Practice Gratitude Every Day

It’s just after noon on Thanksgiving and I’ve been seeing droves of people on social media post about the things they are thankful for. I think that’s truly great, I do. It’s nice when social media becomes a warm fuzzy place and everyone forgets they’ve been arguing about politics for weeks on end. But I mentioned in passing to someone that Thanksgiving is kind of a BS holiday. I know to say such a thing seems very cynical, blasphemous, even un-American, but I didn’t mean it from a cynical place, despite the Pilgrims’s super “ethical” treatment of the Native Americans.


I say it’s bullshit, because we need to practice gratitude every single waking day. Maybe that’s a “hippie,” touchy-feely kind of thing for me to say, but I have enough experience with essential oils, reiki, energy flow, and agnosticism to comfortably call myself a modern hippie.

For the past year or so, I’ve been practicing gratitude every day, purposefully, and for anything I can muster some gratitude for. Some days, I have gratitude for everything, and other days, it’s a little harder to find, but I always stop to practice gratitude.

This gratitude, this intangible thing…this feeling that you can’t hold or touch, has changed my life in the most amazing ways. Between my dinosaur and practicing gratitude, I’ve found my life is overflowing with the most amazing people, experiences, and things. These are all things I knew were great previously, but I didn’t realize how truly wonderful they were until I looked at them through the lens of gratitude.

Practicing gratitude is simple. You can send thank-you cards, or texts, or emails. You can make phone calls to people you need to say “thank you” to. On Black Friday, you can make sure you look the overworked and exhausted cashier in the eye and say “Thank you” when they give you your card back. Gratitude can be a few quick mental thank-yous before you go to bed at night. It’s simple, it barely takes any time, and it’s free. You’ll feel good, and you’ll make others feel good by sharing it. It’s contagious. Facebook and twitter are proof of that at this very moment.

Remember to practice gratitude even on your worst day. Every great story starts with someone waking up in the morning, before amazing things started to happen. By the time you open your eyes, you already have so much to be thankful for.

I understand if you want to be thankful for family, friends, and mountains of food today, but don’t forget them the other 364 days of the year. They’re all awesome then, too.

My Toddler-Life Crisis?

Lately, my newsfeeds across all social media are riddled with pictures of small children. Apparently it’s become an epidemic amongst my peers to procreate and post about their small humans ceaselessly. Naturally, my mild annoyance has caused me to do some self-reflection regarding the trend.While it would be great to have kids of my own at this point in time,   I still can’t always take care of myself efficiently, and possibly more importantly, I really love being in control of my sleep schedule.

These things were my normal, adult-life realizations. Things that I’m proud to be able to communicate even though I have conflicting feelings regarding the matters.

The part that I’m a little less proud of is the realization that I have a lot in common with toddlers. What I have in common with toddlers is a concerning amount of things, actually. I should probably see a good therapist regarding the matter, but writing is a bit like therapy, so I’m sharing these things with the internet instead.

  • Spatial Awareness:

Toddlers seem to get injured a lot, and often stupidly. They understandably haven’t developed a real sense of how far away something is, or how badly it’s going to hurt when said item inevitably makes contact with their tiny bodies at breakneck speed. They haven’t spent any time meting out the consequences of their actions and reactions to life as they (don’t yet) know it.

I’m rapidly approaching 33, and I still have some lingering issues with spatial awareness:

(I walked into the doorframe of my friend’s car while trying to get into the front seat. I hit my head. HARD.)

  • Limited Palette:

When it comes to eating, my understanding is that many of toddler-kind prefer bland items, and prefer sugars and starchy things, fruits to vegetables. Toddlers eat often, and not always the best quality foods, largely in their parents’ desperation to keep their bodies alive and functioning.

My day-to-day intake is often toddler-like in nature:

Where self-perception is concerned, I’m very clearly conflicted.

