Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 Favorites

It's crazy to think that I started this blog just a little over a year ago. With the end of the year right around the corner (read: tonight), I wanted to recap my favorite moments and posts of 2014! 

My first resolution last year was to start a blog, which I clearly did. I tried to write a hip and/or rad introductory post. You can be the judge of how that turned out. 

I met one of my favorite authors, Jodi Picoult, listened to her speak in Athens, OH. She signed seven of my books, and now I can die happy. 

I turned 22 and the world didn't end. I checked another item off of my New Year's resolutions when I finished my T-shirt quilt

I purged my closet and took a giant box of clothes to Goodwill. Yes, I did have a minor panic attack as I walked away. Soon after, I fought a spring cold. Shouldn't karma have been on my side after donating all that stuff?

I went through the five stages of finals week as I wrapped up my first year in my master's program. 

My blog got a beautiful makeover, and I discovered how delicious dragonberry screwdrivers can be. An entire month off work gave me some much needed perspective on my obsessive need to plan everything. 

I GOT ENGAGED! Some other things happened too, but this was obviously the most exciting and important. 

I wrote one of my favorite posts about my (imagined) perfect day with Taylor Swift. I bought my first new car, named Lucy. Ryan and I celebrated our four year anniversary. Some time around here I got hooked on Kim Kardashian Hollywood. 

Wedding venue was booked! 

We road-tripped to visit one of my bridesmaids in St. Louis for Labor Day weekend. I wrote another one of my favorite posts wondering how to plan my life when I won't have Rory Gilmore guiding it

My parents and I visited our favorite fall festival in Eastern Ohio. I was obsessed with Gone Girl, and I got completely hooked on Scandal. 

I spent Thanksgiving with Ryan's family for the first time. I STILL played Kim Kardashian Hollywood. Taylor Swift's music video for Blank Space struck a nerve

Ryan and I attended three Christmas parties in one day. I opened up about why I want to work in reproductive health, and I bought my wedding dress! 

Happy New Year everyone! 

Monday, December 29, 2014

Lately Lately

This past Christmas week absolutely flew by. For the first time in a long time, I spent an entire week up in Cleveland with my family. Among many many other fun things, this is what I've been up to this past week! 

- I bought a wedding dress! (!!!!) And had the most amazing experience. More on that later. 

- I had a sleepover with my best friend in the whole world, and we listened to Jealous on repeat and watched this TED Talk before bed. 

- Ryan and I attended three Christmas Eve parties for our different families. (Talk about chaos.)

- I read Amy Poehler's book over the course of 24 hours. 

- My first friend from high school got married and he and his wife had their reception. It's starting. I'm going to be the best line dancer by the time I'm in my 30's. It's electric! 

- This was the first year that I was genuinely more excited to give presents than receive them. 

- That being said, I'm so glad Ryan and I created our wedding registry before Christmas - we got such fun things!! Like this giant Mason Jar pitcher and this iced tea maker, which is brewing away as I type. 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

How to Survive Holiday Shopping + a Giveaway

Real life - I've been working on my Christmas shopping since July. That's not even just the crafts that I give myself months to make; I've actually been slowly ordering presents on Amazon for months! (It's easier on my bank account this way, but mostly I just get so excited to give presents!) Anyways, there's always at least a few presents that I need to buy once it gets to be December, but I absolutely dread hitting the stores this time of the year. Today I'm sharing my tips for how to survive holiday shopping without going too crazy! 

Start early and buy online. Try to minimize the number of store that you need to visit. Shoppers and store employees always seem to get more and more angry/stressed the closer it gets to Christmas. Try to get as much done early and online to avoid the bad attitudes!

Wear headphones. I know that some people think this is rude or distracting, but I love shopping with headphones in. It puts me in my own little world, and I don't have to listen to babies screaming or people arguing over the last something at a store. (Normal people would listen to Christmas music while Christmas shopping, but I usually put on some Kanye/Jay Z/Beyonce and I'm good to go.) 

Look for little ways to save. Maybe it's just me, but I haven't seen all that many in-store discounts this season. I use my Target debit REDcard to save 5% on every purchase. I love that it isn't another credit card - it's linked right to my checking account and doesn't accumulate a balance. 

If you can, avoid the busy hours. Between traffic, parking lot craziness, and in-store business, hitting the stores after 5pm or on the weekends can be a huge pain. If possible, try to do your shopping during the day during the week. This isn't an option for me, so I try to go shopping either early or late on the weekends! 

