On the road: The good and bad

On the road: The good and bad

The road trip from Chicago to California was such a great, great experience. Despite the leg cramps and dry, itchy eyes from the constant A/C - it was the most perfect way to see the U.S.

Chicago to Lincoln, Nebraska: Flat and pretty. I mean, some of the drive was boring - but some parts were just beautiful. Farms, barns and lots of green grass. It was, in a word...'Merica. We stayed in a hotel in Lincoln - and it was probably the worst experience ever, due to dirty/stained sheets and switching rooms, BUT - we found this awesome pizza/beer place downtown, called Yia Yia's and I have no idea how to pronounce that.

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Stop calling me names

Stop calling me names

My mom flew to Chicago to help us prepare for our move. She watched Moxie as we flew to California to find a place to live, and when we got back, helped us organize a garage sale. She's the best.

One day, we went to lunch at a casual spot with a great patio, which is where we sat. The server - an early 20-something named Ashley - came over and introduced herself and asked if she could get us a drink. My mom ordered her iced tea and Ashley turned to me and said, "And for you, sweetheart?" I ordered my iced tea and Ashley went about her way.

When she brought our beverages back, she said, "Here you go, my loves" as she placed the teas on the table.

My ears had perked up at 'sweetheart' - but now they were fully open. Whenever a woman who is clearly younger than me calls me 'sweetheart', 'hun', or anything of the sort - I feel weird about it. I mean, it's just not the natural order of things. However, when a woman older than me does it, I feel warmed up inside. Especially if that older woman has a southern accent, for some reason.

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Why isn't it just called 'you're an a-hole'?

Why isn't it just called 'you're an a-hole'?

Per Wikipedia, and in short, reverse racism is defined as "a theorized condition in which discrimination against a dominant racial group in a society has taken place."

Lately, I'm hearing the term 'reverse racism' a lot. Between the ol' Nick Cannon wearing white face story, and most recently - the private school student body President imitating her white male classmates in an Instagram photo. Responses to these stories have been peppered with things like, "reverse racism isn't cool" or "this is reverse racism - just reverse the races in the story and it would be straight-up racist." 

I don't understand "reverse racism." All racism is ugly, isn't it? I mean, who cares what direction hate and discrimination goes? And, how did/do we get this way?

When a 5-year-old on a playground picks on another 5-year-old child, no matter the skin colors involved - they get reprimanded for being mean and misbehaving. They most likely don't get called 'racist.'

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Dog friendly

Dog friendly

When it came time to start looking for a place to live in California, I started my search with Zillow. I searched Orange County, CA, selected "in-unit laundry" as a must, and clicked the search button.

Results? 504. I settled in my seat and prepared for a lengthy looksie.

Oops. I forgot to also check off "pets allowed" - so I did. (SN: I think Zillow should change that to 'pets welcome')

Results? 190. The number of available properties went significantly down...and the lowest rent cost shot up.

And, it's not just Orange County - I know this. It's everywhere. And, while part of me thinks dogs should be allowed anywhere, because they make most people happy and are just plain awesome - I also know there are exceptions. And, naughty owners. Because, the more I thought about it, I realized it's never the dog's fault. That's like blaming kids for being jerky brats. How'd they get like that? Parents.

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Craigslist and garage sales

Craigslist and garage sales

Due to the big move out west - we've downsized, and decided to sell a lot of our furniture. So, I posted a few well-thought-out posts on Craigslist. I included the dimensions of the furniture, a description (including designer/brand names when I could locate them) of all items, what condition they're in, that they all come from a non-smoking home, and with our guest bed - how much it was actually used. I also put that we were motivated to sell due to moving, so please feel free to make a fair offer.

I kept the posts short and sweet - yet very informative. I posted lovely photos and sent them off into the Craigslist community, thinking I'd already done 100% of the work on my end - now someone just had to simply buy/make an offer.

I was wrong. SO WRONG.

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My guiltiest pleasures

My guiltiest pleasures

Here's all I have to say about my guilty pleasures: There is zero shame in my game.

I am a huge fan of crappy reality shows...or rather, "reality" shows. I love Real Housewives of Everywhere (especially Orange County, now - since that's where we're movin'). I find it hilarious that nearly all of the housewives are in their mid-to-late 40s and 50s, nip/tucked to high heavens, and they alllll talk about how confident they are - but then they get upset, fight and cry over the stupidest things, like "She's sitting in my seat!" Also - Vanderpump Rules is in this same category, except those peeps are in their 20s, work at a restaurant, sleep with each other, and thus - have a reason to cry all the time. I love it.

