Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Writers Workshop: (Self) Love Edition

Thought I would try my hand at the Writer's Workshop this week, which also allows me a small update about my Mexican vacation.  Yay double duty posts!

First I would like to say, I had an AMAZING vacation.  I still can't actually believe it happened, it's so surreal.  The reason I can tie my trip into a love post is because it was a retreat all about getting back to loving yourself.  I think a lot of us are guilty of not taking time in our busy days to really take care of ourselves.  Putting ourselves last is noble, we think, saying, "I'll make sure to do what I can today and if there's time maybe I'll take a bubble bath."  This is such a backward thought.  By taking care of ourselves - both mentally and physically - we are much better equipped to help others.  I really think in the back of our minds we all know that, but we just don't make the time.  And that's just it, we have to MAKE the time, like you would for anything else that's important.

Being given the opportunity to take the trip I did was probably one of the best gifts I could have given myself.  Thousands of miles away from my daily life, what else did I have to do but take care of me?  Also, because it was a retreat, I was surrounded by 18 other truly amazing women who were all doing the same thing.  We had meals cooked for us, daily yoga and meditation, and group talks about what was holding us back from really loving who we were.  I am only speaking for myself here when I say I've always used acts of service as a means of distraction.  If I'm too busy doing things for others, I can use it as an excuse for a number of things, the main thing being my health.  I've been unhappy with my body image for almost as long as I can remember, but instead of doing something about it to make myself happy, I turned to doing other things to prove my worth.  Need a babysitter?  Sure.  Have a garden that needs weeding?  On it.  Need your house painted?  I'm your girl.  While being helpful is obviously not a bad thing, the reason behind it was not entirely pure.  I didn't realize that though until the last year or so.

While I started my self-love journey a couple years ago, going to Mexico really did a lot to cement all the things I've been working on.  The group of women was (and still is) SO supportive, I couldn't ask for a more wonderful group of soul sisters.  Probably one of the biggest steps though that I've taken so far in self-acceptance was wearing a bikini for the first time in my life.  I'm 29.  There has not been one time in 29 years that I've felt comfortable enough to go out in public in a bikini.  I had decided though when I bought my plane ticket, this was the time.  Then the day came.  I got dressed in my cabana, put on my cover up, and walked to the beach.  With everyone else laying in their own suits sunning on the sand, I did what I never thought I could do.  I took off my cover up and joined them.  And you know what?  It was awesome.  They didn't think twice.  There was no public ridicule, no humiliation, no looks of disgust.  In fact they all said, "Good for you!"

This is a small thing, but its hugely significant milestone for me.  And while I can't say that I look in the mirror with total satisfaction just yet, I'm much, much more comfortable.  I learned that the only opinion of myself that matters is mine, and that if I take time and love myself for how I am, that will show when I'm out in the world as well.  So even though I'm single this Valentine's Day, I'm still feeling the love.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Remember that one time...

...when I went to Mexico?!


Fo' realz.

I'm packing my bag (and a LOT of sunscreen), and leaving for Mexico this Sunday!  It's kind of a long story, and even the journey from ticket purchase (mid-November) to now has been quite a ride worthy of a post in itself.  I have been FREAKING OUT, as many of my wonderfully compassionate friends can tell you, but finally - FINALLY - the week before I leave I am feeling some real, legitimate excitement.

I won't have my computer or cell service while I'm there, but I plan to take lots and lots of pictures.  One of the things I want to do this year (as I say EVERY year....*sigh*) is make some more time for blogging, and what better way to start than with an amazing trip?  I'm still in a whirlwind of emotions and craziness, with packing, prepping my travel arrangements, getting all my stuff caught up at work, etc... And when I'm slightly less discombobulated I'll regale my full story to you in agonizingly minute detail, but for now I wanted to just pop in and say...


Monday, December 2, 2013

Book Review: Perhaps I've Said Too Much

A few weeks ago, Rodney (better known around the internets as Moooooog35) put out a call for folks who would like to review his newest book, Perhaps I've Said Too Much.  I said, "Well, if you'd like the opinion of a random girl in Montana, I'd love to put in my two cents."  Shockingly, that worked.  