Treat Yo Self. I firmly believe that, as an adult, the holidays are a great excuse to treat yourself to a present or two. If you're brave enough to brave the overcrowded stores, pick yourself up a scarf or a bottle of nail polish. Only need $7 to get free shipping? Snag the book you've been dying to read before the New Year. (It's basically free anyways, right?) 

Don't always stick to your list. I'm such a planner, and I love making lists. I've found, however, that some of my favorite gifts to give are ones that I hadn't even thought of until I see them in a store! Having a list/budget is great, but be open to surprises and changes as well! 

In case you're not in the mood to fight your way through stores, check out this amazing Kate Spade giveaway! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, December 15, 2014

Holiday Traditions

I'm going to start this post by saying that I was blessed with an absolutely incredible childhood, especially around the holidays. Besides the traditional cookie baking and tree picking-out and decorating, growing up, my family's holiday traditions would start on Christmas Eve. We would (almost) always go to church on Christmas Eve, and when we would come home there would be a lone present waiting under the tree with my name on it - my parents gave me a new set of PJs every Christmas Eve! For a solid five years, I received a flannel nightgown covered with teddy bears, and then when I was older I got pairs of plaid PJ pants and a matching top! This is definitely a tradition that I want to continue when I have kids of my own! 

On Christmas morning, I would wake up sometime around 7, and my parents would have already made a roaring fire in our fireplace downstairs. I would sit on the staircase with my teddy bear and dog to take an annual "Christmas morning" picture in my new PJs with Mannheim Steamroller playing out of my dad's 100-disk CD changer. About halfway through opening presents, my mom would warm up her coffee, make my dad and I hot chocolate, and pop Pillsbury cinnamon rolls in the oven. (We would always have these on special occasions like Christmas or birthdays!) Every year, we would watch Charlie Brown and my all time favorite Christmas movie, Elmo Saves Christmas. 

Ryan's family has their own traditions as well, and we're slowly starting to merge the two and create our own! 

What are some of your favorite Christmas traditions?


Friday, December 12, 2014

You Want to do WHAT for a Living?!

Since the day I entered grad school, people have asked me what I want to do when I graduate. It’s felt a lot like the “What do you want to be when you grow up?” question, except now I am grown up, and I actually have to give up hope on the whole horse whisperer/ballerina thing.

For a while, I didn’t really know how to answer. I want to talk about sex for a living. Except you can’t really say that to your grandma or your boyfriend’s family because how awkward is that. So I’d say something like, “I want to work in public health,” which usually prompted the follow-up question, “why?” The why was something I didn’t feel like I could talk about either.

During my second and third years of undergrad, I spent a year volunteering in the wellness center on campus teaching fellow students how to properly use condoms and other barriers, about consent, and why/where/how to get tested for STIs. Almost every day, I was both impressed by how many people voluntarily came into my sessions and shocked by how many college-aged students, male and female, didn’t know how to use a condom. I loved it. I loved it so much I can’t even put it into words. Some part of me felt like I was making a difference on my campus, but mostly I just thought it was fun. I had two revelations of sorts during my time there: “This information would have been so helpful when I was younger,” and “I wish I could do this for a career, forever.”

It was around this time that I learned that reproductive health education/program planning/implementation was a legit career. Not like Coach Carr, I don’t want to be a health teacher, but I learned that I could take a very broad Master’s and apply it to a more specific area of health. So I applied, was accepted and enrolled. Somehow, some way, talking about sex was going to be my life because I thought it was fun.

Over the past two years, I want to talk about sex turned into I want to work to make sure adolescents receive comprehensive sex education to continue to decrease teen pregnancy and start to decrease adolescent STI rates. I want to ensure that adolescents today don’t receive the same, inadequate, incomplete sex education that I received. I want to create programs that provide access to necessary contraception. I could go on. What started as a selfish career path led me to a Master’s program that was about improving the health and lives of entire populations. This Master’s program led me to realize that, as fun as it would be to sit around and write a sex advice column for a living, Dan Savage has some very large shoes that I don’t want to try to fill. As nervous as I am to graduate and find a job, I’m so excited for what’s next.

 I’ve also found the perfect answer to the original question. When you simply respond that you want to work in reproductive health, people usually don’t ask why. 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Rustic Wedding Inspiration

It's been a while since I posted about anything wedding-related! As a quick update, we've booked our venue, videographer, photographer, and hotel block. 

