TG It’s The Weekend

Man, I have a bad headache. I think it’s from my neck pain. Typically when it gets bad enough it goes straight up my vertebrae to the top of my head. Ugh!

I’m currently really in the mood to write, but not really equipped to sit at my computer that long right now. I also can’t think straight because of the aforementioned headache. I figured I’d tell y’all what I’ve been working on lately, though. I’ve been doing some more deep writing lately. I’m going to be posting about anxiety, social media, and how problematic I think Hollywood has become. Please hold me accountable to this. None of it is very fun to share, but I think it’s all important and there is a reason I’ve felt pushed to write about it.

I’m also working on creating a weekly email you guys can subscribe to — so I don’t have to do random little updates like this on here anymore. I am undecided between MailChimp and Constant Contact. Any thoughts on either?

Finally, I have a few recipes and shopping trips that are begging to be posted. Sadly, my local Trader Joe’s hasn’t gone crazy with pumpkin stuff this year and I’m just not feeling most of it. I got Jax some pumpkin biscuits the other day, but I haven’t gone crazy yet. There’s still plenty of time for that though, right?

My Proposal To The Bachelor Franchise

There is plenty of footage from The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, and Bachelor in Paradise that we never see. We all know there’s a lot of editing done so that the producers can make people look however they want to add to the drama each season. My guess is, though, with a house filled with people all trying to date the same person, there is probably enough drama that you don’t really have to do that much to curate it. If the casting directors step up their game and really choose people wisely, problems will ensue, drama will happen, and the audience will eat. it. up.

Did you know football is on Friday, literally all day on Sunday, and Monday nights? That’s just the NFL. College football is probably on every day of the week, so you’re pretty much screwed if your significant other cares about all the sports. There’s also baseball, which feels like it’s on every day except Christmas, and the NBA preseason games start in the beginning of October. Like, what is the difference between preseason and the regular season? They’re all 2+ hour games that you want a specific team you’re rooting for to win, whether or not it counts. Hockey starts sometime in the next few months, and again, baseball is on basically year-round, so there is always something taking up space on the television at home.

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Something I think is VERY problematic, is the timing of the bachelor franchise. Football started this week and on Tuesday Bachelor in Paradise ENDS. Like, who even comes up with this?! WE NEED YOU NOW MORE THAN EVER, BIP. I was looking forward to having my own game nights where all my friends come over for pizza and baked goods to cheer on the Nicoles and Clays of the season, and wonder what the heck Caelynn is going to do with Dean coming back when she’s already begun a new relationship with Connor.

Honestly, life isn’t fair in a lot of ways, but this is something human beings can change. We can fight to get ABC to play more of the trashy TV we have grown to love and leave other networks to host sports. I tried to create a petition that people could sign. to get The Bachelor on our television screens on football nights, but I guess Change.org only really accepts petitions for things that really matter.

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I’m sorry, but I need this every night football is on. I want someone to cheer for, and people to root against when they’re sleeping with a handful of the franchise girls at Stagecoach. I want to find out if Hayley and JPJ are meant for each other and can somehow make things work, despite all this inner conflict about falling for Tayshia first.

If Fleiss and friends are scared of the competition of sports, I say, bring it. The franchise has a big enough following that dedicated fans like me will turn on ABC instead of ESPN, and even if they lose a few people along the way, at least the diehard fans are happy, right? We’re the ones who will keep the show going, even through the Arie Luyendyk and Jake Pavelka’s of it all. We stick around during the boring seasons so that we know everyone going into the next show and can root for our next bachelor or bachelorette to find love.

Please consider my plea. I seriously need some sort of break from watching men hurl an oval ball back and forth, and would appreciate all the drama I know you can create for me. Take a page out of the Big Brother handbook, and have live feeds for us. If nothing else, at least put The Bachelor on a few nights a week whenever there are big sporting events. PUT MY ENTERTAINMENT ON MORE OFTEN! It only seems fair to add an emotional competition to all the physical ones we have on television every night, right? Will you accept this proposal, ABC?

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TJ’s Tuesday feat Cotton Candy Grapes

Trader Joe’s is one of my favorite places on earth. I’ve been going since I was a kid, and I think just about every single one of my friends in college was forced to try one thing or another from this divine grocery store.

