Closer Monday, May 27 2013 

“When you’re out there looking for that perfect person, keep these things in mind – People change, no matter how hard they try not to. As you grow older you mature, and with each new level of maturity comes different ideas, different needs and wants. The person who was perfect for you at twenty could be the person you hate when you’re thirty-five. You have to find some one who will grow with you, change with you, laugh with you and cry with you. A person who fills in where you lack, a person whom you can fill in for when they are lacking. But what about the perfect person, you ask? They do not exist. There are no perfect people, only people who are perfect for each other. You deserve to be happy not in the arms of someone who keeps you waiting, but in the arms of someone who will take you now.”

-J.M. Whitaker

Any Way You Want It Saturday, Mar 9 2013 

It’s been almost a year since I sat myself down to do a ‘Things I Love Right Now’ list and that is completely unacceptable. So here are a few things that have been leaving a smile on my face this week…

♥ Coffee Cupping: Last Saturday morning the roommate and I decided to hit up a free coffee cupping put on by one of the local coffee companies. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect and I quickly learned that some people take their coffee cupping quite seriously. Basically we stood around a table with seven different types of coffees. Each coffee had three sample glasses of grounds and we were instructed to sniff the grounds and make an assessment of the smell. Then hot water was added to the grounds and we were asked to give it another good sniff and note if the smells had changed. Once that is done you break the crust that forms as the hot water brews the grounds and try and come up with a fresh take on the smell. For the record, to me, they basically all stayed the same, and I felt like I was pulling words out of my ass on my assessment. From there you go ahead and taste the coffee, making sure to make ultra loud slurp sounds. It was a really fun experience, but I feel like I would have had a better time had our class not been full of coffee snobs who kept saying they tasted hints of “raspberry and grapefruit” or random herbs. I kept wanting to say “Really? To me it tastes like freaking coffee” – guess I’m never going to be a professional coffee taster. Drats!

Coffee Cupping at Montana Coffee Traders

Coffee Cupping at Montana Coffee Traders

♥ Girl’s Night: There is nothing I love more than sitting around a table with some of my most favorite women in the world. For the past four years or so I have shared some incredible evenings with three of them. I always know that a night spent with them will include wine, good food, and so much laughter that my stomach hurts the next morning. I was lucky enough to get two of those fabulous evenings in the past week. I cannot tell you exactly what we talked about, but I can tell you that when I look back twenty years from now I will always cherish the memories of those evenings.

♥ Cheetah Hunting: To say that my evenings spent out and about have dwindled in recent months would be a gross understatement. When my partner in crime moved away I pretty much stopped hitting up my favorite local bar. Partly because I’m terrified of going by myself and the brand of creepers that might approach me, but also because it just isn’t the same without her. Last Saturday night I got the chance to go on my first cheetah hunt in seven months. I had the enthusiasm of a child on Christmas morning. On went the hooker boots, and a cute little dress that showed off the ladies, after all it’s been just as long since they were out on the town. Our beloved band, The Copper Mountain Band was playing that night, and my favorite dance partner was in attendance. I had forgotten how much I need nights like those.

♥ Stef Time: So technically this one directly correlates with the two prior points, but I also felt like it deserved its own mention because it’s kind of a big deal. Last year I spent a lot of quality time with Stef, and it was quite the hit for me when she moved back in September. She was the person I ran to when I was having a rough day at work, or wanting to punch people in the face for being complete idiots. I would hop in my car, show up on her doorstep and cuddle with her awesome dog Moose, while we talked away the problems. Losing that was tough for me, and having her back for a brief visit made all the difference this week. It wasn’t just the girl’s nights or hitting the Great Northern for a drink after along week – although I clearly appreciate both those things – it was just the chance to have that support system back. We talk about everything and I never have to fear that she is giving my judgey-eyes or secretly thinking that I’m being a complete and utter fool. Whether it was getting up early to have breakfast, or spending a night watching a movie before heading out for one last drink, I am thankful for time I got to spend with her.

♥ Rock of Ages: Musicals rock! I had went and seen this movie when it came out in June and absolutely loved it. I had to instantly buy the soundtrack a week later and even tried to do a rendition of one of the scenes after a night of drinking. Sadly, I had not rented or seen it since. I had to remedy that situation this week after I had been discussing the movie with somebody who had never seen it. Now, the main actor and actress are horrendous, this I know, but it’s full of classic 80’s rock! I can overlook the bad acting since it makes me sing along and want to put on my dancing shoes. Not to mention the amazing scene that occurs at the Venus Club – holy crap, sign me up for some pole dancing classes if I can learn to do half of what those ladies can do! I have watched this movie twice this week, listened to the soundtrack on constant repeat, and now have an understanding of why woman find long hair on a man sexy.

Bonus: Tom Cruise totally redeemed himself in my eyes. For me, his stock has slowly been fading since his days in Top Gun.

♥ Starburst Jelly Beans: I have an addiction. I don’t know what it is about these jelly beans but I could sit down and eat an entire bag of them. I may need an intervention soon.

Classic Cards Against Humanity - how do you even choose?

Classic Cards Against Humanity – how do you even choose?

♥ Cards Against Humanity: For the record this game will make you feel like you belong in hell. Don’t let that deter you though, because it’s fucking amazing! If you’ve never heard of it, just imagine the dirtiest version of Apples to Apples ever invented. I received this game as a birthday present, and it is hands down one of the most amazing gifts I have ever received. I played it with the ladies this week and there were multiple occasions where I was laughing so hard that I couldn’t breathe.  My new life plan is to pull this game out anytime I manage to get four or more of my friends in one location and watch hilarious chaos ensue.

