Speed dating‎

Life At 30-Something.

Last week I turned 30.

[No longer accepting belated birthday texts, only money orders and elaborate Edible Arrangements, thanks fam.]
People like asking if you feel different when you have a birthday and most years, it’s easy to say “pretty much feels identical to twelve hours ago”.  But not for thirty.  When the clock hit midnight, wisdom descended and I saw into the reality of this next decade.

Life at 30-something: 

  1.  When you enter your 30s and say, “I’m going clubbing tonight”, you absolutely do not mean you are going dancing at a low lit night club, staying out all hours of the night.  You are now referring to one of two clubs: Book Club or Supper Club.  These are literally the only two types of clubs that could convince you to be out of the house until 9pm.  In context:
    -“I’m going clubbing tonight.  My Book Club is discussing the new Harry Potter and we’re trying a new type of trail mix!”
    -“I’m going clubbing tonight.  Our Supper Club friends are doing a Low Country Boil, so what I’m trying to say is I’m taking my sleeping bag and living at their house for 24 hours because I’ll be too fat to move.”
  2. People in their 30s are now starting to realize their lives didn’t turn out exactly how they imagined.  Which I guess isn’t saying much because we based most of our expectations of adulthood on our M.A.S.H. results. According to my 1997 M.A.S.H. I should be marrying JTT, driving a garbage can, living in a mansion, and working at Hello Kitty.  We’d have 8 children, so hopefully my garbage can has bucket seats.  (Had to.)
    mashJust feeling bummed that I didn’t have the foresight back then to write in every single “car” blank-  “Uber, take me everywhere”.  I could get behind that.
  3. In your 30s, you begin to suffer from a delusional disorder that causes you to believe you are “just out of college” and “still young and relevant”.  I regularly feel like I am just two years older than the college-aged girls who babysit our daughter.  And then I do the math and calculate an entire decade between us.  When she was a newborn in the hospital I was ten and doing the Macarena.  It makes me want to sit these girls down and ask lots of desperate questions like,
    “Where did you buy those jeans with the holes or did you put the holes there or do they even sell those to Moms” and “What emojis are college kids using these days” and
    “I’ll tell you what a Home Owner’s Association is if you can Rosetta Stone some millennial slang for me right quick”.
    32
  4. These are the years you realize it’s time to officially own your adulthood, the years when you actually discuss things like refinancing the house and have to compare five different stroller models.  You realize it’s time to embrace responsibility and do adult things like listen to all of your voicemails and respond accordingly.  The up-side to owning your adulthood?  You get to do whatever you want because you are the boss of you.  Want to stand over the sink at 10:30 and eat a slice of pound cake out of your hands?  COOL.  Want to play Candy Crush for hours even if you don’t have WiFi?  DO IT ‘CAUSE YOU GROWN.  Want to act like you fell asleep on the couch when your spouse brings up the budget?  GO FOR IT, ADULT.
  5. At 29, you feel strong and healthy and young, and then I don’t know why but you turn 30 and immediately everything hurts.  All the things you were doing in your 20s now require Aleve and a back brace.  I used to carry eight bags of groceries in at a time without flinching (because who has time to make three different trips out to the car) but now when I carry in that one bag with the orange juice, my hands start cramping and shriveling up.  My husband plays pick up basketball with some friends and he basically dislocates his shoulder during warm ups now.  He needs a 3-4 hour recovery period after getting home to ice random muscles and stretch his thirty-year-old body parts in the door frames.
  6. Your 30s are the years when you make peace with your slower metabolism, choosing kale over bread and chia seed smoothies over Girl Scout Cookies.  Eh, never mind. That must be your 40s.
  7. If someone in their 30s says “Let’s stay up late tonight”, they have no interest in seeing any time that ends in “A.M.”. They also aren’t planning on staying up to find out the host of Saturday Night Live.  They probably mean “Hey, I have an idea.  Let’s stay up late tonight and watch the weather coverage on the 10:00 news.”  Like, even then- contacts are OUT, pajamas are ON, and they already have one eye closed getting a head start on a REM cycle.

Finally, a toast to all these years as a 30-something.  May the book clubbing be turnt and may these years be far sweeter than you could’ve imagined.  Cheers!

life-atImage Sources: 1, 2, 3

 

In Loving Memory Of The Parents Who Have Put Sunscreen On Toddlers

Summer has unofficially ended, marked by the Labor Day holiday weekend and the start of a new school year.  Each September you can divide out the public into a few general groups:
1) The people with paper countdown chains waiting for pumpkin spice products to hit the shelves.
2) The teachers who are nine days into school like “who put this class list together, I will find them and make them my substitute”.
3) The women who won’t let society put them in a box: “WATCH ME wear these white pants all September.”
4) The parents we’ve laid to rest because they spent four months of pool days wrestling sunscreen onto toddlers.

 

Today, we pause and remember these parents as being upstanding mothers and fathers whose only mistake was trying to protect their children’s skin.  Let us look back at their journey in sunscreen application and bow our heads in remembrance:

The Final Moments Of A Parent Who Didn’t Know Any Better
(All Mom wanted to do at Target was read each of the sunscreen labels to determine which lotions were 100% mineral, organic, fragrance-free, and moisturized with the kisses of fairies- but due to the toddler who kept growling at other guests, they ended up with three hastily-chosen bottles of lotion full of chemicals with toxic sunscreen ingredients linked to Ebola.)
in-loving-memory-sunscreen

  1. Parent located and retrieved Ebola lotion in the house and walked toward child without making eye contact.  (knowing if eye contact was made, MISSION ABORTED.)

