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.

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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.

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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.

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Photo Credit: Brian’s Instagram @WhiteMamba
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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.

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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.

God’s Twisted Sense of Humor

Ideas for blog posts come from all different places. Today, my inspiration comes straight from the gynecologist’s office. I initially called in to ask a question about an annoying little symptom of my birth control, so the receptionist had a nurse give me a call to chat. I told her what was going on, she asked what kind of pill I was taking, and I mentioned that the only other thing I noticed with it was that I had gained a few pounds. We both jinxed each other when we said, “Well, maybe that was just getting married, though.”

So accurate! Even if I wasn’t on the pill, I think I’d have gained a little bit of weight from moving in with a guy and trying to keep up with a healthy diet. We laughed a little and she reasoned that I was probably eating a little more now that I was living with a man.  Yep. Not only am I eating more, but I’m also not eating as well. Salads with grilled chicken used to be a pretty big staple in my diet, now I order Dominos enough to get a free pie every other month from the rewards we’ve collected. Basically, almost every Friday I like to take the night off and get delivery. I think the pizza joint has figured out this pattern, because every Friday evening like clockwork a notification pops up on my phone saying, “Let us make dinner for you tonight!” with a little pizza emoji and “swipe to open” to the Dominos app, where I can just go ahead and click two buttons to order our favorite things. I’m sorry, but I’m not going to refuse someone else cooking dinner. Also, I’m not insane, so I absolutely love pizza and it’s probably a good thing for my emotional wellbeing to have it once a week. A couple of pounds is a small price to pay for this new lifestyle.

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Marriage has been great. I love living with my best friend, and doing nothing together. We often watch Judge Judy or Family Feud while eating dinner, and enjoy shows where we can solve crimes and show off how smart we are to each other. I do notice some funny differences between both of us, though, and I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that we are a man and woman living together. I always laugh when I say that I think that God must have a pretty twisted sense of humor since He made the existence of mankind based on men and women getting along, living together, and reproducing. Like, think about it. We have to get along with the opposite sex and have made it a practice of living with them, even though sometimes it feels like they’re a different species. It’s kind of hilarious and must be so funny to watch from the outside. If one couple isn’t having a complete misunderstanding, you just tune in to another and BAM, hours of reality TV-style entertainment.

Okay, so the first thing I’ve noticed from living with a guy is that men and women are scared of different things. I am terrified of bugs. I freaking hate them, and as much as I love animals, I want my husband to get rid of them by any means necessary. I just don’t want them in my house. The creepy crawly legs — especially on centipedes — freak me the heck out. I always picture them crawling on my arms or down my spine and shiver. It reminds me of the one time I actually tried to catch a spider to get rid of, and he decided his best escape route was diving deep down into my shirt. I will never forget the bone chilling scream that came from that incident, and how it felt having a bug violate me like that; I just can’t handle having it happen again. Men, on the other hand, have an irrational fear of laundry baskets. I don’t know if it’s the polyester fabric that freaks him out or the fact that we have two — one for whites and another for colors — but my husband’s clothes rarely touch the inside of the basket unless I place them there. If we’re lucky they’ll go right next to the correct basket instead of in the monstrous pile in the corner of the master bedroom, but 10 times out of 10 they don’t make it in the proper receptacle. I hear this is a very common thing amongst males, and seems to be a number one complaint of wives everywhere. I don’t really understand why I’m afraid of bugs that are a million times smaller than I am, and I bet he doesn’t really know why he’s afraid of the laundry basket either. It’s just something that’s wired into our genetic makeup I guess.

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Another funny thing about living with a man is the emotional aspect of it all. I am going to make another big generalization and say that guys don’t really get what it’s like to be a basketcase of emotions once a month for absolutely no reason. Unless you’ve gotten a visit from good ol’ Aunt Flo firsthand, you probably have no idea what it’s like crying over literally nothing and feeling cranky for two days straight. Sure, part of it is the horrendous cramping of your uterus, but the other part is just the sudden influx of hormones that overtakes your body and dictates your emotions for a few days. Remember how Karen from Mean Girls can tell whether or not it will rain by *ahem* how she feels? Our periods are the exact same way. I’ll feel really funny and off for a few hours, maybe snap a time or two, and then realize it’s because my uninvited — and frankly, unwelcome — Aunt will be there any day now. The funniest thing about it all is that I think he’s starting to catch on and sometimes can sense when this is coming before I even know it. This is either because he’s become in tune with my feelings, or it’s the one time of the month that I actually sometimes snap about the previously mentioned laundry basket. Either way, men will never completely understand women, and I think this is a pretty big reason why. The one thing I am thankful for is that I am the one who has a monster overtake my body for a few days, so he’s the one who really has to deal with tiptoeing around the beast, while I just ride it out.

