Struggling With My Body. SLNW?

My perfect day would be drinking an iced latte with almond milk, jamming to Taylor Swift, drowning my sorrows in wine during Grey’s Anatomy, raving about The Bachelor, devouring a whole pot of pasta, and shopping on Amazon for candles I don’t need as New Girl plays in the background.

Everything about that day would be basic, and I have grown to learn that I genuinely love being basic! When I was younger, I thought it was terrible to like things that everyone else enjoyed. Now, I fangirl over The Bachelor more intensely than anyone else, I blast Taylor Swift like she is going out of style, and I don’t think twice about spending far too much on that syrup-filled coffee.

Do you know what the best thing about this is? That there are 10 million other females right there with me: tweeting about how Barb on The Bachelor is the worst, trying to stay up until midnight for T. Swift’s newest album, and bursting with joy from their morning cup of gold.

Being basic makes you relatable. By this far into SLNW, it is evident that I adore being relatable. I thrive because of it!

When I am at a concert, I am ecstatic that I am surrounded by thousands of fans who also adore this art. When I am on Twitter during The Bachelor, I feel like I am chatting with hundreds of friends. When I am in the coffee line, I strike a conversation, knowing that we are all here for the same purpose: to satisfy our unnecessary addiction.

Having the same interests does not make us dull.

Dancing to Taylor Swift means that we all find her lyrics relatable and cringe-dance-moves-worthy.

Crying at Grey’s Anatomy means that we have let a show into our hearts, and we all feel each other’s pain every Thursday night.

Ordering $6 coffee means that we all realize it is okay to treat ourselves with life’s small luxuries – after all, we are hard-working. We all deserve happiness in a cup during those long Tuesday’s that should be Thursday’s.

Eating a whole pan of pasta shows that carbs are objectively bomb – of course carbs are delicious, everything unhealthy is.

Shopping for Amazon candles represents our love for having scents coordinate with the season – we can all be Pinterest copycats!

Living life with New Girl in the background shows that we are all responsible doing our laundry, cooking our pasta, or painting our nails. However, the New Girl crew makes terrible life decisions that appear to be a bit more fun than another load of dishes. It isn’t a crime to fantasize about being irresponsible!

Being relatable and basic is what I’m all about. It sparks friendships, small talk, and happiness! I appreciate that my interests are basic because it connects me with so many people: a shared smile, hobby, and love.

Nothing makes me happier than being a part of the basic community.

As much as I relate to females in positive ways, there are heavier similarities. Resemblances that I anticipated discussing in February; however, many readers enjoy serious topics.

So, like, we are going to start the conversation today.

There has never been a person that I have met that does not struggle with insecurities regarding their body.

Too much cellulite, small boobs, large waist, stretch-mark covered thighs, a round belly, flabby arms, chunky ankles, back fat, and on and on.

We all have issues with our bodies. Maybe some of us go through phases, stages, years, decades, or our lives despising every part of our body.

We know that God sculpted our frames. We recognize that people honk because they think we are uber hot. We understand that we are so fortunate and blessed to have such healthy bodies.

Nonetheless, we may go through a period where we feel defeated with our appearances.

Especially considering how much COVID weight we all gained, or how much weight we will gain once Thanksgiving hits, or maybe this year has had one too many venti Frappuccino days.

Whatever the reasoning may be, I do believe that most of us have experienced this frustration.

We understand we shouldn’t be so irritated, but we still are. We want to feel better, but we don’t know how.

So, Like, Now What?

First, I cannot stress enough about the importance of making this a common conversation.

Please, talk about these frustrations, talk about your feelings, talk about your body. This will show everyone how recurrent these issues arise.

If you have not dealt with concerns regarding your body, I promise you that many people do. Some are more severe than others, and that is why this issue should be discussed.

According to ANAD (2020), 28.8 million Americans have an eating disorder at some point in their lifetime. Woah.

This blog post isn’t dedicated to eating disorders; however, I would like to cover it sometime. Maybe in February during awareness.

Not all body insecurities lead to eating disorders, but they still aren’t healthy mentally.

Here are my critical three tips on thinking positively about your body. These are the things that work for me but may not work for you.

Know Your Relationship With Food

There were times when I felt extra harsh on my body.

When this started happening in high school, I started noting what I was eating before this self-criticism began. After doing that, I realized that foods like bread and hamburgers usually made me feel bad about myself.

Considering that I could scarf down a pint of ice cream, a bag of chips, and strawberry shortcakes and not feel terrible, this may seem odd.

But that is my relationship with food. After consuming those specifc foods, I would start being extra judgmental of my body. (Not so much anymore because a relationship can change!)

After cutting those foods out, I realized that I felt a lot better.

If you have patches of aggressive insecurity or negativity, I encourage you to start a food journal. This may help you determine foods that are subconsciously sparking these thoughts and feelings.

Furthermore, I have a friend at work who studied food science briefly in college. She told me that food could worsen anxiety, depression, and other emotions – that explains why certain foods pushed me into negative places.

I am not even close to an expert on the correlation between food and feelings; however, I love reading about it. I could do hours upon hours of research and still have so much to learn. The research that has been conducted is so interesting, and I would highly recommend looking into this if you are struggling with feelings.

Eat This Not That published an article (2020) that reveals 17 foods that heighten depression and anxiety.

Check it out, and if you like it, they have several other articles and podcasts!

Dress for Success

As much as I love a fancy dress, that is not what I am recommending when I say, “dress for success.”

Instead, I mean, wear whatever makes you feel good!

If that is a size bigger than your size is, a piece from 1944, or the basic cheetah print – rock it!

It’s pretty hard to be irritated with your body when you know you look damn good.

I am a massive advocate for representing your personality through your wardrobe. I’d say I am corky, awkward, and basic. Do you know what the best outfit for that would be? Some jeggings, a Bachelor shirt, and tassel earrings.

My clothes make me feel like me. Your clothes should make you feel like you!

It’s not about showing off your rockin’ body, although that is a great thing to do, but feeling fabulous in your body!

Ever since I began embracing the tassels, pineapple earrings, and cliché tees, I have felt so good about my body.

Who cares that I wear shapewear, shorts a size too big, obnoxious earrings, cheetah skirts, and shoes that look like pearls vomited on them?

No one cares because I am happy, and I know I look like the best me there is.

Don’t focus on how your body sucks, but how you could make those ‘imperfections’ awesome!

For example, I don’t love that my stomach isn’t 200% flat. So, I wear shapewear under my dresses. I’ll be honest – I am not sure if it makes a difference. But it makes me feel good, so I’m going to continue to shimmy in those Spanx!

Throw Out the Scale

People always say, “man, I gained 5 pounds since last week!”

Girl. Are you sure you don’t have to poop? Are you retaining water to start your period? Is it a different time in the day?

I don’t see the five pounds, so do not stress, worry, or obsess.

But I relate. So, like, I know that you will most definitely stress, worry, and obsess.

The best thing I ever did was pitch the weight scale. You couldn’t find one in my house, and you never will.

Weight fluxgates, and it is not something to worry about.

If you are healthily trying to lose weight, the best thing to do is measure parts of your body.

Muscle weighs more than fat, so as you start gaining weight, you may be losing inches.

It seems like the scale just wants to be a toxic, liar – so cut it out of your life! Especially if you are struggling or someone in your household does.

I’ll say it one more time for the people just skimming:

Throw that POS scale out!

Honestly, throw out everything that makes you feel bad: the certain foods, the iffy pieces of clothing, the calorie counting, and maybe even working out.

Having a healthy relationship with your body is different for everyone.

Take some time to reflect and figure out what makes you feel your best.

2020 has been a shitshow of a year, and the least you can do is let yourself feel good about your body. It is what you deserve!