  • Repetition, Repetition, Repetition:

I experienced the  repetition of toddlers through my cousin’s daughter. I recall when the little one decided she enjoyed the movie Elf (a personal favorite of mine) the most out of all of the watchable media in the world. My cousin made sure to inform me that the only thing Little One was electing to watch at that point in time was Elf, and it was driving my cousin crazy.

In my selection of TV, music, and movies, I tend to do exactly the same.

  • Pants:

I’m pretty sure I don’t have to connect the dots for you…


Between these things, my penchant for snacking, temper tantrums over inane issues, and my behavior while drunk, my Great Realization of 2015 is that even in my thirties, I’m not unlike a toddler.

Admittedly, I’m still not really sure how I feel about being my own toddler. I’m just really proud that I’m potty trained.


Happy Halloween, 2015

I’m not doing anything for Halloween this year.

I’m not pleased about it. I was batting around a few different ideas for costumes, ranging from mildly nerdy to effortlessly cool. I worked out all of my tiny details on paper. None of the bits and pieces required a trip to the store for a “Sexy _____________” costume package. That was never my Halloween modus operandi.

But it seems that this year, my Halloween party days are over. It bothers me more than it should bother me.

You see, I’m an aging sorority girl. After pledging and becoming a member of a sorority in college, my passion for wearing costumes while getting wildly drunk was ignited and stoked, party after party. To name a few I attended a Cowboys and Indians mixer, Barbie and Ken mixer, and even a Pimps and Hos mixer. The theme of each of these parties held a common thread: dress up, get drunk, and make terrible decisions. To be clear, I don’t mean “slutty” decisions, because contrary to the stereotype, not all sorority girls are slutty. My poor decisions were more along the lines of sharing a coat with my best friend- each of us donning one sleeve before trying to walk home drunk in over a foot of snow (spoilers: we fell down, a LOT), or abandoning my crutches at the end of the night by throwing them across the yard, proclaiming “I DON’T NEED THIS ANYMORE!” because somehow, I felt no pain in my then-sprained knee.

After graduating from college and moving back home, my childhood best friend began throwing some epic Halloween parties. “Epic” is not a word I use lightly. These parties were forces to be reckoned with in our little suburb. People came dressed to the nines and pulled out all of the stops for more than five years of drunken, costumed debauchery. Decorations were hung. Couples were made. Cops were called. I used this party as an excuse to dress as anything from Zombie Tom Brady (during his injury I hoped with wide eyed-wonder for the end of his career) to Kenda Wilkinson as part of 4-person costume depicting “Heff” and his Girls Next Door. My inner sorority girl raged on.

All the while, I lived in an awesome apartment where my two roommates were game to continue to throw themed parties. Our friends partook willingly. We had highly successful birthdays and parties in the Wild West, wore togas another evening while drunkenly crushing Guitar Hero and beer pong, and who could could forget our ever-classy “Dress-to-Impress” Christmas parties? Not I. I relished in it. Heck, even my favorite local dive bar was throwing plentiful theme parties at the time. They was everywhere. I’ve spilled beer and hard alcohol on many different costumes. Every time one of these parties approached it carried all of the excitement and anticipation of Christmas morning. You prepped and prepared and looked forward to not only wearing your own costume, but to seeing everyone else’s as well.

Let’s not get TOO crazy, OK?

Naturally, I feel a little let down by this party-less milestone. Is 32 really the age where I stop costumed partying? I’m not sure if I’m ready.

So friends, while you dress yourselves up and have a raucous time tonight, pour out a little bit of whiskey for my inner sorority girl who will be endlessly unamused by sitting on the couch and watching Netflix in her pajamas. Pajamas are like a costume, right?

On Job Satisfaction

To paraphrase Charlie: the job market is rough.

I’m sitting in a really beautiful space in my life. I don’t mean the physical space – curled up with my laptop, wearing sweatpants on a Friday night, while watching a DVRed episode of the Tonight Show. The “space” I’m talking about is where and when I realize every day on my commute, how grateful I am for my job.