  2. Parent bent down to hug child then transitioned hug to casual but firm half-nelson stronghold.  Child realized sunscreen was about to be applied and lost his ever-loving mind.  Wiggling turned to thrashing, whining turned to screaming.  Parent wondered how much a toddler would sell for on eBay.  Sunscreen application began.
  3. The child was not reassured when told, “Everyone has to put on sunscreen when they go to the pool”, until parent turned it into a song and made it sound like Daniel Tiger sang it first.  Parent kept singing made-up melody until toddler asked permission to put sunscreen on the cat.  “Sure, that sounds like a great way to have your entire arm clawed off, so yeah, go ahead and smear Coppertone into her fur and I’ll be over here picking out your bionic arm.”  (So far, we officially put sunscreen on just one arm.)
  4. Mom called for back-up and both parents prepared to tag team the process: while Mom applied sunscreen as quickly as humanly possible, Dad was responsible for distraction.  Parents tested hypothesis: “Sunscreen cannot be thoroughly applied to a toddler’s face wet with tears and spit.”  Scientific method confirmed hypothesis.  While Mom was trying to rub in lotion around the eyes, toddler shook head back and forth to test his own hypothesis: “Sunscreen accidentally applied to eyeballs will be a fun and soothing way to prevent UVA/UVB damage.”  Hypothesis so very disproved.
  5. Immediately after child was released from Ocean Potion Prison, parents realized they forgot to screen up critical areas: behind child’s ears and on the back of the neck.  As the child was running around downstairs like a lunatic, Mom threw the bottle of lotion to Dad, yelled “GOD WHY ARE YOU TESTING ME”, and momentarily hid in the bedroom with a lit candle and some Enya music.
  6. Child sat on the hardwood floor and strategically tantrumed so that 40% of the applied sunscreen rubbed onto the floor.  Mom tentatively emerged from the bedroom.  Parents stood there, unmoved and hardened to any sniffly cries of “huuuuurttts”.
    Dad: “Why didn’t we use spray-on sunscreen again?”
    Mom: “He squirms no matter what.  Plus, the last time I used spray-on sunscreen, I’m pretty sure he huffed the fumes and was high at the neighborhood pool.”
    Dad: “Why didn’t you send me a video of that?”
    Mom: “Oh, I don’t know.  Maybe because I was busy reapplying sunscreen on your two-year-old and planning out exactly how I’d cry myself to sleep that night.”
    Dad:  “Cool.  Lotion’s okay, I guess.”

The tombstones of parents no longer with us:
tomb1
tomb2
tomb4
tomb3
tomb5Although we leave summer, we will hold the memory of these parents in our hearts forever.
May they rest in peace.
Amen.

One Wife’s Understanding of a Fantasy Football Draft

When my husband speaks about Fantasy Football, I don’t understand the words coming out of his mouth.  I use the time his precious mouth is moving to fantasize instead about eating Cinnabon for dinner.

(Just for the record, if I could draft for that Fantasy team, I would choose a family pack of Cinnabon Classic Rolls, some Cinnabon bites, and throw in a few Cinnabon Stix.  When you’ve spiraled so far down, “clean eating” becomes lick your fingers clean of all the cream cheese frosting.)

Let’s emerge from that delicious rabbit hole and return to the topic at hand: Fantasy Football.
More specifically, the draft that goes down before the start of regular season football games.  For a wife on the outside of Fantasy Football, the draft appears to be equal parts mystical, critical, and life-altering.  Like, if “we” do not win the league this year with the team “we” drafted, then is life really worth living without all those bragging rights?  (Obviously not.)

I may not be an expert on all the ins and outs of Fantasy Football, but I’m pretty good at speculating, making assumptions, and composing blatant misrepresentations about any given topic.  It only seems fitting that I should use those gifts, combined with a handful of stereotypes, to blog about my current understanding of Fantasy Football.  My husband didn’t think I was listening, but I listened just enough to bust this draft WIDE OPEN right here on the internetz.  That’s why my friends call me Sleeper Pick.  Here we go.
since

PREPARING FOR THE DRAFT
Fantasy Football drafts are intense.  Not that I’ve ever been invited to one, but I can just tell.  Before you can even choose players for your internet football team, you have to monopolize the computer at home and do “research” to be fully prepared. (A friend of ours was so into his research that his daughter asked, “Daddy, will you have time to read to me tonight?” LOL. His wife then sent to me…)img_6201

If you want to win Fantasy Football, you have to rise above your responsibilities and get committed to your research.  Go deep in those stats.  Download “Eye of the Tiger” and play it until your ears bleed.  You want to eat, breathe, and live these players’ stats until you know even the smallest details that could be consequential to your Fantasy team.  (He got blisters on his heels during pre-season play?  Sounds injury prone to me, HE GONE.)