Having to guard my food at all costs is somewhat new territory. I grew up living with two men — my dad and brother — so I know that writing my name on the box of leftovers is a must, but I am not used to living in a space where every room can be infiltrated by a hungry man. I will tell you my secret to keeping chocolate stocked in the house at the risk of my own husband reading this and learning my secrets. It’s a big sacrifice, but I hope it helps other women out there figure out how to keep their daily chocolate stash safe. I hide my dark chocolate in my desk drawer, under a pile of really boring bills. I know, I know, when you get married everything is supposed to be “ours” now, but in all honesty this is just a base for a healthy marriage. I get very rage-y without my chocolate fix, and it’s just best that we always know that there is some emergency chocolate close by. You never know when you might need it, and if I kept it in the kitchen where it belongs it would just get eaten up as soon as I brought it home. I need. My emergency. Chocolate.

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Living with a man keeps life interesting and has had some of a learning curve, but we do have some things in common, too! A big similarity we have is the fact that we both lose things on a very regular basis. In male and female fashion, though, we lose things very differently than one another. I keep a messy purse. Between my chapstick, snacks, my wallet bursting with gift cards I’ll probably never even use, and an abundance of other “necessities,” I can never find my car keys or drivers license quickly. It takes a good purse overturn to retrieve anything, which in turn, messes up it up even worse for the next time I go in there to find something. You would think I was a descendant of Mary Poppins with all the junk I keep in there! It takes just under an hour to find anything, and this can be irritating when it’s below freezing out. My husband, on the other hand, loses everything at home. I laugh at how often I see women posting memes on Facebook about the way their husband looks for things. “Krista, have you seen my (insert item here)?” This is often quickly met with a, “Never mind, I found it!” Most of the time the shouting from the other room indicates that said item was in the exact place it was supposed to be. 

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Photo Credit: Birdbox

Luckily, all of these silly scenarios help keep life lighthearted and interesting. Getting married has given me a whole new world of things to write about, and made me realize just how similar of experiences we all have to one another. That’s why memes and relatable posts on Facebook go viral. How boring would it be if we lived with an exact replica of ourselves?! Plus, having different strengths and weaknesses is super helpful, especially when there’s a bug in the house. Instead of having 2 people jumping on furniture and screaming, one of them is able to keep calm and take action.


What do you think is a funny difference between men and women? I know some of these were silly generalizations, but I think — generally — generalizations have some truth to them! At least when it comes to marriage they do. I have yet to meet a wife who has not brought up the laundry basket when they ask me how life is as a newlywed.

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:

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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?

Midweek Mystery: Allergic To Girlfriend?

I have the strangest story, but I also think it’s kind of hilarious and worth a small blog post.

Lately whenever I go over to Robert’s place we have a nice time for awhile, but then he starts to complain about being incredibly itchy. At first I thought it was a little funny — Robert is one of those people who kind of jokes around when he complains about stuff, so his complaints don’t always feel as real right off the bat. Anyway, he started joking that he was allergic to me because he only noticed the itchiness when I was around. After a few times, though, I started feeling a little annoyed. Why was it that he only noticed the itchiness when I was around? What if he really was allergic to me? After all, Robert had shared a story with me recently about a woman who is allergic to her husband. Maybe this was a sign that I’m setting him off and need to find a solution… Fast!

I always say I’m not superstitious, but I actually think I am in some ways. I sometimes feel like I “jinx” myself and I do think things can come up in your life for a reason. The older I am getting, though, the more I am realizing there are just a lot of coincidences in life that seem to be signs, but are just more notable than other mundane things.