It was a long, tough road to get to where I am. I graduated from college and entered Peter Pan-land, wherein I denied, denied, denied my true career aspirations, while working the retail circuit. I have stellar memories and irreplaceable friends from partying through my days working for Hollywood Video, from folding more panties I could count at Victoria’s Secret, and from pretending I knew something about fashion while working at White House Black Market. But at the end of the day, when the videos were put away, the panties were folded, or the stock room was straightened with OCD-level accuracy, I wasn’t happy.

“Unhappy,” in this context, is a true understatement, if I’ve ever made one. I was miserable, melancholy, morose, and a billion more descriptors the thesaurus can’t even help me find. Even though I was good at those jobs and worked myself up to management with breakneck speed, I wasn’t fulfilled. I went home dreading the next time I’d have to put on my uniform and get in my Jeep, headed back to a place that made me miserable. I knew my retail life had to be done for good when one day I found myself uncharacteristically bursting into tears on the sales floor because my manager asked the benign question “How are you?”

Less than two weeks after that date, I had my “Carpe Diem” moment. Giving my notice and exiting the retail world wasn’t the immediate start of my job fulfillment. It was a difficult span of about five years “paying my dues” from Carpe Diem to “I freaking love my job.”  I won’t wax poetic about it, but I will say I hoped that if I stuck around in my field long enough, I’d have the career I want. I did, and now I do. And everything is awesome. (Cue Lego Movie music.)

Why am I writing about this? It’s because I value job satisfaction so highly. If you know what you’re really passionate about, that’s a gift that you need to pursue with fervor. If you’re lucky enough to know what it is you really want to do with your life, do the fucking footwork to get there, post-haste! Don’t sit in a crappy job you hate just because it pays the bills. Life is too short to lose the opportunity to do something you love.  Sure, the crappy job will buy you time (and groceries) while you pursue your dream job, but if you hate going to work every day, you’re sure to spend a great portion of your adult life gritting your teeth. Ten years of that life was plenty for me. I beg you: don’t commit to something you hate to do for a lifetime.

After the “Hole Interview,” I got the job I’ve been applying for, for the better part of a decade. I am so happy. No, not just happy. I’m delighted, ecstatic, elated, and grateful. I’m not sure how I got so lucky.

It’s not easy, and I know it can be terrifying to let go of your stability – but isn’t it worth taking a risk to get the reward of committing to something you love?

I’ll let you think about that on your own time. I’ve got somewhere to be in the morning.

A White Girl’s Worst Nightmare

Yesterday I went to have my eyebrows waxed. It’s a ritual I both love and loathe for the better part of fifteen years. I love it because thanks to waxing, my eyebrows don’t resemble two caterpillars advancing toward one another for a slow-motion hug. The “loathe” portion of waxing is that it’s a chore, and it still stings and makes my face red, but I digress.

The struggle is real…or something like that.

My usual waxer was busy this week, so I saw someone new out of necessity. Normally I’m pretty waxer-loyal, but my brows were starting to look like they were capable of making cocoons, and something had to be done.

Walking in sniffling, and trying to be polite, I assured the young lady who would be working in close proximity to my mouth and nose-holes, that I’m not sick. I quipped, “I’m just really allergic to Fall.” Waxer, thinking she was funny, replied in an ear-splitting vocal fry (which wasn’t being produced ironically) “That’s like, a white girl’s worst nightmare.”

I don’t even think you need the mirror for this to work.

I imagine Funny Waxer must have been feeling pretty bonded to me. After all, we had spent almost three minutes together and we are both white, women, and currently involved in the manipulation of wax and eyebrows. I tried really hard to laugh politely, finding myself intensely grateful that my eyes were closed and she couldn’t see the scream in my eyeballs.

What I really wanted to say, was…”Is it, though?”

