In Defense (?) of a Solo Road Trip

I went to visit my parents this weekend (my mom, having lived in Central PA for the past 15 years, recently moved back to my hometown in Western NY, where my dad still lives). Jeff wasn’t able to/didn’t want to take off work (ever the workaholic), so I embarked on the 6 hour drive on my own. I’m not usually one to drive lengthy distances by myself, but this trip reminded me of what a delight a solo road trip can be.

Don’t get me wrong, I love a good car trip with Jeffrey – we’ve perfected the singalong (we have our harmonies down pat at this point), and it’s nice to have someone to chat with. I also love a road trip with friends, of course. But there’s something so refreshing about a nice, long trip with nothing but your thoughts and your music – no one else’s taste to consider. Your own snacks. Your own Podcasts (if that’s what you’re into). Your own route. Your own stops. The possibilities are endless.

For me, this meant a lot of time to think – about everything. Things that don’t matter. Things that do. The past. The present. The future. That sounds kind of deep and serious, but it really wasn’t – sometimes it’s actually fun to just think about whatever comes to mind, uninterrupted. Despite my anxious tendencies, very rarely did a stressful thought pop into my head. Go figure.

This also meant a renewed love for my music. Remember how I’ve said on multiple occasions that I’m in a major music rut? Well, all it took was 12 hours in the car by myself (and a little solo hotel time to boot) to renew my love for a whole plethora of music, plus discover some great new jams. I think this is partially because local driving (where I typically listen to the bulk of my music) is often distracted – only long enough to listen to a few songs at most, and I’m often only half-listening, while thinking about daily tasks. During an otherwise silent 6-hour drive, I’m able to fully immerse myself in the music (and/or sing at the top of my lungs).

On that note: I’m really digging Grizzly Bear’s most recent album (Painted Ruins), and discovered that I prefer the songs with Ed Droste on lead vocals, rather than the ones headed by Daniel Rossen (in case anyone was wondering). Also, I’m surprisingly pretty into Florence and the Machine’s new album…I’m not sure why I’m so surprised since I’ve enjoyed most everything she’s put out in the past, but there you have it. I originally checked it out because she’s coming to Philly in October with Grizzly Bear as her opener, and I REALLY WANT TO SEE GRIZZLY BEAR LIVE, but could take or leave Florence and is it worth the cost of a ticket to basically just see the opener? Okay, now I’m just rambling. But anyway – take a solo road trip if you get the chance. Very enjoyable.

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Some Updates

I always seem to mention various plans/life things and then leave them hanging, never to return. I figured I’d try to remedy that with a few updates, this time specifically relating to this post I wrote back in March…

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Reading:

I finally climbed back on the old book wagon! This seems to happen during the summer, since that’s when we do most of our traveling, plus pool days. I recently finished The Woman in the Window (so good) followed by Sharp Objects (not as good, but I wanted to get through it before watching the HBO series). I also read a novel called The Kiss Quotient, which is outside of my norm in that it’s not a thriller and is more “chick lit” ish. I actually really enjoyed it though, and I think my next book will be another light, more humorous read (although I’m itching to start I’ll be Gone in the Dark).

Work:

Still kind of in a rut here – the opportunities I mentioned in my last post actually ended up being one opportunity that fell through. That’s okay – it’s been a pretty laid back summer, which has been nice, but I’m itching for a new challenge.

Listening:

Still in a major rut. Someone help? I’m so, SO sick of all my usual music, and Spotify seems to just recommend the same 15 songs I’ve been listening to for the past 2 years. I’m going on a mini solo road trip to visit my family next weekend, and I’m not loving the playlist I’ve created for myself…fingers crossed that I come across at least a little something new before then!

Wearing:

As predicted, I’m loving light, flowy skirts for work and ripped denim shorts with simple t’s and tanks on the weekend. Of course, I’m already itching for fall (I already snagged this cashmere sweater in camel during a killer sale), but nothing beats the ability to slip into my trusty Birkenstocks and be out the door in 2 seconds flat.