This week I challenge you to welcome the basic parts of you, embrace your body, and live your best week! One of these weeks has to be flawless – right?

Sources

(2020). Eating disorder statistics. ANAD: Your Future is Worth Fighting For. Retrieved September 27, 2020, from https://anad.org/education-and-awareness/about-eating-disorders/eating-disorders-statistics/

My Birthday Weekend!!

Hey, blog friends!

I have missed you! But I must admit that I am surprised that I came back.

I started the podcast, “Crime Junkies.” I have been hardcore bingeing it, and each episode leads me to contemplate being a detective and hurrying to investigate.

Robert Fischer – you know, and I know that you altered your fingerprints. I will be the one to put you behind bars!

Atlas, I will keep the investigating to police and the blogging to a basic girl.

A basic girl who is now twenty-one!

Friday Night

My birthday was Saturday, September 12th.

Friday night, we decided to go to the Garrett cantina at midnight.

Making it to midnight was quite the struggle. I took a shower, chugged water, and sat in the garage with my dad. We munched on some McDonalds next to the space heater, while jamming to Mitchell Tenpenny.

Finally, 11:30 rolled around, and it was time to head to the cantina!

At midnight, I walked in, and everyone hollered,

Happy Birthday!

As I realized I was the only person wearing a mask, so I took it off to thank them!

Dawson and I sat next to my parents and across from his.

The bartender came over, and I ordered my first ever glass of wine – as I usually drink out of the bottle because I’m not a fan of dishes – and I was not disappointed. As the night progressed, I believe that I ordered three more glasses of this Strawberry Moscato.

This drink was so delicious that I kept trying to peek at the label so that I could buy a bottle.

The night was great! The drinks were good, shots that tasted like Jolly Ranchers kept being sent my way, and the jukebox was popping! Except for when Dawson started playing some elevator music that he swears is perfect background music.

When everyone is staring at you, no longer dancing, you think you’d realize this song wasn’t a hit. Not Dawson, though! He just kept defending it and dancing to the beat.

When the bar closed, I stumbled out in my furry slippers, while looking forward to snuggling in bed with my sweet Beasley.

Saturday

9:00 am hit me hard when my alarm started blaring.

SNOOZE!

9:45 hit me harder.

SNOOZE!

10:00 hit me the hardest.

SNOOZE!

When 10:30 hit, I jumped out of bed! I was ready to start my entire day of celebration.

When I walked out into the kitchen, I was shocked, hurt, disappointed that no one else was up.

If I am twenty-one and had four glasses of wine, my forty-four-year-old parents who had six mugs of beer can surely be up!

Dawson had no excuse either! He hadn’t drank anything, and was still sleeping. That slacker!

Soon enough, Dawson surprised me with Starbucks proving that he was not a slacker. Then, we started trucking it to Ted’s Beerhall. I was so excited to sit outside, sip some wine, and devour buffalo chicken fries. Yes, the buffalo chicken dip has dairy, but there are some things worth exploding for.

When we got to the restaurant, I was even more thrilled to learn they do half-priced appetizers on Saturdays! Does this mean two orders of buffalo chicken fries? I may be onto something here, folks!

Here is where I express a compliment-sandwich: our waitress had great nails! With her nails, she handed me the alcohol menu as soon as I sat down and immediately expected me to know what I wanted. Sure enough, I panicked and pointed to the very first wine listed. She brought it quickly, which was pleasant!

After over-indulging in buffalo chicken fries and slowly sipping 9oz of wine – it wasn’t my favorite because I was rushed! – we went to Cap ‘n Cork!

When I walked in, I almost passed out.

This was like the goldmine of wine. White, red, pink, vegan, sparkling, dry, sweet – they had it all.

As utterly beautiful as it may have been, I still went to the vodka.

There my dreams sat:

Pink Whitney 

A pink lemonade vodka created by a Barstool Sports podcast. One of the hosts of that podcast dates the producer of my podcast…that just got canceled. Tears were shed.

Right when I saw the bottle of Pink Whitney from across the store, I knew exactly what it was. That is how many times I have seen it advertised.

Overall, the experience was great. However, after I checked out, the clerk IDed Dawson. Shouldn’t they have done that when we walked in or before I made the purchase?

The eyes of someone who just witnessed paradise.

Once we got home, a family friend surprised me with a visit, apple cupcakes, and a sweet bottle of red wine.

After they left, I decided that it was time to test some Pink Whitney.

My initial reaction was tears.

So. Many. Tears.

Did anyone know you shouldn’t drink vodka straight? Personally, I had no idea and drank half a cup of it. Man, did that burn.

After seeing my watering eyes, my dad drove me to the liquor store in Avilla. There, I purchased Sprite and my favorite Uncle Ray chips.

Once the vodka was mixed with Sprite, it was delicious!

When I returned to my home, my cousin and her boyfriend were waiting for my arrival.

I was so excited to see them and even more pleased when I learned her boyfriend liked wine. I couldn’t wait to indulge in wine with them!

Instead of trying wine, we did twelve shots of vodka, rum, and so many other liquors.

That is where my story ends.

I didn’t die, but the proper, well-behaved Chloe did.

Apparently, I was screaming for Beasley, which terrified her. Poor baby!

I continuously asked Dawson for water. When he handed it to me, I would throw it, then accuse him of not getting me water. I knew he wanted me to be dehydrated.

More must have happened because the next day, Dawson declared that he was never letting me drink again.

I passed out at 10:30, so I couldn’t have done that much. Right?

Coming from the boy who kept handing me my drinks and telling me to drink more!

My shirt is funny; however, I have an electric wine opener! I’ll never have to use one like that.

Sunday

Around 4:30 am, I busted out of my room. Where was my phone!?

After searching for long periods, I concluded that it was just gone. Then, I proceeded to hop in the shower, pop in four Advil, and chug water.

When I woke up around 9, I was perfectly fine.

Not only did twelve shots not kill me, but it didn’t even make me throw up!

Nonetheless, I was out of commission all day. I laid in bed, drank water, and did nothing. When I attempted to tackle some homework, I started feeling majorly carsick. That’s when I threw Netflix on, grabbed some Ben & Jerry’s, and chilled in bed.

Gifts

As I shared in a previous blog post, my love language is gifts. That being said, I am a huge fan of hearing what gifts people received!

My friend, Makinnah, went hard with a Grinch theme. If you know anything about me, it is probably that I watch the 2018 animated Grinch at least 20 times a year. She made the most adorable Grinch wine glass, a shimmering ornament, and a Grinch sign.

Some of my coworkers got me awesome items. Chelsea, my office buddy, got me a cute basket, a 2021 daily calendar, a mug, and iridescent wine glasses. My work bestie, Lindsay, gave me a pink “Dog Mama” Starbucks cup, succulents, a marble water bottle, and a certificate to do Board and Brush with her! How freaking awesome are my coworkers!

My parents got me the most fabulous Michael Kors purse in brown. They filled it with stainless steel wine tumblers and vanilla lotion. Can we talk about how I get my ‘extraness’ from my mom!?

Dawson got me a subscription to the wine company, Winc. He gave me a beach bag, where you can pour and dispense wine – all in secret! Lastly, he gave me so many tools for my Cricut. I always appreciate how thoughtful he is!

My Aunt Rachel gave me two sweet bottles of wine from Byler Winery. Then, she got me all sizes of lifetime-warrantied Tupperware. Dishwasher safe and warrantied? She clearly knows how to speak my language.

Dawson’s parents, Jon and Jonelle, got me the cutest basket. It was themed after The Bachelor. Eek! They had a Pinterest-worthy, beach basket filled with a crown wine glass, a book, and “the most dramatic season ever” wine tumbler. Additionally, they got me light pink, furry slippers – that I wore out of the cantina – that make me feel like Elle Woods. In the basket was a hungover cookbook, which was so cute! They also threw in an Amazon gift card, which I used to purchase my furry, white garland.