In a split second my mind was flooded with ideas which are worse than having some raucous seasonal allergies.  For perspective, some of of the things which are worse than my fall allergies are clowns, puppets, my car breaking down, being diagnosed with a digestive disorder which keeps me from enjoying real food, and cracking the screen on my iPhone. Reserved for “nightmare” status are things which are far, far, far more emotionally catastrophic. You know, the “little” things like cancer, loss, genocide, war, the entire history of the Holocaust, and getting thrown into a Thai prison because a dreamy stranger snuck heroin in your luggage. Those. Those are things that are nightmares, that would rock anyone to their core regardless of their creed, color, or gender. I know we all speak in hyperbole from time to time, but please, waxer, do not lump me into your fall-loving meme stereotype. I’m not with you. (I know I speak in hyperbole too, so forgive my hypocritical behavior. We good? Cool.)

I’m ranting a bit here because I very quickly assessed the situation I found myself in and figured it would be fairly awkward and slightly concerning if I were to upset a young lady who was about to regulate the size and shape of my eyebrows. The amount of power Funny Waxer wielded in my life in those moments was far more than I ever understood before.

But seriously, you guys. I literally can’t even.

Solicited Narcissism

A while back, Sandy over at nominated me for a “Sunshine Blogger Award.” Admittedly, I didn’t know much about it, so I was a little surprised, albeit honored that someone would want to hear more from me.

I’m supposed to nominate some bloggers, but I was never really “good” at chain letters and the like. In the future, I’ll give a little nod to the blogs I follow, because it’s almost my bedtime.

I will be answering my questions, because I have a wicked case of writer’s block (which is a real thing, I heard it on the Nerdist podcast, where real writers work) and can’t muster anything much more entertaining this weekend.

Billy Shakespeare, first and foremost. I also really enjoy J.K. Rowling for her Harry Potter series (if you’ve ever heard of it), and Chuck Palahniuk. I feel more loyalty towards books and characters than specific authors.

2.  What hobbies do you have?

Which hobbies don’t I have? I love to do nearly anything that’s not life-threatening. My latest heavy rotation is running, lifting, writing this blog, binge watching TV shows on Netflix, Fantasy Football, and organizing things. I’m working more movie-watching into my life over the last two years, and I dig it.

3. What is one thing that is always guaranteed to make you smile?

Guaranteed smile? My friends. They’re endlessly fantastic people.

4. Are you an Android or Iphone person?

iPhone. Apple all the way, baby.

5. Do you have a phobia?  If so, what and why? (had to ask)

Clowns are one of my more common phobias, thanks to Poltergeist when I was very small (that stupid, evil doll). Less common is my fear of Muppets/Puppets…which varies. I watched Fraggle Rock as a kid and therefore it couldn’t have been a crippling fear. I can’t explain why, but puppets have always made me feel uneasy. Bees now rank high on the phobia list, but mostly because those tiny fuckers could kill me, so it’s a legitimate fear.

6. How did you get into blogging?

For me, blogging was a natural part of the progression. As a kid I wrote stories on a typewriter and shared them with my family. I enjoyed creative writing and embarrassingly, I sent a story to Ann M. Martin (author of the Babysitter’s Club series) with a letter when I was ten. My little ten-year-old heart was crushed when she didn’t immediately offer to send my book to her publishers.

As I got a little older, so did my stories. They were scribbled in notebooks and typed on computers, to be printed out on dot-matrix printers, & squirreled away in a folder I didn’t share with anyone.

In high school, I wrote for both the school paper and the Music Department Newsletter, where I also served as editor.

When college rolled around, I started keeping a LiveJournal. It served as more of a diary but at times the rants were hilarious. I occasionally go back and reread it, and I enjoy both the nostalgia and my (pre-third-life crisis) voice. I extrapolated some of that writing to an EasyJournal, which was mostly just observational stuff that I also submitted as editorials to my college paper.