 

DRAFT NIGHT 
You show up on draft night with mountains of research and a team name ready to be unveiled.  Now, every year my husband Daniel asks me what he should name his team, and every year he doesn’t choose the names I suggest.  This year, for example, I feel particularly passionate that his team should be called, “Kiss My Tight End”.  Anyway, so I guess you go to draft night with your research, a team name your wife had no part in choosing, and a wad of money to set aside for the league winner.  Because apparently we’re so flushed with cash we can contribute to a pretend sport winner but yet buying those jeans in every denim wash “isn’t a line item in the budget”.  Oh. Cool.

Where they go: Anywhere with WiFi, where the children are nonexistent or sound asleep, with a large refrigerator and a semblance of a low-lit man cave
What they eat: Four different meat platters and a side dish of chips
What they talk about:  If their text chains are any indication of their draft conversations, it’s something along the lines of everyone-talk-at-once about depth charts and the best picks and rankings, interspersed with trash talk or hustling someone for a player
What they do: Take turns drafting their players by passing around a Magic Eight Ball.
“Should I draft the Philadelphia Eagles’ defense?”  Outlook not so good.
“Is this player going to get busted for steroid use by the end of the season?”  Signs point to yes.
“Should I draft anyone from the Cleveland Browns?”  Reply hazy, try again in a few years.
You set up your internet team by choosing a quarterback and a bunch of other people who combine running, catching, blocking the football, and prolly some other athletic stuff.  Once your team is drafted, you beat your chest and make sure everyone else in your league knows they don’t stand a chance.

 

AFTER THE DRAFT
My husband comes home after his Fantasy draft and has all kinds of analysis and insight into the team he’s chosen.  He’s so blinded by his own euphoria that he tries to have a conversation with me that ends up something like this:

Daniel: If you could draft anyone to your team, who would you choose?
Me: Tony Dungy seems solid.
D: Well.  You can’t draft an NFL coach.  And also, he doesn’t even coach anymore.
Me: Agree to disagree.

Me: Who are the good people to draft onto a Fantasy Football team?
D: “Aaron Rodgers is the quarterback for the Packers; he throws a lot of touchdowns….”
Me: Wasn’t Aaron Rodger’s brother the winner of the Bachelorette?
“…Adrian Peterson is a good running back who plays for the Vikings….”
Me: Wasn’t he accused of child abuse after giving his son a bad switching?
“…Rob Gronkowski plays tight end for the Patriots…”
Me: I’ve heard his Gronk Party Boat is wild.
D: “…YOU DIDN’T ASK ME TO CHOOSE THE NFL’S MOST UPSTANDING CITIZENS.  We’re done.”

In most ways, we are not on the same page with Fantasy Football.  But on one thing we agree: he must win his Fantasy League.  For him, winning means he has risen above adversity to pocket some cash and a year to brag about his team.  For me, winning means my man won us some money which means we get to go to the fancy movie theater that has the recliners.  We get to wipe our rom-com tears with twenty dollar bills and ignore texts from the babysitter.  And we might get Cinnabon on the way home.  And sometimes winning also means I get to buy new jeans in 2-4 different denim washes. Also, new pillows for the couch.  And maybe this year we can pick out the black boots I’ve been needing.

FANTASY FOOTBALL IS THE BEST.

Book Club On The Blog: Summer Reads

If you’re looking for a new book to pick up, these are a few that I’ve enjoyed over the summer!

breathWhen Breath Becomes Air // Paul Kalanithi
[Nonfiction: Memoir]
A young neurosurgeon diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer writes about his experiences as both the doctor and patient. I found his memoir to be touching, poignant, and reason to be thankful for the gift of good health and a new day.  Short read.

 

what she knewWhat She Knew // Gilly Macmillan
[Novel: Thriller]
A mother allows her eight-year-old to run ahead while walking in the forest and he disappears.  I love a good thriller and enjoyed this book.  For those queasy about what the ending may be- no spoilers here- but the book primarily focuses on the entire search, leaving you hanging on to find out what happened to Ben.

 

lifeanimated-216x300Life, Animated // Ron Suskind
[Nonfiction: Memoir]
Owen, a boy with autism, grows up obsessively watching Disney movies and uses their dialogue, characters, and themes to make sense of the world around him.  I randomly came across this book and decided to pick it up.  I really enjoyed reading about Owen’s journey more than I realized I would.  Fascinating and inspiring.

 

i said yesI Said Yes // Emily Maynard
[Nonfiction: Memoir]
Emily was a contestant on the Bachelor and later became the Bachelorette.  This book will obviously be most interesting to those who watch the show, however she also writes very openly about her life before/after the show which includes the plane crash that killed her boyfriend, the pregnancy she found out about a week after the crash (her daughter Ricki), past struggle with depression, and her faith journey as a Christian.  Quick read.

 

antelopeThe Antelope in the Living Room // Melanie Shankle
[Nonfiction: Humor, Marriage]
Melanie Shankle is a blogger who wrote a memoir on marriage- the good, the bad, and the antelope he hung on her living room wall.  Her stories were funny and entertaining, with my personal favorite being the time her husband took pain meds for a back injury and had to officiate a wedding soon after.  Some deeper thoughts mixed in, but mostly humorous.

