Have you ever noticed…

…That you don’t really see yourself clearly? I think we get caught in our own misconceptions of who we are and what we look like and wind up with this distorted, funhouse mirror version of ourselves in our minds.

For instance, I think I am a short, roughly “thumb-shaped” individual. I feel like my jawline is too sharp, my cheekbones are too weird (not Benedict Cumberbatch weird, but still weird). I am not skinny. I am slowly amassing a collection of gray hairs that are driving me crazy. My eyebrows don’t match (Seriously. One is pointy and the other is round.)

Yesterday I got a lot of compliments that totally went against my pre-conceptions about myself. Someone said that I’m “teeny tiny” in a flattering way. That I looked like I had been dieting. (If we’re calling excess chocolate chip cookies and wine in the last week dieting, then yes, yes I have been.) That I had beautiful, high cheekbones.

None of those compliments are the way I talk to myself. It’s funny how caught up in yourself you can get and not see anything like that. There’s a quote somewhere that says we never really “see” ourselves as we really are — even in selfies and mirrors, we aren’t seeing our true self because it’s backward (or it’s filtered to infinity and beyond). I think that’s true. We spend most of our time looking in the mirror (or at our selfies), critiquing everything. I, for one, am incredibly guilty of this. I’m a perfectionist to the nth degree and anything that throws off my idea of what I or anything should or should not be bothers me. I let it get me down.

Most of the time, if people give me a compliment I think they must be joking or else I feel really nervous because it’s out of my comfort zone. The more I think about it, I’m realizing that as unusual as it is to receive a compliment, it’s even more unusual that I give one to someone else. There are plenty of times at work or when I’m out and about that I see people and like their hair, their shoes, their shirt — but I keep it to myself. Not that I’m going to go chase people down and freak them out by complimenting them, but I think if maybe we were honest more, lifted people up more, the world would be a nicer place to live.

Yesterday was an otherwise uninspiring, Monday but those few comments here and there really made me feel better, made me rethink my ideas of myself, cheekbones and all.

(PS: Hey blog world! Long time no see!)

Changing Spaces

I’m officially upgrading my life at the end of the week and I’m super-excited. My friends and I are moving out of our teeny, tiny apartments in our apartment complex and into a little house a few miles away.

The pros:
1. No more living sandwiched between three other people!
2. Saving money!
3. Hanging out with my buddies all the time!

#1 is especially appealing, considering my new upstairs neighbors sound like they might be part-time sumo wrestlers.

The cons:
1. Packing. Is. Ridiculous. There is stuff everywhere. Just..stuff. A survey of my kitchen counter right now shows the following:

  • ice trays (We’ve always had an ice maker. I found these in a casserole dish.)
  • a 100-piece shark puzzle (3 year old nephew? Nope. Someone gave it to me as a joke.)
  • my roommate’s birth certificate (Why she’s got it randomly in the kitchen I do not know.)
  • band-aids with cupcakes on them (?? They just appeared.)
  • my roommate’s Scentsy pot that she’s never used (Me: “Sam do you want to keep this? You’ve never used it.” Sam: “Yes.” Me: *sigh*)
  • Tony Chachere’s (Because we still gotta eat, clutter or no clutter.)

2. I’m moving into the smallest bedroom I’ve had since I was little. I really don’t spend a ton of time in my bedroom, but the real issue is…my little bedroom has an even tinier closet. 

My new closet-to-be, aka the closet for people who don't like closets.

My new closet-to-be, aka the closet for people who don’t like closets.

Considering my affinity for clothes, this has been quite a packing process thus far. (If I’m being honest, I’m avoiding packing my clothes like the plague. I have packed EVERYTHING else in my room, bathroom, kitchen. I’ve even cleaned the oven to avoid having to think about my closet.)

3. I’m sharing a bathroom with my current roomie. I like my bathroom clean. She doesn’t care about this. We shall see how this turns out.

4. Final con: I have to move my cat. I have done this 3 times before and she HATES it. 

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Queen Lucy. She has no idea what’s coming. 

I would say I’m about 60% packed right now. It’s all the little things that are still lingering that I really just don’t know what to do with them. Shark puzzle? Does that pack well in with the dishes? How do you pack an end table besides moving it next to the pile of boxes?

I’m coming to the realization that I’ve been holding on to a lot of stuff that I just don’t need anymore. I’m not a knick-knack person to begin with, but you couldn’t tell from the little odds and ends I’ve amassed over the last few years. Thank goodness we’re having a yard sale as soon as we get moved in. Looking forward to a fresh start!

Lazy Sunday

Should you drink and blog? Probably not. Should you drink and blog after a sporting event when you’re a fan but your team didn’t (exactly) win? Probably not either, but that’s what I’m doing. Sit back and enjoy!