Anyway, I started thinking about new products I’ve been using, because obviously he didn’t become allergic to me overnight. I get a few different makeup boxes with samples, so am always using something new. I felt really fed up when I started noticing that I was kind of itchy too. I realized that the chronic pain I have had been masking it, but I was definitely a little itchy too. I still couldn’t think of anything I was using that would make someone itchy, though. Especially someone else…

Until I took a shower and prepped my hair for my mom to blowdry it.* As I was running my fingers through my wet hair to put some product in it, I stopped and looked at the sample size container of the heat protection I had just put on my hands. Could it be?! 

I flipped the product around to read the back of the bottle and I kid you not, I had a real life Slumdog-Millionaire-style flashback when I saw the word “Rose Hips” on the description.

Holy crap, this is it! I knew without a doubt that this once-amazing, now-stupid hair product was the culprit. Rose hips, after all, are used in ITCHING POWDER. I knew this because back when I was a young prankster one of my friends and I used itching powder** on her brother (Yes, some of my teenage pranks are my biggest regrets, haha). 13-year-old me was curious about what caused the itching, though, and to this day I have remembered that “rose hips” were the main ingredient in itching powder.

Why the heck would a company use something that could potentially be so itchy in their product?! My fingers moved swiftly over my phone screen as I Googled two simple words,

“Itching powder”

The top result you could click on was “Rose Hips.” I smiled, smugly. Look at you, Sherlock, I thought to myself. You’ve done it again.

I couldn’t change the fact that I had already put the product in my hair, but I threw it in a drawer and locked it away so I wouldn’t go on autopilot and use it again. Ever since I’ve given up this product neither of us have been itchy. It’s official: I, like the Olsen twins, can solve any crime by dinnertime.

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Credit: Dualstar Productions

*My mom often dries my hair for me, as I have chronic pain in my arms and can’t hold a hairdryer up too long without hurting myself. She is such an angel!

**As an adult I realize this is incredibly immature and mean, but as a young teen it seemed like a hilarious, harmless prank. In all honesty I don’t know whether or not it worked, as it was one of the pranks you could buy from “Five Below,” but I still encourage you to think about others before planning out a prank. Yes, pranks are hilarious (With the right people who think it’s funny too), but only if nobody gets hurt — physically or emotionally — and everyone involved will enjoy what’s going on. Robert and I both love pranks, so I don’t usually mind when he plays a joke on me, and he is always up for a funny joke at his expense too.

Secret Santa Grinch

Oh my gosh guys, I am so embarrassed (side note: how many blog posts have I started with this introduction now? I’m having a serious case of Déjà vu).

I made such a silly mistake that made me seem like the biggest jerk ever.

So basically my good friend Kalika and I decided to set up a snail mail secret Santa. Sounds fun, right?! It’s the same a regular one — you draw a name and that’s the person you’re giving a gift to, except it’s all done by mail! She and I both love care packages and snail mail, so it’s perfect. You’re welcome, USPS.

Anyway, Kalika found a cool website called DrawNames.com that does all the organizing for you. You set up a profile in your little group, which includes your first and last name, address, and who you are supposed to send a gift to.

I’m not necessarily technologically challenged, but I also wouldn’t say technology and I are absolute BFFs. I’d say we’re really good friends because he’s super cool and entertaining and a generally good guy, but he sometimes decides to stab me in the back… So I should just be extra-alert when we’re hanging out.

Anyway, I was really confused when I got a package from Amazon in the mail.

What the heck did I order? I wondered to myself.

I’ve been doing some shopping for friends online lately, but I couldn’t remember purchasing anything from Amazon. Especially an item that would come in a slim envelope like the one sitting on my porch! The only thing I could really reason was that Petzi, the present Robert had sent me from Amazon, had forgotten something in my first package.

I went to the kitchen and opened it, only to find this note and Amazon gift card enclosed:

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What in the world?! I thought to myself. Who could have possibly known I would want a Kylie lip kit? Yes, I have been more into makeup lately — especially lip products — but I don’t remember talking to anyone about this particular item.

My first thought was Robert, as he’s always great at giving gifts randomly, and even better at reading my mind (As you will see in my next post!). I thought about it a little more, though, and there were too many things that didn’t add up. First, he wouldn’t have a clue what kind of makeup things were “trendy” right now. These lip kits are kind of for makeup (Or KUWTK) fanatics. Second, he’s probably never in his life purchased any sort of lip products, so wouldn’t realize that some of these kits can get very expensive compared to others. Third, how the heck would he ever pick out a color for me?! Girls would know that I’d be into the “Candy K” or “Kristin” shade, but Robert might think trying something risky like “Dead of the Night” or worse — “Trick” would be cool. Yikes.