 

women of the wordWomen of the Word // Jen Wilkin
[Nonfiction: Studying the Bible]
Passionate to see other women learn how to study the Bible with their hearts and minds, Jen provides a comprehensive framework for approaching passages of Scripture.  She’s methodical in her approach and refreshing in her instruction. Looking forward to digging deeper than a breezy devotional to internalize what God’s Word says, what it means, and how it applies to my life.

 

Lilac book jacketLilac Girls // Martha Hall Kelly
[Novel: Historical Fiction]
-WWII, Ravensbruck concentration camp.  Obviously this novel will, at times, make your heart feel really heavy.  With that said, I’m really glad I read this book and it’s one of my favorites I’ve read this year.  The lives of three women (a NY socialite, a Polish teenager, and a German doctor) intersect and I was intrigued to read at the end of the book that they were based on real people and events.  Absolutely worth reading.


Want some more recommendations?
Check out other books I’ve read here: Book Club on the Blog
Enjoy!

Calling All White People To The Dance Floor

Show me white people at a wedding reception and I will show you a dance floor that is on fire.
And when I say “on fire”, I mean it in the “everybody-evacuate-something-scary-is-happening” way.

For context, I am fresh out of a wedding weekend that will go down as one of the best.  A very dear friend married a Brit, which automatically makes the entire weekend primarily about waiting for the groom’s friends and family to say words of any sort.  When his sister told me her reception had “nibbles and Champagne”, I was like OF COURSE you had nibbles, you perfect woman.  I can’t be sure but I even think at one point in my rehearsal dinner toast, I asked if my husband and I could also marry into their family.  So there’s that.

The dance floor at their wedding reception was full the whole night.  We left our heart and soul out there, and possibly a little dignity and self respect, but who’s really counting.  This blog post is a product of everything amazing about their wedding reception, as well as nostalgia and memories from weddings gone by.

Back to where we started.  The breakdown looks something like this:
www.wheretonext.com

The following is a highlight reel of the music that makes us wanna move:

  • Beach music is typically a safe choice to start off the night to get young and old on the dance floor, especially here in the South.  (Moment of silence for telling the Brits that we might be “shagging” at the reception, then frantically backtracking to explain not THAT kind of shagging, but the American kind, where you dance to music.  Then feeling like everything just sounds like an innuendo at that point and giving up.  “IT’S A DANCE.”)
  • Then the DJ starts spinning songs from the NOW 12 CD and you see people look at each other like “oh no he di’nt” and race to the dance floor so they can emphatically act out every Backstreet Boys lyric.  Just to give you a visual of the dance floor at this point: lots of hand movements and arm waving, hands over the heart, and rhythmic pointing.  So much rhythmic pointing- purposeful yet unnecessary at the same time.
  • “Turn Down For What” comes on and suddenly there is a sea of white people bouncing.  The old people have resigned themselves to the seats around the dance floor, sipping their drinks and raising their eyebrows.  They are officially experiencing all five stages of grief as they process what’s happening on the dance floor.
    • DENIAL: The music is too loud.  This isn’t how dancing is supposed to look.  The world makes no sense.  Who approved this song?  It’s made up of four words and there are alien noises in the background.  No.
    • ANGER: “They don’t even know what they are turning down for!”  They are now mad at anyone under 35, mad at Lil Jon, mad at God.
    • BARGAINING:  “If we can go back to one beach music song- just one.. we’ll even take the YMCA…”
    • DEPRESSION:  They just need a good cry and a soft hug.
    • ACCEPTANCE: They will never be okay with what’s happening but they can learn to accept it.  And get turnt.
  • Somehow a human train has formed on the dance floor.  At least that’s what we think it is, but the front people are going so fast that the middle people are running to catch up.  The last people are left far behind and end up sing-yelling for everyone to c’mon ride the train, hey ride it woo woo!  And like every train wreck that’s ever been, no one can stop watching.
  • The DJ transitions to Katy Perry, “Firework”, and that’s all the girls need to know.  Once we hit the chorus, it’s Young Moms Gone Wild.  The kids are with babysitters and we’re finally able to be our ONE TRUE SELF.  (File this under “Arm Spasms And Laryngitis”.)  The build up to that chorus will get us so hyped; everyone just move out of the way because we need to unveil our choreography right here in the middle of this dance circle.
  • Moments later, Journey starts playing and people are bringing their church service to the dance floor.  That piano intro has hands lifted, bodies swaying, and eyes closed.  The high note- “somewhere in the niiiiiiight”, that one right there, you know about it- we hit the note and we can’t help but sense God’s presence.  “Don’t stop.. believin’!”  People have their arms behind each others’ backs but also jumping at the same time?  We’ve never felt so united as we do right now.
  • Somewhere around Usher’s “Yeah”, the guys have moved their ties to their forehead and someone has started passing out Mardi Gras beads.  Who says white people don’t know how to get down?  We are so down!  Extended family members are going rogue and trying to reenter the dance floor.  There’s just something really uncomfortable about watching Aunt Carol take that and rewind it back, “Ursher got the voice to make ya booty go (CLAP)”.  Can someone please escort Aunt Carol from the dance floor and take her back to Table 5?

ACORN

After the last song is played and the bride and groom make their grand exit, you’ll see lots of discreet calf stretching and girls complaining about putting heels back on.  The DJ will pack up the equipment and the venue will slowly empty.  At the end of a memorable evening, the wedding crowd will trickle back to their cars with sore muscles, hoarse voices, and ringing ears, disappointed for the night to end but still feeling a massive high from the dance floor.

