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!

nose.png

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. ❤

True Crime Podcast Reviews

I love podcasts.

I’ve been writing about entertainment stuff lately because somehow I haven’t been wanting to write about feelings and deeper topics, but seeing I studied journalism and was headed toward the path of an entertainment journalist, I think this is fitting enough.

Dirty John 5/10

I liked listening to Dirty John, and got through the series in just two days. It is a short series with only 6 episodes, 7 if you include the live questions after the season ends. I was surprised about the nature of the show. I have heard it’s a really good true crime, but I expected it to be a little more filled with twists and turns. Instead, I found that it was more about emotional abuse, and the way John manipulated those around him. It was still very interesting, but not worth quite the hype I felt was surrounding the show.

Serial 8/10

Serial is an interesting series because there are currently 3 different seasons, and like Dirty John, there was a television show created as a follow up. The first season of Serial follows a murder trial, the second follows the investigation of Bowe Bergdahl, a US soldier who was held prisoner of the Taliban for almost 5 years, and the third season has a lot of smaller stories in each episode to show a “behind the scenes” peek into the court systems in the United States. I liked each of the seasons, but surprisingly preferred the last two. I felt like the first season showed way too much of a bias and almost as though the convicted murderer, Adnan, charmed Sarah, the woman who did the interviews for the show, a little too much. I think he basically convinced her he was innocent, and she justified too many of his actions or explanations after seeing very blurry facts.

I liked the third season because it was so interesting to get to see a full case play out in the criminal justice system. I love shows like Law and Order SVU, so getting to hear some real stories play out and see how the police and court handle criminals was fascinating. If you haven’t listened to Serial yet, this should be one of the next podcasts on your list.

crime scene.png

Crime Junkie Podcast 10/10

Currently OBSESSED with this pod. So much so, that I even heard my husband humming the theme song the other night, and he hasn’t even listened to an episode with me. I think it’s because it’s super catchy and I’ve been listening nonstop since I discovered it. The hosts, Ashley Flowers and Brit Prawat, are super entertaining and such good storytellers. They find interesting crimes to talk about and have some solved and other unsolved mysteries. I like being able to research afterwards, and there are dozens of episodes for me to catch up on. I like this one so much I think I’ll sign up for their Patreon account after I finish everything!

Confronting O.J. Simpson with Kim Goldman 7/10

The new podcast about O.J. is interesting, especially since I didn’t live through this trial, so don’t know as much about it as I could. I’m a little bit of a KUWTK fan, so listening through some of the details that made the family famous is quite interesting. I kind of zoned out a little, though, and wasn’t interested enough to rewind and hear what I had missed, so it’s not as captivating as other podcasts. This is just airing now, so there are only 3 episodes out, but it’s worth a listen if you’re even just remotely interested in this murder case.

Man in The Window 10/10

This is my favorite podcast that is currently going on. It’s #1 in the charts right now, and for good reason. Man in The Window is about the Golden State Killer, and although his crimes took place in the 70s and 80s, Joe DeAngelo was arrested recently for these crimes, and it is all so fresh that he hasn’t even entered a plea yet. It apparently might take years for the trial to begin, but it will definitely be more interesting following along after listening to this show. One of the episodes gave me goosebumps, and it’s definitely not something you want to listen to unless you’re in the mood for some heavy true crime.


What are your favorite podcasts? I clearly like true crime and am currently hooked on it, but I’m game for pretty much anything. A few more lighthearted favorites include The Morning Toast, Reality TV RHAP-ups during the Big Brother season, How I Built This, Off The Vine, and a political podcast that will remain nameless.

GoT Season 5

Oh my gosh. I am on season five of Game of Thrones. This has been quite a wild ride, but I’m powering through and think I’ll make it by Sunday. I don’t think you can catch up in time if you haven’t started already, but if you’re only a few seasons behind — like I am now — I’m kind of an expert on how to get it all done in time for the final season’s premiere on Sunday. I didn’t think I could do it, but based on how fast I’m getting through now I think I’ll be all caught up and able to enjoy season 8 with all the people who have been fans for almost a decade now.

Here are my secrets:

Download HBO Now and learn to multitask. They have a free week trial and that’s all you need, then you can switch to any other HBO source or watch parties for the rest of season 8. I like watching on my phone, and this has been key to catching up efficiently. Here are the places I have watched GoT:

  • In bed. I watch it when I wake up or when I go to sleep. Basically whenever I can; I’m all for cramming any chance I get.
  • In the kitchen while I’m making dinner, eating cereal, and when I’m cleaning up.
  • I watch in the shower. I take my iPhone and turn the volume up full blast, and tilt the screen so I can watch it while I shampoo and condition. This is a crucial step, because it shows just how important it is to watch literally every chance you get. Just because you’re taking a shower does not excuse you from the throne.
  • At the gym. Thanks for making me feel right at home, Planet Fitness! Your lax attitude towards us working out makes me feel less weird about spending 50 minutes biking and watching people fight with swords.
  • Any errands you run can be made into a GoT session. For instance, I went to Giant to go grocery shopping and put my phone on the little seat in the cart to watch as I picked out vegetables for dinner. Granted, I came home with onions instead of carrots, but I still consider it a win, because I got through the rest of the episode while I was out.
  • You can even just listen to some of the slower parts of the show. This is good for activities that require a little more attention, but when you aren’t using too much brainpower.

catch up.png

dinner.png

Recruit someone to watch with you. It’s been nice having a husband who is also invested enough in the show to watch the older seasons with me, but I also have a big group of friends who like chatting about it. Talking all about the show and nothing else has helped me catch up quickly because I have a duty to fulfill. I have to be able to keep up with everyone else in season 8 so we can all talk about it. Life isn’t just all about me anymore. I have people counting on me, and I don’t intend to let them down.

Post about it. A lot. If you follow my Instagram you’ve maybe seen my 30+ posts a day about the show. I’ve asked questions and made goofy observations, and talking to everyone about it helps me absorb more information in a short amount of time. I can’t pay complete attention to the screen while I’m multitasking, so asking things like, “How is someone going to be worse than Joffrey?” (Oh, Krista, you had a lot to learn) or, “What the heck is a stone man?” I still don’t know the significance of stone men, but I have a feeling we’ll barely ever see them again.

stone man.png

brienne.png
This story got a lot of laughs for some reason. I think because this dude is barely in it? I do have confirmation that he will not fall in love with Brienne, though.

Don’t prioritize anything above watching. Sure you’ll be invited to social events and maybe you even have an important appointment. Any free time you have, though, has to be dedicated to Game of Thrones. Have a first date on the books? Cancel it. Or, see if he wants to watch with you — as long as you didn’t meet him online and he could be potentially a major creep. Your excuse is that you have to go to the dentist? Reschedule. They’ll understand; after all, winter is coming, and you have to prepare. 

Final Destination Basketball Games

Gosh, I never realized how little Robert knows about basketball until we watched one of the Celtics’ biggest games of the year on Friday.

Alright, alright. I mean me. Sadly, I am married to someone who loves watching sports, and I don’t keep up with them in the least. I made my first bracket for the NCAA March Madness tournament (College basketball, for those of you who know even less than I do) and failed miserably. I got 12th out of 13 teams — and the 13th person didn’t fill out theirs at all. Apparently, though, most of the people probably cheated, as there are little numbers telling you who is in what seed, but I didn’t know that when I chose my teams. So you can basically look at those and guess who’s going to make it pretty far. Instead, I had to choose based on who I had heard of in the past, what team sounded cooler, which mascot I liked best, or which had better colors if everything else was tied. Basically, I didn’t get the little cheat sheet that would have hinted that Gonzaga is actually a good team and shouldn’t just remind me of Gorgonzola cheese. I think I would have kept them past the first round had I known they were a one seed. The only plus was that I kept one bad team in that had an upset, so I got a lot of points for that. I don’t remember which team it was, so please don’t ask. Maybe a Texas or Tennessee team? Is one of them kind of bad but made it far?

Back to the Friday night game, though. I strongly believe in the “fake it until you make it” method, so I wasn’t about to seem like I didn’t know what I was talking about during the game. So in true Krista fashion, I joked my way though the entire thing. I either got a few good chuckles, an “I’m impressed with your extensive basketball knowledge” comment, or a look of complete horror that I could possibly be that unaware of what’s going on in the game. Each of these were completely worth it since we laughed a lot more and I felt surprisingly entertained during the whole ordeal.

Here are some tactics I used, and how well I think they worked in making me sound like a sports genius:

Rambling about the players’ personal lives. 8/10

“Yeah, he’s got several siblings, so I’m sure they’re proud of their brother for playing professional ball.” This statement gives me a ton of credibility. First, by giving a nonspecific fact that has a good chance of being true, you are building your credibility while not being questioned very much on the legitimacy of the fact. If Robert questioned me more I could Google the answer and would likely find that Jaylen Brown would have at least a sibling or two. Using more obscure players — perhaps on the bench — would give a lower likelihood of questioning, as people will be less curious about their personal lives. Next time I need to pay closer attention to the benched players and focus on them a little more.

jaylen.png
Yes, Google, I will claim this knowledge now. Jaylen Brown does have a sibling, therefore I must know a lot about basketball.