Watching:

We’re deep into our weird summer viewing habits. As always, we’re loving So You Think You Can Dance and have been watching the aforementioned Sharp Objects, but we’ve also been re-watching the Joe Schmo Show (I told you it was weird) and The West Wing, inspired by Bradley Whitford’s appearance in The Handmaid’s Tale (which I’m super bummed is over).

Sleep/Mental Health:

Every single summer I’m reminded of/shocked by the wild difference in the way I feel in the warmer months compared to the winter months. I know I get Seasonal Affective Disorder. This isn’t something I forget about, but I also deal with low-level depression and varying degrees of anxiety year round, so I tend to forget just how much better I feel during the summer and fall through the holidays. I’ve been naturally waking up earlier without having to do anything to consciously adjust my schedule (although I’d still like to wake up even earlier on the weekends, but my kinda late work schedule makes that difficult since I prefer to wake up shortly before leaving for work), and I just feel more energetic and clearheaded, despite working out less.

Home projects:

We still haven’t dug into anything inside, but we finally had some real landscaping done outside, and it’s a major breath of fresh air. We had landscaping done last year as well, but the company we chose (recommended by…the company themselves on Nextdoor) did a pretty crappy job and it ended up looking just as bad as it had started within a month. This year we used a different company, and while it cost more than double what we paid last year, it was 1000% worth it and looks infinitely better. We got rid of all the weeds/plants lining our driveway and replaced the mulch with grass seed, and had all the hostas and various other overgrown plants removed in the back and replaced with fresh mulch. I’ve also been trying to make our porch look decent (we’ll need to completely rebuild it down the road), and have been making an effort to do a little yard work every evening (the leaves in our yard are out of control, and we have a ton of mature trees that are beautiful, but drop huge chunks of bark constantly and make a big mess) to keep things looking nice. Fingers crossed!

Drinking:

Lots of coffee with Nutpods still! I’ve also been digging Startbuck’s new cold foam drinks, particularly the (apologies if I butcher the name) Salted Cream Cold Foam Cold Brew (phew). And I’ve been enjoying a spiked seltzer every here and there – so refreshing on a hot day! I bought some Smirnoff brand spiked seltzers in Cape Cod to stock our hotel room’s fridge and kinda expected them to suck (being Smirnoff brand – I chose them because the variety pack included a rose flavor that sounded intriguing), but they were surprisingly tasty! I especially enjoy the watermelon flavor…and I normally hate watermelon flavored things.

Writing:

Uh…basically not at all (obviously).

Wanting:

Honestly, not much – I’m pretty satisfied at the moment. I’m looking forward to fall, but I’m not wishing summer away by any means, and we have another mini vacation coming up in August for our anniversary (it’s a super dorky one, too – stay tuned!) Just trying to enjoy the warm weather and sunshine while it lasts.

 

 

 

 

 

Plastic Paranoia

Being the neurotic and anxiety laden person I am, I’ve begun to really start thinking about the amount of plastic we’re exposed to on a daily basis, and the negative effects it has on our health. While I’ve come to accept that some plastic exposure is just going to happen (I’m not about to start eliminating every type of food or beverage in a plastic container), I figure I should at least do what I can to limit my family’s exposure to harmful plastics.

Although most decent quality plastic containers are now BPA-free, I’ve read lots of credible articles claiming that BPA-free plastic can still produce negative, potentially cancer-causing effects. With that in mind, I’ve decided to make some changes in my home:mwga-17-a17_2

I already don’t typically drink bottled water – I typically use filtered water from our fridge, or the water machine at work. But I’ve now swapped our plastic Nalgene sports water bottles with aluminum S’well bottles for both myself and Jeffrey (that one was a no-brainer – S’well bottles may be a bit heavier and a tiny bit less convenient than plastic bottles, but they keep water cold FOREVER).

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I’ll be replacing our mismatched plastic Tupperwear with a set of glass containers. This one hurts a bit, because they’ll take up more room…but it’s for the best, and I won’t have to deal with the ugly, stained, half-melted (I put them in the dishwasher knowing full-well I’m really not supposed to) mess of containers I currently have. This set comes with a good variety of sizes and gets high ratings on Amazon.