Side note: wait until you see my Christmas tree this year. I recently purchased all the décor for it. It’s going to be chic, classy, and Santa approved.

My cousin, Brooke, gave me an avocado face mask and a “Whoopie Cake” candle that smells like Heaven. She also brought me “Strawberry Blush” from Country Heritage Winery, which was so good that Dawson’s mom and I shared several bottles later in the week.

My future sister-in-law, Reese, got me a shot glass and “Dog Mom” mug. She knows me well!

My brother, Chance, gave me a watch from Target. Why is this so cool? Because my favorite social media user ever, “my duck lady,” has it! Everyone hears me ramble on and on about everything she does, so this was a major win for Chance!

My Grandma Cande got me silicone oven mitts and hot pads. She also got me the fanciest set of wine glasses and a pitcher. I am already looking at trays that I can put it on because I love being fancy. I’m twenty-one now. No more drinking out of a bottle – except when the Grey’s Anatomy series finale airs. That is when I will sob, hold the bottle, and finish a pound of Ben & Jerry’s.

So many other people gave me wishes, wine, and cards. My heart was filled with love and gratitude. I am so blessed with so many people!

Now, my cabinets hold 17 bottles of birthday wine, another bottle of Pink Whitney, Skinny Girl margarita, and liquor.

I think that I’m set.

BUT if you want me to buy and split a bottle of wine with you, I am game!

All in all, my birthday was perfect! My only regret is scaring Beasley, but we have had many belly-rubs and are all good!

Thank you all so much!

I Turned Twenty-One!! SLNW?

Finally, I can pop the champagne, uncork the bottle, and fill my wine glass high.

I am twenty-one!

I honestly had the best weekend of my life. I cannot imagine a bachelorette party weekend or wedding weekend. I would think it is impossible to have any more fun than I did!

I would love to have seen 1,000 more people; however, I haven’t tried a billion other wines. I’m pretty sure that means that I would still be having the first drink [of a new wine] with those people!

I am always down to hit up a winery or a piano bar!

Fun fact: when picking our honeymoon, my make or break was a piano bar. I seriously adore them.

Several people requested a blog post about my birthday, and I have every intention of writing that!

Today, I woke up, popped the Advil bottle, and filled my glass high with water.

I am nursing a major headache – I guess twelve shots will do that to you!

Rookie mistake?

I turned 21! I now know that my

So, Like, Now What?

is not writing a blog post today. I worked on some homework and feel majorly car sick – is that normal?

Is this what being hungover is? How do college kids do this 3+ times a week?

I swear I must be older than twenty-one because I am just so sore, I have a raging headache, and EVERYONE IS TALKING SO LOUD.

Honestly, I am kind of in a Barb-mood today. Folks, tell me it isn’t true! Not a cranky Barb. That is how you know I need to drink more water and sleep it off.

This week, I am taking a break to taste test some of the 17 wines that I got. Yes, 17!

I will be back Monday with all the birthday tea – that I didn’t spill!

Until then, make some bets on if I will ever take a shot again. I’m thinking, um, hell, no?

Thanks for all the birthday wishes and prayers…they worked! It’s Monday, and my pants still fit. I’d call that an overall win!

Chloe 101!!

My 21st Birthday is this Saturday. Let me tell you that I feel like a toddler because I am just so excited! I know that I am already an over-sharer, and I can only imagine how I am after a bottle – or three – of wine.

For this reason, I feel like I should share stories about me that I may tell during the next years of my life.

So, like, today, we are throwing the theme out of the window and will be spilling the tea on facts about me. This ensures that I won’t embarrass myself too much after a few mimosas – right?

Friends, sit back, sip your coffee, and “come see my world.”

This is Chloe 101!! Are you ready?

*cue the Zoey 101 theme song*

I have always been a little salty because my parents deprived me of being extra chic – they changed my name from Chloé to Chloe when they adopted me.

What were they thinking? That I cannot type the “é?”

True, but still!

No ‘xoxo’ for my parents.

Until I was sixteen, I had no idea that you moved your lips when you kissed.

Do you know how I figured it out?

If you guessed when my first kiss started moving his lips, you’re right.

When I found out, the only appropriate response was to shove him off (it wasn’t Dawson), sprint away, cry, and yell back, “sorry!”

Nothing is quite as startling as someone moving their lips against yours when you expected them to just rest still against the others for a few seconds – or maybe minutes? I wasn’t sure; Disney movies clearly didn’t prepare me.

See! They don’t move their lips! How was I supposed to ever know!?

There is nothing I have worked harder at than softball. I firmly believe that I couldn’t have given any more effort than I did; yet, I still sucked.

No, seriously – I’ll admit that my change-up was outstanding, but I hold the record for most home runs hit off a pitcher at Garrett High School (LOL).

Athleticism isn’t something that I have within my being; however, there is one thing that has come naturally easy to me.

It remains the one thing that I will challenge anyone in knowing I can win:

speed jump-roping.

Don’t ask me how the cross country runner trying to escape the gator every meet is the one who is kick-ass at speed jump rope. I genuinely don’t know why it came so easy to me, but my best guess is that I learned due to the hundreds of times I drooled over Corbin Bleu in Jump In.

The best advice that I can give you is to never pick me for any kind of team: drinking, sports, or puzzles. The only time you should want – and fear – me, is when there is some speed roping!

My entire life, I have over-indulged in ice cream.

Vanilla ice cream with chocolate syrup was the perfect way to prep for high school weights. Chocolate-covered ice cream cones were a great snack before softball games. Whenever I wanted to cry watching John Tucker Must Die, ice cream was my favorite company.

No matter what the occasion was, ice cream was my answer.

Then, I became lactose intolerant – that was rough. I should’ve figured it out sooner when ice cream no longer sounded good, and I had to dart out of the movie theater from too much buttered popcorn.

After my stomach banned ice cream from my life, my days became darkened.  Sometimes I chose to still eat the ice cream, and pay about 20 min – 2 hours later.

Eventually, there was light once again – and it wasn’t from the bathroom light.

Ben & Jerry’s saved the day and created “Netflix and Chilled” non-dairy ice cream!

What happened after I rushed out of the theater.

My biggest fear that isn’t life-threatening is stitching.

When I see someone with stitches, I become sick. For whatever reason, it freaks me out.

During Halloween, I cannot stand all the masks with stitches all over them. It reminds me of a bug in your skin.

When I catch a glimpse of stitches that are black and aren’t trimmed, it makes my entire body itch. It literally keeps me up at night because I just get deeply disturbed.

I couldn’t tell you why this is, but it is something I don’t even kid around about.

Let’s hope that I never get stitches!  That would be the quickest way to wreck my life.

In my last blog post, I compared my skin tone to a Cullen vampire.

Do you know what the worst part about having pale skin is? Having dark hair.

In fourth grade, I had teenage Joe Jonas eyebrows that started connecting. I promise it was that bad.

So, I started waxing those monstrous babies. Problem solved!

But! Do you know what goes hand-in-hand with dark eyebrows?

A dark mustache.

After years of waxing, bleaching, and hair-removing cream, I decided to get laser hair removal.

Did it cost $1,000? Absolutely!

Do I never have to worry about the good ole stache coming back? Absolutely not – the removal is lifetime-guaranteed!

There is no more asking people to tell me when you can start seeing my mustache, then getting highly offended when they kindly point it out. It’s always a good day when you aren’t tempted to deck a Barb. (Whose actually just trying to help a girl out, but let’s not give her the benefit of the doubt here!)