♥ Deep Conversations: In the last month I have had to have a few really intense and deep conversations. That sounds like a bad thing, but for me, those moments are good things. Especially when you can find a person that you can be completely honest with and not have it be a huge fight or super awkward and uncomfortable. I had one such conversation in which I laid most of my cards on the table, and while exposing myself in such a way that left me feeling completely naked and vulnerable was difficult – I am so glad that I am a tough enough person that I can do that. I love having the mindless conversations as much as the next person, but I feel lucky that my life is full of people that I can have real, true intellectual and deep conversations with – the kind that challenge you, emotionally and mentally.

♥ 30 Rock: Can I just say how much I freaking love Liz Lemon? I cannot believe it has taken me this long to discover how awesome this TV show is! I have loved Tina Fey for a long time, I mean the woman is amazing, and I’m pretty sure she can do wrong. The roommate and I recently started watching the series on Netflix and I am in love with it. I feel like I can relate to Liz a lot, maybe more than I should, which at times can be slightly terrifying. And while I was never a huge Alec Baldwin fan, this along with his stint in Rock of Ages is slowly turning me into a fan. I’m just so sad that I didn’t discover this gem until it went off the air. Thank god for Netflix and unlimited streaming!

♥ Big Decisions: As of late a lot of things have been happening. Things that have made me start to question the direction of my life – in the best way possible. I don’t know what is going to happen, but instead of being scared I am trying to be excited by the possibilities that might be in the horizon. All I can say as of now is that my fingers are crossed that a little luck is headed my way, and that something great will be happening in the months to come.

That’s really all I can ask for…

Call Me Maybe Sunday, Jan 20 2013 

I’ve had my fair share of down days lately.

Unfortunately, this last week seemed to be full of them.

I cannot express how awful I feel when I have these days, because I wish I was strong enough to rise above them.

Instead, I try and make myself remember the night of the “win” and every single moment of that glorious evening. Since it has been on my mind so much lately, I felt it was finally time to tell that story.

One of my very close friends and I had a semi-regular tradition of going cheetah hunting* at one of our local watering holes. Stef and I had started our tradition over a year before, and for the most part we were hugely unsuccessful in finding me a cheetah. To be fair, we always ended up with a fantastic story**, but the cheetahs were few and far between.

A lot of progress had happened in that year of cheetah hunting, but I still hadn’t bagged one of those all too elusive cheetahs. Unfortunately, our cheetah hunting days were quickly coming to an end as Stef was preparing to move. We had spent the night prior out at the same bar dancing the night away, and that balmy evening in September was officially going to be our last hunt.

I had spent most of that day with a friend giving a small baking lesson, and was still a little tired from the night before. As I got ready that evening, my heart just wasn’t in it. I don’t know if it was the frustration I was feeling about a completely different friendship, or just that I was all too aware that this was going to be the last evening I would be heading out with my partner in crime. Either way, I was ready to call it an evening before I had even stepped into my dress and hooker boots***.

I have made that mistake before however; the one where I bailed and missed out on chances to spend quality time with people I loved while they were around, so I put on my big girl panties and sucked it up. As soon as I reached Stef’s house and took one look at her face, I knew she was feeling exactly the same way. So basically we looked at each other and decided that we would make the effort for at least one set and then end our evening early with the traditional garlic crusted pizza.

We arrived a little before the band took the stage so we settled ourselves outside with a drink and engaged in some girl chat. You know, it is still one of the things I miss most about those cheetah hunts. The moments before the band would start playing and Stef and I would just sit around bullshitting about anything and everything.

That night was made extra special by the fact that our favorite band was taking the stage – looking back it all feels a little like fate that they were there that weekend. So as soon as they started playing we headed inside to enjoy one last performance****. The dance floor was just starting to fill up when a group of attractive guys walked in. We were hovering at the edge of the dance floor and I think we both saw him at the exact same time. It was definitely one of those moments when you revert into a fourth grader and start nudging your friend with your elbow in an attempt to get them to notice the cute boy. No words were exchanged between us but there was definitely some elbow nudging and raised eyebrows as we had a moment of non-verbal communication.

I was quickly distracted by the need to hit the restroom, and while I always felt bad leaving Stef unattended; I knew she could fend for herself. When I returned I saw that she had been dragged out to the dance floor – which was not an uncommon occurrence.  That girl is a fabulous dancer and many of cheetah hunts resulted in me waiting around trying not to attract any creepers while some guy took her for a spin around the dance floor.  As I was standing at the edge of the dance floor waiting for her to return I caught the eye of the super attractive guy who had walked in earlier.

Now, I am not the girl who meets the gaze of the hot guy across the bar and has him come over and chat with me. That is not my life. So, I chalked it up to one of those moments when two people are scanning a room and accidentally make eye contact. In my world, that is 100% more accurate. Stef was just returning to my side when it happened again, and I once again dismissed it as a coincidence. When it happened for the third time, I let myself wonder if he was possibly looking at me.

I didn’t get much of a chance to think about though as my feet were starting to kill me. Note to self: hooker boots may make the outfit but they are no friend of your feet. We still had some substantial time left in the set so I suggested to Stef that we go lurking for some open bar stools. I didn’t have to wait very long before two freed up and I quite literally pounced on the chair.

Thus began the greatest play I have ever seen from a group of guys.

I had barely sat down when a member from their group came over and told me that the seat was actually taken. I must have looked heartbroken as I asked if he was serious, and he confirmed that he had just been kidding and that I had just looked so excited about the chair. I most certainly was, my feet were preparing ways to murder me if they had to stand for any longer. He was polite and funny and everything you need in a good wingman.

Because that is exactly what he was – the wingman.