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No more plastic cups…I can’t get rid of ours (Jeff refuses to drink out of a real glass unless we’re having a dinner party or something), but I’ve stopped drinking out of the plastic cups we stole from the movie theater (yep) in favor of using a real glass (we have this set). I actually originally did this less for the health concerns and more because the plastic cups were starting to pick up a funky dishwasher detergent taste…yum.

So, it’s not much, and I could be doing a lot more, but these few changes make me feel a little better about what I’m putting into my body. If anyone has any other (realistic) ideas of ways to reduce plastic exposure, send ’em my way!

 

The 5 Most Formative Albums of my Youth

A Facebook post I saw recently made me think…what albums were the most formative for me? You know the ones: they come along at just the right time in your life and form your music taste and even part of your personality for the rest of your adulthood. There were three that came to me immediately and stuck out in my mind with no question, but I had to think a bit before determining the last two. These aren’t necessarily my favorite albums (although they’re all great, and a few of them definitely make my top 10 or even top 5 list), but what they did helped to cement my entire identity from the point I first heard them forward.

Here they are, the most influential albums of my young adulthood:

1. Good News for People Who Love Bad News by Modest Mouse

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I listened to this album on repeat when I was going through a bad breakup, so it signifies my newfound independence in my mind. Before this breakup, I struggled to find my own identity – I was more an extension of my (older, much more outgoing) longterm boyfriend. I did develop some of my own taste during that relationship – I had started to stray from my previous preference of singer/songwriters and jam bands to stranger, more indie bands that were just gaining popularity at the time – but mostly kept in the shadow of those around me. When we broke up, I temporarily moved in with my best friend and bought this album after Modest Mouse had been recommended to me by an ex co-worker (who I still keep in touch with today – thanks, Traina!). It sticks in my mind because it was such an emotionally raw time, but after I fell in love with this album and out of love with my ex (much, much later), there was no turning back. I was finally my own person, and I liked what I liked. I had always liked slightly different music than my peers (my taste was heavily influenced by my psychedelic music loving father), but from here on out I’d seek out the unusual and the unique, and was proud of it. Basically what I’m saying is, my tendency to be pretentious and obnoxious (and the fact that Jeff’s always referred to me as “hipster adjacent”) is Modest Mouse’s fault.

2. We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank by Modest Mouse

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Of course, when Modest Mouse came out with a new album less than a year after my aforementioned breakup, I bought it immediately (along with two other albums – more on that below). These three albums are the first that I specifically remember going to the music store and purchasing on my own as an adult (of course, I had purchased CDs before this in general – I was 22 when this came out in 2007 – but this is the first time I remember choosing completely on my own, as an adult, without any influence from friends or boyfriends). I remember listening to the samples on those big headphones they had in the music store (talk about a throwback) and racing home to wrestle the CDs out of that horrible plastic covering and listen to the whole albums on repeat. This was also one of the first albums I introduced to Jeff when we started dating, and the song “Florida” got him to open up to my music a little (which is saying a lot, because Jeff likes a total of about 4 bands).

3. Funeral by Arcade Fire

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This is probably tied for overall most influential album of my adulthood with Modest Mouse’s GNFPWLBD. This album was one of the three I purchased that aforementioned day, and it blew my damn mind (along with probably every other indie band loving human in America/Canada), and remains arguably my number one favorite album of all time to this very day. I don’t love what Arcade Fire’s become over the years – I’m not sure if they got too big (remember when they instituted a black tie rule for their concerts?) or if my tastes just slightly changed, but most of what they put out these days is just “meh” to me…but this album was a true masterpiece. The arrangements were so lush and dramatic without being over the top, the melodies were gorgeous, the lyrics were beautiful and authentic. I can’t think of anything wrong about this album. This is the album that caused me to start telling people my favorite genre of music was “indie” (which I feel conflicted about to this day – see this).

4: Wincing the Night Away by the Shins

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This was the third album I purchased on that day in 2007. I was already familiar with The Shins (mostly from the movie Garden State), but this was the first album I really fully dove into by them. Along with Funeral, this album helped cement my love for “indie” music, and got me to dive into Sub Pop (the record label that helped make a lot of early indie bands into mainstream names).