I've read Rodney's blog Mental Poo for quite a few years now, and I've always really enjoyed his writing style.  His stories are endlessly entertaining, and told with such fervor that you can't help but get sucked in.  I can't even count how many times I went to read "just the new post" and then wound up down a rabbit hole, hours later, just laughing to myself in the corner.  

For anyone with a good sense of humor, I would highly, highly, recommend Perhaps I've Said Too Much.  It's a collection of stories about ridiculous situations he's gotten into (or created) by lying.  As you're reading, you can't help wonder if he's just twisted or if he is, in fact, some genius mastermind.  You'll also wish that you were as on-the-spot the clever as the 8-year-old Rodney, playing off his new "bionic finger" for his classmates.  Or how he threw a party in college and managed to escape the repercussions for almost a month by spinning tales of clumsiness doing household chores.  That in and of itself is super impressive.  Not to mention any number of clever, crazy, or amazingly off-the-wall things he's pulled off at work!

Oh and let us not forget the pictures.  I know, I know.  It sounds silly to compliment a book for it's pictures, but they are a great supporting cast to what are already outstanding stories.  They exist for comedic value and attempted clarification (read: often exaggeration...such hilarious exaggeration), and fully succeed with their purpose.  I love them and the Brain Nuggets, because much like the author, I tend to get distracted easily, and they're fun little addendums that keep things interesting.  

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Perhaps I've Said Too Much, and couldn't put it down.  From the very first page you just wonder what outrageous adventures you're going to be led on, and Rodney does not disappoint.  I laughed out loud almost every page, and absolutely could not get enough of the crazy antics.  It officially releases today, and I would strongly urge all of you to go check it out!  The links below will take you to purchase pages and his Facebook fan page.  Also, if you do decide to enrich your life with Perhaps I've Said Too Much (a wise choice), be a dear and leave a review on the Amazon page!

Official Synopsis and Links for your viewing and buying pleasure:

"It's not a lie if you believe it."

Bionic fingers. Self-combusting Tiffany lamps. Rubber spiders and ventriloquist dolls. Vindictive mothers throwing women down stairs.
Rodney Lacroix has lived his life trying to fool people. Some of this is on purpose. Some of this just comes naturally. But no matter what the story he spins, there is always retribution - and it is very rarely a happy ending.
Join Rodney as he walks you through hysterical stories told through the eyes of a perpetual liar. Wince at his untruths, told in the same unconventional style that won him two awards for his 2012 release, "Things Go Wrong for Me." Feel his pain. Shake your head. Learn some lessons.
As usual, all of the stories contained herein are true.

Or are they?

And go 'like' his fan page here:

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Adventures in Singledom: How to Meet People

The hardest part of being an adult is making friends.  While I've never been in a super popular crowd, I've always been lucky enough to have a good collective of friends to call on and cause mayhem with.  Turns out though, once you're not in school, you have to actually seek out other humans to interact with on your own time.  Sure you'll probably meet a couple folks through whatever job you do (unless you work from home...lucky), but I think most of us can agree that we don't really want to see a majority of our coworkers once the day is done.  So what do you do?  Where do you go?  If you're here looking for a guide to help you, I will tell you now that's not what you'll find.  I'm only speaking through my experiences and trying to learn as go, so if you have suggestions, please do tell.

Seems to me, and I could be grossly misinterpreting my demographic, that a lot of people my age meet people in bars.  Which is totally cool, I'm not judging you if you do or did.  For me though, it's really uncomfortable.  As I've mentioned, I'm not terribly articulate, especially when talking with guys I don't know.  And in the rare event that one of them says something nice to me I pull one of these:

I feel like bars are for people who thrive on being in large crowds and like small talk.  Again, cool if you do, more power to you.  I also feel like especially people my age who are in bars are looking more for hook-ups and not really a relationship, which is totally not my scene.  So when debating on how to go about broadening my social circle, I didn't even consider this an option.