It couldn’t have been more than three minutes of conversation between all of us before he focused on Stef, and the handsome one we had nudged each over earlier in the evening slipped into the open chair next to me and introduced himself. If I hadn’t been so excited to be in conversation with the gorgeous, dark-haired, extremely tall Canadian, I would have taken a moment to be in awe of their brilliant play. Those boys had it down.

They had eight or nine of them in their group, and they worked it like a well executed football team all night long. They managed to keep Stef company while I got to know Mr. Handsome better, and didn’t even mind keeping my awesome wingwoman company even though she was off the market.

That night I did something I have never done before, and have never done since.

Mr. Handsome had vanished for a little bit and in a moment of courage that I wasn’t even aware I possessed, I grabbed a bar napkin, scribbled out my phone number (my real phone number) and passed it along to one of his friends to give to him in case I didn’t see him anymore that evening.  It was around this time the first set was ending, and I really think we would have headed home and called it an evening if Mr. Handsome hadn’t returned and swept me off to the dance floor.

To say we both weren’t skilled at dancing would be a kind overstatement, but I don’t think you could have wiped the smile off my face that evening. It was everything I needed it to be after a long, rough summer where I couldn’t figure out where I stood or what was happening. Here was one of the most attractive guys I have ever spoken with, putting the moves on me.

Say what you want, but damn, those moments are incredibly good for the self esteem.

It was exactly the “win” I needed.

As fate would have it, Stef and I closed down the bar that evening with our new, hot Canadian friends. Now, I am not delusional, and I know why those boys were at the bar, and what they wanted. Hell, if I hadn’t been aware, the text message inviting me back to his hotel room would have been enough to clue me in.

I was flattered, but that’s just not who I am.

When I think of that night I think of how amazing it felt to have this incredible night that will never be tainted by the morning after. I think of how awesome it was to end our cheetah hunting adventures with that memory. The memory of a perfect evening – my favorite band, at my favorite bar, with my partner in crime, and that gorgeous Canadian cheetah who spent all evening spinning me around the dance floor and making me laugh.

Right now, when things are complicated, and I feel a little defeated and beaten – it helps to remember that night.

To remember that wonderful, magical evenings can happen when I least expect it, and when I need them the most.

*What we call man hunting – it’s much catchier.

**We have been trapped in a bar booth by a crazy drunk, grabbed a few asses (okay, fine, that was just me), and been stalked by more creepers than either of us would like to remember.

***Don’t worry, I was also wearing leggings so the outfit was more classy than trashy.

****Of course, it won’t be the last performance ever, but to this day, I haven’t seen them play since. Seeing them without Stef would feel a little like cheating on her. But then again, so would cheetah hunting without her.

Catch My Breath Friday, Dec 14 2012 

Today I watched as the last few hours of my twenty-fifth year slowly began to slip away.

Sometimes it’s hard for me to believe that another year has come and gone.

There have been some truly amazing moments, a few heartbreaking ones, and everything in between.

I was lucky enough to get to relive some of those memories last night while spending some quality time with some incredible people who have helped me live through it all. The good, the bad, and the ugly. I wish I could share every juicy, spectacular, gut-wrenching moment of this year, but there are some things that are better left to the highlight reel in your mind.

What I can tell you is that with every year that passes I learn more and more about who I am, and what I want.

I have learned that there are some things worth saying, even if it means admitting painful truths, and sharing pieces of yourself that make you feel vulnerable, naked, and exposed. I also learned there are always relationships worth fighting for, no matter how tempting it is to take the easy route and just walk away.

Discovering those things has more important than I can even express.

When I think of the upcoming years, and what they have to offer, a particular episode of ‘How I Met Your Mother’ sticks out in my mind. In this particular episode Ted is getting married and Robin is trying to convince him that it feels wrong. That all he is doing is trying to skip to the end of the book, and disappearing into someone else’s life. I think that episode resonates with me so much, because we all know people who think that way. They are so busy trying to get to their particular “end game” that they forget to live.

I don’t ever want to be that person.

I have goals and dreams that I want to accomplish in upcoming years; but I never want to pass on a chance because it doesn’t fit into a plan of how I though my life would turn out. Passing up an opportunity to live somewhere amazing because it might throw off the plan, or not giving a romantic relationship a chance because someday we might break up is just asinine.

My life is nowhere near where I thought it would be at twenty-six, but none of the truly beautiful things in my life would be there if things had turned out the way I planned. A lot of amazing people who enrich my life on a daily basis would be missing, and that plan didn’t included anything that would be worth losing them for.

Every single day we are shown that life is short.

There are no guarantees for tomorrow.

So I am going to take this next year to continue living my life to the fullest that I can. I’m not saying there won’t be days when I am frustrated with where I am – those moments are unfortunately inevitable. What I am saying is that I will continue to take chances.  Even if I’ve had a long tiring day I will still make myself go out and spend quality time with the fabulous people in my life; because there has never been an evening I have regretted ditching the comfy pants for a night out. I will continue to put my heart and feelings on the line when I think there is something there worth fighting for, and I won’t stop caring or fighting to make this best life it can possibly be.

Twenty-six.

It’s going to be legendary!

The Story Thursday, Oct 18 2012 

There is an episode of Gilmore Girls where Lorelei and Rory are each struggling in their life. Rory has to drop a class, Lorelei is running out of money trying to build her inn, and they both feel like failures. Recently, all I can think about is that episode, and how much I can relate.

Because, right now, I feel like I am failing.

I wish I could say all I was battling was a dropped class, or a hiccup in a dream job; instead I have ten month of little failures building up and threatening to reduce me to tears on a regular basis. Don’t get me wrong, compared to most people, my problems are small, and I am thankful for my good health, fabulous family, and incredible friends.

As much as I wish all of that could somehow make these feelings go away, it doesn’t.