5: Our Love to Admire by Interpol

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By the time I started listening to Interpol, I had started hanging out with people who had similar interests and musical tastes to my own, and these friends introduced me to a lot of the music I listen to even now. Again, I was already vaguely familiar with Interpol, but this particular album kicked off my long-lived obsession with everything Post-Punk. Wrecking Ball off of this album remains one of my all-time favorite songs, and Miley Cyrus can’t take that away from me.

Honorable Mention: Veckatimest by Grizzly Bear

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This one just missed the list because it was a bit later when I got into it (I was already living in Delaware when it came out), but it helped to transform my musical taste into the form it is today. The previous albums introduced me to indie music, but it took me a few years to really nail down my true taste. I spent a lot of time convincing myself I enjoyed really out there music, when in reality I just liked it because it made me feel cool – I actually think a lot of that stuff is just noise and couldn’t be paid to listen to it these days. See: Neutral Milk Hotel and most Animal Collective (minus the song “My Girls,” which is a masterpiece). My taste continues to evolve and change to this day – I’m now almost exclusively into indie folk or whatever you’d call Dawes and Blitzen Trapper type stuff, but also go through periods of being obsessed with hip hop or even more poppy electronic stuff – but I feel like this album helped me really settle into myself, or at least came along during the time that was happening for me.

 

 

Digging

Long time, no dig! Here’s what I’ve been into as of late:

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T3 Micro:

Up until recently, I hadn’t bought a new blow dryer in ages. We’re talking years. And I wondered why my hair would be all frizzed out 5 minutes after I finished drying it. So, earlier this month, I finally upgraded my 10 year old $20 Conair dryer to a T3 Featherweight. I happened to luck out and snag mine from an outlet sale for $85 (marked down from $250!!), but it was definitely an investment well made. I can actually blow my hair out and it’ll stay silky smooth without being touched with a flatiron. Speaking of which, I was gifted a compact flat iron for Christmas, also from T3 – I asked for it so I’d have something small to throw in my bag to use after the gym, but it’s so much nicer than my old flat iron I’ve been using it at home (thereby defeating the purpose of getting it in the first place – oh well).

Revlon One-Step Volumizer Brush:

Speaking of hair care, this brush was another game changer I received for Christmas this year. It’s a volumizing brush and dryer in one, and is great for when you need to get out the door quickly, and don’t have time for a full blowout. It leaves my hair bouncy and silky smooth, and takes a fraction of the time a full blowout and straightening/curling sesh would.

Function of Beauty:

What the hell, let’s keep going with the hair stuff. I switched over to Function of Beauty late last year, and I’ll probably never go back (don’t hold me to that). It’s personalized shampoo and conditioner for your exact hair – you take an extensive quiz and select what you want your products to do (add volume, mend split ends, etc.), and even select your scent (they use amazing smelling essential oils – I chose a eucalyptus mint blend) and color (you can also choose to go dye-free). It’s lasted forever (I’ve had it since September and still have half of each bottle left…although let’s be honest, I don’t wash my hair very often), looks chic, smells great, and my hair has never looked or felt better.

Nutpods:

Moving on to less hair-related things…my dear, precious Nutpods. If you follow The Good Food, you’ve heard me wax poetic on Nutpods countless times. I discovered this almond/coconut blend creamer during a dairy-free month in January, and haven’t looked back – it’s one of the only plant-based creamers I’ve found that’s almost as creamy as half & half (my previous creamer of choice), is totally unsweetened (even the vanilla flavor), and doesn’t leave any chalky residue. I’ve found a refrigerated version of these at Wegman’s, but I prefer the shelf-stable kind I buy on Amazon (it needs to be refrigerated after opening) – I don’t know why, because the ingredients are identical. It just tastes better to me.