Tostitos Salsa Con Queso. This is seriously liquid crack. I don't look at the calories, fat, carbs - or serving size. Do not ever put a jar of this golden goodness in front of me, and expect me not to make a meal out of it. Stop making that face. It's so goooooooood. Try it, and hate me for your addiction later.

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Book suggestions?

Confession: I used to play Candy Crush before drifting off to sleep. But, I'm sick of that (due to a ridiculously impossible level I just cannot get beyond). So, now I'm back to reading.

I have a Kindle, so I have an endless library available to me. Problem is, it's so overwhelming! And, you know those little book suggestion features in magazines? I always see them, and think, that looks gooooood, I'll have to remember that one...and then I completely forget when it comes time to type in the search bar.

And, it's nice that you can sample book on a Kindle, so there's no commitment. However, I've been sampling some crappy books, and I haven't yet found one I want to continue reading!

So, I need your help.

I like mostly everything - mysteries, fiction, non-fiction, romance, chick-lit, thrillers - basically anything but historical non-fiction. I mean, I'm looking to read before going to sleep, not reading to go to sleep. OK? Ok.

Help!

Wait...you DON'T?!

Wait...you DON'T?!

During a conversation with a former coworker, she was complaining about her dry skin. We talked about lotion, and somehow I offered the information that I lotion up after every shower, to put moisture back in my skin.

She seemed surprised by this, like she had never heard of doing that before/it was a weird thing to do. In turn, I was surprised by her surprise. Because, I thought everyone did this.

And, it got me thinking. What else am I doing, that possibly isn't the norm? I wanna know.

Do you:

Use body lotion after every shower? 

Floss after eating, religiously?

Wear rubber gloves while cleaning bathrooms/doing dishes?

Always keep an umbrella in your car?

Shave/wax the tops of your toes?

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Boobs

Boobs

Now that I have your attention...I need to have a tiny rant.

I know you've seen this Playtex commercial (video after the jump) in which women wearing bras walk around in front of the screen and talk about having big boobs. Well, I had the TV on for background noise yesterday, and I heard one of those women say, "some of us more endowed than others..." I snapped my head up at that proud and slightly cocky statement, and saw the same woman laughing right after saying it. Like, neener neener neener.

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Ch-ch-ch-changes

Ch-ch-ch-changes

We've gotta catch up.

This past year has been an absolute whirlwind of wedded happiness, growing, love - and changes.

AND MOVING.

Less than a year after moving here to Chicagoland, we're packin' up and truckin' out to the West Coast!

We're like gypsies. Minus the hot mess.

I've always secretly dreamed of being able to ride a bike to the beach, and to breakfast and to get ice cream, as corny as that sounds, and now...it just may come true!

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I forgot I love that!

I forgot I love that!

You know when you're cruising along in your car, and the radio station starts playing a song you used to be obsessed with, but you haven't heard in years, and you're like, "Ohhhh my goodness, I totally forgot how much I loved this song and band!" - and then you immediately go to iTunes and download their greatest hits album?

I know that's an elaborate (and my personal true life) example, but you know what I'm getting at. There are so many different things to experience in life, that you can't possibly enjoy/love everything at once - so I think certain things come in cycles. Ya dig? 

Here are some things that have come back full circle for me, recently:

Red Hot Chili Peppers. I bet you guessed that one.

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Peep this!

Peep this!

We're married now! Our wedding was beyond amazing. I can't thank the wonderful people we worked with enough. It's not easy to plan an Albany, NY wedding from Chicago, but I had the best support and communication ever. In award show fashion, I thank:

Maura Gannon, Chef Mark Graham and Chef Jonathan Quinn at Taste, as well as their entire staff. Jennifer McIntyre at Bella Salon, my hair genius and friend of more than 15 years. Leigh Brockmann (a new TU blogger!) for her makeup mastery. You can find her at Strut Spalontique starting June 1. Fleurtacious Designs (hi Stacey!) for the fleurs of a lifetime. Justin Tibbitts Photography for capturing the most memorable day of my life thus far - and for the fun photo booth! Patrick Bergeron, Metro Music, for his expert DJing skills, and awesome personality. Elizabeth Huntley, for her beautiful harp music. Royale Limo - Bob was so lovely and attentive. And, Schakolad Chocolate Factory in East Greenbush, for our delicious favors. I think that's everyone.

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A stinkin' marriage license

A stinkin' marriage license

We went to get our marriage license yesterday. I had planned on us going to Albany City Hall for it, but with us both being from Rensselaer County and with Rensselaer City Hall so much closer/easier to park - we chose to go there right when they opened, at 8:30 a.m.