Second, calling “Basketball” just “Ball” makes me seem like a super-fan. You can shorten a lot of different words to sound cooler and like you’re in the know with the sport. “Double dribble” suddenly becomes a “Double,” “Three pointer,” turns into shooting a “Three,” and so forth. Also, I have noticed a lot of moves in sports are shortened to just a few letters. “Touchdown” is “TD,” and “QB” for “Quarterback.” This tells me that saying something like, “Man, LeBron needs to work on his FT’s!” would be pretty cool. Maybe “free throw” isn’t typically called “FT,” but whoever you are watching with will surely not correct you because it just sounds legit, and they won’t want to risk look like a fool schooling you on something that may or may not be expert lingo.

I’ve seen several Celtics games now, so I know that Al Horford seems like a really nice guy, and that he’s a married man. I don’t know anything about his wife, though I should probably begin studying because I do actually like learning about the players’ stories, and am much more interested in that than their stats on the court. I took what I knew and ran with it. I talked about what a nice guy Horford is and how cute his family is. I wondered whether his kids would eventually be pro basketball players, and Robert completely tuned out as I rambled about generalizations you could probably make about most good families. I wouldn’t say he was impressed by my knowledge, but it definitely didn’t hurt being an expert on something that he knew nothing about.

horford.png
Horford’s most recent Instagram post was about his family. Looks like I did well with this one too! Photo Credit: Instagram @AlHorford

Making observations based on the players’ appearances. -2/10

As soon as I saw Brian Scalabrine, I had a sneaking suspicion he was Irish. There were a few standout features that gave me confidence, so I went for it. “Did you know Brian Cabrini is Irish?” I asked without letting on that I had never seen this man in my entire life. Sadly, I misheard his name, but Robert didn’t seem to notice. He was just slightly unimpressed and more interested in watching the game than talking about one of the announcers. Noted.

brian announcing.png
Photo Credit: Brian’s Instagram @WhiteMamba
brian.png
Back in his balling days.

There was a man playing basketball with something that looked like a delicate fabric cast on his left arm. It looked like it would be for managing sweat, but why wouldn’t he be wearing it on both arms then? That logic is pretty good, so it must be for an injury of some sort. I decided to call it a broken elbow, even though it didn’t even touch that part of his body. For some reason I found this to be more entertaining because I figured it would be funny if Robert didn’t notice that and it would just be hilarious for him to think I was that much of a noob. I had to keep going with it to sound legit, so I said, “Yeah, it’s great he’s recovered so well from the break. I was afraid he’d be out all season!” I got a look of complete confusion, followed by a, “No he didn’t, and that isn’t even touching his elbow.” Darn! The reaction was worth me looking like an idiot, though.

celtics.png
Photo Credit: Instagram @Celtics

I’m going to go ahead and give this method a negative two because if anything it hurt my credibility. I talked too much about people that didn’t matter and made inaccurate observations. I think if I had taken it a little more seriously I could have actually made myself seem like a basketball nerd, but I wasn’t in the mood to be serious. I’ll try it again next time.

Changing the subject if you don’t know something. 4/10

My methods must have worked pretty well, because Robert quizzed me on things during the game. Some of the questions he asked were insultingly easy. “He’s wearing green shorts,” I answered. “The sky is blue.” Okay, so none of them were that easy, but it basically on that level, as I know the very basics of basketball. After all, I was the knockout champion of gym class my sophomore year of high school. Anyway, he realized I knew random facts, so figured he would quiz me on the game more. When he asked me what an “and one” was, for example, I mumbled something too softly for him to hear and changed the subject.

“Wow! I forgot that Kyrie might get MVP this year!” Apparently, they don’t have an MVP for each team, though, and there’s only one for the entire NBA. That makes his chances of getting it really slim, and I can’t remember for sure, but I don’t think he’s really in the running for that right now… It would have been wise to have memorized a few facts ahead of the game, but I’ll remember that for next time.

Unfortunately, my plan might have worked if I had a more interesting fact in my pocket, but it just hurt my credibility. He asked again what the “and one” was, so I said it was Michael Jordan’s basketball clothing line. Sadly, I should have kept it a little less specific and I think that would have impressed him. Apparently Michael Jordan’s line is called the “Jordan Brand,” and is a part of Nike’s collection. And One is its own basketball brand. They claim to be “the greatest basketball brand EVER,” and I believe them. There is a move in basketball called “and one,” though, and it means you get an extra free-throw shot after you make one while getting fouled. I hope I explained that well, I just learned about it on Friday.

I gave this method a 4 out of 10 because I think it could have worked better if I had some real facts to throw out during the game. Changing the subject is a little annoying, but if you have something more impressive and more important to say, why not? This will go better the next time around, I just know it.


What are some good basketball facts I should know for the next time we watch? Where did you study to learn more about sports? I think I’m learning just from watching the games, but there is a lot to remember and are a lot of players who look like they’re doing the same thing on the court, even though they have completely different jobs.