Somewhere there’s a wedding photographer quietly flipping through photos from the evening, smiling to herself because Lord only knows those people can’t dance but they left it all on the dance floor.
And she has the pictures to prove it.

The Olympics: I (do not) Volunteer As Tribute

The Summer Olympics are here in all of its glory and I am completely on board with the hype.  America really needed this right now, something positive of this magnitude to unite us all together. It’s like we collectively threw a Phelps Face to the Donald Trump headlines and realized we are better than this.
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The Opening Ceremony was the part of the Olympics where Brazil was like “Guys, don’t hate us!  We gave you Gisele!”  There was lots of music and fanfare but I was living for the entrance of all the countries with their flags.  Aside from the fact that I felt certain the same blonde white girl kept recycling back through the line up, each country showcased such unique and beautiful athletes.  It fascinated me how they are all different, yet so very similar.  Don’t even get me started on the Refugee Olympic Team.  AMAZING.

So basically this is where I’ve been the past week with the rest of America: planted in the living room, cheering, marveling, fact checking the commentators on Google.

You know when you’re watching the Olympics and the athletes make their event look way too easy?  Like you sit there and think, “I could probably swim that fast if I felt like it.”  I loved this tweet:
Screen Shot 2016-08-15 at 2.13.19 PM
Y’all.  How much would the Internet die if this happened!?  How do we make this happen for Tokyo 2020?  Do we all change our Facebook pictures at the same time? Can we write a Congressman?  Do we hold a Hunger Games Reaping Ceremony to decide who competes?

While some people may be thrilled to represent the regular people in the Olympics, I am not one of those.  After much deliberation and prayer, I have decided to withdraw my name from consideration as the average person in the Olympics.

I repeat: I DO NOT VOLUNTEER AS TRIBUTE.

In all potential scenarios where I represent the USA in a sport as the Average One, I either physically die or bring embarrassment to everyone who’s ever lived in America.  Plus a swim cap doesn’t do much for anybody.

——————–

In the extremely unlikely scenario that I competed against Olympic athletes in their sport, here’s probably how it would all go down:

Olympic Swimmers: Set world record, do treading water hugs with teammates
meanwhile..
Me in Rio: Doggy paddling 1/3 way through my first lap, looking for dive rings on the pool floor

Olympic Divers: Dive off the platform doing two and a half twists, return to pike position, check text messages mid-air, one and a half somersaults, dive into the water 
Me in Rio:
Foot cramp while standing backward on the diving board edge, wow the crowd with my backward Pencil jump, yell out SKITTLES!!!!! before hitting the water
(because how can anyone jump off a diving board and not play Categories? This is beyond me.)

Olympic Gymnasts: Balance beam dismount- Double back tuck full twist
Me in Rio: Walk 3 steps, try to pivot, flail limbs in every direction, R.I.P.

Commentators on Olympic Beach Volleyball Players: “Kerri Walsh Jennings makes a phenomenal dive into the sand to keep that ball alive.  Her experience on the court and her sheer determination just make her an unstoppable force here in Rio.”
Commentators on me in Rio: “She collapses into the sand after it appears the Aussie spiked the volleyball directly onto her body.  Is she laying in the sand in her two piece in the fetal position?  Let’s take a look at the slow motion replay to see what’s happening here.. OH! OKAY AVERT THE EYES!! EVERYONE THIS IS NOT A DRILL.  THERE IS A LOT OF FLESH EXPOSED.  CAN WE ALL AGREE TO UNSEE THIS?  CUT TO RYAN SEACREST DOING NOTHING ON A BEACH.”

Olympic Sprinters: Completing the 100m in 9.81 seconds to win gold
(For reference, it takes me 9.81 seconds to remember how to spell and write my name)
Me in Rio: Explode out of the starting blocks onto the Pocket Rocket for a 100m piggyback ride

——————–

As you can see, it would be a tremendous disservice to choose me to participate in any Olympic sport.  Just to be clear though, my patriotic nail art would entirely make up for what I lack in skill.

I may not ever compete in the Olympics and I’m more than okay with that.
I’ll just have to settle for being an Olympic judge from the convenience of my couch, casually saying, “I could do that”.

THE OLYMPICS-

Now Enrolling: Common Sense College

COMMON SENSE
Ladies and gentlemen of the general public, Common Sense College is now open for enrollment!  And many of you qualify for a full course load.  Our mission is to help people just do better.  Regardless of how many advanced degrees you hold or your current career path, there’s no better time than now to learn how to successfully be a human!

Common Sense College has been created out of pure necessity upon realizing that common sense is, in fact, not common.  Read through a sample of the course descriptions to get a better idea of what we offer.


CS 101 What Not To Say
Learn how to appropriately interact with family, friends, and strangers using basic interpersonal skills, including an in-depth exploration of what not to say to pregnant ladies (“Do those cankles hurt” replaced with “Would you like me to clean your house while you get a pedicure and eat a chicken biscuit?”) and what not to say to those who are older than you (“Technically you could be my Mom” replaced with “I think the waiter was checking you out, Nancy!”).  Additionally, you will spend a significant amount of time exploring the etiquette of social media: what not to say on the internet and other related topics (how to not look crazy, polite interaction on Facebook comments, Tweets you should go ahead and delete).