As you might have guessed from the venue pictures, we're going with a more country, rustic theme. It sounds weird to say that we're not the fanciest of people, but we're really not! I never pictured my wedding taking place in a Disney-like ballroom, we both grew up (somewhat) in the country, and this more casual theme just felt very us. My Pinterest has been blowing up with wedding pins, and today I'm sharing some of my favorite inspirations as we plan more of the details for the wedding! 






It's important to me that we don't have a "Pinterest" wedding. (She said, after making an entire post dedicated to Pinterest inspiration...) All I mean by that is that I want to draw inspiration from these ideas, but I don't intend to replicate them entirely. I want our wedding to be unique and special, and I don't want all of our Pinterest-using guests to look around and see things that they've already seen a hundred times online. In some ways, this adds pressure, but in other ways it's exciting! 

Have you planned a special event using Pinterest? How have you made ideas your own? 

Monday, December 8, 2014

O Christmas Tree

I am absolutely obsessed with my Christmas tree this year. We decorated last weekend, and every spare moment has been spent staring at this space with the biggest heart eyes. I love how cozy our den feels with our tree, a roaring fire, and a mug of hot chocolate. Our collection of ornaments is slowly starting to grow, and it's so fun to pull them out and think of all the memories behind each one. Check out a few of my favorites! 

Can I just leave everything up year round? I think it's almost as perfect as Charlie Brown's little tree. 


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Holidays are Confusing

This year's holidays are more stressful to me than in years past. Ryan and I have been trying to do more things with all sides of our families, but that gets so confusing around the holidays. It's definitely a learning year for us, but I feel like I have a continuous stream of questions swirling around in my head. 

How do we divide our time evenly? 

Is it appropriate to wear leggings to Thanksgiving if they're burgundy and look like a cable knit sweater?  

Will there be anything besides potatoes and potatoes and potatoes that will be veggie-friendly at his family's Thanksgiving? 

Even more importantly, will the potatoes even be veggie-friendly!?

How far into the fiance's extended family do I buy/make presents for? 

Will people appreciate homemade gifts this year even though crafting for other people seems like less of a fad than it was a few years ago? 

What am I going to talk about with all of these people at so many events so close together? 

How will we adjust going back and forth between his loud, boozy family, and my more quiet, reserved family?

How long will it take until I get super overwhelmed by all of the people? (I blame this on being an introvert and an only child.)

I think I need to just take a few deep breaths and remember that the holidays are first and foremost a time to spend with loved ones. But really, how do I make it through without feeling totally lost and overwhelmed? Help! 

Thursday, November 20, 2014

I Can't Believe I'm Still Playing Kim Kardashian Hollywood

I have a confession to make. I've been playing Kim Kardashian Hollywood since its release this past summer. It's a pointless game. It's barely interactive. You just "do" the same "tasks" over and over again, tapping the screen over and over and over and over. I don't even think I like the game. I just can't stop playing. 

As you can see from the screenshot above, my A-list celebrity looks a lot like me. I'm wearing a very Kim K. look, have made it to level 23, and am on a date (with my second husband, no less.) Do these things matter in my life? Absolutely not. If this were a game that I enjoyed, I would probably be happy about these things. I get giddy with excitement when I level up in Kingdom Hearts or merge households in The Sims. That is definitely not the case with this game. 

This is all to say that I have an unhealthy obsession with my cell phone. If I'm not refreshing my Instagram/Twitter/Pinterest feeds or playing KKH, my phone is right next to me. I can't watch a show for more than 10 minutes without refreshing all of my apps to see if something new has been posted. I've always said that I'm a great multitasker, but I'm starting to think that I'm just really bad at being present in the moment. 

My second-to-last OSU football game as a student is coming up this weekend, Thanksgiving is next week, and I want to make sure I enjoy these special moments with friends and family instead of constantly being on my phone. (Plus I keep missing really important plot points in Mad Men and Scandal, and it's such a pain to have to rewind so often.) I don't think my love affair with my iPhone will ever end, but I'm aiming to manage it in a different way this holiday season. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Malory Archer is My Spirit Guide

Archer is literally, not figuratively, one of my favorite shows on Netflix and TV. I cannot wait for Season 6 to start this January. I love Malory's character because there isn't a time and a place for sarcasm - for her it's all the time and every place. There's just no filter there. So today I'm bringing you a list of situations when she said exactly what I was thinking but wasn't allowed to say out loud. Malory Archer is my spirit guide. 

Before, during, and after an Ohio State football game when beer is more of a priority than food:

When my perfectly stacked pile of mail falls off my desk at work:  

What I ask myself whenever I'm in a new place and there's not a minibar:  

Any and all interactions on a Monday morning: 

Reading an article about a new breakthrough in Public Health:  

Do you watch Archer? Who is your favorite character? 