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I text friends on a pretty regular basis what all of my new Joe’s finds are, so I figured I might as well make a weekly blog post about it. This week we’re in for a real treat too, because they happened to have my favorite fruit in the entire world. You guessed it:

1. Cotton Candy Grapes
I tell everyone about CC grapes. They literally taste exactly like what you would get at the circus or the fair, but aren’t unhealthy! The coolest thing is that they are still organic, despite being some sort of weird hybrid grape. I eat them by the pound, and hope they’ll still be around in a week or two so I can get another giant box.

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Protip: Freeze them for an extra special summer treat!

2. Sea Salt & Turbinado Sugar Dark Chocolate Almonds
That name is a mouthful, and you’ll definitely want to take one of these dark chocolate almonds once you try them. I got hooked on these when I was in college, and they were a great breakthrough to how amazing dark chocolate can be. Even my husband — who hates dark chocolate — eats these by the fistful. They have a perfect sweet and salty mix, and are wildly addicting.

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3. Movie Theater Butter Popcorn
Speaking of college, you could always find me studying with a snack, particularly the perfectly buttered bagged popcorn from Trader Joe’s. It’s almost as good as the real thing, and is way too easy to eat an entire bag in a sitting. I still always keep a bag or two in our pantry because my chocolate lab, Jax, and I enjoy splitting it while watching Big Brother or a goofy Hallmark movie.

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4. Sparkling Watermelon Juice
PLEASE make this a staple, TJ’s!! It breaks my heart that this is a seasonal item because I would like to have these year-round. There came a point where I stocked up on 6 boxes of juice, but sadly I am down to one can now. Hoping they’ll bring it back soon, but if not I’ll be stocking up a lot better next season so they’ll last me at least a few months.

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5. Vitamin E Oil
This is a very recent discovery, but I’m already obsessed with it. You can get this serum for about $5, and it’s amazing to create hydrated and smooth legs after shaving. It felt really great and I would never use it on my face, but it’s really nice for a little extra body shimmer. Just be careful about how much you put on, because it becomes a little greasy quickly.

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Well, that’s all for now, friends. Next week I’ll be posting five new pumpkin things to try at Trader Joe’s, in honor of them bringing out their fall collection. Last year I bought a bunch of pumpkin pancake mix at the end of the season so we could enjoy them year-round. You never know when seasonal items at TJ’s might sell out, so it’s always good to stock up when you can.

Am I Worth Less?

One of the hardest parts about having a chronic illness is feeling like I have less value because I am not contributing as much to the community as my peers. Before I got sick I was working toward pursuing a career in journalism. I took internships, worked part time at a newspaper, and was excited to continue my journey working at Seventeen magazine to hopefully impact young women in a positive way. I have always felt that words are one of the most powerful tools we have, and all of us have a wonderful opportunity to lift others up and make them feel less alone in this big world.

I always dread the question, “So, what do you do?” when I meet someone new. I hate explaining right off the bat, “Well, I got sick when I graduated from college, so I’m trying to get back on my feet and am working on getting my health in line.” Over five years later now I have made leaps and bounds in progress, but I still am figuring out how to manage what I’ve begun to accept as my new normal. Not only is my answer incredibly awkward, but I also just feel so lame not having a cool job or anything to show for my life. I worked so freaking hard before I got sick and have absolutely nothing to show for it anymore. The internship I had at a national news company isn’t relevant anymore, and my job at Seventeen wasn’t able to materialize into what it could have because I couldn’t even walk down the driveway to the mailbox when I first got sick. My illness didn’t just take my body away from me; it took away every sense of normalcy I had ever worked to create. I have nothing to be proud of, and feels like I can’t make an adequate contribution to society anymore. I have relied on others to take care of me, when all I have ever wanted to do was be able to take care of others.

If anyone who had a chronic illness told me they felt worthless, my heart would feel completely broken and I would try as hard as I possibly could to show them what an enormous, ugly lie that was. People shouldn’t feel like they don’t have worth in this world just because their body doesn’t work the way it’s supposed to. Our value does not reside in what we do — or don’t do — for a living, and people can still change lives when their bodies don’t work properly.