Every four years my roomie and I get really excited when the World Cup starts as we try to remember the finer details of soccer/football. We aren’t exactly bandwagon fans, because we do watch soccer on and off during the in-between years (mostly Premier League but I can name the players on our team, yay!). But we still spend a lot of our time trying to figure out how stoppage time works and what exactly the individual players are supposed to be doing (Midfielder? Got it. Striker? Uh…). Nevertheless, we cheer on the USA in the World Cup with the same amount of fervor that we cheer on the Saints in the playoffs. And we drink a lot. (Well, for this World Cup. Last World Cup, I was on the cusp of legal drinking age and also on vacation in Florida, so I was sober. But I digress…)

Post-USA vs. Portugal it’s still light outside (one of the reasons I love summer so much) and we’re both tired and half-drunk…sort of like how the USA got a half-win. The soccer match was the highlight of an otherwise boring Sunday in the middle of an action-packed month. June is always crazy, and combine that with the need to bleed red, white and blue, I’m exhausted and all I’ve really done today is sit around and yell at the TV. It was nice though. I haven’t had any down time to just veg out by myself in awhile, and I thoroughly enjoyed laying on my couch and reading and TV-watching all day. I like to have at least one or two lazy days by myself every so often, and the not-loss was a blip in an otherwise good day. Still proud of the Stars and Stripes though!

A busy week(end?)

My mini vacation ended today and we’re all back home pink and tired
and on cloud nine. Every year my best friends and I take a trip to Destin, Florida to watch a charity show that just so happens to feature the Dancing with the Stars pros. This is the 4th year we’ve gone and every year it gets a little bigger. The first year we just went for an overnight trip and got regular seats. This year, we took a three-day siesta that included two hours of lessons (I have no words for how amazing they were), two days of beaching and 2nd row VIP seats to the show with a meet-and-greet after.

My legs hurt from jive kicks, my shoulders are pink from sun and I am totally tired from all of that being packed into 3 short days. Long story short, we had a great time. Barb bought a lottery ticket…fingers crossed that we win the big bucks and can go on a more permanent vacation next time!

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Here, There and Everywhere

I’ve fallen off the face of the blog-world in the last few months. Not intentionally I promise! I’ve been keeping my head down and treading water at work and exploring a few new hobbies in my free time. Today my best friends and I are actually heading to the beach for our annual mini-vacation/Dancing with the Stars fan girl weekend. I’ll definitely post about our fun when we get back, but if you’ve been wondering what I’ve been up to, here’s a recap…

Pilates: I signed up for Pilates on a whim back in January. I started off taking one six-week class on Monday nights, but I actually really love it. In March I signed up for 2 12-week classes on Mondays AND Wednesdays.

I am the youngest person in my class by about 35 years. My class is small, all very nice ladies who think I am fascinating (how did you find this class? What do you do for a living?) I’ve never taken a group exercise class before so it’s been a pleasant experience. And hey, I can do a plank for the first time in my life!

Writing: I have been dabbling in creative writing, mainly as a way to exercise my brain. I have never been the type of writer who really excels at stories and plots but I have been playing around with little story ideas and scenes just for fun. No plans to take it any further than just my own little amusement but it’s been keeping me entertained (and diverted from my blog. Oops.)

Catching up on Game of Thrones: My roommate and I binge watched all 3 seasons before this past season started. My apartment has basically become a nerd zone. No shame!

Work: always.

That’s a brief recap of the last few months. We’re almost to the beach (I am obviously not driving) and I am ready to put my bathing suit on and do absolutely nothing for a little while!

(PS: Thanks for the reminder that I was way way overdue to blog, Rookie Notes! 🙂

Suddenly it’s (almost) April

Seriously, where did the time go? Life has been on fast forward the last few months, though I can’t say there’s been anything especially wonderful or time-consuming that’s happened. Just living life–and some days, that takes more work than you think. 

Here are a few random things that have happened in the last 3 months:

1. My old computer finally bit the dust. It was a terrible, drawn-out death where the keys slowly fell off, then the fan started working, then the screen went out. But now I have a beautiful new Macbook Pro and I’m in love! And I can actually do my job. It’s hard to design anything decent in Microsoft Paint.

2. The weather sucked. Seriously, there’s no other way to put it. I cannot ever remember a winter where we had three “snow” days (in South Louisiana, this is equivalent to some Armageddon-esque omen. We don’t “do” icy roads.) I think the cold weather finally broke me though — I got a beautiful new jacket for Christmas, but I’ve gotten so used to 40-degree weather that I can go out in a cardigan. Maybe I should move to Alaska?