One time, I was the 7th caller at a radio show, and I won a Rachel Zoe purse.

I was stoked and was super excited to give my mom something nice that she deserved.

When they excitedly screamed while asking for my name. My nerves got the best of me, and I couldn’t think, so I hung up.

The handbag that I won is now sitting somewhere in the home of an eighth caller.

I met Abby Lee Miller, and it was a terrifying moment of my life.

My middle school friends and I had just been dropped off at the movie theater when we saw Abby Lee Miller and Brooke Hyland near the register.

Instantly, we broke out into shy fangirls. Of course, we needed a picture for our Instagram’s, but who was going to ask?

As we were grouping around her to take the picture, she began yelling at the boy taking the photo.

“PUT THE BALL DOWN SON!”

He had been fidgeting with a ball that he had won from an arcade game in one hand.

Apparently, that thoroughly upset her.

At that moment, I decided that Abby Lee Miller was 1000x worse than my Grandpa Scott, Gordon Ramsey, Regina George, and Simon Cowell.

Thank goodness she didn’t see all the homeruns hit off me! She would’ve been yelling at the umps to:

“TAKE THE BALL AWAY FROM HER!”

Seriously, who knew that taking a photo could be so terrifying?

I’m the one with my eyes shut! Totally Instagramable, right!?

Arguably, a twenty-first birthday is the most anticipated, followed by a sixteenth birthday.

Truthfully, I solely looked forward to a Sweet Sixteen party; however, I assume most people look forward to sixteen to legally drive.

When I was sixteen, I was so eager to drive! I had never driven before, which was evident when my Drivers Ed teacher had to beg me to go over 10 mph. That didn’t happen (between you and me), and my first two sessions were spent in a parking lot. He was less than thrilled.

When I had finally mastered driving the speed limit, I was ready to take my driver’s test!

After I parallel parked to perfection, I was sure that I had passed. Guess who would be driving themselves to the prom: me! In just two weeks! Eek!

When I parked, the BMV worker promptly informed me that I failed the test within seconds because I pulled out of the “turn in” lane.

Never in my life have I so aggressively overreacted.

It was like my world shattered as I bawled so hysterically that I had to wait in the car.

Let’s hope my first legal drink goes better than that first almost-legal drive!

For the last secret that I’d typically confess at a sleepover, we will talk about a near-death experience. I frankly cannot think of a better way to celebrate living another year than by discussing my near-ending life.

In sixth or seventh grade, I was lying in my bed. My heart started burning so bad, and I just knew:

I was having a heart attack.

Hysteria rushed over me as I struggled to run downstairs. My mom needed to hurry and help me. What if I was about to die for absolutely no reason at all. I was too young to die – the ending of Pretty Little Liars hadn’t aired yet.

When I was standing before my mom, I struggled to get the words out. I just knew that this news would break her heart. Nevertheless, she needed to know. Maybe there was still time.

“Mom, I’m having a heart attack!” I finally sobbed.

My mom looked at me and said, “Chloe. You ate a ghost pepper, the world’s hottest [at the time] pepper. You are experiencing heartburn.”

My eyes attempted to meet hers through the blur of tears. What is heartburn? Is it worse than a heart attack? Great, I’ll never know who ‘A’ is!

In the end, I ate some ice cream and happily went on my way, knowing I had to be the world’s toughest person.

I beat a ghost pepper and heartburn all in one day? Someone pass me a jump rope, today was clearly my day.

I may be tougher than a ghost pepper, but heartburn…I don’t “Want U Back.”

So, like, that’s the tea on my life! Hopefully, nothing else will get spilled this weekend – especially alcohol. That stuff is expensive!

Thanks for tuning into this laidback blog filled with embarrassing stories! 

And to think your days get more embarrassing after you turn twenty-one – I believe that I might be screwed.

Here’s to twenty-one years! Fill your glasses and pray that I can fit into my jeans Monday. The calories in wine are no joke.

I Want to Shop Small for Makeup!! SLNW?

Every day my alarm goes off, signifying the start of my morning routine.

I jump out of bed, give Beasley about fifteen-minutes of petting time, brush and floss my teeth, straighten my hair, pick out an outfit, make my bed, quickly grab something for lunch, and rush out the door to grab a coffee.

Where in that hot mess montage is there a moment to plaster on an appropriate amount of makeup?

I hate to break it to you, but my cheekbones don’t have a natural highlight, my eyebrows generally point in all different directions, my lips are incredibly pale like my skin, and my entire face always looks slightly pink.

Clearly, it takes some minor tweaking to make it look like what you see in pictures!

But I have priorities: I need to go to bed early for eight-hours of sleep, and I need an iced latte in the morning. There is simply no time for applying makeup!

So, Like, Now What?

This year, my good friend Lindsay started using Maskcara – no, this is not a brand of mascara. This is makeup that can be applied in under five minutes, and it is my next small business recommendation!

Color Matching

So, like, I could totally pass for a Cullen. When I used to walk into the drug store browsing for foundation, I would pick the lightest color. Sometimes, that color was still too dark! If only my skin were as flawless as a vampire.

This was truly a pain because I would have to look up brands that offer paler colors. I finally settled on an argon oil-based brand that matched my skin well; however, someone told me argon oil is allegedly made from llama poop. Now I was between two hard choices: have a prominent makeup line or indirectly put poop on my face.

Maskcara eliminated the challenges of this decision by offering color-matching.

I sent my Maskcara consultant a natural light selfie wearing no makeup, and she told me exactly what color matched my skin. Additionally, she told me what highlight and contour would match my skin best.

Instantly, I was in love – or experiencing infatuation. I could stay at my house, order the perfect matches, and not apply poop to my face? Talk about an all-around win.

Ordering

When I first placed my order, I was a little hesitant. I purchased a brush, the main highlight (which works as foundation), a brightening highlight, a contour, and a lip + cheek – which acts as a blush and lipstick. This order came with a free compact to put the makeup into.

This initial purchase was over $90, which made me second-guess entering my debit card information. Yet, I went for it, and have never looked back!

The order was sent to me within days, which is the way to my heart. Now, there was no chance it was only infatuation.

The $90 was so worth it because the makeup matches my skin, doesn’t flake off like skin-dandruff, and I haven’t run out – it’s been almost five months! Whenever I place my next order, it won’t be as expensive because I’ll just need a refill or some fun products like eyeshadow.

Applying Maskcara

Something that I’ve always struggled with is solving puzzles. Applying makeup has always felt like an intricate puzzle that I just can’t piece together.

What is baking; do I heat my skin? Am I supposed to apply primer? Do you prime and use setting-spray? What is contouring? Is an illuminator the same as a highlight? You mean you line your lips?

All these questions left me dazed and confused. I pretty much threw it on, mixed it around, and prayed it looked semi-normal.

Once I received my Maskcara, I wanted to learn how to apply it correctly. Mostly because it only took five minutes. I’m in college, so I can learn a five-minute makeup routine – right?

I was able to find several video tutorials and graphics that showed where to apply the makeup.

The most common application seems to be the “Cheetah HAC.” Here is a graphic created by Beauty in the Chaos – Maskcara with Lindsay.

Although this graphic displays every detail, this application still doesn’t make much sense to me. Puzzles just aren’t my thing!

I found a tutorial on the “Tribal HAC,” and that is what I now use on the daily. This application works best for me because it is half a puzzle; half a “throw it on and mix.”

My first ever Maskcara application! It is meant to make you feel more beautiul; not make you feel like you need extra makeup.

Maskcara Girls Just Want to Have Fun

Now, I’m hooked on Maskcara – not as much as my mom, though. It makes up her entire Christmas list. The brush cleaner, different brushes, eyeshadow, compacts, lip + cheeks, and basically the whole store!