I sat down and thought really hard. Then it all hit me at once.

Oh my gosh, my brain went into panic mode as I rushed to my laptop. My fingers thought faster than my mind, and swiftly typed “Gmail” into the browser. Then I searched, “Secret Santa” and clicked on the last email link we had been sent. It took me to the group page and I clicked the blue “Krista.” This is what I was met with:

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Everything clicked all at once as I had a flashback.

The day we created this page I was offered to “create a wishlist” for what I wanted. I remember thinking how stupid this option was, as you shouldn’t ask your Secret Santa for exactly what you want. What’s the point if you’re just going to request something? I still clicked the link, though, because the “Kylie Lip Kit” suggestion caught my eye. I scrolled through the page of recommendations, and clicked out of the page, never to give it a second thought.

Until now.

I seemed like such a jerk to some girl I don’t even know! Everyone in the Secret Santa group ended up being Kalika’s friends, most of whom I hadn’t met. I immediately felt like a moron, as any of my friends would understand this was just another goofy “Krista story,” but this person just had the impression that I demanded Kylie lip kits right and left. I looked back at the incredibly sweet note she had included and felt even worse. Most people would be so annoyed at someone demanding something that was more than twice the amount we were supposed to spend for this gift exchange, but this girl was so sweet and genuine about her gift that I really felt bad. I quickly texted Kalika with a rant about how embarrassed I was, and sent this message to the Secret Santa group:

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Luckily the person who gave me this sent me a message and was so kind about the misunderstanding, but it was still lightly traumatic for me. I hate being high maintenance or making other people feel uncomfortable, which is so unfortunate considering the person I am and how often I make goofy mistakes.

Today’s lesson: I should not be allowed to try new technologies — at least if they can affect another person!

Sometimes Plans Get Broken

The last three years of my life did not go the way I could have imagined in a million years. If you had told me when I was in undergrad that I would develop a debilitating chronic illness just weeks after graduating I would have gone into full-out panic mode. Despite typical teen struggles I had never really dealt with anything incredibly difficult in my life before.

My story certainly doesn’t mirror a typical twentysomething’s, but I have been able to learn firsthand how refreshing it is to focus on your own journey, rather than comparing yourself to others.

My Dreams were: to move to New York City, segue my editorial internship at Seventeen magazine into a job, pay off my own college debt, and enjoy a few more years in a teeny tiny apartment with a fun roommate while I was still young and unmarried. Towards the end of my time working in the city I felt like these dreams were so close I could almost taste them — after all, I was literally eating $2 New York pizza and garlic knots for dinner every other night, and I had become a pro in the city I loved so much.

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I loved incorporating some of my favorite clothing pieces from London into my New York wardrobe.

My reality is: I live at home with my parents in the suburbs, I physically cannot work despite spending so much time in school preparing for the real world (Where the fun should really begin in my field!), and I spend the same amount of time at the doctors’ office as many of my peers spend working. All of this topped off with the handful of POTS symptoms that remain and my chronic widespread pain make a perfect recipe for frustration.

The funniest thing about everything, though, is I am the most content and secure I have ever been in my entire life. I see so many of my friends succeeding in their own lives and careers and I am genuinely so happy for each and every one of them. I actually really like social media because I feel like I get to celebrate small and large victories not only with my close friends, but also with people I haven’t seen in awhile.

I would be lying if I said I didn’t sometimes feel a little pang of jealousy that most of the people I spend time with have normally functioning bodies, but it’s never in a way that I would want to take anything away from anyone; I just want to have my own health back. All of my friends are able to go to concerts and on road trips without having a care in the world, whereas it takes a lot of planning for me to be even remotely spontaneous. So in this way, I do sometimes struggle with the things I have to miss because of my illness.

I still feel a little heartbroken when I think about New York and wish I could go out my front door and see the beautiful lights shimmering around me at night. I want to be able to live life again without paying attention to dozens of little details to ensure I don’t feel incredibly ill, but that isn’t my reality at the moment. Right now I do have to take lots of extra care of my body and I can’t do everything that my heart desires.

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This is literally the coolest couch ever. All the celebrities that come in sit here for their interviews!

So, how do I feel so at peace with my life? How can I be so happy for others when I don’t necessarily have the same privilege of a normal, working body?