Madewell Jeans:

I feel like I’ve finally found my jeans, and it’s glorious. I have a history of trying every bargain brand of jeans available and hating all of them – they’re always crazy uncomfortable, stretch out and end up sagging, and the knees wear out in literally one wear (I also discovered that may be because I should be buying tall, and had been buying standard fit, but that’s a story for another day). I finally bit the bullet and invested in some higher-quality jeans, and I will absolutely never go back. Every pair of Madewell jeans I’ve purchased fits like a glove, feels like butter, and holds up beautifully. I especially love the Roadtripper cut – they’re the softest jeans I’ve ever worn and the cut is perfect (and they’re a steal at only $75) – but it’s hard to go wrong.

Brandless:

Brandless is an online grocery store that sells un-branded items for $3 each. I was a bit skeptical at first, but I received my first box today, and the quality has been great so far. It does help to comparison shop a bit – $3 isn’t actually always cheaper than you’d find at a regular grocery store – but there are some great deals, and I got some of their wooden spoons and spatulas and they look great. I also love that their packaging is minimal and modern looking. Definitely grab some of the Jalapeno Lentil Crisps if you order!

Living With Less:

You may have noticed that most of the products I’ve listed here were either purchased late last year, or were gifted to me – I’ve been trying really hard to avoid buying things I don’t need since the beginning of the year, and I think I’ve been doing pretty well. There have been some setbacks – I’ve noticed that when I actually do need something and allow myself to buy it (like the blowdryer), it tends to open the floodgates and tempt me to start buying things I don’t need as much (I just bought myself a new running outfit I probably could’ve done without, as well as a pair of flip flops I justified by telling myself I needed “dressier flip flops” when we went outlet shopping for work clothes for Jeff), but for the most part I’ve cut way back on online shopping, so I’m trying not to be too hard on myself. I’m spending less, there’s less crap all over the house, and I’m finding other ways to occupy my time. It feels great.

 

 

Let’s catch up.

Hi friends! Let’s catch up, shall we?

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Reading:

A big, fat, nothing (literary, at least)…but I really want to get back into it! I read Jessi Klein’s memoir on the plane to & from Florida and really enjoyed it, which brought on a brief comedy book kick…but I’m starting to crave my thrillers again. I recently downloaded The Innocent Wife and was excited to dive in, but immediately forgot about it. I’ll get to it eventually!

Working:

On figuring out what my next career move will be. I’ve been feeling a bit bored at work recently…it’s nice to have some downtime, but I’m ready for a new challenge. There are a couple opportunities on the horizon, so fingers crossed!

Listening:

I’ve been in a huge music rut for the past…I don’t know, two years? I’m having the hardest time finding new music I enjoy, and I’m super bored with my old standbys. I’ve been leaning hard on musicals like a huge dork…Jeff & I recently saw Hamilton on Broadway which was the most incredible experience, and I’ve been very into the Spring Awakening soundtrack these days.

Wearing:

Jeans & sweaters, sweaters & jeans…and I’m so over it. I love me some sweaters, but I’m ready for the weather to warm up so I can pull my skirts and dresses out and put my puffer coat away. Get it together, spring!

Watching:

We just finished Wild Wild Country on Netflix, and it was wild (no pun intended, ha!). Highly recommended if you’re looking for something to make you say “WTF?!” It made us want to re-watch Making a Murderer. We’ve also been digging some newer comedies – A.P. Bio and Corporate are the first to come to mind.

Needing:

To get back on a normal schedule, desperately. A combination of Seasonal Affective Disorder and laziness has me waking up super late these days, and it’s bumming me out. I miss those quiet early morning hours, and productivity has gone out the window. I know it’ll be a lot easier once it starts warming up, but I’m looking forward to feeling human again.

Wishing:

For a home refresh. Jeff had some uncertainty going on with his career for a few months so we put any major purchases or projects on hold, but he’s accepted a great position with a new company (he starts tomorrow!) and I’m itching to get moving with some projects. I’m still loving our bedroom re-do that we finished this past fall, but our main bathroom needs work desperately, our porch needs major construction, and we’ve been dying for a new couch. I’m starting to feel the itch to move, but there’s really no reason to leave at the moment and I keep reminding myself to be patient and wait until the perfect house in the perfect location becomes available (plus, I’ll be heartbroken to leave our little house). In the meantime though, we need to make sure our current house is ready to put on the market…it’s go time.