This makeup is so practical, easy to use, and lightweight. Every morning I’m excited to throw it on in the coffee line because I feel like an artist!

As fun as applying the makeup is, the Maskcara community is much more enjoyable.

I am in a couple of Facebook groups where people show their favorite products, give tips and tricks, talk about life, and make product suggestions. Meaning, if I asked what products to use so my makeup looked just like Elle Woods makeup, they’d tell me!

I could list 1,000 more great things about Maskcara (like how organized it is with the compact), but you should experience the innovation yourself! This week, I am hosting a Maskcara Facebook party with Lindsay. Let me know if you’d like to join. You are not expected to buy anything, but I urge you to see what makeup is evolving into.

I am throwing it to show that makeup doesn’t have to be a never-ending puzzle, that the Maskcara community is a blast, and to check a few things off my mom’s wish list. Unfortunately, elves can’t create makeup this perfect.

This was my face when I experienced the Cullen-matching foundation.  It can be yours, too!

Shop easy, shop small,

shop Maskcara!

Comment on my post, or message me to join my party for a deeper-dive into Maskcara. There will be a giveaway, which you won’t want to miss!  Or click this link to check out the site!

Thanks, friends!

 

Dawson is The Bachelor!! SLNW?

COVID has taken so many of our favorite hobbies away: working out in gyms, sporting events, concerts – basically, our entire social lives.

But beyond that, the worst thing that is has taken away is Monday nights. Monday is when your heart fills with joy, Twitter comes together to discuss, and wine flushes your cheeks.

Monday night is The Bachelor night.

The Bachelor used to be one of my most time-consuming hobbies. Not only would I watch a two-hour episode, but I’d fill out brackets, fix special dinners, analyze preview breakdown videos, read several articles, and binge Roses and Rosé.

Man, how I miss the glory days filled with fence jumps, salmon jackets, and – well; no, I don’t miss Barb’s all that much.

The only way for me to be more involved in The Bachelor than I already am is actually to be on the show. Which will never happen! Some of you may dream of being on Broadway, attending an NFL game, or earning your Doctorate; this is my never-happening fantasy.

However, I do not dream about being on The Bachelor fighting for anyone other than Dawson. So, like, how would I win his first impression rose? (Something only an amateur would desire – no impression rose winner has won The Bachelor!)

Well, the most dramatic journey would start when I strut out of the limo, and here are 5 ways I’d do it.

Throw It Back

Dawson cracks up at comedian Tom Segura, who has appeared on Comedy Central, Netflix, and hosts the podcast, “Your Mom’s House,” with his comedic wife. In August of 2019, Tom’s best friend, Bert Kreischer, released a video of him dancing to announce his stand-up tour dates. Shortly after, Tom Segura created a video of himself dancing to poke fun at Bert.

For my first entrance, a black beard would be doodled on my face; a dark wig would be tied in a nasty, low ponytail; dumb, yellow sunglasses would rest on my nose; black clothes would unflatteringly sag down my entire body; and, a gold chain would be hugging my neck.

The song “Throw It Back” would start blaring, and my body would break out into dance. The moves would be the parody moves displayed in Tom Segura’s dance; however, I’d pay someone thousands of dollars to learn the steps.

Dawson would not see Chloe Hinkle, but Tom Segura – his future wife.

T-Shirt

The first time that I ever spoke to Dawson, it took me a week to muster the courage. I knew what time of day I passed him in the hallway, and I always considered speaking to him.

One Tuesday, I woke up, threw on my cross necklace, and reasoned with myself, “Chloe, you could die today! Do you want to die without saying anything to him?”

All morning, my hands were sweating rockets – holding a pencil felt like trying to control an ice cube.

When the bell rang, I knew what I needed to do. I scurried over to Dawson, who was mindlessly staring at the tile, and I squealed, “I like your shirt!”

Quickly, my eyes darted down to his semi-dingy, burgundy v-neck.

Yikes. This was not the nicest shirt I’d seen him wear. It was kind of like that commercial where the girl says, “…and you look amazingly comfortable.”

Why would I compliment him on something I didn’t even look at? Damn my fourteen-year-old self!

Skepticism crawled over his face, and he wearingly thanked me.

But now, here I am! So, like, it worked!

After seeing the obvious success that my school-girl-crush method had, I have no choice but to follow in my own, wise footsteps!

I would parade out of the limo wearing a fabulous gown, look everywhere but Dawson’s eyes, and whisper, “I like your shirt.”

Clearly, I would be the one to take home The Bachelor, Dawson Furnish.

Balloon Goth

Some things in life bring us pure joy. Most of those things were snatched away by COVID.

A happiness that wasn’t destroyed by the minor inconveniences of the virus – because we are all lucky to be healthy – was the delight of Jan Hakon. Otherwise referred to as “the balloon man.”

In 2019, videos of Jan began trending on Twitter. In these clips, he would pop balloons in the most ludicrous ways.

He’d stab them with knives attached to his shoulders, snap them with chairs, and pop them with spikes while blindfolded. When the balloons were no longer satisfying, he would break spaghetti noodles on his face.

All of it was a bit strange, but it never failed to bring smiles to faces.

My third idea would be to have the producers line the sidewalk with balloons.

When the driver opened the limo door, balloons would pour out of the backseat.

My shoe would hit the pavement, revealing hundreds of mini spikes.

Theatrically I would push my hand through the flood of balloons. Covering my skin would be a black, satin glove that went to my elbow. Several spikes would be covering the glove.

I would help myself out of the limo, and the camera would zoom in on the spikes plastering my outfit as if it were a costume.

My dress would be belted with spikes. Spike earrings would dangle toward my shoulders. My dress would be followed by a spike train, and my hair would be pinned up in a bun.

Suddenly, I’d start pulling spaghetti noodles out of my hair. As I would do this, my hair would begin falling, showing that the pasta had kept it together.

My eyes would begin searching for balloons as I aimed the spaghetti noodles at them. As I would chuck the pasta, the balloons would burst.

After exploding the balloons leading to Dawson, I’d humorously ask,

“Have you heard of Jan Hakon? He pops balloons way better than me, but I’m sure you’d pop a question way better than him!”

Any other Bachelor would send me packing that night, but for Dawson, that just might work.

Ezekiel 25:17

A terrible, confusing, drawn-out film from the 1990s, Pulp Fiction, is one of Dawson’s favorites.

Near the beginning of the story, Samuel Jackson, who plays Jules Winnfield, acts out an iconic scene.

He eats a burger, heaves a table, and howls, “SAY WHAT AGAIN!”

Next, he does something unexpected and quotes Ezekiel 25:17.

To mimic this scene that Dawson enjoys far too much, I’d have the limo door swing open and unveil me smacking on a burger. Without wavering my eye’s from Dawson, I would gnaw on the sandwich while standing from the car.

When I finally faced him while fully-standing, I’d gulp down the food and throw the remainder on the ground.

I’d holler, “SAY WHAT AGAIN!”

Then, I’d make crazy eyes, raise my eyebrows, and exclaim, “Ezekiel 25:17!”

As I crept toward him, I’d recite the verse more aggressively as each word passed.

When I finally finished reciting the verse, I’d be standing before him. My eyes still locked with his. Sweat would be rolling down my body as this would be the most intense thing I’d done since high school pitching.

To fans who’d never seen the movie, I’d seem insane. To Dawson, I’d seem uber cool for being into a movie that I so passionately despise – but that information would be saved for the second date I totally scored.

As much as he’d love this one, I’d never have the courage to do it. I’d bite into the sandwich, then be consumed by thoughts of flossing my teeth.

Monday Night

When I started this blog post, I mentioned slaving over special meals for Bachelor nights.