Ok, that’s two things, not a few. But there’s really just not a lot that’s been going on in my corner of the world. Work work work, sleep sleep sleep, repeat. Looks like things might get more interesting in the very near future though…I’ll definitely have a few things worth writing about here!

Le français me manque?

Language acquisition is one thing — I spent 10 years learning to speak French in school — but what they don’t tell you about is language keeping. By that I mean: How do you keep a language once you learn it?

Obviously I am a native speaker of English. I use it every day, in every aspect of my life. But I’m fluent in French too and in many ways, the time I spent learning French improved my understanding of English. At the end of my college studies I wrote my final research project on the perception of Shakespeare’s works in France which apparently merited a degree. I thought it was silly that a 10-page paper about an English author was enough to say “Oui oui, elle peut parler français,” but I like to think that they based my degree on the cumulative efforts shown in that paper. I digress.

So what now? I have been out of school for two years, French degree in hand, French tongue in my head, and I have done nothing with either one. I can translate street signs in New Orleans like a pro. I can talk to myself. I can understand French speakers on TV and the occasional French people I meet in everyday life. I can read French news and French literature.

But I’m worried. I’m worried that I’m losing my language because I am not actively engaged in the learning and understanding like I was in college. One of the girls I work with told me that my French degree is “useless.” I don’t think that’s true. On the contrary, I think that my degree is an excellent symbol of my love of la belle langue — but I really wish I could make good use out of it in my daily life.  There is a real lack of applicable places to use it right now.

Recently I’ve been paranoid about my knowledge slipping away and I’ve been looking for ways to keep fresh. I’ve been reviewing my French on a free language-learning website called Duolingo. The lessons are ridiculously easy, but it’s nice to listen to French phrases (even though the phrases themselves are totally SILLY. Seriously, “Elle habite dans une pomme” — she lives in an apple? Reminds me of Eddie Izzard’s take on learning French. YouTube that, you won’t be sorry.) I also follow all sorts of French-language Twitter accounts, everything from grammar to culture to news. And it might be crazy, but I do tend to read articles aloud to keep up with pronunciation. It’s better than nothing, but I’m hoping to find a real solution to the French question this year.

In the meantime, if anyone has any tips or ideas on “language-keeping” I would love to hear them.

An interesting anniversary

I started to write a blog post today about the fact that today marks the one-year anniversary of my un-job — my big girl job that was supposed to make me feel like an adult. But I can’t figure out if it’s weird that I would continue to write about something that I didn’t particularly enjoy that just so happened to occur a year ago or not (especially since quitting that same job was the better, more adult decision that I made in 2013.)

While I’m not one for living in the past, I have a ridiculous good memory: I woke up this morning and remembered exactly what today was and exactly what I wore to work (gotta look good on the first day…too bad it’s too cold to wear the same shirt, because it was cute!) In the grand scheme of things, this date is not important at all. But it still feels like a personal milestone of some sort: a year ago today I started out on a path that I thought was going to lead to adulthood. And it did, but in a very unexpected way.

I am a lot more “me” because I stepped outside my comfort zone a year ago. And I am grateful for that.

But part of me can’t help but imagine the day I could have been having if I had stayed there at the Job That Wasn’t. I would have been sitting across from the girl I started with on January 3rd of last year, probably enjoying the gift of a potted plant for my desk and starting on a never-ending list of to-dos. It would have been a mostly routine day really, other than a plant and maybe a “Yay you!” from my boss. I would have probably been more excited to count the hours until the end of the day and the start of the weekend than anything else.

Instead, I’m celebrating it being Friday in my pajamas and my very fluffy socks with a cup of coffee. I’m on a different path, and I think it’s the better one. Potted plants aren’t my thing anyway.

The Meh Date

So Blind Date Guy had our “date” and it was a new date experience for me: it was a dud. I was just Not. Feeling. It. I compiled a list of possible reasons:

-Could it have been that it was a double date with out-of-towners that felt more like a never-ending city tour? I mean, it went on for 8 hours. (And it also could have been the repeated use of the term “doubled” to refer to our presence on a double-date. Why? That’s just weird verb-ing of an adjective: I double, you double, he/she/it doubles, they double, we double…)

-Could it have been the very blunt, outright way he said that “While he was raised southern, he didn’t believe in paying for a girl’s dinner because it would imply that she ‘owed’ him something after” when the check came and I didn’t immediately throw myself on it? (Could have also been that he proceeded to say that this reasoning stems from the fact that he is a feminist and he was all but patting himself on the back for coming to the conclusion that “we women shouldn’t let men pay for our meals — or ever expect it — because then a man expects something else in return.” (That is news to me.)

-Could it have been the very forward, liberal way of talking about everything that I just didn’t mesh with at all? (Lady Catherine from Pride and Prejudice was parroting “You give your opinion so decidedly for so young a person” in the back of my head all night. Not a good sign, sir. You should NOT remind me of her.)

