K? ROFL
  • Why is it so hard for me to take a decent goddamn selfie?
  • Should I say yes to this trip to Savannah? I probably should, right?
  • God, dating is torture. Can't we just start things off from a couple of months in already so you can just come over and hang out when we both have free time instead of scheduling actual dates in advance because shit's getting pricy and I just don't have that kind of time these days but I don't want to give the wrong impression by "hanging out" with you on my couch so I guess dinner it is.
  • I have washed my car maybe five times in the seven years I've had it but apparently, if my fellow bloggers are to be believed, normal people do it way more often than that even though it's just going to rain in a couple days anyway.
  • God I need to see my chiropractor, my back pain is out of control.
I really don't know what a 27-year-old {or even a 25-year-old, for that matter} is supposed to concern his/herself with, but consider this a not-even-remotely exhaustive list of concerns thoughts I've had just while writing this post. Which is, in summation, to say that I don't know if I'm actually 25, 27, 45 or anywhere in between. Oh and I did take my RealAge a couple months back and it said I was 28, so can I just call myself 21 again and start over from there? Maybe my timeline just needs some recalibration.*

Or maybe this is just what your mid-twenties are — at least for a Millennial in this decade: A great big old mixed bag of adulthood and teenage years, stuck halfway between college and career. Most of the time I feel like I'm one of the few people I know straddling the balance between being married with kids and an unmanageable mortgage {suckas} and drinking my face off and waking up in hungover oblivion five days a week {ugh}.

I'm a productive adult in that I am 100% financially independent, hold down a steady full-time job, maintain healthy habits, keep houseplants alive, contribute to a savings account, and send people cards on their birthdays. I'm fine with staying in on a Friday night if there exists no better option than getting a good night's sleep and and early Saturday start — going out for its own sake is no longer fun. I keep a budget, know my limits with alcohol and other indulgences, can have extended conversations about politics, and make my health a priority.

But I'm also completely unsure now of "what I want to be when I grow up," considering a huge career change, driving a car that may or may not explode on it's next trip down the Parkway, and haven't had a successful relationship {read: healthy} in ohmygodlet'snotevengothere. I'm nowhere near remotely ready for children — hell, I'm not sure I'll ever decide to take that plunge. I will spend hours getting lost in the Internet and still do laundry at my parents' house whenever possible.

So am I doing something wrong that has me pulling life choices and habits from both my teens and my thirties, or is this just what it means to be smack dab in the middle of them?

*I don't actually know what recalibration means completely and I didn't want to google it. Add age 15 to the list of ages I might possibly be.

What's your Mental Age? RealAge? Do things sound about right to you? What's my age again? #confusedsendhelp.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Onward and Upward

Maybe one of these days I'll outgrow the need to come 'round here every Wednesday and cleanse my soul at the mercy of bloglandia. Maybe I'll stop committing such misdeeds that I feel the need to confess them each week with all you fine, upstanding, sinless members of the bloggerverse. But that day is not today. Today is Humpday, and these are my confessions:

Yeah. So. Remember this? Item one specifically? Well, let's just say... go ahead and smack me in the face. Ya know, sometimes a sweet, funny, smart, sexy guy is actually just a great guy who you can totally get serious about. And sometimes, your name is Alyssa and you've actually never, ever met one of these people for real and instead they all turn out to be literal nutcases who may or may not pull some Buffalo Bill shit on you if you're not quick to see the bright, cherry red flags. Moving on. Let's not dwell on it.
I am moving out of my apartment in 25 days and I don't have the faintest idea of what my next address will be. As I mentioned Monday, I have a lot of balls in the air. I would be lying through my teeth if I said the Type-A planner in me wasn't starting to seriously panic. I am going to have SO much packing to do, and while I don't so much mind packing, I'm always nervous to start too early because I'm afraid I'll pack something I need and will never be able to get it out or something. But I need to start packing soon or else Labor Day Weekend Me will hate Rest of August Me, but Current Me doesn't want to start packing until these boxes have a place to go, and if you're a little bit lost and confused from reading this, imagine what it's like to be in my head right now.

Despite those first two, and the fact that my job is still my job, and I have jury duty at the end of the month, and I may or may not have health insurance right now, and my car is a death trap on wheels, life is good and I actually kind of feel like a lunatic for being so positive and legitimately happy right now. And if that isn't the biggest reason I need to be medicated/straight-jacketed and thus an item perfect for Humpday Confessions, I don't know what is.

Okay, let's switch gears...

My officemate is out this week for a cross-country wedding and since we spend a good amount of our time chatting and checking in with each other while she's here, you would totally think I'd be more productive and not forget what I was supposed to be working on every 30 seconds, right? RIGHT? You'd be wrong. What is work.
Totally jay kay if you're reading this, boss!
Yesterday I ran for the first time since LAST WEDNESDAY OH MY GOD that's embarrassing. Mostly I skipped runs because of the heat, too many places to be/timing conflicts {I refuse to run before sunset in the summer because dying of heatstroke/suffocating in the humidity isn't on the agenda for me right now}, pain that I wanted to get under control first, and any other excuse I could think of for a couple days there. After six days of rest I had a terrible run and I almost cried because that's what emotional stability looks like.