CS 102 Airport Outfit Choices
In this course, students will evaluate various outfits to determine the best clothing choices for a day of flying.  You will be STRONGLY ADVISED not to wear the following:
-stiletto pumps (no ma’am. not when you’re gonna have to Home Alone sprint to catch your flight.)
-“Bride” and “Groom” tank tops (like, why did this happen in the first place tho)
-any shoes that take longer than .01 second to take off/put on/lace up/buckle together in the security line in front of me
-any kind of non-business suit that’s generally annoying: wind suits, Juicy velour suits, sweat suits with “Work It” down the arm and leg
-crop top and booty shorts (there are icicles growing by my air vent up here.  CLOTHE UP sister)


CS 103 Naming Your Child
Taught by former teachers.  They will spend the majority of class reviewing your list of Possible Baby Names playing the “Sounds Like, Rhymes With” game.  You will learn some basic guidelines for naming a child, including: sleep on it before choosing nouns as a name.  (Violet Hope? Ok we can work with this.  This sounds like a real name. Symphony Mist?  This sounds like you closed your eyes while looking at perfume at Walgreen’s and chose whichever scent you picked up.  Enroll in this class now.)  For your final exam, all you have to do is submit an acceptable baby name on a piece of paper.  Full disclosure: if it has apostrophes and dashes in it, you will be asked to retake the entire course because girl bye, ain’t nobody got time to pronounce La’Kwa-Na-Tyr’e.


CS 104 Living The Married Life
A course intended to decrease marital arguments and improve quality of life.  Common sense topics covered are:
-how to put away clothes
-why we sync our iCalendars
-ground rules of an adult (we put wet towels in the washer instead of leaving them in the car)
-why our TV will always play The Bachelor premiere before the College Football National Championship
-how to share the last brownie


CS 105  THINK.
{Prerequisite- CS 101: What Not To Say}
In this revolutionary class, you actually have to sit and think before any actions are taken and before any words leave your mouth. You will hold a cup of coffee and realize it is, in fact, hot, so maybe don’t drink it right away.  You will watch a commercial of a car being driven down a cliff and discuss why this is not safe, realistic, or something you should ever attempt.  Former Miss South Carolina will serve as a guest speaker and reenact her answer to the pageant question, “Recent polls have shown a fifth of Americans can’t locate the U.S. on a world map. Why do you think this is?”:

“I personally believe that U.S. Americans are unable to do so because some people out there in our nation don’t have maps and, uh, I believe that our education, like such as in South Africa and, uh, the Iraq, everywhere like such as and I believe that they should, our education over here in the U.S. should help the U.S., er should help South Africa, and should help the Iraq and the Asian countries so that we will be able to build up our future for our children.”

Following her presentation, she will assist students in locating The Iraq and The Asian Countries on a world map so that you will be one of the U.S. Americans who can build up our future for our children.  #makeadifference #lifegoals


CS 106 Pokemon Go NO
Common Sense College follows cultural trends and provides courses that align.  This semester, we’re here to help you navigate the world of Pokemon Go with common sense so you can maintain your status as really cool and relevant but still middle-aged. Regular walking field trips will help you catch more Pokemon and teach you safety rules like- “walk in front of traffic and you’ll die”, “maybe don’t go to a dark alley to look for Pidgey at 2am”, and “if you trespass onto someone’s property looking for a Pokestop, you might get shot and you might deserve it”.


Common Sense College prides itself on being the only college to explicitly instruct you how to conduct yourself, draw logical conclusions, and interact with others in real world settings.  Our college is accredited to award “JUST DO BETTER” degrees and certificates to all of our graduates.  For more information on joining the first class of students, show up at Ben & Jerry’s tomorrow morning.  Get yourself some Chunky Monkey, write your name on our Sign Up Sheet (website down for maintenance), and I’ll take your deposit check.

Spread the word to all your people: Common Sense College is now open for enrollment!

5 Tips for Maximizing Your Costco Experience (and Making it Out Alive)

If you’ve ever been to Costco at 1pm on a Saturday, then I’m also going to assume you wore a helmet and knee pads, parked in a different county, and got hustled into buying BBQ sauce at the sample table.

Let’s be clear.
I heart so much about Costco.  The gas prices, the products, the samples, the $1.50 hot dog and soda deal.

My emotional journey in Costco tends to look something like this:
-empowered (filling the cart with bulk packages of apples and spinach),
-confused (that teddy bear is literally 93″ tall. why.),
-discouraged (putting the 72 count Bagel Bites into the cart as far away from the spinach as possible),
-confident (pushing an enormous cart filled with items in bulk + a wiggling toddler in front. I can conquer the world.)
-surprised (the check out line was way quicker than it looked),
-relieved (having an introvert moment that I can finally escape the masses)

If you plan to visit Costco, you’ll need these five tips to maximize your experience:

DESIGN

Tip #1: Make sure your personal, legal, and financial affairs are in order before you navigate the parking lot on a weekend.
Friends don’t let friends try to park at Costco without a game plan.  As your friend, I need to remind you it’s okay to get aggressive and make a power move toward an open parking spot.  Box out Granny in her Buick.  YOU NEED THAT SPOT.  Otherwise you’ll end up parking in the far corner that’s technically still on the Costco property, but requires Siri to locate the store entrance.  People be cray trying to park over there.  For the sake of the people who love you and will have to sort through your estate if you don’t make it out, make sure your life affairs are in order beforehand.