What I did consider, were the cooking classes.  At least that was part of my hope.  And while I have yet to meet any nice, single men my age (with the exception of the really nice guy who taught us to make pizza...I should look into that) it's always a win because I wind up with a delicious meal and tons of recipes.  I've been to three so far: pizza, curry, and pie.  PIE.  I had a whole dinner made up of different pies that night...I am not at all sad that it was full of middle-aged and up women.  Plus the teacher was amazing and really helpful.  But alas, no lasting friends or subsequent dates came from any of them.

What I did NOT consider (but maybe should have!) was just going places alone.  People are more apt to talk to you if you are by yourself and not actively involved in conversation with someone you already know.  I had this particular realization when I took myself to go see Man of Steel.  Being the nerd that I am I had decided to go to a late show on opening day, and I also showed up an hour and a half early.  Getting in line and having a good seat and all that.  So I poked my head around the corner and saw a tiny group of people sitting on the floor waiting and I asked, "Is this the line for Man of Steel?"  They all nodded reassuringly and I went and took a seat next to the guy who was at the end.  He asked if I was a big Superman fan, and I looked a little sheepish and admitted that no, I wasn't really, but the movie trailer looked so good I thought I'd give it shot.  He perked right up and said, "Really?!  I'm the same way!  Superman is usually totally overrated, but this one looked really good!"  And so started our friendship.  As it turned out, he was also there by himself, but some friends of his called and said they might come closer to the movie time (which they did, and they were all awesome).  We talked about jobs and how we wound up there, what we actually went to school for, other places we'd lived and how we got there, and which super heroes we really did think were the best.  It was a great time.  

*Side note: This is one glowing example of why I love the geek community.  I have yet to go somewhere where there is a large population of geeks and not feel welcome.  Even when I go to the comic book store, I wind up having a brief conversation with some nice boy playing Warhammer in the back.  It is a kind, welcoming culture, and one that I'm very happy to have embraced and that has embraced me.

Roughly an hour into our conversation, one of his other friends shows up.  She joins us, he introduces me, and then we all just carry on like we've been BFFs forever.  At one point I said, "I feel a little weird cause I literally just met you guys, but do you mind if I add you on Facebook?"  They were both very emphatic and replied, "Of course!  And it's not weird, this is how you meet people now.  It's cool."  Friends.  I made friends!  Right before they let us in to sit, his last friend showed up and it was the same round of introduction, same awesome good to have you, and we all went in and sat together for the show, and discussed it on the way out through the parking lot and just generally had a really good time.

I cannot tell you how happy I was going home that day.  Not because I had actually met a single boy my age that was really nice and I could talk to (bonus!), but that I had actually made new friends.  I honestly really like going to movies by myself, and do most of the time when I decide to go see a movie, but that's the first time since I graduated in 2008 that I've met people outside of a work setting totally on my own.  It emboldened me a little, and I have to say, good things come to those that take adventures.  Even if the adventures are small.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Monday Miiiingle!

It's back!  And so am I!  I really love vlogging and I was just thinking that I should start doing stuff like that again, so I was super excited when I saw Speedy post that MM would be live tomorrow.  Ya'll should go check it out over at Eighty MPH Mom.  And with that, here's my triumphant return to vlogging.  I like to talk so I ramble a lot...sorry in advance.  Password for the video is: misadventure


Monday Mingle! 4.8.13 from Lauren on Vimeo.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Adventures in Singledom: The Epihany

I am at the age where I'm "supposed" to be an adult.  Right.  Tell that to my Cat in the Hat footie pajamas, of which I am wearing right now.  They even have pockets.  I know, you're jealous.  Anyway, I digress.  I'm also at the age where a very large majority of my friends are in long term relationships, married, are pregnant/having kids, or some combination of the three.  I am just about the only single person left among my group of friends, which gets really old after a while.  
Me: "Want to come hang out?" 
"Oh no thanks, we can't get a sitter." 
"Oh it's date night." 
"Oh sorry, we're having couples trivia night." 
Fine.  I wanted to sit here and watch the new season of My Little Pony on Netflix while I drink beer and crochet anyway.  Because I'm a bizarre combination of tiny child, old lady, and 20-something.  Truthfully, I'm really ok with this most days, but every so often it nags at me.  I'm running out of single friends to do things with, and the energy to even leave the house to want to do something.