Whether or not you are a Christian, I think the Bible has a really beautiful sentiment about our worth as human beings. Psalm 139: 13-14 says, “For You [God] formed my inward parts; You knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are Your works; my soul knows it very well.” This doesn’t say that we have value because of our job or what we do; it says we were born having value. We are made in God’s image, and He only creates beauty for the world. I think it’s very powerful knowing that even before ever doing anything in the world we have irreplaceable value. Just ask a mother of a newborn baby; she will say that her child means absolutely everything to her, and that is merely for existing, it isn’t anything he has done to make her feel this way.

I am a firm believer that everyone has a purpose in the world and can make a difference in a way that no one else could. Just because you are bedridden or need to be taken care of absolutely does not mean you don’t have value in the world. You have qualities to offer people that make you absolutely irreplaceable in their lives, so we need to stop telling ourselves the lie that we aren’t as valuable because we are different.

On the other hand, I understand the ache that is in your heart for the opportunities you have missed and feeling like some of life has passed you by. I don’t have the resume I would have had if I hadn’t gotten sick, and there are a lot of experiences I missed out on. It’s weird listening to my friends all talk about what they’re doing at work and how comfortable they are there. I still remember working at the magazine’s office like it was yesterday, but I also think that experience was so different because you’re the lowest on the totem pole. Dealing with an illness does teach you what is important in the world, though, and gives amazing perspective people often don’t have until much later on in life. It teaches you to hold on to all the amazing blessings you are given, because sometimes they can be fleeting, and to be thankful for the people closest to you. It teaches lessons of patience, hard work, and resilience. You learn what it’s like to be empathetic with people, rather than just offering sympathy, and you are given an opportunity to be a light for others who go through the exact same things you deal with on an every day basis. Chronic illness builds beautiful warriors who have such important lessons they need to share with the world.

I understand questioning your worth as much as anyone else with a chronic illness, and I am right there with you trying to find my own purpose. The words I wrote on this page make sense to my brain and I know that my life has incredible value, but my heart sometimes has a hard time making the connection. I feel lost in a big world that doesn’t understand me, and I am getting swallowed up in the lies I tell myself at night. Being sick has taught me I’m a fighter, though, and I’m not going to stop searching until I figure out what I’m here for. Deep down I know I have an important role in the world. I just might take a little longer to figure out what it is and that’s okay.

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5 Things My Husband Doesn’t Know About Me

Yesterday Robert grilled some hot dogs for lunch, and he actually asked me if I wanted mustard on mine. Gross! How did he not know I am not a fan of condiments, particularly bright yellow mustard? It got me thinking about how funny it is when you learn new things about someone you know really well. I really racked my brain to think of a few other things he might not know about me, and here is a short list:

  1. When I was a preteen I had a bright blue bellbottom tracksuit. No, bell bottoms were not in style or cool in the 90s, but I loved the comfort and style of this getup, and it would be a miracle if I dodged getting pictures in this, because it was seriously my favorite thing ever at the time. This is to date my worst fashion faux pas, and I’m certain I’ll never be worse off than I was back then.
  2. I. Will. Not. Try. Cottage. Cheese. I’m sorry, but the texture freaks me out so much that I cannot bring myself to try a bite. Why are there lumps in it? Is it more like cheese or yogurt? I’ll try pretty much anything, but cottage cheese is a no-go. I’m borderline scared of it. cheese.png
  3. I won the school science fair twice — once in elementary school, and then in the bigger pool of competition in high school. The first was testing out properties of bubble gum which were, in hindsight, not all very scientific, and the second was an experiment with photosynthesis. I don’t even remember what all the findings looked like, but I still have a medal from it.
  4. Ryan Seacrest was my first celebrity crush. I thought he was charming and funny on American Idol, my favorite show at the time, and thankfully this was before social media so I didn’t have to be a Ryan stan defending him against Internet trolls.
  5. I was a weird little kid. I’ve always loved the English language, but I also have made up words since I could talk. A name for something I love? Teedlehopper. That little dip that’s right below your nose and above your lips? Well, I’m glad you asked, that’s a Parison!