Crispy Pesto Salmon

One of my best friends, Nicole, called me from Trader Joe’s the other day because she knows how much of a TJ’s fan I am. She wanted to know about a few of the items there, and after chatting for awhile I decided she would probably love to try my crispy pesto salmon. It is absolutely delicious and has the perfect little crunch over a creamy basil pesto sauce. Hungry yet?

Gluten-free Crispy Pesto Crusted Salmon

Okay, so here are the ingredients:
-Wild Caught Salmon (Boneless)
-Pesto
-Mayonaise
-Lemon Juice
-Corn Flakes Crumbs
-Extra Virgin Olive Oil
-Sweet Potatoes
-Broccoli
-Salt
-Pepper

pesto salmon ingredients

Step 1: Preheat oven to 400°F. I almost always do 400 because it’s just easy to remember and 50° above or below 350° and 450°, so I figure it works no matter what.

Step 2: Chop up the sweet potatoes and broccoli florets and put them on a cookie sheet. I always do the veggies first so I can use the same cutting board and knife for the meat. It makes cleanup so much easier having fewer dishes! I also always use aluminum foil because it’s easier to clean off a pan this way.

salmon pan.png

Step 3: Drizzle EVOO, salt, and pepper on the vegetables. Feel free to get crazy and add spices like cinnamon or turmeric to them if you’d like! They’re known for regulating blood sugar and helping with inflammation.

Step 4: Pat the salmon dry, and cut it into however many servings you’d like. It doesn’t matter how large or small the fillet is.

 

salmon raw
I cut each of these into 3 filets.

Step 5: Put the salmon on the same pan as the veggies. You can drizzle a little EVOO on the pan before placing it there, and then cover in salt and pepper.

Step 6: Make the pesto sauce. Mix 4/5 parts pesto, 1/5 parts mayo. It doesn’t really matter how much mayonnaise you decide to use, but I always like the pesto to still have a very green color. It just looks a little more pale when you put the mayonnaise in. I should note that I hate mayo in everyday life, but it adds a good creaminess to this dish!

salmon pesto sauce.png

Step 7: Spread as much of the sauce as you’d like on top of the salmon filets. I usually make it a little thick so there’s more flavor, but if you want it super-crispy, be more conservative with the sauce. Then, sprinkle as much of the Corn Flakes as you’d like on top of the mixture on the salmon, and put it in the oven to cook.

salmon on sheet pan.png

salmon crispy.png

salmon sheet pan crispy.png

Step 8: Bake until the salmon is ready (It depends on how well done you’d like it), and the vegetables begin to brown.

Step 9: While your food cooks, make the extra pesto sauce. Mix the same ratio of pesto and mayo, then add a few squeezes lemon juice, a pinch of salt, and a few pinches of pepper.

salmon topping.png

Once everything is done cooking, take it out of the oven and top with as much of the extra pesto sauce as you’d like. Robert likes it on his veggies too, but I only eat it on the salmon because I think that’s kind of weird and I like the vegetables just the way they are.


Post a comment if you decide to try this how you like it! I didn’t post a picture of the end result because 1) I was too hungry and took a few bites before I realized I probably should have gotten a pretty picture and 2) I don’t know how to make brown things look appetizing. The end of this reminded me of Thanksgiving dinner — it tastes amazing but no matter how hard you try to make your plate look good, it never in a million years will.

The Most Important Questions

I never realized how stressful football watching can be until I became a Patriots fan. My heart raced in the last half of the game against Kansas City yesterday. It’s not easy caring whether or not your team makes it to the next game, especially if it’s as important as the Super Bowl.

Becoming a football fan can be confusing, though. It’s not like the announcers explain things for us newbies, so I have to keep my trusty iPhone by my side for the questions I don’t feel like bothering Robert with. I wanted to share some of my new knowledge with you, so here are the questions I Googled during the game:

NFL.jpg

The first thing I looked up (after ordering wings, of course) was,

“Good thing to say during Kansas City and Patriots [game].”

I found a few things that contributed to our football-watching, and Robert was so into the game that he didn’t seem to notice that I had looked some stats up. Usually he catches me redhanded in a Google. Once the game started, I began getting into it. It’s nice being able to understand things like what a “first down” is and why the quarterback sometimes passes it and sometimes hands it off to someone (the running back, of course). I know, I know. I’m pretty cool for knowing a thing or two about football. That’s not the purpose of this blog post, though. I am going to open your eyes to a new part of the NFL. Here are some of the most important questions I now have the answers to:

“Can you grab an NFL player by the hair?”

The answer is yes, yes you can. Which led me to wonder why anyone would have hair that falls outside their helmet. They likely weren’t children on the playground with a ponytail to be grabbed during a vicious game of capture the flag or never snuggled up to a significant other to watch a movie, only to have their hair laid on and ripped out by the root. These two traumas are enough to make me cringe so hard when I think about the players’ scalp injuries throughout their career.

My next question was,

“What do football players keep in their fanny packs?”