Drinking:

Coffee, in higher quantities than normal. My usual cup a day habit has been creeping up to 2 or 3 cups on average. I do feel a little better about it since I cut dairy out of my coffee routine in favor of plant-based creamers, but I do still indulge in a real latte every now and then. I’ve also been drinking a lot of wine, and the occasional gin cocktail – Jeff’s been big into bourbon lately, so I’ve been trying to expand my booze horizons.

Writing:

The Good Food. As mundane as a lot of my daily posts are, it feels good to be writing regularly, and the straightforward format keeps writer’s block mostly at bay.

Eating:

I’m just gonna leave this here.

Wanting:

To run/walk outside, desperately. I haven’t stuck to my pledge to work out daily, partially due to laziness/SAD (such a vicious cycle, since exercise is a very effective antidepressant for me, but it’s so hard to get motivated when you’re already physically depressed) and partially due to some minor physical setbacks. This sounds like such a cop-out, but I was pushing myself a little harder than I probably should’ve with running and got terrible road burn on the balls of my feet, which led to huge gross layers of skin peeling off – sorry, I know that’s disgusting. If anyone has any recommendations on how to avoid this, PLEASE HELP. I’ve tried wearing two pairs of socks and it didn’t help at all. I’m pretty sure my shoes fit properly, and my stride is okay…my next step is to lubricate my feet, but it sounds uncomfortable and I’ve been putting it off. Anyway…I really do find it so much easier to keep up with consistent physical activity when I can just step out the door and go. I honestly do enjoy the gym some days, but some days I just don’t feel like getting in my car and driving somewhere (or changing clothes in the middle of the work day). I know we always get a mid-March snow storm, but winter really feels like it’s hanging on longer than normal this year and it’s killin’ me.

Dreaming:

Up our next adventure. Since our trip-heavy last year, the travel bug has bitten me, hard. I’m itching to get on a plane and go…pretty much anywhere. I’d love a trip to California (possibly San Diego, or maybe LA?), but I’d also be happy with somewhere a bit closer – maybe south Florida, or possibly the opposite direction to Maine or Vermont. I’d love to plan another international trip – Italy’s #1 on my list, and I’m always down for an all-inclusive, tropical getaway, but we’re in kind of an awkward place where we don’t know if or when I might get pregnant, so I don’t want to plan something big too far out and then have to cancel. We will see!

 

 

 

 

What in god’s name is going on with my skin?

How does my skin know when summer’s over?

Why is my skin FLAWLESS all summer long, and then the second the leaves start to turn, I look like a pox has been thrust upon me by some type of evil witch?

At first, I figured it had something to do with the temperature – that was the only thing that made sense, but I always had a nagging doubt in the back of mind mind, because I actively moisturize all year round and my skin isn’t any drier or less dry in the winter than it is in the summer. BUT, this year the acne came back before the temperature changed AT ALL. What IS that? I always thought it was strictly hormonal (and it probably is, judging by the type/location of said acne), but then, like…why was my skin perfect all summer? Was I not a woman this summer? Did my hormones take a summer vacation?

Diet? I think not…my diet isn’t the best (nor is it the worst), but either way, it’s relatively consistent. No changes there.

When I say my skin was perfect this summer, I assure you that I am not exaggerating. Nary a blemish to be found. Acne scars disappeared as if by magic. I’m a lifelong faithful foundation wearer, and I considered many days going completely makeup-free (and some days I did just that)!! While my skin usually clears up incrementally during the summer months, this year it was better than it’s been since I was (miraculously) a totally fresh-faced teen. I experienced a brief glimmer of hope that this would be the year – that somehow, 32 and a half was the magical age at which acne would cease to kiss my face and from this moment on I’d have clear skin forevermore. But no. Practically the second October hit, my skin went back to normal. And normal sucks.