My answer is actually really simple. I focus on the things I do have, rather than those that I do not, and I realize that there is enough room for everyone to be successful in their own way.

Here is the long list of things I do have in my life:

  • Amazingly supportive friends and family who love me very much. This already makes me feel like one of the most blessed and lucky girls in the world when I take the time to sit down and really appreciate them.
  • The best best friends in the world — this includes my little puppy, Macy.
  • My body works enough now that I can have some fun adventures, as long as I take it easy a few days before and after a big event.
  • I think there’s a good chance I might have found the best guy in the entire world and he likes me too (And is totally fine with the excessive amount of rest I need to feel good).
  • My heart has been broken into a million pieces and I still know how to love fiercely.
  • Even though I can’t be writing articles for Seventeen at the moment, I can share my thoughts with lots of young girls on this blog. At the end of the day I am still following one of the paths I really wanted to be on.
  • I may not have a snazzy New York apartment, but I have a warm place to stay and absolutely love my family — I actually think I am lucky to have a few extra years living with them!
  • The Office is available on Netflix (And so is Pokémon: Indigo League… I mean, what?).
  • And lastly, I have chocolate. I may have developed several new food allergies in the past few years, but I love chocolate and it loves me, so I think I can deal with any of the dietary restrictions that come my way.
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Macy is my sweet little guardian angel and has been one of the biggest blessings I have received since I got sick.

I really could go on and on about the things I am thankful for in my life. I’m not optimistic every day and I do struggle seeing the bright side of things sometimes, but my God is an awesome God and I know He is taking really good care of me. I have known from a young age that my purpose in life is to somehow help others, and the responses I have gotten from writing for this blog makes me feel like I am making an impact on people’s lives.

Thank you for reading what I write, and thank you for being so supportive of me. I love that so many of you have been comfortable enough to trust me with some of your struggles, and I feel blessed to walk alongside such wonderful people in their journeys through heartbreak or to find love. Each one of you has something absolutely amazing to offer the world. Just because your story might be vastly different, doesn’t mean that it is any less important or fulfilling.

(Be)a(you)tiful

Giving away even small pieces of yourself at a time will eventually leave a big hole in your heart.

I’ve always hated seeing friends lose part of themselves when they met a guy. One thing I initially liked about my first serious relationship was that I was unapologetically myself, whether or not my ex liked it. I stayed true to my values and didn’t get rid of any of the activities that made me happy; I simply added my boyfriend to my life instead of working everything else around him. Being myself regardless of where I am or who I am with has always been one of my strengths.

Towards the end of our relationship, though, I lost so much of myself. I compromised on morals that I held close to my heart to try to fix a broken relationship, I gave up on several of my own dreams, and I decided my boyfriend was not only the most important thing in my life, but he became the only thing that was important to me. Since our love story was clearly coming to an end I felt crushed. I could never fully concentrate on anything that was going on in my life in Virginia because my mind was always with him.

When we broke up I quickly snapped back to reality (Oh, there goes gravity!) and realized I never wanted to become so lost in someone else that I, in turn, lose myself again.

This is easier said than done once you’ve given so much of yourself to someone else. Dating again was refreshing, but I have made an incredible effort to stay self-aware in every relationship that I have cultivated — whether it is with a guy I go on one date with or someone I am hoping to be exclusive with one day.

The new harmful pattern that had developed in the last few months with my ex shined brightly with the first guy I liked since we broke up. It happened with the handsome athlete from school and I noticed it as soon as I began to backslide. You see, this particular gentleman had seen my blog and absolutely hated it. He told me that he thought it was a terrible idea to write about my dating life and that he thought I was “better than that.”

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Dang it, I thought, If he doesn’t like my writing every great guy out there is going to hate it too!

I quickly began to rethink my decision to write about dating. Even though I didn’t want a relationship anytime soon, I did eventually want to meet someone. I was afraid that if this sweet, classy guy judged me for writing about my experiences that every single “good guy” out there would feel the same way. After going home and really meditating on it, I decided that I would just have to eventually find a different gentleman who actually did enjoy my writing and would be okay with the fact that I am so open about my life. This didn’t mean that he would be need to love being written about, but he at least couldn’t be someone who would judge me harshly for something I genuinely love to do. This particular man just wasn’t the right fit if he didn’t understand my writing, sense of humor, and ultimately the intentions of my heart.