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Now I’ll have to post this and wait to hear back from Robert if he knew any of this, or if I’m correct in thinking we’ve never discussed any of it before. I honestly can’t think of anything else he doesn’t already know, particularly about me now, but I’m sure there will be plenty more mustard moments in the rest of our lifetime together. ❤

Friday Favorites

Man, it’s hard keeping up with writing on here! Not because I don’t have the time or even the energy, but more so because everything I write I end up wanting to keep private or don’t have the heart to finish. Today I figured I’d go back to writing about a few of my favorite things. I was tempted to post five different dogs, but I thought this list would be a little more helpful.


Tony’s Chocolonely. I honestly haven’t had anything better, and they’re a really cool company because they focus on making chocolate humanely. Did you know that slavery is still a huge problem, particularly on cocoa farms? It’s crazy to me that one of my favorite foods is actually hurting others, and I love that Tony’s is committed to making all chocolate become slave-free. Go get a bar of the milk chocolate sea salt caramel today. It is a new necessity for me “that time of the month,” and I’m happy to add it to my survival kit.

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Jax is obviously my favorite chocolate thing on earth, though.

Billie Eilish — specifically “Bad Guy” featuring Justin Bieber. I didn’t know if I should put him as a favorite too because honestly his lines are so darn catchy and remind me why I liked the Biebs so many years ago. Billie is an interesting entertainer because she totally breaks the mold of anything we really see in the pop music world. I like that she seems to be unapologetically herself and hasn’t conformed to what Hollywood thinks sells albums.

 

Colorful flowers. I love having them to brighten up our home, and Robert got me some really bright and fun ones from a summer collection a few weeks ago. I used to always say Gerbera Daisies were my favorite kind of flower, but now I like pretty much everything under the sun.

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Crime Junkie. I am a huge fan of podcasts, and Crime Junkie happens to be one of my favorites. Granted, it’s made me a little wary every time I go to the basement to do laundry, but overall the mild paranoia is worth listening to Ashley and Brit tell us about famous — and not so famous — cases. It’s a great thing to listen to during a commute or while doing household chores; just don’t listen late at night when you’re by yourself unless you want to be up all night listening for intruders.

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Finally, Taylor Swift released her song “Lover” last night and I am OBSESSED. She’s back to writing her beautiful love songs and I couldn’t be more here for it!

Checking In

I haven’t written a lot lately because I’ve either felt exhausted or haven’t been in the mood to share anything feelings-y. That seems to be what I write best, but I have had six million different things on my mind, so I have just decided to write about none of it. Years ago when I was in school for journalism, my professors always stressed that the very best way to become a good writer is to do it consistently. Even if you don’t have anything to write about, just put pen to paper and ramble — the good stories will eventually come. I suppose even though I don’t feel like it, I should keep writing little updates here and there. After all, I see so many of you coming here day after day without getting anything new. It’s nice to have people who actually care about what I have to say enough to check in on me! Thank you for caring.

Okay, so here’s what I’ve been up to. First, I became a dog walker for Wag. I’m obsessed with it and will write a separate post all about what that’s been like and how great all the little angels I get to meet are. Dogs are one of the best thing God created, and I kind of can’t believe I get paid to hang out with them!

I’ve also been keeping up with Big Brother, and then not keeping up with The Bachelorette because I’m just kind of bored of the whole premise of the show. I’ve been a fan since at least high school, so that’s a really long time to keep watching the same thing happen season after season. Apparently Luke P is pretty bad though, and I’m sure the finale will be “Something we’ve never seen in the history of the show.” I’m looking at you, Chris Harrison.

Hmm what else. I made really good gluten-free fried chicken for dinner last night. I’m going to be experimenting with a few new recipes later this week, and am excited to get back into the routine of cooking a little more again. I keep meaning to post my General Tso’s chicken recipe for y’all too, as I got a million messages about it on Instagram a few months ago and never delivered. Like I said, I’ve been pretty tired lately. Anyway, I think I’ll go ahead and start drafting something else for tomorrow. This post was written about a week ago, and I need to get better about being consistent with posting on time.