I found the answer to the question of the century. Before I answer it, here were my guesses: Gatorade chewies, a towel to wipe off sweat, thirst-quencher gum (which definitely doesn’t work btw), and maybe a picture of a girlfriend or wife. I like to think the players are romantics too — more on this later.

None of my guesses were right… Not even close! I didn’t find a legit article on this because apparently everyone just knows what this part of the uniform is for, but my husband confirmed that Quora was correct and that they are actually not really meant to carry things. The “fanny packs” are actually just hand warmers. Very interesting.

The next question I Googled was my favorite because I found a gem of a GIF.

“Has an NFL player ever been ‘pantsed?'”

The reason I thought of this was because I kept seeing them grab each other by the jersey. Sometimes shirts would fly up a little, so I figured there must have been some point in time where a player just lost complete control of their uniform and found themselves exposed. Mr. Jackson, I am so sorry, but I have to share this picture with the world because it is just so darn funny. I couldn’t find any interviews about this incident, but I hope you had a good sense of humor about it too. Wardrobe malfunctions happen to the best of us, and I guess it’s just part of the risk of being an NFL player.

Then it was halftime and they had a bunch of commercials. One of my favorites was the one with the two NFL players who opened a cupcake franchise! They were freaking adorable, and I really want to order some cupcakes just to know they have the opportunity to bake them together for me. They looked like they were having so much fun, and despite knowing they will actually not be hand making the chocolate salted caramel and chocolate chip cookie dough cupcakes for me, at least I’m still supporting their sweet dream (And yes, Gigi’s Cupcakes does deliver. Order some here to celebrate Super Bowl Sunday).

Gigis.jpg
Photo Credit: Gigi’s Cupcakes Bee Cave Facebook

Brian Orakpo and Michael Griffin’s adorable interaction prompted me to look up who were some best friend duos in the NFL. I saw a few cute relationships and took note of Tom Brady and Julian Edelman since they are on my team, but somehow during all of this Googling I decided to look up Stephen Gostkowski to see if he seemed like a nice guy. Actually, the reason I did was because I am still looking for someone to support by wearing their jersey, and I noticed he was a really good kicker. I liked that he had my favorite number — 3 — and I think the kickers are underrated. This guy dictates whether or not we get precious points, and he didn’t crack under pressure at all! I don’t often see this jersey floating around the DC area, which is why I think he is the one I want to represent every Sunday.

After reading some about Gostkowski’s career and finding out that he is a genuinely good guy, I clicked on his wife’s name to see what their story was. Reading about the player’s personal lives is one of my favorite things about sports, and people’s love lives is the top thing I like meddling in. Guys. They are adorableIt looks like they’ve been together forever and have a really solid relationship. I’m always really happy to see celebrities or athletes who seem to be grounded. I looked up “cutest NFL relationships,” and theirs is still one of my favorites.

kicker.png
Photo Credit: Patriots Instagram

My last thing I looked up was,

“The reason for black paint under eyes.”

There is a reason so many athletes wear black paint, but I don’t know if I really buy it. I kind of think it’s their way of feeling cool, but apparently it’s to help them see better. I still am not sure what exactly they use; is it face paint, a sticker, or a charcoal mask that really makes it a convenient dual purpose? It just seems like the kind of thing football players do to show that they belong to a club we can’t be a part of.

makeup.png

Well, joke’s on them, because I got some Blaq charcoal eye masks in my most recent FabFitFun box and not gonna lie, they totally make me seem tough.

Do you know any interesting football facts? Who are some of the nicest players in the league? I think it’s time to start writing articles about the important things in life, not just statistics. Wouldn’t that make the game even more interesting to watch?

A Scary Halloween Eve

I was supposed to watch a scary movie tomorrow, but it looks like we’ll be doing something more along the lines of Halloweentown or Hocus Pocus. A Disney movie is kind of what I need right now. You see, I had the bright idea of watching a scary movie tonight, and settled on the first one we found on demand. BIG. MISTAKE.

It ended up grabbing me in just enough to care about whether or not the girls were okay at the end of the movie, but I hated every single minute of watching it. I went under the covers, would “go to the bathroom” basically every other scene, and used my hands as shields. It was the first time I realized Kanye glasses actually make some sort of sense.

Screen Shot 2018-10-30 at 10.15.25 PM.png
Photo Credit: CapitalFM.com

Anyway, I am sitting at the kitchen table, wide awake, trying to laugh the fright away. I started by making some tasty ravioli while listening to a funny podcast, but that wasn’t strong enough. So I brought in the cheeriest thing I could think of: a rootbeer float.