Do not be fooled – these meals are actually chocolate-covered strawberries or buffalo chicken dip.

The Bachelor is not the same when it isn’t paired with high-calories, comfy pants, and a wine glass.

This is the fifth idea that I’d pitch to the producers for exiting the limo while staying true to myself.

I’d be wearing a jumpsuit, as that is the closest thing to classy sweatpants, with a wine glass in one hand, and buffalo chicken dip in the other.

I’d make my way to Dawson, hand him the crockpot, and say,

“Life with me will be filled with wine, Monday night Bachelor episodes, and buffalo chicken dip. Life with you will be filled with beer, comedy-filled media, and buffalo chicken dip. It sounds to me like we could be a perfect pair chilling on the sofa, “cheers”-ing our drinks, and getting sick from too much buffalo chicken dip!”

That statement would be entirely too long for a first impression. Whatever I said would be way shorter and more awkward than that whole spiel.

But that is the truth. I am thankful that COVID didn’t take away one of my favorite hobbies: hanging out with Dawson.

You may not be at concerts or the NFL, but at least you have other things. Sit on the couch with your family, eat an abundance of unhealthy food, and make-up answers to questions like, “how would you exit The Bachelor limo?”

Once everything opens and COVID is cured, you’ll have plenty of time to plan for,

“So, Like, Now What?”

Time to Pick the Ring!! SLNW?

We all have something in our life that we love looking at for joy. Perhaps it’s your BMW bus, your favorite drummer shirtless, or your newborn baby.

Mine is my engagement ring.

…amongst other things, of course!

Dawson is an excellent gift-giver, but this is by far the best thing he’s ever given me. I never expected to care what my ring looked like, but now that I have it, I can’t imagine it looking any other way. It truly feels perfect for me.

Maybe your time to pick a ring is right around the corner – or you’re a super planner or budgeter! No matter the reasoning, you’re ready to pick out a ring.

So, Like, Now What?

First, make sure you are both on the same page. You could be envisioning walking down the aisle while they think that this first movie theater date would be the last. You went a little too hard with the butter for their tastes.

Have a genuine conversation about what you two want. Do you want to live together anytime soon? Do you want to live together before or after marriage? Do you want kids anytime soon? What do both of you want in your futures, and do those hopes align?

Make sure you address these questions honestly and don’t do any hint dropping – hints are missed way too often for this serious of a discussion. They cannot read your mind, so whatever you say is what they’ll believe. So, like, say what you mean.

After you are on the same page, start looking at rings that you like. Take note of different elements that you adore: do you prefer gold or silver; what diamond shape is your favorite; do you want one diamond or several?

I know a woman who even started a Pinterest board with variations of the same ring, and her boyfriend drew his ideas from that. She got a similar ring so that aggressive hint-dropping seemed to pay off! In this case, hints can be useful.

When I was thinking about elements that I loved, I knew that I wanted the band to be gold. I preferred solitaire diamonds, especially oval because my fingers are so boney; however, I really love small diamonds on the band.

Once you have an idea, or a few, of what you like, it is time to talk about a price range!

My taste is a bit more expensive than Dawson or I anticipated; yet, I am not shocked. Look at who my role model is – we should’ve seen this coming.

We didn’t want to make payments or use a credit card, so Dawson picked up an extra summer job. He saved all the money he could, and I tried to pay for all our dates and expenses during that time. I even offered to pay for half of the ring, but he would not let that happen! How will my taste ever get less expensive if I am not forced to lower my standards or pitch in – when we spend $10 billion on Christmas, it’ll be his fault and not mine!

After your price is determined, it’s time to pick the jeweler. When I was little, I never considered what my ring might look like. However, I was convinced that it would be from Kay or Jared because they had the sweetest Christmas commercials that made me cry every time!

Dawson didn’t want me to see the ring, but he also likes to do things at his own pace. That is why he chose to go the online route and buy my ring from James Allen! That involved no pushy salesmen, but excellent customer service.

James Allen allowed him to start with a setting, where he picked the most jaw-dropping gold band with little diamonds. (It was incredibly disappointing when he thought this was the price of the entire ring, and it’s just the setting LOL. I found a coupon code for the setting when he mentioned JA, so that helped a smidge!)

Then, he was able to pick whatever diamond he wanted! First, he selected the desired carat size, color, and clarity; however, neither of us considered anything other than the carat size too much. He knew that I prefer clear diamonds – whereas, some people love the vintage, yellow look – so he looked for that. After all those steps, he was able to view 360’s of several diamonds.  He could sort them by size, color, or price – which is what I’d do if I were him.

Dawson chose the most stunning oval diamond, that I drool over way too often.

Photo by Hannah Ruth Photography

Next came the most challenging part for Dawson. James Allen allows engravements, and he put a lot of emphasis on making those words special. On the night of his 21st Birthday, as he was probably close to vomiting, it dawned on him:

My Sweetest Friend

Words sang in his favorite Goo Goo Dolls song, that’ll play for the first dance at our wedding. Beyond being significant others, partners, and equals, we are friends. That is something that both of us treasure.

Now, I wear these words on my finger every day.

For me, this ring is perfect! For you, a simple band, a 6-carat rock, or a purple gemstone may be the one. Whatever it may be, make sure you truly love it! It’ll be on your finger forever, and if you’re like me, you’ll be shocked at how happy and tearful it makes you.

Okay, readers!

Now, I am having such a hard time picking a wedding band. I am stuck between the matching band or the bigger band.

(Yes, I will also have a coupon for the band. 25% off baby!)

Dawson said I should go for the bigger one because, “What?? Are you scared it won’t be on your finger forever or something!”

Also, I do not want to ever get a third, anniversary band. Clearly, I am trying to justify my preference by specifying all these details!

James Allen does 30-day returns, so I may order the bigger one (I’m leaning towards it, unsurprisingly…I love sparkle!) and send it back if I don’t like it.

Let me know what you guys would choose in the poll down below!

Left is the matching band; right is the bigger band.

Thanks, and rock on!

I Need Inspo Stat!! SLNW?

Inspiration comes in all shapes and sizes. Sometimes wrapped in bows, crumbled in fortune cookies, written on a graphic tee, stated in a speech, and on and on – inspiration is life.

Inspiration is necessary for so many things like putting the clothes in the dryer, grooming your dog, washing your hair, or walking the mile. Motivation isn’t just imperative for go-getter goals, like going to Harvard Law. It’s essential for everyday life sometimes! Let’s face it: every day is not a get-up, vacuum the house, seize the day kind-of-day.

Not every day needs to be a productive day! But when it is a day where you need to be efficient, but the day feels like a pair of unflattering, lowcut jeans – you may need a large coffee and dose of inspiration.

A fun place to find motivation is movies – where lessons are packaged with sarcasm, far-fetched storylines, and picture-perfect moments.

Here are some noteworthy life lessons that we tend to forget from flawless films.

Cheer Yourself On

Why not kick-off this blog with an icon, a legend, my role-model: Elle Woods from Legally Blonde.

Elle teaches us always to put ourselves first. To pursue dreams for us, no one else, because that’s what we want to do. To give our best efforts, while still working on our mental health, physical health, and relationships.

She knew what being a lawyer would entail for her professionally, but she didn’t let that change her personally. She chose to keep the same spunk, pink attire, and peppy attitude. Just because there is a stereotype for lawyers, doesn’t mean she needs to conform. That is a career that she’d like to have, not who she wants to be.

Always be yourself, have confidence in yourself, and be your #1 fan. If you’re not doing it for you, why are you doing it?

Remember to live for you.

What, like that’s hard?

Remember to Live

Sam, from A Cinderella Story, did two things right.

First, she listened to the Goo Goo Dolls as she began narrating. Always listen to the Goo Goo Dolls.