I know what you’re thinking – “Go to a dermatologist, ya turkey!” but you guys…I’m JUST NOW working up the courage to go to a normal doctor for the first time in my adult life (other than emergencies)…you’ll need to give me a moment to incorporate specialty medical professionals into my situation. So…I don’t know. I’d ask what miracle products everyone uses, but I’m skeptical regarding their effectiveness for my particular situation (as am I weary of being offered various MLM products) – I’ve tried most types of treatments, and nothing topical will cure this if it’s hormonal anyway. Birth control isn’t an option because of the whole possibly making a baby situation, so…I guess this is just my skin. Cool. Wish for a miracle for me? (Not really – don’t waste your miracle wishing on my dumb skin which is mostly fine save for some relatively mild annoying monthly acne. Use it for something cooler.) Okay bye.

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Is Quirky Still In?

As I pulled my standard-issue Apple earbuds out of my bag at work today surrounded by co-workers wearing nice, cushy over-ear headphones (I don’t like wearing things that mess with my hair – it’s bad enough as it is), it occurred to me that I have quite a few little “quirks”…and not cute ones, like pronouncing the word “bagel” funny (which I’ve also been told I do, but I digress), but more so traits that teeter a very dangerous line between being a little eccentric and full-on high maintenance/cantankerous. Let’s discuss:

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“This is what cats do, right?”

~ I eat my food like a bird/squirrell. This might sound cute (or at least like I’m trying to be cute), but really it’s ridiculous/disgusting. I break apart crackers. I’ve been known to eat a cupcake with a fork, and take 3 hours to finish it. I pick cake pops (cake pops, for Christ’s sake) into tiny little pieces. This isn’t because I have a tiny, delicate appetite, but because I view eating food as my primary hobby and prefer to make a tiny snack last several hours so that I’m eating at all times.

~ I have stage fright to an alarming degree. I can’t do ANYTHING in front of anyone if I feel the tiniest amount of pressure, or I freeze up or screw whatever I’m doing up beyond repair. I don’t really even like to drive with other people in the car, because I feel like they’re critiquing my every move. I turn from a competent adult to an actor in an infomercial who’s unable to hold a fork without fumbling and ultimately tossing it into the air and throwing their hands up in defeat.

~ I can’t make faces on demand. If someone tells me to make an “angry” face, I’ll forget what to do with my bones and skin. I also can’t do any accents, at all.

~ I don’t like when I can hear other peoples’ music – for example, if they’re wearing headphones and their volume is just a tiny bit too high, or if someone is very softly playing music on their computer. It drives me absolutely bananas.

~ On a related note, when people are in public and play videos or music on their phone out loud without using earbuds, it makes my blood boil. I can’t think of much that drives me crazier. Some people hate hearing people chew, I hate hearing peoples’ phones. Sometimes Jeff will try to play me a song or show me something on his phone and I have to practice yogic breathing to keep from losing it. I don’t know if it’s the tinny quality of phone speakers or what, but it makes my skin crawl.

~ I really don’t like brightly colored plastic bottles of soap/dish detergent (or anything else, really). I refuse to buy certain brands of products because I hate their packaging. I don’t like having anything “busy” visible or on display. Same goes for candles or really even tissue boxes.

~ This is very disgusting and I probably shouldn’t admit it, but I’m whatever the opposite of germaphobic is. If it weren’t for societal pressure, I’d probably never wash my hands (I know – I told you I’m disgusting) – unless some sort of debris actually gets on them, at which point I can’t wash them fast enough (I hate being actively dirty; I just don’t care about germs). I do attribute the fact that I very rarely get sick to this, though – I expose myself to so much bacteria, I’m probably immune to the majority of bugs that go around (I don’t really know how that works, but that’s what I tell myself).

~ At the movies, I only like to sit to the left of my viewing partner – this may just be a “couple-y” thing that I’ve developed over years of going to movies with primarily Jeff (at restaurants, he always wants me to sit in the seat facing the door – I don’t really understand why – I think he explained one time that it’s due to me being left-handed or something – but I just do it out of habit now, even if I’m with someone other than Jeff), but it’s still a little odd.

~ I put mashed potatoes in my chicken soup – I’ve done this since I was little (I got this habit from my gramma). This isn’t quirky; it’s genius and you should do it too.

That’s all I can think of at the moment, but I know there’s more…I can’t be alone here, right? What are some freaky little things you guys do?