I got a random text from one of my married-with-children friends last week that said, "Hey, hubs has a thing tonight, would you want to hang out?"  I of course accepted with great enthusiasm, because my social life is about as exciting as a snail race through molasses.  At some point during the evening, my friend said, "You know I'm really glad you could come over, I assumed you'd be busy."  I laughed.  Me?  Busy?  Right.  I told her, "Nah, I rarely doing anything besides work and go home."  (Sad but true)  She said, "I just always assume that single people are out doing exciting, fun things all the time."  And then the epiphany came.  Why wasn't I out doing fun, exciting, single-y things?  Besides the fact that I'm totally introverted, painfully awkward at making conversation with people I don't know, and broke as hell?  No idea.  Regardless, I mentally made the decision that I should probably start acting like the young single person I am instead of the old lady I keep (only half) jokingly telling people (and myself) that I am.  Or at the very least try to not become a crazy cat lady before I'm 30.

If nothing else, it should make for some good stories.

In true stereotypical fashion, the first thing I decided to do was sign up for a cooking class.  I'm actually super excited about it, I've been wanting to do a cooking class for forever and just never have.  The class is in three weeks, but they fill up so fast you almost have to book your spot a month in advance if you want to make it in.  This one is going to be taught by the owner of one of our local pizzerias  so I'll learn how to make dough, toss it, make sauce, etc.  I mean come on, who doesn't like pizza?  This could very well be the undoing of my 30 pound weight loss...or the start of an epic pizza diet.  Only time will tell.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Anti-Social Media

In recent years for Lent I've tried to become more creative with what I abstain from.  One year I gave up ice cream (which is huge for me...I practically live on ice cream).  One year I gave up swearing.  Last year I paid a quarter for every negative comment.  This year...I gave up Facebook and Twitter.  I had made this decision toward the beginning of the year and had actually kind of thought that it was cheating a little.  JUST giving up social media?  Is that really going to matter?  I mean, I rarely posted to either in recent months, and there were days that I'd go without checking them anyway, so it shouldn't be that hard.  Right?


Oh, so wrong.

The VERY FIRST thing I did on Ash Wednesday was poke the Facebook app on my phone out of habit.  To which I went, "Ah crap!  No no no!"  And as the day progressed I had to keep stifling urges to check my phone.  As it turns out, while I didn't post excessively, I DID check both compulsively.  It was like when you check the time but you don't actually see what time it is.  I was just doing it out of habit.  I also realized that had no idea where else to go on the internet.  I was finding links to other things from my social media sources.  Even with just those two site restrictions on myself, I've found that my internet use, and also my phone use, has sigificantly decreased.

Overall, it hasn't been too bad, but you don't (or I didn't) realize how much people rely on Facebook to get information out until you're not using it.  I can't even tell you how many times I've heard, "Well didn't you see it on Facebook?  I posed it today."  Or "So and so is pregnant/married/engaged/graduating!  They posted it this morning!"  Or "This super fun thing is happening today, didn't you get the invite?"  NO.  I.  DIDN'T.  Can't you just text me or call me like a normal person?  Is this really how far we've come?

Lent is 6 weeks long, and I've now got a week and a half left.  I'm not going to lie, I really miss it and am very much looking forward to catching up after Easter.  I have a handful of friends who are posting things in excess because they know I still get notifications...and they're trying to drive me slowly insane.  I just keep thinking though that I'll have SO MUCH to look forward to when I'm back.  I will say too, that although it's been a bit of a rough detox, it's made me appreciate things a little more.  I've certainly become more mindful of my time, and that is never a bad thing.  It also made me realize that I miss actually communicating with my friends.  Not just over some user interface, but on the phone, sending a card, having coffee.  My hope is that I'll become better at making "real life time" for my friends now, as well as seeing what they're up to in my news feed.

But some days, you just need a funny cat picture, you know?