I got myself on that Amazon Prime kick last week and I've been watching nothing but Sabrina, the Teenage Witch since then. I'm approximately none percent sorry about it. The college years are everything except I miss Harvey :( #NEVERGROWINGUPBYE
Just realized this show ended its run over a decade ago, and now I feel nauseous.

Oh and ladies, quick announcement: Feather Magazine is back on MONDAY! And every day up til then we are giving away a fabulous item that I just KNOW you're going to love. Head over to and RSVP to this Facebook event to get updates on each and every one of these amazing 8 Days of Giveaways!

Vodka and Soda
Linking up with Kathy #youknowwhatitis

Monday, August 4, 2014


Lately my weekends have been streaking by in a blur of friends, errands, family, and adventures. There once was a time when weekends were more relaxing than weekdays, remember? When I could sleep late, neglect the alarm clock, go about my errands and to do's as the mood struck and as time allowed — back when there was such a thing as time to spare. When sweet summertime and bittersweet adulthood collide, there's the constant urge to pack my weekends with the things I'm unable to do during the workweek, and even still the list of reminders and responsibilities keeps growing and growing. One of these days I'll catch up or, dare I even think it, get ahead — right?

This weekend was spent mostly with family. After Saturday errands and apartment cleaning, the family gathered to celebrate my grandfather's 88th birthday. Though the guest of honor and I aren't the thickest of thieves, any time spent with family is okay in my book. One cousin and I haven't seen each other since Easter — a travesty, honestly — and all of us first cousins haven't been together at the same time in the same place since then either. It's always lovely when that happens. Add to that bumping into some old friends later in the evening who I haven't seen in two years and Saturday was a delight.

On Sunday, my brother, his girlfriend, and a certain other man {and the dogs, of course} and I went for a hike at the Apshawa Preserve. We spotted quite a few cute creatures — little frogs, a baby snake, and this guy:
I love days spent out in the world. When I was a kid, I honestly hated nature. I maintain that this was mostly because I never had a choice and was constantly dragged out for hikes when, at 10 years old, I much preferred sleepy Saturday mornings and, you know, not getting dirty. Over the last couple of years though, I've undergone a bit of a lifestyle and value transformation.

I'm coming to a crossroads now. My lease expires on August 31, and while I can't wait to be out of this place and able to terminate any relationship with this sorry excuse for a landlord, I'm getting a bit nervous as the day draws closer and closer and I'm still left wondering... what's my next move?

I love this area that I live in — 20 minutes from NYC, under an hour from the top of the Jersey Shore, mere minutes from countless preserves and reservations and great mountains for hiking. But all that comes at a price: Proximity to some unfavorable reminders of regrets and mistakes, great distance from some people I love dearly, and the very literal steep price of rent and cost of living. Striking out on my own with no roommate to split living costs is doable in my position, but will certainly mean more changes in my lifestyle.
And as I think about that — and spend hours upon hours searching for a potential apartment to no avail — I'm tempted by possibilities that exist for me elsewhere. My generous and wonderful brother has offered me a place to stay while I weigh my work and living options without the stress of having to make a game-time decision. And while I couldn't be more grateful for this offer, he lives about an hour from where I am now, although in a lovely area just outside Princeton and a closer drive to and from my mom and stepdad, who I don't get to see nearly enough. And if I don't take this one specifically, there's the option of seeking out rentals there as well.

But do I want to live on his couch and cramp his {any my} style while I figure out my next step, and move all my belongings more than necessary? Not really. Do I want to be closer to him and have a bit lower cost of living? You bet. Do I want to change jobs? Absolutely. Do I know what I want to do other than what I'm doing now? You're funny. Do I want to leave this great town and area? Not sure. Will it still be within my reach if I do go? Of course, so why am I being ridiculous?

Believe it or not, this does circle back to where I started. I was thinking about all these things in the moments of silence and reflection between chatter on yesterday's hike. Years ago, I couldn't image not being minutes from NYC and didn't consider running routes a factor when thinking about a place to live. Now, I do. And that may change again, but I sure hope it doesn't, and don't see it realistically doing so anytime soon. I want to transition my career into one that has deeper roots in healthy and natural living. I want to work and live in a space and place that supports the things my mind wanders to when I find the ability to release the anxiety and just let it happily go.
These days, I find that mental space outside. Whether on a hike or a run, with family, with friends, or solo, becoming a part of the natural world around me is a surefire way for me to find balance. And for me, balance has never been easy to find. So like I started saying a hundred and fifty years ago when you started reading this post, these are some things I was thinking about over the weekend.

But now it's Monday and I'm back at the office, chained to my desk, going numb in the butt from sitting like it's my job, drowning in documents and so far away from meeting deadline it's laughable. And as I try to remind myself that it's not the end of the world, it'll all be okay, people make mistakes and sometimes shit happens, calm down self, it's okay, stop tensing up self, it'll all work out... I really just wish I could go take a walk outside.

Do you have any advice for making big work/life decisions or efficiently weighing options? I'd really love to hear how some of you have ended up where you are, or decided to go where you're going.

{Linking up with the beautiful B for another edition of Weekending.}