For every amazing and wonderful moment that has happened this year, it has been followed, proceeded, or in most cases both, by a moment that I wish I could erase. This year has been a rough one – mentally and emotionally. Every time I feel like I can start to catch my breath, the rug gets ripped out from beneath me and I am struggling once again to right my world.

I am beginning to believe this truly is the definition of life.

Doing your best to find the fine line between incredible triumphs and crippling blows.

Yes, I will admit that there have been some truly incredible achievements this year. They were little moments of bravery, but they have meant the difference between keeping and losing friendships. There was the evening of “the win” which is a story for another time, but in hindsight will go down as one of the best evenings from this year because for once, I got to have the perfect evening in a month full of imperfection.

What bothers me the most about my current mindset is that I have reached a point past discouraged and frustrated. I am so exhausted from the buildup of all of the icky and unfortunate of this year that I am left questioning myself. I wonder what I could do differently to protect myself from all of this pain, and the answer is just as depressing as the question.

Stop caring.

My life would be so much easier if I could do just that. If I could just stand up, walk away, and not care about anyone. Perhaps that is my curse, because it will never fucking happen. I have tried, and unfortunately, I can’t stop.

I will always want to give 110% of myself to the people I love, whether or not they deserve it. I am the girl who can remember a wish or want made weeks, months, or years ago; and will try and make it happen. I am the type of girl who will buy a coloring book and crayons for a friend because they mentioned they missed coloring. I will remember your birthday, your favorite trashy snack food, or the actor you despise because you mentioned it once over dinner.

I have said it before, and I will say it again, being that girl comes with it’s own brand of heartache.

Because even though I am struggling right now, I hate to burden my friends with these feelings. To be the type of person who is sad and in some cases cannot be as supportive as I would like because their success will lead to a goodbye. I know that I have the most incredible friends in the world and they would never feel burdened by my asking for help.

I just can’t help feeling like doing so would be another failure hopping into the growing pile.

I reached the breaking point last night though, and after a few talks with some of my best gals, I am trying to put myself back in a more positive frame of mind. Yes, 2012 has been an incredibly grueling year, and most of it has been unpleasant, but there are a couple bright shining stars of happiness and growth mixed in. So, since this zebra can’t change her stripes, I’m going to try and stop viewing my ability to care as a hindrance, and realize it is a beautiful gift to the people in my life. And I’m going to keep reminding myself you have to live through the bad so you can truly appreciate the fabulous moments of your life.

Time to take a deep breath, let go of all the failures, and make something wonderful happen.

Landslide Sunday, May 13 2012 

A few weeks ago I had somebody tell me that I was hard to please.

I felt like I had been slapped in the face.

I let it get under my skin and it festered for days, bothering me, until I couldn’t stand it anymore and had to ask a close friend if she thought it was a legitimate claim against my personality. Perhaps I should have just brushed it away and never given it another thought, but I think Julia Roberts said it best in ‘Pretty Woman’ when she said “The bad stuff is easier to believe, do you ever notice that?”

This has been just one of the many things that has led to an exceptionally grueling emotional couple of months for me. There have been a few pleasant surprises mixed in, but April and May have also dealt some pretty devastating blows. I started April with the loss of my Grandma, and while it had been a long time coming, there is no preparing yourself for losing somebody you love. I can still remember the last time I spoke to her on the phone, and it was the day before I turned twenty-four. She called to wish me a happy birthday, and a week later she was in the hospital, and while she fought with everything she had, she never returned to her own home.

She will never know the woman I have become today, she will not be there the day I get married, and I still have to remind myself that I will never see her again.

When I returned from dealing with that loss, I leaned heavily on my friends for support. I had one particular night after a retched day at work that I really needed a shoulder to lean on. I didn’t come straight out and say that I was having a rough moment and needed somebody by my side right freaking now, but I did, badly. Bad timing played a role though, and I was left emotionally stranded. It ended in a complete emotional breakdown over a bottle of wine that just wouldn’t open, and a very panicked, tearful call to a friend in a different state. I am so thankful that she answered, because it was a low point and I don’t know what I would have done if she hadn’t held my hand over the phone that night.

Silver lining to rough days = you find out the people who will drop anything to help you get through it.

In addition to everything else that has been going on in my life, which ranges from work stuff to having to move at the end of May, I feel like everything I’ve believed in for the last couple of years has been turned topsy-turvy.

Back in February I made the decision to let go of some incidents that happened in January and just let bygones be bygones. As it turns out, that may have been the best decision I have made in 2012 thus far. I can’t tell you what will transpire from here or what tomorrow will bring, but what I can tell you is that for the first time in my life I have spent quality time with someone I feel like I can be completely honest with. I have admitted things that I never would have dreamed about sharing with somebody who wasn’t my best friend, or part of my tight-knit girl group. All I know is that there is something innately beautiful about sharing a completely honest moment with another human being, and no matter what happens, I will treasure that for a long time to come.

On the other side of the coin, the last two months have shown me that no matter how hard you try, sometimes you just have to let go. I love my friends, and they mean the absolute world to me, but occasionally you reach a point where you can’t give anymore. I have preached time and time again, that you shouldn’t be giving if you aren’t receiving. Granted I was preaching that more as sexual advice than friendship advice, but I have come to realize that it applies to every factor of your life. So, here’s the deal, I’m tired of fighting for something when it becomes more and more obvious everyday that I’m not even sure what I’m fighting for anymore. I am not a quitter, and I despise the idea of giving up on somebody I deeply care about, because I hate the kind of person that it will make me. Truth is though, I think that fighting is killing me more. I’m exhausted from the continuous pain and tears it is causing me.

So yes, maybe I am too damn hard to please.