Single In The Suburbs has become something that’s important to me and although I’ll give up the “single” part of my life one day, I won’t give up the things that I value, such as sharing my life experiences and trying to help others — whether it’s through my sense of humor or sharing mistakes I have made in my own life.

I am a huge advocate for being comfortable in your own skin and not changing just so people will like you more. The right people will love you for the things that make you unique, and the others just aren’t people who are meant to be a big part of your life.

Today’s lesson: One of the best ways to find the right people to surround yourself with is being unapologetically you and paying close attention to who sticks around. There is not a single person in the world who will be liked by everyone; no matter how nice or thoughtful you are, there will always be haters. The more genuine you are, though, the easier it will be for you to find relationships that will be a good fit for you. As Oscar Wilde once said, “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”

Men Are Not Dogs

Well this is a strange headline, huh?

What I mean by “men are not dogs” is that men, unlike dogs, do not need to be trained. Yes, they should be raised to be respectful and kind, but when you are looking for a grown man to date you should absolutely not go into it with a mindset that you need to teach him how to treat you.

“I can train him to buy me flowers,” or open doors, or hold my hand, or [insert task you want your dream boyfriend to do]. It isn’t your job to mother a man, and one really surefire reality of life is that you can rarely change another person. Sure you can tell someone what you like and watch their actions closely after a conversation, but you should never go into a relationship expecting someone to change a laundry list of things for you.

I’m going to share a personal anecdote to show how I learned this lesson the hard way.

I used to date someone I really liked, but our relationship just didn’t feel  very romantic. I am someone who absolutely loves the little things in life. I adore little gestures that say “I love you” like leaving each other notes, cooking for one another, and yes — I love chivalry.

Boy #1

This first person that I dated wasn’t into showing me he loved me in any of the ways my heart wanted. I remember even telling him at one point that I thought it was nice when he opened the car door for me and I really appreciated when guys did that; this struck a pretty strong nerve for him. #1 told me he didn’t know why in the world I wanted him to do something like that and that it wasn’t worth fighting about.  I didn’t realize something like this was fight-worthy, I thought to myself. I wasn’t trying to argue, I just thought it would be nice for him to know that I appreciated the gesture so there might be a repeat. Later I realized “the door” wasn’t really even about the door at all. It was about the pile of things I felt I wasn’t getting out of this relationship. That was the most one-sided relationship I have ever been in, and although I gave up so many of my dreams for this gentleman (huge mistake; I will write about this another day!), bought him presents and little gift baskets to show that I cared, and even abided to his wishes of talking to him less,* I never felt fulfilled in our relationship, even when he did.

This wasn’t because he was doing anything wrong, though. He just didn’t show love in the ways I need to feel loved. Back then I thought I was being kind by giving him “tips” on simple ways to love me in ways I understood better, but now I realize we just weren’t the right fit.

I want someone who will remember our anniversaries and enjoy celebrating them together, someone who gives me his time, and someone who is as kind and caring to me as I am to him.

*In hindsight it is hilarious that I once “showed someone I loved them” by agreeing to cut off most of our communication.

Gentleman #2

This second person is the complete opposite of #1. He is someone I’ve often wondered how I had the pleasure of meeting, as he is one of the kindest and most thoughtful people I have ever met.

On our first date he was chivalrous, but this behavior continued seamlessly into our 30th date. He opened my car door any time we went out, always wanted to be the one to pick me up and take me out, and goes above and beyond to show me that he cares. He has written me letters, cooked complicated five course Italian dinners, and often called me during his lunch breaks just to say “hello.” This is someone I think is so incredibly special that I don’t know how I got lucky enough to meet him and see that many of the sweet little joys in life aren’t just “Krista things” that are unrealistic traits to want in a boyfriend. There are men out there who are a million times better than the ones you see in the movies. They’re real, raw, and far from perfect, but they love you so fiercely there isn’t any room for you to question where you stand in their life.

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Today’s lesson: Dogs are smart, loyal, and loving companions. You really can’t expect any human to measure up to this amazing animal, but wait for the person who does make you feel loved in the same way your dog loves you. This is a kind and selfless love with so much joy that your heart feels like it might explode.

Is Honesty The Best Policy?