Second, she began living her life instead of working it away. She had been picking-up countless hours at work, never stopped worrying about school, and let everyone else dictate her life. Finally, she began taking risks, attending events that she was interested in, and sticking up for herself.

It is always good to work hard, but it is necessary to stop and ask yourself what you’re doing. Are you merely working for one day, where you’ll end up working for another “one day?” Are you working so hard that you are stuck in a routine and aren’t living life, taking risks, or being happy?

Work hard in all that you do, but remember that you deserve to have fun. Live your life! What if you’re working tirelessly for a day that’ll never arrive?

Love is Worth Work

50 First Dates is a movie that showcases the weight of wedding vows.

If your spouse was genuinely struggling with a lifelong issue, would you be able to stay? What if that problem was them not remembering you from one day to the next?

Every day, Henry tried to get Lucy to fall in love with him.

When Lucy gave her heart to Henry, he had to remind her of that love every morning.

When you choose to love someone, would you love them through that? Would you be there for them like Henry was there for Lucy? Or would it simply be too much?

If it would be too much, maybe that isn’t who you should exchange vows with.

Love isn’t always fair. It isn’t always easy. Sometimes it weighs on one person more than it ever should. But love should generally be worth it.

If your partner became a Lucy, would you become a Henry?

Nothing is Beneath You

A true princess is Cher from the classic, Clueless.

Cher knows that she is beautiful, fantastic at negotiating grades, and someone that everyone would like to be associated with.

However, that does not make Cher above anyone or any task. She still wants to help by handing out makeovers, going through papers for her dad’s work, and donating millions of skis.

No matter what you’ve done, what your name is, or how you look – you’re never better than helping. Everyone can afford to help out, do small favors, tackle minor tasks, and donate time.

If anyone ever disagrees, look them dead in the face and squeal

“Ugh, as if!”

There’s Always Someone Better

Bianca, who stars in The Duff, says it best: we will always be somebody’s dumb, ugly, fat friend.

Don’t worry; I’m semi-kidding!

There will always be somebody with smoother hair, better pay, a more jaw-dropping Christmas tree, a higher GPA, or more appealing dinners.

There will always be somebody else who could do your job, and maybe they could even do it better. There will always be someone who catches on quicker than you – even if that’s what you’re best at. There is always someone who will be kinder, or taller, or “better” at something than you.

That makes them extraordinary in their own way, but you’re still stellar in your way. Just because they are better at changing car oil than you does not make them better than you.

You are you! How amazing is that! Many people look up to you for different things – even if someone else may be better at a few things.

It is okay for there to be people better than you at things. Do you really care if Barb’s fifth husband is quicker at changing oil than you?

If you’re happy with where you are, that’s all that counts! Even if you aren’t the best at something, it doesn’t mean you don’t deserve the best. You still deserve less frizzy hair, a promotion, and beautiful Christmas ornaments.

Stop comparing yourself and start embracing the life that you have! A few years ago, you probably would’ve killed to be where you are now. Stop chasing your

so, like, now what

and take a second to enjoy the life you have. Enjoy the inspiration surrounding you, enjoy the life that God created for us, enjoy the love you’re blessed to experience, enjoy the mundane tasks, enjoy what you’re good at, and enjoy a good ole cheesy movie.

The 122nd Night Before Christmas!! SLNW?

Instead of starting my morning with Saturday cartoons, I began my day cackling at the most relatable Christmas video ever. Besides the headache recurrences, this character is me – only my go-to is Hobby Lobby, not Target. After seeing the snippets of Target décor in the background, I wouldn’t be surprised if that changed this year. (If you have extra time today, you must check this video out!)

After finishing this video for the fourth time in twenty-minutes, it dawned on me

Christmas is in 124 days, and I am thoroughly underprepared!

That was it: I jumped out of bed, threw on my Hallmark movie sweatshirt, added peppermint syrup to my almond milk latte, and danced like a hip eighty-year-old to “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” by Tyler the Creator.

Friends, it’s time to get holly and jolly up in here!

If you don’t know me very well, you may think that I am being sarcastic. That is simply not the case. Christmas spirit makes up about 83% of my personality. Being Santa Claus would be my dream job – don’t get me wrong, Mrs. Claus is vital to North Pole operations, but I like being the head honcho with cute cheeks. (Face cheeks from the cold weather, and other cheeks from all the sugar cookies.)

Now the question is: could I be Santa Claus?

The answer is: of course!

For starters, Dawson once complimented me and told me that my nose makes me look like a Who. Isn’t the resemblance uncanny?  Sarcasm aside, I can see it a bit in this selfie!

Let’s not forget the time I dressed up like a Christmas tree just because! Making that was a son of an itch! It would’ve been even cuter with the wrapping paper skirt, but that kept ripping. The sugar cookies get me every time – forever round and full of cookies.

Did I mention that I wear ornament earrings all December long? Well, they are actually just ornaments, but they work as earrings, too! Talk about versatile.

Oh, also, look at this adorable ornament headband paired with a DIY Christmas sweatshirt! I admit this look gives me Harper vibes from Wizards of Waverly Place.

And there is a time when two classmates, Allison and Madison, and I started the Christmas charity event, Garrett Claus.

I rest my case: I am the next Noelle Claus!

If there is anything I like as much as Christmas, it is not having debt. I refuse to pull out a credit card or go broke for Christmas. However, I also refuse to forgo the Hallmark wrapping paper and matching boxes, tissue paper, ribbon, and gift tags.

That is why I slowly buy Christmas gifts around August or September and am usually done in early December. Then, the wrapping parties commence!

Dawson and I combine all our money and do joint gifts. Last year, he asked how much money I thought I’d spent on all our gifts, then proceeded to throw out “like $500?”

$500 for twenty-two people, three Secret Santa’s, and the necessary Hallmark Christmas supplies? Had he just gotten back from Jupiter or?

Truthfully, Dawson and I are huge savers. It really is our goal to put a 5-10% down payment on a house within the next year. (Don’t worry – only he’s living in the house until we get married!) We started a savings account together when I was a senior in high school – I love planning…obviously! – but we have had to pull money out to avoid a student loan, put 10% down on a car, and pay for other things that pop up – that’s life!

However, Christmas is also Christmas! A time when you spend more money than you anticipate, regardless of how many Excel budget sheets you craft. That’s why I budget to the best of my abilities and start my shopping early.

If you are way richer than us, and probably are, you should still start early this year. COVID (aka Grinch on steroids) may hit again this fall, and stores will shut down. Just imagine the shipping if that happens. We will have to remember 2-day Amazon shipping in history books. Talk about a shipshow.

How to Prepare

It is time to draft your naughty and nice lists. Write down everyone that you are planning to shop for this year. Don’t forget to include White Elephants, Secret Santa’s, pet gifts, and stocking stuffers. If you’re like me, you probably love Christmas shopping so much that no one drops down to your naughty list. My brother, Chance, could intentionally hit me with his car, and I would probably still spend more money on him than he’d ever consider spending on anything other than bacon burgers and cheese curds.

Next, create an estimated budget of what you’d like to spend. Include the price of boxes, tissue paper, bags, tape, ribbon, and gift tags. If you want to take this step further, count how many paychecks you’ll earn by Christmas. Then, calculate how much money you should save or spend from each paycheck to hit your estimated budget.

Once you have a target budget in mind, begin deciding how much you’d like to spend on each person. Personally, I spend the most money on Dawson, followed by our parents, then siblings, then grandparents, and so on. Don’t forget to include the typical cost for Secret Santa’s, White Elephants, work and school events, etc.

All of this is fun, but now it’s time for the fifth most fun part!

(The first is giving the gift, the second is wrapping it, the third is buying it, and the fourth is comparing its actual cost to your estimate.) 