Maybe I expect too much from the people around me.

All I know is that the people who count, the people who really matter at the end of the day, they are the ones who have no fucking problem jumping through my “too hard to please” hoops. They are there, unconditionally, prepared to hold me back from the ledge when everything else is falling apart, and by my side with a glass of wine when times are good. When everything is falling apart, and you have to fight and crawl your way back to the top you learn the hard way who you can really count on.

I can only hope that June has something more pleasant to send my way than April and May have brought.

Until then, just go ahead and keep calling me Ms. Too Hard To Please…

What Means The Most Monday, Apr 9 2012 

♥ Greeting Cards – I love getting mail. Honestly, it could have been the worst day ever; but if I come home to a real piece of mail from somebody I know, I am going to be the happiest girl alive. There is something I love even more than getting mail though, and that would be sending mail. I adore wandering the greeting card section of the store browsing through millions of cards until I find the perfect one. Unlike a normal person who can just write a brief little message and send off the card, I can’t seem to make my scribbled ramblings end for the life of me. What can I say, I like to gush! I like telling people exactly how much they mean to me, because if anything were ever to happen to me, I want them to know, without a doubt in their mind, how much I loved them.

Plus, if I’m going to be mailing crap, I’m getting my 45 cents worth!

♥ Girls’ Night In – One of my very favorite things in this world is when the ladies come over for dinner and some quality girl chat. So, I was extremely pleased this weekend when the gals came over for some pasta, wine, and gab time. I love that when you get this particular group together, it always ends in laughter and inappropriate conversation. I especially needed the distraction this weekend, and they absolutely delivered. I am hoping that here in the future I can bring you a special blog post collaboration featuring some of that evening’s conversation, because it was hilarious and fantastic. What kind of dinner party between girlfriends would you have if you can’t suggest that someone “grab his ass” as a way to get a man’s attention?

Not any dinner party I want to attend…

♥ Bar Bingo – I think the roommate and I had a stroke of pure genius when we decided we were going to make our own bingo cards for bar bingo. Not only did it make us the most popular table at the bar, but it made for the most amusing cheetah hunt to date. All we did was print out some blank bingo cards, and fill in the blanks with things we would normally see out at the bar. Our squares included: ‘Ass Grab’, ‘Mullet’, ‘Excessive PDA Couple’, ‘Cowboy Hat’, ‘Creeper Mustache’, ‘Obvious Cougar’, ‘Chest Hair’, and ‘Fall Down Drunk’ to name just a few of the many bar bingo gems we had that night. Object of the game: people watch until you cross off enough of your squares to yell ‘BINGO’ in a crowded bar. I am happy to report that I won bingo, and I didn’t even have to do the ass grabbing myself to make it happen.* You just know this is going to become a regular addition to Cheetah Hunting evenings!

♥ Previews for ‘The Lucky One’ – Um, seriously, I need a cold shower now. Zac Efron is only a year younger than I, which is why I keep telling myself it is okay that I feel the need to fan myself every time I see the trailer. I’ve only got one thought going on in my mind when I see this trailer and it definitely involves finding myself a willing partner and spending some quality time in the bedroom…

♥ Cooking – I collect recipes on Pinterest like a hooker collects sexual partners. Seriously, I have an addiction. I am constantly trolling that website looking for delicious and mouth-watering things to make. Granted, mostly it just involves me drooling at picture, repinning, and never giving it another thought. I have made a conscious decision to change that though, and to start experimenting in the kitchen. So, I made a deal with myself, I can keep pinning recipes, but at least once a month I actually have to try and make it happen. In my very own kitchen, and with my very own hands. This week I did a double dose of cooking experiments – and I was once again reminded why I belong in the kitchen. Not because the food turns out amazing, but because I am happy when I am in the kitchen. Turns out it doesn’t have to be a cupcake experiment to get the therapy I’m looking for, it can be anything. Thursday night found me attempting to concoct ‘Crockpot Pizza’ – which turned out fairly good in my opinion, and is definitely going into the pile of ‘keeper’ recipes. For the big Girls’ Night In dinner on Saturday, I branched out even further and in addition to the magic bread that is a staple at my house, I made my very first attempt at manicotti. I think the real trick to making myself cook is having an excuse to impress people with my food.

Think my friends will get weirded out if I continually invite them over for dinner just so I have an excuse to make myself cook?

♥ Bits & Pieces (because so many lovely things have happened since my last list that I have random odds and ends that still deserve a mention):

♥ Dirty Dancing Night – Which turns into Dirty Dancing weekend when I watch it twice in three days. Seriously, where is my real-life Swayze? I’m starting to get a little impatient!

♥ The Redneck Game of Life – Best game ever! Any game where the winner is determined by who has the most teeth at the end of the game is bound to become a hit in our household. I think playing that game should become an instant Easter tradition.

♥ Starburst Jellybeans – You are going to have to rip the bag of deliciousness out of my freaking hand to make me stop.

♥ Girl Scout Cookie Season – I’m pretty sure a description is redundant here. Three words though: Thin Mint Doughnuts – I will make this happen if it kills me!

♥ Freshly Laundered Sheets – Not only do the feel and smell amazing, but they are clean and inviting and everything you’d like your sheets to be!

 ♥ Breakfast at 1:00 AM – Friday Night outings are fantastic! Even more fantastic is ending them with a trip to the local diner for some breakfast before heading home for the evening. Omelets and hash-browns are significantly more delicious right after midnight!

 ♥ Flirty Text Messages – Because, why not?

♥ 90’s Music Playlists – Vital to our house-warming party theme of ‘Middle School’ – plus, who doesn’t love taking a little walk down memory lane?