Post-college (I don’t think I’ve ever told anyone this piece) I sent some of that writing to, trying, once again, to write more prolifically and for money. They politely declined, but a picture of my beer pong table did get featured on their site in ’05, so technically, I’m published on College Humor.

I kept a food blog for a while when I could still eat real things. At the time I was cooking a lot, and since I always felt really connected to writing, I thought it may be a positive use of my skills. When I stopped food blogging, I landed myself here. It’s my happy place and I plan to stay and try to continue to develop and improve my writing well into my 30’s and beyond…

7. Introvert or extrovert?

Extrovert. Textbook extrovert. What I find more interesting my being an extrovert is that a large number of my dearest friends are self-described “wallflowers” and introverts.

8. Do you sing along with the radio even if other people are around?

Constantly, and with reckless abandon.

9. What is your favorite season and why?

Summer: Beach time, sunshine, and long days. Football season is a VERY close second, but you know that if you read this blog.

10. What is a goal that you have for this year?

To keep a short leash on this dinosaur of mine, and keep myself insanely happy.

11. What would you change about yourself, if you could?

There’s nothing I’d really change. That said, there are some moments in my life where I wish current me would have had the opportunity to speak with then-me. Then-me had been really hopelessly lost a number of times and could have used some advice and insight. It would be insanely helpful if I had a TARDIS. I think my dinosaur would like one, too. He’ll fit. It’s bigger on the inside.

I Wouldn’t Be Caught Dead in a Pink Jersey

Two years later, this is still incredibly funny. (The NFL – A Bad Lip Reading)

Everyone has a favorite time of year. It might be winter, for its stillness and quiet after freshly fallen snow. Perhaps it’s spring, for the lush greenness and the new hope the season seems to bring. My favorite time of year is summer, but as summer winds to an end, for the last thirteen years of my life, I’m met with a consolation prize in the form of my second favorite time of the year: football season.

I didn’t always love football season, or football. I “nothing”ed football. In high school, I sat in the stands for four years of home games, waiting to dance in a halftime show, only to immediately march off of the field without learning the outcome of the game.

Growing up in New York, with three football teams bearing the name of my state, you would have thought that at some point prior to college, I would align myself with a team in an effort to run with the crowd. I didn’t. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to; I was just more of an “indoor kid” for most of my life.

When I went away to college my sophomore year, I found myself joining Stadium Band for the opportunity to play some music after a year’s hiatus. I found myself once again, sitting in the stands every Saturday, watching a game I didn’t understand. This time was different. I wasn’t sitting with dancers in sequined costumes and makeup, sporting Audrey Hepburn gloves. I sat instead next to a delightfully friendly trombone player who seemed pretty invested in our DIII football team’s games. His experience with football was over a decade old at that point, after listening to Penn State games on the radio with his grandmother, and keeping stats on the sidelines of high school football games at a mature nine years old.

And so, not yet in my 20’s, I sat in the stands with my saxophone each Saturday and asked questions between songs. I asked a lot of questions. I learned where the end zones were, and how running backs and wide receivers worked. I learned why the quarterback seemed so important in all of those “high school party” movies. I learned why ball play changed direction so many times. I learned how to watch football, and quickly became enamored with it. The game was fast and exciting, and I became more invested with every week that I spent in those stands.

I started watching college football almost immediately and pretty consistently. When I started to hang full-time with my dearest sorority sister and heterosexual life partner after we finished the pledge process, I noticed her love for the Dallas Cowboys. After solidifying my football knowledge alongside with her, I started rooting for (one of) my home teams, the New York Giants.

In the years since college, I’ve played intramural flag football, rugby (to get to tackle people…if you haven’t done it I highly recommend it), managed more fantasy football teams than I can count, and happily and comfortably discuss football. Football is a major part of my life and great source of joy (and frustration).

Don’t call me on Sundays. I won’t take the call.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a 2nd week of losses to mourn and analyze.

There’s always next week, right Giants?