September Shorts: My New Brain

Sooo…. I cut down to 3x posting per week in the summer. And I’m still falling kind of behind. So. now I bring you “september Shorts.” Basically… a challenge to myself to create super succinct posts. Might be a glimpse into my life, my brain, or something I’m struggling with.

But less than 250 words. WHAT?

Here’s the first one:

WP_20140828_001WP_20140828_002

Meet my new brain planner. It has made my life much better. If you think you have your life under control but still struggle to get your tasks in order… PLANNER. Get one. And, honestly, unless you’ve completely committed to digitizing your entire life, just get a paper planner. I used to depend on my phone calendar and reminder system… but sometimes paper and pen is faster, and just having my planner with me as a reminder to check it is enough to keep me on track. I also find that using one that lists hours throughout the day and gives me space to write down “to dos” really helps.

Do you use a paper planner?

30 things: sell old electronics

30 things before 30

As you may know, I’ve made a list of 30 things that I want to do before I’m 30. Some are silly, some are hard, some are super easy, but no matter, they make for great fodder for the blog and for life!

Number 26 on my list is to sell/trade in old electronics before they become unsellable.

I don’t know what to tell you except that I did this, and I highly recommend it. No you won’t find a use for that random laptop/iPod/old smartphone, so just see what you can get for it. Usually at least a Best Buy gift card for your next tech purchase.

If it can’t be traded in or sold you get extra points for finding an environmentally responsible way of disposing them. Here is the EPA page on where to find programs like that.

Why didn’t anyone tell me about… Febreze?

Why didn't anyone tell me about

This is a semi-regular series where we discuss things that I was “late to the party on” but now I have firmly cemented myself in the bandwagon of these cultural landmarks.

Why didn’t anyone tell me about Febreze?

I love those commercials where the blindfolded people are in a pigsty and they think they’re in an early 1900s English garden! But I never believed that anything could be quite so effective.

But, just like those crazy erasers, Febreze is magical. I didn’t know until about my 3rd year on the ship. The person I was replacing left some Febreze behind in the cabin, and about a month into my contract I was behind on laundry and had to put on my gorgeous, but very worn orange polo AGAIN and I thought I would just be a little… er, stale smelling that day. Just not so fresh as normal, that’s all. But then I noticed the Febreze.

Might as well try it, I thought.

So I did. And the heavens opened, and I saw the light.

I no longer had to smell stale? I could freshen my clothes with this magical spray? What an idea.

I mean, don’t get grossed out, I still do laundry. But if I’m a little behind, or have to wear an item multiple times (great for work uniforms, production costumes, or your favorite jeans that you never want to wash), boom, Febreze.

But seriously I was 27 years old before I realized that was an option.

Wedding gifts we still use and like: brightly colored dinnerware

wedding gifts

Wedding season is coming to a close, but I bet you till have some weddings to attend. Anyway, I thought I’d share with you the wedding gifts we still use and love, in case you need some inspiration for what to bring to those upcoming nuptials.

I tried to keep things pretty simple on our wedding gift registry. We picked the simple flatware, the white dishes set, and we added some purple dinner plates and cereal bowls because TCU. And normally I would tell you to just stick to their registry, but one of our wedding guests bought us a beautiful multi-colored striped pitcher and chip and dip serving set. It was the perfect punch of color to add to our dinnerware. I have it on display in my kitchen year-round and love using it for parties.

If you have no idea the taste of the bride and groom, then stick to the registry. But if you know them a bit, or if you can come up with an item in a complementary color or pattern that will go with the rest of their kitchen items on the registry, then I think that’s a great option!

For example:

A super awesome Rachael Ray serving bowl, but only if they like orange.

If they like abstract florals in warm colors, here are some awesome items to choose from in this inexpensive dinnerware set.

Some amazing patterns and colors in this set.

A kind of weird and artsy serving platter, but I love the colors.

On sale from Crate & Barrell, a set of lime mixing bowls.

And the most famous of all the colored dinnerware sets… FIESTAWARE!

Would you love this as a wedding gift?

My real friends

I recently read a blog post that I wholeheartedly agreed with. This is rare. But of course, it was on Donald Miller’s Storyline blog, which makes it a little less odd. Anyway, the post talks about not identifying/introducing friends based on their occupation, but based on who they are. Because what if someone isn’t proud of their job, or if others don’t know what their job is it might stunt conversation.

I don’t necessarily need to do this. I count among my friends movement trainers, professional dancers, medical residents, dance teachers, production assistants, school teachers and counselors, future social workers, stand up comics, staff members for ballet companies, and people who are generally renowned in their fields.

My point is, all my friends should be proud of their work. But as someone who has had a litany of odd jobs and work that is often misunderstood, I can relate, and I appreciate the effort to value who a person is rather than what they do. So I thought I would say right here, who my friends are:

Laura is an amazing mother and is a friend who will always be honest with me and who mirrors me in a fantastically dry and sarcastic way to remind me that most of the time it’s in my head.

Josie prayed that I would become my husband’s wife, and is the friend I call when I need a positive outlook and can’t seem to find one on my own. She also will always tell me to go ahead and buy the amazing dress.

Ashanti is my greatest encourager. She believes I can do anything and she tells me so. And she’s an amazing dancer. Just try to keep up with her on the dance floor at a wedding. You will not succeed.

Jason is the kindest, most loving, and also most exhausting person you’ll ever meet.. and I mean that in the best way possible. He wants to talk to you to find out what you have to offer, what’s special about you, and then he’ll tailor all his jokes so that you will laugh til you pass out.

Emily is the friend I call when I feel insane. If I ever own a business she will be my partner and I will text her at 3am with ideas and questions about what we should do next. We will have more inside jokes than you and your friends.