I always see photos of couples getting their marriage licenses - all pose-y and happy and wearing cute outfits. There's photos of couples holding the pens and signing, smiling - and sharing a kiss while holding up the license. So cute! I always think, but I knew that just isn't something we'd do.

ESPECIALLY NOT AT 8:30 IN THE MORNING.

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You know what irks me?

You know what irks me?

When people I'm meeting for the first time go in for a hug and a kiss. I know it's like, super European to basically molest someone every time you see them, but I'm sorry...I just think it's respectful to not plant your sloppy kisses on a stranger's cheek. There has to be some sort of cordial first introduction, and then you work up to the hug and (air, preferably) kiss. If you're making out with someone's cheek the first time you meet them...where do you go from there?! I shudder to think.

When anyone under the age of 75 says, "I don't have an email address." It's 2014, people.

When people throw their cigarette butts on other people's lawns. #rage My neck is hot just thinking about this.

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(Wedding) Flowers and food

(Wedding) Flowers and food

On the plane, to Aruba, a husband and wife sat next to me, and the wife commented on us being the last row in the plane and how nervous she is about flying. I smiled and asked the obligatory "where are you two from?" questions. We got to chatting about weddings.

"Congratulations! My daughter's getting married in October. She's having silk flowers."

Me: "Oh?!"

"Yes, I heard they're lovely and all the rage now. Because flowers are really expensive. Are you having real flowers?"

Me: "Yes, yes...I love flowers too much to not have real flowers." 

She then gave me the saddest look, and told me she wishes her daughter didn't go with "fake flowers", because she thinks flowers are one of the most important details of the day. I agreed with her, and said, "Flowers and food. Those are my top two things." 

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Advice from strange, married people

Advice from strange, married people

When people learn that I'm getting married (in three weeks, now), they pepper me with a whole bunch of marriage advice bullets. Because we've only been in Chicagoland for 10 months, 99% of these people are strangers.

So, I nod and listen to them...and wait for them to walk away.

But, just because they're strangers, doesn't mean they don't have good advice. It also doesn't mean they have good advice, either. It does mean that none of this advice was solicited.

So, I've made a note of most of the little tips I've received, and would like to share them with you, because they are insightful, sassy, funny or plain ol' ridiculous. Enjoy:

"Remember that you're still the same person."

"On your wedding day, the best day of your life, remember it's all about the two of you. Don't cater to anyone's BS, and - don't put up with it."

"My wife got fat after we got married. Don't do that."

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Little Victories

Little Victories

I've blogged about LV's before, but I'll tell you again what I think they are: Basically, they're the itty-bitty things that make life a bit sweeter. 

Let's go over some, and please - feel free to share yours with me. I can never have enough sweetness.

Making your coffee at work without being interrupted by a coworker forcing you to make small talk while you add creamer and sugar while fighting the urge to tell them to stop asking me what I did this weekend and I don't care what you did, either! I mean, there should be a rule that the office kitchen is a no-talking zone before the hour of noon. Important note: I don't currently have this problem, but I've been there - and the times when you can get in and get out are golden.

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When 'I' becomes 'We'

When 'I' becomes 'We'

When I was single, I used to haaaaate when coupled-up women were all, "We are, we do, we like, we will..." And, I made a half-promise to myself to never be like that. I'll admit, I think I was a teeny-tiny bit jealous of their twosome talk. Believe me, my disdain wasn't all "single independent woman! Strong female power!" And - a woman - especially a strong one - has got a right to change her mind, ya dig?

I like a 'we' statement.

Now, I'm not talking joint Facebook and email accounts, here. 'We' doesn't always have a place. Maintaining a sense of independence is important, I know. While I've accepted 'we' statements into my life, I also still maintain that level of "I'm not that crazy woman who speaks for her man. He has a brain. A good one. I'm just including him, here, in this statement, to be nice." I still say "I" quite often.

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Love pockets

Love pockets

It seems like everything wedding-related is such a whirlwind. At least, it is for me, so far. Between the dramatic airport scene and fitting everything (Final food tasting, cake tasting, tux fittings, jewelry shopping, bridal shower, bachelorette party) into such a short amount of time while in NY - I was s-p-e-n-t - and a tad overwhelmed.

Our luggage didn't arrive until after my bridal shower, but I lucked out and planned pretty well when it came to shopping for my bridal shower and bachelorette party. I had a dress and shoes shipped to my mom's house so I didn't have to pack them for our trip from Chicago to Albany before flying to Aruba, and then flying back to Albany from Aruba for the shower/bachelorette/bachelor parties. What I'm trying to say is - it all worked out just fine. Well, except for two things.

A handbag, and a coat. So, something to put things in, and something to put me in. 

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