Screen Shot 2018-10-30 at 10.21.23 PM

Normally I watch a Hilary Duff movie after a scary flick, but I am just not feeling Material Girls or A Cinderella Story tonight. I think a nice caffeine-free dessert was just what I needed to calm the jitters a little… I now know that when I am scared, I get hungry and just want to eat. Somehow I think that’s not a normal human instinct that goes along with fear, but I’m okay with masking my fear with a little ice cream and soda.

Now I am off to binge on The Office or a nice, funny episode of Nathan for You. Happy Halloween everyone!

Marks In Time

A lot can change in a year.

Time is a funny thing because as intangible as it is, it sometimes feels very concrete. There are certain things that make time more significant. You know both college and high school are going to last 4 years, your birthday will be around again exactly 365 days from the last one, and the Christmas season is every 48 weeks or so. Having a chronic illness makes time a little fuzzy sometimes, though. I have had POTS since August of 2013 and can pinpoint different phases throughout my journey, but it feels weird that I’m coming up on five years now. I have been fighting for my health longer than the time I spent in college, which is super weird. When I think about going to Mason I have such different memories from each year I was there. When I was a freshman I was timid and shy. I didn’t feel like I had a place I belonged, and I left campus to stay with my family just about every other weekend. I liked my classes and had a couple of really close friends I would keep for the rest of my life, but I was still figuring everything out.

My sophomore year was a blast. I made so many new friends, and I had a group of people who felt like home. I made friends with the girls I would call my roommates the next year, and I was an editor for the school newspaper. I didn’t find as much confidence with writing until later in college, but I looked forward to every day I would spend in the Broadside office with all of the other aspiring writers. Sophomore year was spent finding myself, and learning what I wanted to do the rest of my time in college.

Junior year was probably my favorite. I loved feeling secure with some of the best friends I could ever dream of, and had a great balance of work and play. I turned 21 that year and will never forget that birthday. I waited to drink until I turned 21, so all of my friends crammed into our little apartment living room to celebrate with me. People brought six packs of different things to drink, but I stuck with a cherry Smirnoff Ice. I was surprised it didn’t taste very alcoholic, and took my time sipping on my new favorite drink. That year we spent long nights dancing at the bar down the street every Thursday, and still had the energy to go out and explore restaurants and museums on Friday and Saturday.

Senior year before moving to New York is a blur, but my last semester of college spent in the city was one of the best memories from those four years. I had my fair share of adventures, long hours working overtime in the office, and despite blocking it out most of the time, I had my share of lonely nights in that little shoebox apartment on the eighth floor. New York was definitely an enormous highlight of my college career, and I’m still so thankful for each and every memory I gathered from that time.

Screen Shot 2018-02-21 at 12.19.50 PM.png
My mom took this picture of me my first month being a New Yorker. I felt so at home rushing around the city in my little dresses and tights, and fit in with all the editors at Seventeen by living on coffee, books, and cupcakes.

Do you see how easy it was for me to create four years of my life?

It hasn’t really been like that again until recently. The first few years of getting sick really blur together. I have a little bit of a timeline I can create, but it isn’t the same concrete, certain one I have from every other year of my life.

I got sick and went to a million different doctors. I had my heart hooked up to echocardiograms, holter monitors, and got tested for diseases I had never heard of. I watched The Food Network, then I watched The Office, then even later I started a new series called Pretty Little Liars. I went to the local shopping center with friends and found myself lying on the lobby floor of the movie theater to keep from fainting. I went home and cried, and wondered why I was the person God allowed to get sick. I remember nights of lying on the couch and having conversations with friends about the outside world I no longer felt a part of, and wondering aloud if I would ever be able to have a normal twenty-something life again. I remember getting my first job while I was home sick, then having chronic, debilitating pain from using my arms too much. I was diagnosed with Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, and had to stop doing the one thing that made me feel kind of normal and independent.

I remember moments, but I have no idea when they happened.

I also don’t know when I started getting better, as it’s been super-slow, but there are a few things that offer great markers of healing. One year ago my mom hosted a Bunco party at our home. She always takes the month of February, and I often get invited to come play with her group when it’s held at our house. Bunco is essentially a game of rolling dice and giving an opportunity to catch up with friends. Last year I remember finishing the game and going upstairs and feeling heartbroken at all the pain I was in — just from rolling dice for an hour. My pectoral muscles were sore and ropey, and my shoulders and arms burned with sharp, constant pain. I regretted taxing myself so much for a game, but I also wondered how something so simple could cause so much of an issue. It wasn’t normal, and I hated having to choose between living my life and feeling good. 

She hosted this same party again last night and I got to attend. I am sore and by the end of the night I was glad to be done with the rolling motions, but today isn’t an 8 or 9 on the pain scale like it was last year. My physical therapy sessions are so beneficial for my health, but I will be able to make it until my Friday appointment without trying to hold it together while I’m reeling in pain. I’m more sore than I am on an average day, but I don’t feel like I’m going to have a complete breakdown from being in pain. I can easily handle a little bit of soreness and as long as I take it a little easier today I will make up for everything with my stretching and workouts. This is proof that despite relying heavily on physical therapy and rest, I am making progress.