♥ Puppy-Sitting – I now have the cutest nephew in all the land. The fact that he is a three month old Australian Shepherd/Red Heeler mix and not an actual human baby is exactly why I am willing to watch over him. Plus, he’s freaking adorable!

♥ Garlic Crusted Pizza – The perfect way to end any Cheetah Hunting evening. Bonus points if you are chowing on your pizza and watching a classic 80’s movie!

♥ New Friends – I love when we get to add new members to our little gang. I really love when we find people so cool I would be willing to trade out members of our current group. You know you are pretty damn amazing when I’d be willing to trade a Blood & Crib member for you…

♥ Whiskey Ginger – New drink of choice!

♥ Moose Dog – My favorite cuddle buddy! I love that I am seeing this big guy more and more often these days.

♥ Feeling Loved – Last week ended on a rough note, and yet the people in my life did everything in their power to provide support and love. Flowers, sympathy cards, hugs, and even some bereavement booze money helped to show me exactly how many people will be there when I need a shoulder to lean on. There is no better feeling than knowing you are not alone.

*Mostly because I was told it would be unfair to win that way. Luckily it did not stop me from doing some ass grabbing once the game had finished.

Somebody That I Used To Know Monday, Apr 2 2012 

I can still remember the day I turned eighteen.

While I wasn’t deluded to the point of thinking I had life all figured out; I was pretty damn confident in my opinions.

I had a very consistent ‘black and white’ point of view when it came to life, and I honestly felt that my feelings on that would never waver.

Flash forward seven years, and I can barely recognize the girl I used to be.

I say that in the happiest way possible.

When I graduated high school I was so focused on the future, and what my life should look like in five years that I rarely enjoyed the here and now. I bought into the idea that my life would start once I met the right person and settled down. That my life would be complete and happy when I met the guy and had the expected 2.5 kids. It was more than that though, I was convinced that it was what I wanted. That nothing I could achieve would ever be as fulfilling or as an important as finally growing up and having a family of my own.

At that time I didn’t believe in giving second chances, and would hold a grudge like nobody’s business. I had a list in my head of what I was looking for, and anything less than that didn’t deserve a second glance in my opinion. I expected only the best from the people in my life, and wasn’t very patient or accepting when they slipped up and made mistakes. Nor was I very open with my thinking when it came to certain issues – my mind was made up, and I couldn’t be bothered to look at them with another point of view.

I was very well practiced in the art of judgey-eyes, and not afraid to give them.

Basically, I was kind of a snot.

When I look back at that girl, and remember how she felt about life and certain issues, I am so proud of the person I am today.

I no longer think that my life will start when I meet a man, because as far as I’m concerned things are pretty damn wonderful right now – without one. My life is no less fabulous or fulfilling because I don’t have a husband or children. In fact, in a lot of ways it is more fabulous and fulfilling. The more I examine the way I thought my life would turn out the more I realize that it wouldn’t have made me happy. I love waking up every day and knowing that the decisions I will make today are mine, and mine alone.  Sure, I definitely have nights when I wish I wasn’t headed to bed by myself, and days when it sure would be nice to have that built in movie buddy. Don’t get me wrong, I would never object to having somebody around who finds me desirable, and took the time to make me feel appreciated. In theory, it would be fantastic to have that, but it doesn’t seem to be in my cards right now, and I’m okay with that. After all, none of the fabulous things that have happened to me in the past seven years would have occurred had things happened the way I planned.

 Instead, I appreciate my amazing group of friends that I can count on for unconditional support. No matter what is happening, I know that they will be there for me when I need them the most. Whether it be a tough talk about issues I am struggling with, or just somebody to join me for an evening drink. They will be by my side for the lowest of lows, and the highest of highs – and I will do my very best to return the favor when the time comes.

I make every effort to continually remind myself that we are all human, and we deserve to have people in our lives that will give us a second chance even when we muck things up during the first go around.

I continue to keep my heels, head, and standards high and never forget that I deserve to be happy.  I allow myself to change my mind about how I used to feel about certain issues, and how I react to different scenarios. Instead of worrying about who I was supposed to be, I try my damn hardest to instead grow into the person I want to be now. I rejoice in the fact that it will most likely include things that would have once horrified the eighteen year old me.

It’s amazing how sometimes you look back at your life you have led, and the person you recognize least of all is yourself.

You wake up one day and realize that somewhere, somehow, you became the somebody that you used to know.

Smile Monday, Mar 5 2012 

♥ Moose Dog – My life is severely lacking in doggy relationships right now, and it is killing me. Slowly. Painfully. I can spend hours surfing Pinterest just looking at pictures of puppies and wishing I had one in my lap to cuddle and spoil. I imagine this is kind of what normal females feel like when they see babies. Which is why Mr. Moose Dog is at the top of this list. Last Saturday morning he indulged my need to spend some quality time with a pooch, and became my cuddle buddy for a short time. It’s only been two days but I can feel my need for another cuddle session, and pronto!

♥ Etiquette for a Lady/Etiquette for a Gentleman – Love. Love. Love. I am constantly bookmarking the posts on the Etiquette for a Lady blog for myself, so I can remember the fabulous advice they are dishing out. As for the Etiquette for a Gentleman, I definitely know the phone numbers of a few males that could benefit from learning some rules of a gentleman – seriously dudes, take note.

♥ Roommate Change-Ups – The last couple of months have been very stressful for me. In addition to the odd things going on in my dating life, I also had a change in my living situation. My old roommate had a life change that took her to another city, which left me scrambling to find a replacement so I didn’t have to live in dumpster behind an abandoned building. Luckily, I didn’t have to look very far, and I got to turn my favorite soup master into my new roommate.* I cannot tell you how excited I am to live with somebody who shares my love for ‘The Big Bang Theory’, ‘Friends’, and food that isn’t always healthy for you. I was lucky the first time around to find a roommate that I enjoyed living with, and I feel doubly blessed this time around.