-Could it have been the awkward, random way he kept petting my hair? Hey there, that’s my hair and it’s on my head. I suppose there is some sort of romantic way to pet someone’s hair, but I wasn’t getting that. And while I do love having my hair played with, I enjoy it in a relaxing sort of way, like when you’re cuddled on the couch watching a movie, not in a “Your hair’s so beautiful, I might just scalp you” way. (And not in public, or on a first date.)

It could have been any or all of those things, but the end of the (very long) night I was just thinking “Meh.” And I was dreading the goodnight kiss, (which he cut me off mid-sentence to tell me that he was ready to attempt). Unfortunately it didn’t ignite any chemistry and I was left feeling kind of bad. He obviously did everything but put up a blazing sign that said “I LIKE YOU.” I’m sure he thought he pulled out all the stops — but not his wallet, because he is a feminist — and it just didn’t do it. Not being totally blown away was a new experience, but I think it was also a good one.

There are plenty of other fish in the sea — hopefully of the variety who don’t pet my hair/remind me of Lady Catherine/make me conjugate adjectives all in one night. Here’s to 2014!

Resolving to do…something

I generally don’t do New Year’s Resolutions. As fast as time seems to fly by these days, a year is still a Long Time to resolve to do anything.

Here are some things I wish I could resolve to do (but probably won’t):

1. I wish could resolve to…do my laundry.

Oh laundry, you are the plague of my life, the bane of my existence. My epitaph will surely say “She died under a pile of laundry.” It’s a cruel fact that if you love clothes and buy a lot of clothes, then you will be overwhelmed by piles and piles of laundry that, in my case, never get done. I try, I really really do. I even wash them. But don’t talk to me about the folding and the hanging. I have a clothes chair in my room for that, what more do you want?

2. I wish I could resolve to…be more organized.

I am a paper hoarder. I blame my 7th grade reading teacher, who put the notion in my head that I shouldn’t throw away past assignments because they might come in handy one day. Cut to 15 years later and I carry with me every past assignment from every class ever. In paper and digital form. I use those Rubbermaid containers that most people store Christmas decorations in for my old essays. It’s bad. I also have a hard time throwing away receipts, junk mail and pretty much any doo-dad or trinket that anyone gives me. I am unnecessarily sentimental and as a result I am surrounded by my junque (fancy junk — you know, junk with meaning and purpose).

3. I wish I could resolve to…be more financially responsible.

My idea of savings is to put all of my change into two piggy banks (one for silver coins and one for pennies) and roll them every six months or so. This is obviously a little lacking for a mature, working adult member. But it sure is cute! I make enough money to pay my bills and I make sure to pay them on time, but I don’t do a lot with my remaining money.

4. I wish I could resolve to…be in shape.

This one is stupid, because I’ve lost 13 pounds in the last year doing a whole lot of nothing. Yes, I run sometimes, and no it’s not because is chasing me. And I remember to sign up for yoga before the spots are full…sometimes. And I tell people I am a competitive ballroom dancer, which makes me sound like I must have an amazing workout routine…but I only compete once a year. As a result, I am the dreaded “skinny fat”. I may fit in my clothes just fine, but it’s only because I climb up 12 foot shelves like a monkey at work and run from the front of a 6,000sq ft. store to the back several times a day just enough to counteract the M&Ms.

The kicker in favor of actually resolving to do this resolution came after dancing one dance at the reception this weekend. I thought I was going to have to call 911 after. Yeesh.

5. I wish I could resolve to…eat healthy.

I eat oatmeal every morning, what more do you want? I also drink a cup of coffee with 2 spoons of sugar with it. And I love pretzel M&Ms and eating chocolate chips out of the bag. I do love veggies and I really do like to eat healthy but I’ve been so busy lately that it’s been impossible to even think of cooking. Plus, cooking equals dishes to clean which is right up there with laundry on the “I’ll do it later” list.

Oh well, Lent is coming and that’s when I eat healthy because otherwise I’ll go to hell. (No, not really. But my roommate and I got into an argument about whether you could eat eggs on Friday last year and it got pretty serious, to the point where we had to go to our rooms. And she told me that yes, He would know if we cheated. Noted.)

6. I wish I could resolve to…stick to a resolution.

Like I said, a year is a long time when it comes to sticking to a resolution. But I would love to be motivated and dedicated enough to do it. (A year of doing laundry though? All the time? I am already giving up on that and it’s still 2013.)

I think this is the best resolution I can make.

I think this is the best resolution I can make.

Here’s to 2014, and to a resolution I know I can achieve: getting as much use out of my ‘2014’ tag on Emilie Bee as possible. 🙂