Screen Shot 2018-02-21 at 12.16.50 PM.png

Today’s lesson: Even if you feel frustrated because something isn’t changing, taking a look at the really big picture and having little mile markers is so helpful for keeping spirits high. I still may have a long way to go in being normal again (And maybe I’ll never quite get there), but any kind of baby steps I can take is still progress. I’ve already learned so much through my journey, and I trust God to be with me every step of the way. Staying positive and remembering blessings throughout every step helps me have a thankful heart. My path has helped me become more empathetic, kind, and understanding, and it has led me to my new forever family member, which is absolutely priceless.

It’s A Nightmare On M Street

I’ve never been to Nightmare on M Streetbut every year I tell myself that next Halloween I’ll give it a go. At 26, though, I’ve decided I’m done with bar crawls.

Since I got POTS I haven’t been a huge fan of going out into big crowds as I often feel dizzy and worry about fainting in a crowded area, but even if I didn’t have a chronic illness I don’t think it would be my jam anymore. It’s hilarious talking to friends who feel the same way. I definitely still have a mix of people who enjoy big parties and loud music, but for the most part everyone is starting to settle down and enjoy a more low-key weekend with family or a friend or two.

Yesterday I handed out a few handfuls of candy with my mom, then went over to give out candy with Robert. Guys. I don’t think Halloween has ever been this much fun before. Giving out candy and seeing all the trick-or-treaters made my heart so happy! I definitely started off a bit too jazzed, though, as I told the kids, “Take as much as you want,” and then quickly realized there were going to be too many people stopping by to make that a sustainable practice. It was just so great seeing their eyes light up as they chose their favorite chocolate bars from the mix!

Screen Shot 2017-11-01 at 11.48.56 AM

I also loved how polite most of the kids were. I remember when I used to go door to door every Halloween how I would only take a piece of candy unless offered otherwise. Most kids this year were really sweet and thankful, but it cracked me up when one of the girls dug her hand deep into the bottom of the bowl and scooped out as many pieces of candy as her hand could hold. She was the reason I had to start rationing the candy better, and when she came back for a second treat a half hour later, I had to tell Robert that he’d need to turn her down if she had the guts to come back for a third scoop (thankfully she didn’t) because we still had a good hour left for other kids to come to the house.

Sitting by the door with a bowl of candy in my lap was one of the most fun evenings I’ve had in awhile. I loved seeing all the creative costumes, complimented the ones that weren’t the coolest to other kids, but that I thought were neat — like a Groot and a “sweatpants mannequin,” which was made from a black bodysuit that covered even his eyes — and I smiled about all the little middle schoolers who probably wouldn’t get to go out again next year. I love seeing any age of children trick-or-treating; even the older kids who don’t really dress up are great because I think it’s sweet that they are still doing something as innocent as getting free candy with their time instead of getting into trouble.

By the end of the night the kids had cleaned out almost 3 big bags of candy, but Robert and I noticed that that we were left with primarily Almond Joy candy bars and Whoppers. We’ve been having a big debate on my Facebook page about which is better, and somehow far more people seem to like Almond Joys than Whoppers. What the heck?! I always liked getting Whoppers in my pillowcase, but I never met a kid who liked an Almond Joy. I suppose next year we’ll need to try to find big bags of Reeses mixed only with Hershey’s bars, Twix, and M&Ms, rather than trying to pawn off the two untouchable candy bars. You live and learn, right?

Screen Shot 2017-11-01 at 4.14.29 PM.png
This was the “before and after” of our candy bowl. Note all the Whoppers and Almond Joys that were left! >_<

I’m already really excited for Halloween next year, as I want to give out more candy and keep seeing cute costumes throughout the evening. I think we will need to go all out in the decorating to try to really attract a crowd next year. What’s your favorite part about Halloween? And are you as excited about Christmas as I am now? Sadly I hate most Christmas music, but I can’t wait to start seeing all the decorations and enjoying all the Hallmark Christmas specials and movies on ABC Family (now known as Freeform) as I want!

Girl’s Weekend

Getting away with some of your best girl friends is always so great for your heart. This past weekend I went to the beach with Audrey and Melissa, and even though I didn’t feel my best the entire time it was such a wonderful getaway.

We left on Friday after I was all hydrated and salted up (Does anyone else with POTS feel like you are a car that needs to be oiled when you’re taking care of your body? It’s such a funny routine to me, but needs to be done to feel even halfway decent). Our drive to Virginia Beach actually wasn’t bad at all. We didn’t really hit the anticipated beach traffic, and I only had to stop to pee twice! This is amazing with all the water I drink every day… My trip to New York City is the perfect example of how inconvenient (And sometimes embarrassing) this can be.