Friday, November 14, 2014

You Know You're a Crafter If...

... You've been slowly chipping away at holiday crafts and Christmas presents since July.

... You're so annoyed by all of the Christmas ads and decorations on TV and in stores, but not for the normal 'it's not even Thanksgiving!' reason. They're a constant reminder that you only have 1 1/2 more months to finish all of your holiday knitting/sewing/crocheting. 

... Your hands are numb from holding needles/hooks for too long. You start to wonder if they'll ever regain feeling.

... Your craft supplies storage area looks like a tornado went through it, but you know it won't be clean again until after Christmas. 

... You think thread/yarn snags are the most frustrating thing. Nobody has time to untangle that. 

... You have an unrealistic list of how many people will receive homemade presents from you this year. 

... And around this time, you start removing people from that list. I guess every single woman in my extended family doesn't need a hand-crocheted pair of fingerless gloves. Cookies are easier. 

... Your crafts take over your life. More importantly, your crafts take over you. 

To all of my fellow crafters out there, good luck with your projects this holiday season! 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

She's Got a Blank Space, Baby

I’m going to say something that’s going to upset a lot of Taylor Swift fans.

I think she went too far in her new music video for Blank Space.

Don’t get me wrong – Blank Space is hands down my favorite song on 1989. It’s sassy, incredibly relatable, and just so Taylor. For the most part, I like the video. It’s over the top, and I get what she’s trying to do. I like that she’s self-aware enough to parody how crazy the media portrays her when it comes to relationships. Haters gonna hate hate hate…

But... I think she took it too far. Even though she’s clearly acting, I don’t think it’s okay to shove her ‘boyfriend’ during a fight. I don’t think it’s okay to throw a flowerpot at his head with the (acted) intent of causing him pain. I don't think it's okay to show Taylor's younger audience, who may not understand that this is a parody, that there is a blurred line between verbal and physical arguments. 

Scrolling through my Twitter feed, I've seen how excited every girl is about this video. At the same time, I've been thinking about outraged every one of those girls would be if the genders were reversed. If we saw a music video that portrayed a man shoving a woman and throwing a large, solid object at her head out of pure jealousy, we would be horrified. Social media would have blown up the other way - not out of enthusiasm, but out of anger. 

Is it because of solidarity that Taylor seems to be immune from this sort of scrutiny? Is it because 1989 is new and shiny, and Taylor is on top of the world? It can't be because of feminism, because feminism is about equality, not power over men. 

I don't have an answer, but I am genuinely curious to hear what you think. Watch the video below, and let me know what you think about Blank Space! 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

If I Were Olivia Pope

If I were Olivia Pope...

... I would probably definitely look down on people who drink Three-Buck Chuck as I sip on ridiculously expensive wine out of a glass bigger than my head

... I wouldn't make so many sacrifices for Fitz. Six years (and counting) is too long to wait around for someone who can only offer empty promises, even if he is the president. 

... On that note, I wouldn't have encouraged Fitz to put the presidency before me. That probably makes me a bad American, but whatever. 

... I would probably have a much better handle on my life than I do right now. 

... All of my sneaking suspicions about the government, secret agencies, and scandals would be confirmed true. 

... I would have the most beautiful collection of white coats that look similar but are actually all different and special. Just in general, my business professional wardrobe would be on point. 



... I would have a much bigger home than OP does now. Not that I would need it because I would be too busy to spend any time there. It would be decorated exactly the same, just more. 

... I would need years of therapy to sort out the mess my parents made in my brain. 

... I would definitely have had some sort of mental breakdown from all of the stress and scandal that goes on around me. 

... I never would have left that island. 

Come celebrate Becca's birthday with us!  


Monday, November 10, 2014

Coats! Coats!

Living in Ohio, coats are an absolute necessity. I grew up with one pea coat and one snow coat and couldn't possibly understand why anyone would need more coats than that. Isn't that all you need? There isn't any more room in the family coat closet anyways

Then I watched The Devil Wears Prada for the first time. Since then, all I've ever wanted is to be Meryl Streep. Most specifically, the scene where she flings down all of her coats with so. much. sass. 

Naturally, in my attempts to be just like Meryl, I've started a little collection of coats that I'm hoping to grow a little each year. These are my favorites that I've come across during my online window shopping this season. I need them all. I think the pink is my favorite, but there's just something about the camel. And the black. But how cute is the white!?  Cheers to staying warm in style this winter.