It is time to write down gifts that you’d like to give. Think about items you’ve heard them mention wanting, products they like, gift cards to places they frequently visit or just ask them what they want!

Now that you have your shopping list, you can officially put on your Santa boots and avoid your credit card!

When you finish your Christmas shopping in early December this year and wonder,

So, like, now what?

Watch Bad Moms Christmas, take some notes, and do as Amy does: have fun. ‘Tis the season to have a good time!

you at Target and Hobby Lobby with all your extra time.

Except don’t wrap like her. It’s horrifying!

Actually, I forgot how inappropriate this movie is sometimes. Only do some things Amy does, like cherish memories!

Enjoy Christmas! I hope it’s on your mind all day today, and you’re happy about that – not a bad banana with a greasy, black peel about it consuming your thoughts!

Hey! Thanks for not being a Grinch and tuning in today! Make sure to give me feedback on what blogs you’re enjoying. This blog is more unprofessionally written with all the gif’s, sarcasm, and puns. If it is not your style, let me know, and I will stick to more professional ones. Thanks, friends!

Your Relationship is Long-Distance!! SLNW?

The time is finally here for attending school in sweatpants and crop tops, eating the cheapest GM – hold the ‘O’ – food that you can find, hanging-out with your friends 24/7, and crying because you procrastinated another 762-page paper.

College has arrived, and it’s going to be legendary, except for having to do your laundry, being away from your dogs, and making your relationship long-distance.

Yikes on that last one – I think I’d just throw in the towel now.

My advice is to pull out your phone and send them a quick text: “Imma bounce from this whole me and you thing. Sorry, but like, tell your mom her meatloaf will always be my fav!”

I’m not going to sugar-coat it, long-distance sucks. However, the outcome can totally be worth it. Please, don’t listen to my previous comment or all the bitter Barb’s who lost Keith Scott’s after high school, and got married to season 1 Dan Scott’s.

I’ll overshare and admit that mine and Dawson’s long-distance relationship was the unhealthiest it has ever been. Many different things played a part in that, like immaturity, lack of communication, and not understanding love languages.

I am a girl with a WordPress blog. Not a certified counselor. What I say doesn’t always go, or may not be something you agree with. That’s fine! These are just some tips and tricks that I learned when we experienced long-distance.

Immaturity

When Dawson moved to Chicago during his freshman year of college, I was still a senior in high school. We had been together for a year, where we would see each other every day at school, cross country, and on dates. Suddenly, we were only seeing each other one day every three weeks. We had to rely on emojis to understand each other; I know what you’re thinking, “terrible idea! I can see why you’d throw in the towel!”

To say it was an adjustment would be a massive understatement.

Communicating can be hard, especially when you rely on texts filled with slang, misspellings, and emojis. When we would misinterpret each other’s tone or feelings, we would easily snap at each other. That’s when we’d hit one another with the “K,” or no response. Some couples even throw out the

“we’re on a break!”

Dawson and I swore never to say that, unless it was truly how we had been feeling. Otherwise, we would be consumed by a constant fear that the other person may get upset and end the relationship – even if it was “a break” and not “a break-up.” In a romantic relationship, it is crucial to remember that you are both lucky to have each other – you shouldn’t feel less than your partner, and that’s how issuing several breaks can make the other person feel.

As well-recognized as breaks are, primarily thanks to Ross (I’ve never watched Friends, and I even know this reference), subtweets are becoming even more iconic.

Please, do not subtweet your partner! Do not subtweet, sub-like, sub-retweet, or anything along those lines. Fights do not last forever – let your emotions settle. Instantly posting about it online makes you look shady, weakens your partner’s reputation, and causes your relationship to appear unhealthy. People remember what is posted online, and that is how they perceive your life.

Why do you think I use so many exclamation marks on social media? I!!! need!!! people to think I’m peppy!!!!

Seriously, keep it off social media. That goes for all the Barb’s too – no one cares that the Taco Bell gave you light ice instead of regular ice.

Continue the conversation, don’t drastically act on heightened emotions, don’t go to bed upset, and communicate.

Communication

Something that Dawson and I both realized when we worked on improving our communication was we both really liked talking, and neither of us really cared to listen.

We’d be preparing what we had to say before the other person even finished talking. It was almost like when you’re in bed ten-hours later thinking about the perfect comeback for the Taco Bell ice guy – only we were doing it immediately. It took a lot of work for both of us to improve that, and it turns out that we were usually saying the same thing when arguing – crazy.

When we were long-distance, we were terrible at making assumptions. We would misinterpret, see a snippet of a picture, or only hear part of a statement, and we’d create a whole narrative up in our heads. Jumping to conclusions is never good, ask them to explain and listen to what they’re saying.

After your partner explains the situation, try to understand, and be rational. If you don’t feel like it’s currently possible to be sensible, let them know that and take a self-care breather.

When relationships turn long-distance, it seems common for all trust to go out the window for absolutely no reason.

They tell you they were eating dinner, but you know that they were doing a Magic Mike dance with 10,000 hotter people. The audacity they had to tell you they were eating dinner…

Yes, they may be lying, but innocent until proven guilty! They have done nothing to break your trust, and distance isn’t a valid reason to let go of that trust.

Explain how you’re feeling, they can’t read your mind, and you don’t want them jumping to conclusions.

Communication doesn’t mean anything if you aren’t willing to hear the other person out. Listen to what the other person has to say – this is not a terrible Taco Bell worker, Barb! This is your love! Don’t worry about comebacks; focus on forgiveness.

Believe what they are saying and try to understand. It may not be what you’d do, but that’s okay. If it isn’t something you want them to do, talk to them about it.

Please, please, keep this to yourself! Otherwise, your dirty laundry will become the town’s talk, the neighborhood gossip, the tea!

Love Languages

When I used to hear people talk about love languages, I worried about them. Was this their mid-life crisis? Were they rapidly aging? What an old, outdated concept to care about.

Now, I value the crap out of love languages. Not only for my romantic relationship, but for my relationship with myself, friends, and family.

If you don’t know what your love language is, you need to find out. There are a billion free surveys that will tell you what your love language is.

Dawson and I took this survey about halfway through our 31-weeks of long-distance. The results helped our relationship grow tremendously.

Dawson’s love language is quality time. To implement this, we started setting Netflix dates where we’d text during the episodes. Counting down to start each show at the same time was so exciting, and communicating during the episodes really made us bond. It felt like we were us again!

My love language is gifts. (I wonder if that is shallow, and I’m not going to say it isn’t…but who cares!) When Dawson would send me something through Amazon, send me $5 for a Wendy’s strawberry lemonade, make an iMovie of pictures of us, write me a card, or send me a song that made him think of me – I felt so loved.

Figuring out what each other’s love languages are was so important. Everyone needs a little bit of all the love languages, but everyone has a different primary language.

Your job is to take care of yourself and your partner. Make sure both of you are feeling loved. That means doing things that fall under their love language, as well as your own.

Mid-life crisis chat over. No need to jump to conclusions worrying about me!

Long-distance is challenging, but it isn’t impossible. In your heart, you know if you want to make this work. So choose if you’re in or out, and commit to that decision.

These things helped Dawson and me while we dealt with long-distance, but every relationship is different. Be self-aware, recognize when you’re being a Barb, avoid spilling your secrets online, communicate and listen, and make each other feel loved. If you aren’t feeling love, why are you in the relationship? Whatever the reason may be isn’t good enough if it isn’t love.

Once you’re done with all this long-distance, you’ll think,

“So, like, now what?”

That transition is also hard. Personally, I’d throw in the towel now.

Dawson and I are stronger and healthier than ever. Every relationship has its ups and downs. That blog is for another time, but know you can make it!