I decided to create a brutally honest dating profile to see what would happen. Some questions I had going into this were:

  1. Would strangers accept me the way I am — flaws and all?
  2. How would this profile compare to the previous ones I have set up?
  3. How might people react to the fact that I have a chronic illness?
  4. What would strangers focus on as “important” in getting to know me?

A way I could have made this experiment even better would have been to use photos of myself with absolutely no makeup (contrary to popular belief, men, I do wear some!) and gone into even more detail about myself. I suppose I could have written that I have a dating blog, but I wanted the responses to be genuine without people wondering whether they would be written about.

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Within 24 hours I got just over 100 messages, 576 visitors, and 796 profile “likes.” Thanks for that, OK Cupid.

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When I broke it down there were some people who clearly did not read my profile at all (I even compared some of these gentlemen with a friend who has the app and they sent her the exact same messages!), but for the most part people had sent messages crafted to directly address something I had mentioned in my profile.

I was surprised to find that nobody really got my reference from The Office (littledoglover), but I was shocked at how many people opened with a line about Pokémon, as they noticed the Ash Ketchum hat in my profile.

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No, that’s not the point though!
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Sigh.
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YES, you get it!

Some people asked me about my chronic illness, but it didn’t really seem to be a turnoff anyone who messaged me (Obviously there is no way for me to know how many people didn’t send me a message me because of it), even when I told them what it was called and how it affects my every day life. For the most part people skipped right over that and asked me questions about other things I had listed. Some enjoyed the pictures of my dog and I that were posted, others commented on the board games I liked or some of the goofy nerdier things I love.

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Hahaha, I like it.
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OK, this kid has me pegged.
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Good question. Step 1, be the banker. Step 2, give yourself enough money to buy a bunch of hotels. Step 3, win.
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This was my absolute favorite.

Honestly I think what guys liked most about this profile was how genuine it was. I don’t think I’d say I’m great at a big list of things, but I would say that I am always myself no matter what situation life puts me in. My dating profiles always have a strong reflection of my character, but it’s interesting that not many things change even when you throw in a little too much information.

Today’s lesson: If you decide to create a dating profile don’t try to be fancy, different, or stand out — just be your beautiful self and you will surely attract the right people.

True Life: Pokémon Go Has Replaced My Dating Life

“Single in The Suburbs” is clearly the name a dating blog, right? Why has it been so hard for a dating blogger to write about her life experiences then?

The answer is simple. Pokémon Go was created.

Ever since its release I haven’t been motivated to go out into the world and gather stories. I have, however, been incredibly motivated to catch the 101 Magikarp necessary to evolve into Gyarados, though (On a related note, Northwest DC is crawling with them).

I have come to the conclusion that Pokémon Go can effectively take the place of my dates for several months. Here are the ways I believe PMG can replace dating:

  1. Finding a new Pokémon is similar to the adrenaline rush you get during a first kiss. Although you don’t have the same interpersonal bond, studies have claimed that when you capture that new Arcanine you’ve been wanting, dopamine is released, causing the same kind of pleasure you might get from a first kiss.
  2. Pokémon are cuter than any date you’ll find. Sure DC has a lot of good looking people, but it’s hard to beat out this sweet face.Screen Shot 2016-07-27 at 4.04.29 PM.png
  3. You know your date is going to be a lot of fun. I still haven’t felt bored or antsy to get home when I’m out with Pokémon. In fact, I’m always happy to extend my time playing; time flies while I’m running around with these little critters!
  4. You meet lots of new people playing PMG. I’ve actually made some new friends going out to different meetup groups or even while sitting at a Poké stop. I have made a couple of lasting friends from online dating, but for the most part we stop talking if we don’t see any sort of romantic connection. With PMG the more the merrier!
  5. I used to stay out late with guys; now I stay out late with my new Poké-friends. Whether I’m taking over a gym, running around to hatch an egg, or attempting to catch a Snorlax, late at night seems to be prime-time to play PMG!
  6. Pokémon Go is a great way to bond with new people and a fun way to spend time. Casually dating around doesn’t necessarily change my life in any major way, but it gives me little stories and teaches me life lessons. PMG has done the same thing by offering me an opportunity to explore new areas of my town. It is an easy way to connect with people — since we all enjoy playing the same game, it’s a great way to break the ice and then get to know more about strangers.
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#TEAMVALOR