Tip #2: Embrace the security detail.
Like any decent club, there is a bouncer on the way in, someone checking for shifty eyes on the way out, and you end up getting carded.  This isn’t the time to get all hot and bothered about the procedures.  You have an exclusive membership.  It is a privilege to walk the aisles here.  Get to know Pamela the bouncer.  Have your receipt ready on the way out for Steve.  Embrace the security measures in place because all of this ensures that you don’t accidentally rub shoulders with a Sam’s Club or BJ’s commoner.

Tip #3:  The carts: go big or go home.  
In some ways, Costco is kind of like Texas: you don’t mess with it and everything is bigger.  Even the carts.  As you walk through the store pushing a cart, if you don’t have the proper cart technique and hand placement then you’ll give my heel a flat tire and I will cut you.  Place your hands at a wide “9-and-3” on the steering bars and stay on high alert for braking for pedestrian traffic jams.  If someone tries to give you a spiel for gutter guards, let them talk to your one year old while you walk away from the cart and pick out office supplies.  When turning the cart and navigating around fellow shoppers, you are living the lyrics to the Cha Cha Slide:  Turn it out/ To the left/ Take it back now yall/ One hop this time/ REVERSE REVERSE/ Slide to the left/ Slide to the right/ Pop a wheelie around Family of Six/ Take it back now y’all/ 

Tip #4: Disregard societal norms and park it in front of the sample tables for a free lunch.
If Costco wants us to spend our afternoons shopping at their store, testing out all the patio furniture and such, then we’re gonna need to fuel up at the Sampler Station.  It will be the most random buffet you’ve ever had: flavored mashed potatoes and bruschetta and granola bar samples.  Walk around til you find some red velvet mini-cakes for dessert and you’re set to food coma right on that patio lounger.  On your way out, if you’re still hungry, you can buy a smoothie or a turkey wrap at the concessions area.  Then again, that costs money, so.. NAH.

Tip #5: Don’t pull a Target.
Y’all know what I’m talking about.. when you get to Target needing to buy four things and you walk out with a new outfit, a shower curtain, and a freakin teepee for the playroom.  (Read my Target post here.)  I’m talking about going into Costco and sticking to the list.  This is not the time to decide you want to “try” an 84oz bag of veggie straws.  Buying in bulk is helpful when it’s for a purpose.  Buying in bulk is not helpful when you throw a pack of 24 count Sharpies into the cart “to see what that shade of green looks like”.  Save yourself some time and just take a $20 bill and throw it up in the air and walk away.  Here, Costco- FREE MONEY.  That’s what happens when you start experimenting off of the list.

If you follow those five basic guidelines, I can guarantee that on a Saturday at 1pm, you will leave Costco:
1) Alive to tell about it,
2) Facebook friends with Pamela the bouncer,
and
3) Fat and happy off of fourteen helpings of the toaster strudel samples.

Godspeed Costco shopper.

People of the Beach: You Do You.

If I can’t be at the State Fair to people watch, then put me on a beach.  Let me slip on my sunglasses and stare at the crowds.  I’ll try and figure out how that group is related and how those two ended up together.  Let’s talk about Beach People for a minute and how out of control they really are.  I want to read my book so badly but I can’t because I have to understand why This Lady is attempting to skim board with her nine year old.  How long will Family run after their rogue umbrella?  When will That Guy realize his sandy crack has been jumping waves with his sagging bathing suit the past ten minutes?  Sensory overload.  I just can’t.

beach

Profiles: People of the Beach

Name: Man With Metal Detector
Strengths:  Eternal Optimist; accumulates piles of treasure including crusty coins, a fork, some Claire’s jewelry, and a college class ring
Weakness:  Seems to inconspicuously guide the detector near bikinis.  No metal to be found there, SIR.
Life Motto:  “Get rich or die tryin”

Name: Pier Dweller
Description: Either a family in desperate search for sun cover or a collection of college students strapping Eno hammocks to pier poles.
Favorite Color: Shade
Most Likely To: post a bouncer at each pier post to stake their claim

Name: Seagull Feeders
AKA: MY NEMESIS
Strength: none.
Weakness: many.

Name: People From Ohio
Easily Spotted:  The ones caravanning everywhere, using shopping carts in Wings
Favorite Souvenirs to Buy: mood rings, taffy, dolphin keychains, tie dye boogie boards, obviously the hermit crabs
Beach Week Uniform: Neon orange family reunion tees

Name: The Gamers
Description:  Those who cannot sit still in a beach chair and must be active at all moments.
The Gamers’ Game Line Up: Bocce Ball, then Beach Volleyball, followed by throwing the football, play Ladderball, dominate in Spikeball, Kan Jam, on REPEAT.
Will Stop Gaming For: hydration, pee break, or thunderstorms..  otherwise: game on.