Hollis is my friend who taught me what friendship really is. That sometimes it’s difficult but it’s always worth it, and she taught me not to give up when things get uncomfortable. She also taught me how to get a bartender to take my order and how to do most of the country line dances that I know.

Natalie is my sunshine friend. I think of her and smile because I just can’t help it. I admire her independence and unabashed way of being herself and knowing what she loves (dance, friends, and Harry Potter).

Petrina is my friend who will let me yammer on until I’m through talking, and then quietly drop life-changing news about moving to Singapore or getting married. She’s selfless that way, always wanting to know your story rather than sharing hers, though it’s incredibly interesting and you should listen.

Julia is the smartest, most mature person I know. She is loyal and faithful and the kind of friend who remembers minute details. I’m amazed she counts me as a friend. She’s also the perfect friend to take shopping or to help you through a break up because she’s an enabler. “Yes! BUY IT!” and also “this sucks, you should definitely eat all the ice cream and then take a Tylenol PM to sleep through the night, no you won’t become addicted.”

Jacob is my husband, my love, and the most loyal person I know. He’s also the only person with whom I can be 100% myself, and that is why we’re married.

Rachel is my oldest friend. She would do anything for you and is another great encourager that I’m lucky to have in my life.

Keri is my second oldest friend. She values our friendship though states and political and religious beliefs separate us. I’d trust her with my life. We have shared many late nights together, and also many weddings. I would give her 10 million points if I had them.

Lauren is also my second oldest friend. She is strong and honest and true. She paves her own way and takes chances when most people wouldn’t. When I need a laugh I think about us at 14 in Destin re-enacting scenes from Center Stage on the beach.

Sara is my friend who I never doubt… because she could never lie, even if she tried. She is hilarious and her sense of humor drier than the Sahara (or something equally as dry). She’s also my friend who cares the most about community, organizing dinners, parties, and get-togethers weekly because that’s what she values most.

Laura is a newer friend, but her kindness, humor, and love make me hope she’ll be in my circle for a long time.

Susan is my most trusted advisor, a wonderfully thoughtful person, and is creative in a way I never knew possible. I call her when I’m confused and she challenges me to move forward, and though she wears many hats she always answers my emails.

Who are your friends, really?

Advice for Brides: no mind reading

advice for brides

With wedding season finishing up for this year, I thought I’d give some advice for brides and future wives periodically here on the blog.

Hey there, bride. Your groom is pretty great, isn’t he? He is going to be an amazing husband. He has crazy super powers like making you feel loved, finding ways to provide for you, finding ways to surprise you, and generally being an awesome human being that you actually want to hang out with for the next 50 years.

But there is one superhero trait that he does not have: mind-reading.

I don’t care how long you’ve been together, how long you’ve known each other, or how often you finish each other’s sentences. He can’t read your mind.

And yet, we all act like our husbands, boyfriends, and fiances can. We say things like “he should just know what I wanted for a birthday gift.” Or “I said that it was ok for him to stay out super late with his friends, but he should know that I’m not really ok with it.”

Nope, sorry. This is just a bad habit, and it’s really, at least in my experience, just an excuse to avoid a difficult conversation. Or it’s just an excuse to get mad about something silly. Of course you don’t want to actually tell him what you want as a gift, and of course you don’t want to be the big, bad, mean wife who doesn’t want her husband to have any fun… but being a little more open is a lot more productive than just hoping he’ll read your mind and then resenting him when he interprets your hints incorrectly.

Most of the time, if you’re just up front with how you feel, he may not agree, but he’ll respond well and be willing to talk about it.

But the perfect way to frustrate your husband and yourself is to say one thing, mean something else, and then get mad when there’s confusion.

Just go ahead and decide that neither one of you is going to be a mind-reader (not even Harry Potter was good at that, so why should we be?), and you’ll be about 5 years ahead of most newlyweds.

Agree or disagree?

Honest Greeting Cards

WP_20140729_013 (2)WP_20140729_015

For our 5 year anniversary I didn’t get The Guns anything because we agreed that we wouldn’t. Instead we bought a bedroom set (yay, we’re adults now) and went to San Antonio for the weekend. But I couldn’t resist the card above. I wasn’t even looking for it, I was just at Target buying thank you cards and Father’s Day cards when I came across this lovely hedgehog card, read it, and said “yep.” I mean, there is no other card for The Guns from me. All other greeting cards will be measured against this one.

Because, in case you haven’t noticed, It’s not easy to find a card that is cute, maybe a little honest or snarky, and perfectly encapsulates the message you’re trying to convey.

Unless you go on Etsy, and then it’s really easy. Just search for “honest cards,” “sassy cards,” or “snarky cards,” and some great options will pop up. In case you don’t have time to do that, though, here are some classic ones that I found.

Psst… no affiliate links here, just sharing and not getting paid for it. I should see about changing that…

An honest graduation card (no more drinking abnormally large mixed drinks)

An honest Mother’s Day card and apology

Compare someone special to an oddly shaped vegetable and get them to cry

Not exactly a greeting card, but honest place cards for your next dinner party (I would be the snoozer… I sometimes fall asleep at parties. Sorry)

Abraham Lincoln honesty cards for whatever you need to be honest about

Short and simple apologies

Calling out the vain people in your life

A very common sentiment in relationships

Here are some greeting cards I’d like to see show up on shelves…

“I’m sorry… I watched the next episode without you.”

“My biggest regret in life is not inviting you to my wedding. Why are we just now best friends?”

“I’m so proud of you, you are so great at life, and I want to be just like you.”

“I’m really sorry you didn’t get that thing, let’s go egg some houses”

“I wish I could pay you money for all the great things you’ve done for me, but if I did I’d be in extreme debt. So is this note enough?”

Any ideas for greeting cards you’d like to share?