Plus, sometimes I come home and there is food waiting for me. It’s awesome, and I feel totally spoiled!

♥ Feel Good Movies – I think everybody has a rotation of one or two movies that never fails to cheer them up. I have two, and I happened to watch both of them this weekend. Now, let me clarify that I didn’t actually need a pick me up, but that doesn’t make me want to watch them any less. I actually stumbled across the first one, ‘Love Actually’ while channel surfing for something to play while I nodded off to sleep on Saturday night. Now, I realize that Christmas is still months and months away, but I couldn’t NOT watch it! So, instead of going to bed at a reasonable hour, I stayed up watching, and getting happy feel good goose-bumps at all the right places. Then while driving home last night I got the sudden urge to watch ‘The Holiday’ – my other favorite feel good movie. Sunday nights don’t get any better than a bowl of popcorn, dreamy Jude Law, and quirky, cute Jack Black. I woke up this morning still on a high from all the fabulous feel goodness that I indulged in this weekend.

♥ Puppy Conan – I have loved Conan for a very long time and can remember back to when I was in middle school and I would watch Conan with my older sister. We both thought he was hilarious, and our parents thought we were insane. So what could possibly make Conan any better than he already is? His new Puppy Conan skits modeled after the success of Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl. If you haven’t yet watched a Puppy Conan clip, you are missing out big time. The puppies are adorable, and the entire thing is a giant win in my book. Remember how I mentioned above that I was lacking in doggy relationships? Yeah. Puppy Conan isn’t exactly making that any easier. I really want to adopt the puppy that plays Conan, he just looks so sad and in some serious need of cuddling.

♥ Cupcakes – Over the last five or six months I have taken a small cupcake break. As much as I love baking, creating, and decorating the little suckers, I was starting to get burnt out. It’s hard keep your passion for something when people just expect it from you instead of appreciating your hard-work. When my closest male friend started making several comments about cupcakes, I figured it was time to step back in the kitchen and whip up a batch. He deserved a thank you for being such a decent guy and for always looking out for us ladies, plus I had been neglected my cupcake friendship payments. So, I hopped back into the kitchen, and I found myself falling in love all over again. The Strawberry Margarita cupcakes weren’t my finest work, but a gal can get a little rusty when she’s out of practice. Last week I decided to step up my game and attempt a cupcake I have been longing to do for over a year now. The Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough cupcake – quite a feat since it has a hidden dough ball inside. It was a co-worker’s birthday though, and it seemed like the right time to take on this challenge. I mean, I do count on this particular co-worker for hugs on rough days, clearly he deserved something special. Just take a look at the picture above and you will see exactly how successful they turned out.

The Cupcake Queen is back!

♥ Cheetah Hunts – Lately the cheetah hunts have been few and far between, but I love the tradition of them all the same. On Friday I met up with my best wingwoman for a night out with the hopes of catching a glimpse of the elusive cheetah. Unfortunately we were foiled once again, this time because we didn’t get the memo that Friday evening was unfortunate facial hair night at the bars. I will rest more soundly at night if I never have to see a gentleman my age walking around a bar sporting a creeper mustache. Honestly boys, you may think you look good, but trust me on this one, you are wrong. Regardless of our cheetah hunting failure that evening, we kept with tradition, and had a fabulous time. Including an awkward moment where I was trying to pull a page out of Angelina Jolie’s book and practice my own awkward body part pose** and totally got caught making an ass of myself by a man who looked like the lead singer of ‘Journey’. Cheetah hunting protocol demanded that we enjoy a couple of drinks, do quite a bit of laughing, and end our evening with a garlic crusted pizza – which we happily did.

Cheetah or no cheetah, the evening was a successful outing.

♥ Boy Meets World Marathons – One of the greatest things about the new roommate is that she joins me for day long ‘Boy Meets World’ marathons. Seriously, is there a better way to spend an entire Saturday? I think not. My weekend included lounging around in comfy pants, curled up under a blanket, learning life lessons from Cory, Topanga, and Shawn. While I remember watching this show back when it was TGIF, it wasn’t until I was in high school and would watch old reruns on ABC Family that I got hooked. Now I can watch them whenever I feel like it, and that usually means watching them whole seasons at a time.

♥ The Bloggess – There are some blogs I follow because I know the writers and I love reading the things that they bring to the table. They are usually meaningful and insightful and I love catching a glimpse of them through their writings. Other blogs I follow because they are freaking hilarious and I occasionally need to laugh for no reason whatsoever. TheBloggess.com is that blog for me. If you have never read her stuff, you have to – right now! Maybe we just share the same sense or humor, but she the stuff she comes up with is fantastic. Whether it be Copernicus The Homicidal Monkey, Beyonce the Chicken, or Juanita the Weasel – I am almost always reading her posts with tears of laughter streaming down my face. Plus she gave me my new favorite word, douche-canoe, so how could I not love her?

Seriously, why are you not reading everything she’s ever written yet? GO!

♥ James McAvoy – he’s been absent from these lists for so long, and I don’t want him to feel out. Plus, he’s just so pretty to look at, and that never fails to make me happy.