Name: The Beachcomber
Description: The slow-walker holding a palm-full of shells, scrutinizing every pile of sand for sharks’ teeth and conchs
Strength:  Holding that deep squat through the burn
Weakness:  Cross-eyed with a neck hunch
Life Motto: “Gotta catch ’em all.”

Name: Frat Bros
Easily Spotted:  The ones with beach speakers, muscle tanks, and a cooler of beer sitting next to the “No Alcoholic Beverages Allowed On Beach” sign.  Keeping it classy.
Most Likely To:  Have a SALT LIFE sticker on their Tahoes
Overheard: heatedly arguing about intramural flag football rules

Name: Sunbathers
AKA: The Beach Exhibitionist
Description: They know the peak hours for sun exposure, the tide charts which affects chair placement, and the bathing suit with the least restrictive tan lines.  It’s an Art, people.
Ethnicity: somewhere on the spectrum of WhiteGirl NeedaTan to Native American

Name: One Big Happy Family
Description: They have the picnic blanket, Puddle Jumpers for the littles, plenty of apple slices, and a whole bunch of shovels.
A Tip:  Give them two hours before the baby is naked and drinking sea water, the 3 year old is crying because SAND, Dad is off digging a hole by himself, and Mom wonders why she even brought a magazine.  smh.

Name: The Instagrammer
Photo Itinerary:
6:30am: Coffee + sunrise
11am: Hot dog legs
1pm: Oceanfront jumping pic with besties
3:15pm: Ocean waves + Zac Brown Band lyrics caption
4pm: Heart in the sand + endless heart emojis <3 <3 <3
8:30pm Yoga pose + sunset

Name: That Person Who’s Fried After Day One
Most Likely To: drink aloe vera from the bottle
Sunscreen Application Method: “SwipeSwipeDone”
Famous Last Words: “I don’t need to reapply.. I don’t really burn.”

Today, we salute you, People of the Beach.  All y’all with your hot dog legs, your metal detectors, your orange Cheeto fingers feeding those seagulls.  I can’t help staring at you out of fascination from my beach chair, but there’s no judgment here.  Just a whole lot of love for all of the entertainment you provide and some personal inner commentary that takes my beach day to the next level.  You just keep on proudly, weirdly, awesomely doing you.

People of the Beach-

A Tribute to Soul Sisters

girl friendsThere are different levels of friendship, ranging from
I Will Like Your Facebook Picture But We Probably Won’t Talk In Public For More Than Four Minutes”..   to..
I Will Text You A Three Line String of Emojis And You Will Clearly Know The Depth Of My Anguish At Watching The Parenthood Series Finale”.  

The deepest level of friendship: a soul sister.  The same person who knows the Social Media You and also knows what you look like twelve haircuts ago wearing retainers to bed.  They love you and they like you.  Most days.  Seasons of life have passed by with friends like this- walking to class together, buying the bridesmaid’s dress for her wedding, holding her firstborn.  And because life isn’t perfectly packaged, sometimes it means I will leave for my vacation three days late to be at your Dad’s funeral.  I will walk with you through depression, miscarriages, the messy and the baggage.  A friend like this is someone worthy of your priorities and deserving of your time.

A group of my college friends have gotten together the past five years for an annual girls’ weekend.  We find the cheapest (read: FREE-EST) house in a different city and go sit on that couch eating lots of food.  It’s awesome.  This year we had 13 girls staying steps away from the beach.  We’ve done mountains, lake, small town, big city, and now- the ocean.
Some highlights of those in attendance:
-preggo road tripping from DC with zero bathroom stops
-Chickfila owner/operator coming in HOT from Illinois
-chief resident of Emergency Medicine at a Nashville hospital (kinda important. humble brag on her behalf.)
-one wearing an engagement ring, months away from marrying a Brit and moving to The Land Of Fish And Chips, and another unknowingly about to be engaged two weeks later
-stay-at-home Moms raising precious little ones, past roommates and current roommates, saucy Gingers in abundance

Here’s the moral of that story: Spending time with these friends is life-giving, refreshing, and encouraging.
I was sitting among them, eating my ham biscuits, thinking: Yes. This.  People need more of this in their lives.  No drama, no toxic negativity, just a group of women who have memories spanning from flip phones to dating apps, who genuinely get each other and enjoy life together.  The blog post was already turning in my head.  (The poor people in my life now ask me, “Are you going to write about this?” like I’m the Taylor Swift of the blogosphere, poised to put all triumphs and angst to paper.  “Yes.. I will write about this.  And one day when my guitars are being sold on eBay and I’m feuding with Kanye, I will remember all of you little people.”)

You don’t have to collect an enormous friendship squad.. I honestly don’t even like 8 of those people that go on our trip.  (Just kidding. But seriously, it’s like at least five.)  I do think there’s such value in women having healthy female friendships that are deep, authentic, and energizing, whether with one person or several people.  Choose friends who are willing to come over and real-talk with you over Chipotle, but also look up YouTube videos of “people falling” before they leave.  They’ll tell you they’re praying for you and actually mean it.  They will back you up so hard when life gets messy and prank you so hard when you least expect it.

This post is a tribute to soul sisters- that person, those friends, your biffs- who have always been ready for an adventure and continue to be constant, perceptive, and thoughtful.  YOU DA REAL MVP.

A tribute to soul sisters