Screen Shot 2017-06-01 at 10.54.34 AM.png

Anyway, we ended up getting there a little early, so hit up our favorite smoothie and sandwich joint before heading to the beach. If you ever get the chance to check out Zeke’s Beans & Bowls you totally should. They have the best smoothies, juice, and Greek chicken rice bowls!

After that we checked in to our motel and headed to the beach. It was really hilarious driving up and realizing that we had booked a motel instead of a hotel. It was actually pretty nice despite having a little bit of a rowdy crowd around our room. They even had a pool directly next to the busy highway! We didn’t utilize it at all, but if we had I think we would just avoid peak traffic hours on the off-chance a car veered two feet to the left of the road and into the pool.

Screen Shot 2017-05-31 at 2.53.58 PM.png
“Low Rates Come And Stay. N ow H rng” I think they might have run out of letters or something…
Screen Shot 2017-05-31 at 2.55.17 PM.png
Really the only inconvenient thing about our motel was that the shower didn’t really drain well.
Screen Shot 2017-05-31 at 2.52.32 PM.png
I figured this out my first time in the shower after the beach and from there on out had to take breaks between shampooing and conditioning to let the tub drain a little.

Audrey and Melissa were kind enough to split the amount of work and each added a half of a person to their beach load so I wouldn’t hurt my arms carrying my things. I always feel really bad making people hold my things for me, but they make it really easy to ask for help — by taking my things without me even having to ask! I felt really blessed that every time we left the room one of them would stretch out their arm to take my purse and water bottle from my hand. From now on I think I need to purchase purses that would suit my friends better than myself — after all, they’re the ones who usually carry them anyway!

Screen Shot 2017-05-31 at 9.39.45 AM.png
Acts of service is becoming a love language that I’m noticing more and more as I need help with so much.

We had a really nice day at the beach lying on our towels, dipping our toes into the water, and talking about dating. It was too cold to really swim, but Friday was the nicest beach day we had while we were gone.

Screen Shot 2017-05-31 at 9.38.45 AM.png

Screen Shot 2017-05-31 at 9.59.06 AM.png
The best beach snack combination… Chocolate and La Croix! The chocolates had a nice crunch to them from the sand.

We went to Kohr Brothers every single day we were there, as it’s probably my favorite dessert place in the world (Maybe even above Pinkberry!). I’m a pretty happy camper when you give me anything chocolate peanut butter related, but this is the closest you get to a taste of heaven on earth.

Screen Shot 2017-06-01 at 10.28.24 AM.png
I couldn’t wait to eat the ice cream before the picture, so this is how I smile with a mouth full of chocolate sprinkles.

Screen Shot 2017-06-01 at 10.32.08 AM.png

Screen Shot 2017-06-01 at 10.48.19 AM.png
The Kohrs people knew me by the end of our trip.

Our last evening there we decided to go to a nicer restaurant since it was a bit rainy out. We chose a place that got great a Yelp rating for American cuisine and seafood. When glancing over the reviews I noticed that a lot of people mentioned the broccoli in their posts; I realized it was a bit odd, but didn’t really give it another thought… Until I ordered the steamed veggies and they presented me with three heads of broccoli. Like, what the heck?! Who in their right mind could ever consume an entire mini-tree, much less three?!

Screen Shot 2017-05-31 at 10.00.52 AM.png

The funniest part was that they added a couple of pieces of squash and carrots to the mix, almost to tease you that you did, in fact, get “steamed vegetables,” even though it was essentially steamed broccoli with hollandaise sauce. I ate as much as I possibly could and still had two and a half stocks of broccoli left.

Our last day at the beach was a bit chilly, but any day at the beach is always a good one! We sported long sleeves and blankets, but it was nice being able to sit and listen to the waves sing before making the long trip home.

Screen Shot 2017-06-01 at 10.41.20 AM.png

Screen Shot 2017-06-01 at 10.49.46 AM.png

Overall the trip was really great and worth all the time spent not feeling well. I posted on Instagram a lot, mainly because I did spend quite some time in the hotel room resting from being out in the heat. I felt like this is ironic because it really was painting a picture for people that I was only having an amazing time my entire trip. Anyone with a chronic illness knows what it’s like to pretend to be well for a weekend. POTS is a little “B,” and I felt frustrated that I couldn’t run, play games on the beach, or walk by myself (Since I can’t carry my own water bottle to stay hydrated), but I sometimes forget that almost 4 years ago I got sick at the beach and couldn’t even walk a block without feeling like I was having a heart attack and/or passing out. I am so blessed that I can sit on the beach, enjoy the warm salty air, and eat a giant scoop of ice cream on the boardwalk. There are people who can’t even do that, so instead of feeling upset about the things I can’t do I try hard to focus on the wonderful things I do get to have.

Save