*I’m going to need some delicious chicken curry soup to appear in our home soon…

**I’m going with the awkward side cleavage pose if you must know.

Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin’ Monday, Jan 16 2012 

♥ Vacation – I think we can all agree that after an extended amount of time, work starts to wear you down and make you start to feel like a crazy person. So, after four stressful months of putting my nose to the grind and covering for numerous positions, it was finally time for me to take a vacation. What better way to spend my time off than visiting one of my favorite and most inspiring couples, the lovely Chubarys! I bought my ticket months ago, and have been anxiously awaiting the visit – a chance to get away and the opportunity to catch up with two of my favorite people, whom I have been so desperately missing over the last eight months. I got lucky and the weather was incredible, not to mention I got to spend five days sipping on sangria, chatting, and eating fabulous food (including the world-famous Jasmine quesadilla – the original and the new super awesome version).

♥ Words With Friends – I have never been a fan of Scrabble, mostly because it makes me feel like a complete idiot. I am a visual person and you tend to give away your advantage when you parade all your pieces out on the board to try and make a good play. Even with the version for my phone that allows me to do exactly that without my opponent seeing, I’m still the friend you most want to play at this game. Turns out I suck at Scrabble regardless of the version or a technological advantage. All that being said, this game is ridiculously addicting, especially since you get to play against your friends.

I’ve been honing my poker and blackjack skills though, so they better all watch their backs!

♥ ‘When Harry Met Sally’ – This is one of those movies that I had always heard fantastic things about, but had never actually watched to the amazement of everybody I told. That changed last week, when I settled in with a nice big glass of sangria and watched it with Jasmine while on my little visit. I can honestly say that I enjoyed it more than I thought I would, and I didn’t go into that viewing with low expectations. I think we can all relate to the theme of that movie at one point or another in our lives, and while I don’t completely agree with Harry’s theory on friendships between men and women – I’m very pleased that he was at least right when it came to his situation with Sally. Part of me is glad I waited this long to watch it, I feel like I can truly appreciate the message – it was worth the wait.

♥ Wine -tasting – So really, just by that description you already know why this is on the list – it started with the word wine. While on that epic little visit to California, we made a quick day trip to Sonoma to get our drink on! The picture above was taken at Jacuzzi Family Vineyards, talk about a day filled with gorgeous views and fabulous company. I had never been wine-tasting before so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but I certainly did learn a few things. 1) Food is vital after almost every tasting. 2) People who work in tasting rooms are super interesting and quite fun, especially if the place is quiet and you have their full attention. 3) Red wine and I aren’t really friends, unless your name is Syrah, then we can be buddies. 4) White dessert wines are my new love, and I met one at Nicholson Ranch that I would consider proposing to. 5) I’ll continue to swish the wine around in my glass because it looks cool, not because I can tell a difference in taste. Apparently my palate isn’t snooty enough to be a real wine snob. 6) Wine dogs are super lazy. 7) I could definitely take one for the team and marry a winery heir so we could test the wine all day long. By we, I mean my friends and I, not me and the heir, unless he looks like James McAvoy – then we can negotiate a little.

♥ In-N-Out Burger – There is an episode of HIMYM in which Marshall is looking for a burger, but not just any burger, the best burger in New York City. He tasted it once, and has never forgotten how it changed him. There is an entire scene of him describing the burger to the gang, his description of eating this burger sounds like a cross between a love poem and food porn. Every time I think of my love for In-N-Out Burger, I am reminded of this episode. Now, I don’t have quite that strong of a reaction to their burgers, but let’s just say my month was significantly improved by the fact that I got to eat one this month.

Don’t judge me, but just writing about In-N-Out is bringing on a serious In-N-Out craving.

♥ Couple Role Models – We all have role models growing up, the kind of people we want to become; so it doesn’t seem odd to me that I sometimes think about my “couple role models” – the people I look to for inspiration when it comes to relationships. I have two fictional couple role models and they should come as no surprise to anybody who knows me or has read this blog for any amount of time: Chandler & Monica, and Marshall & Lily – to me, they embody the type of relationship I am willing to wait for, no matter how long that may take. In addition to that, I have my real life inspirations – my parents, who have been the greatest role models a girl could ever ask for, and over the last few years, two of my married couple friends. I look at Stef & Josh, and Nate & Jasmine and they give me faith that even in this day in age, even for our generation, finding your soul-mate is still possible. Spending time with them always reminds me of what a difference waiting for the right person will make in the end. When things seem a little bleak, I remember to look at them so I don’t stop believing in true love…

♥ Randoms (because it has been way too long since I made a list and now I have random odds and ends that still deserve a mention):

Upper Crust Bakery Grilled Cheese & Turkey – just look at that photo above and try not to drool. It tasted even better than it looks if you can believe that.

Sour gummy bears – say hello to my newest unhealthy addiction. Damn you clever airport store for getting me hooked while my flight was delayed.

Moose cuddling – nobody cuddles as well as Mr. Moose Dog. Nobody.

Good Nervous – the butterflies that leave you hoping something great will come from taking this chance.

Making choices for me – I plan on delving into this deeper in a future post but for now I’m just happy with the fact that I have reached the point where I am comfortable making choices I can live with and feeling positive about them.

‘How I Met Your Mother’ – There are too many reasons to list as to why this show is always showing up on my blog. Chances are it’s going to keep happening as long as Barney keeps being Barney, Marshall and Lily keep being the TV couple of this generation that I admire, or until somebody finally yells ‘flugelhorn’

 Sleeping in my own bed – I can sleep just about anywhere, but there is most definitely a difference in quality when I am back in my own bed.

Ryan Gosling – I think ‘Stupid, Crazy, Love’ speaks for itself – I’m not ashamed to admit that the ‘Dirty Dancing’ move would have worked on me. Who am I trying to kid, him taking off his shirt would have have been enough of a move for me.

-My new yellow shirt – I wore it today so that I would remember to have a sunny disposition despite getting little sleep last night after my long journey home.

Apparently it wasn’t necessary, I already had a whole list of  things I am loving swirling around in my mind to keep a smile on my face!

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