Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Queen Latifah + Me + Halloween

I can now officially say I've talked to Queen Latifah's "people."

Remember when I won that BlogHer award and Queen Latifah was the emcee at the awards ceremony? Right. I'm guessing that's how her people got my contact info. All I know is, one of them emailed me one day last week and asked if I wanted to write a Halloween-themed post for her site. Um, yes.

I wrote it so quickly that I feel unsure of its quality, but the eversweet Kerry told me she loves it and her word is good as gold. So, confidence restored!

And now you may read it: Awkward Childhood Costumes

p.s. Remember last year when I compiled that Halloween playlist? Thought it might be time for y'all to bust it out again. Please give ample attention to Monster Mash and Dead Man's Party, my personal favorites.

Monday, October 28, 2013

The Falsehoods I (Shouldn't) Believe About Myself

Truth: I can't always trust what my own mind says to me.

I'm human, in that regard. Sometimes the negativity monster is running the show inside my cabesa and I have to take a step back and tell myself I'm downright wrong about stuff. I think there is great value in being able to recognize when your own thought patterns are false. And because I think many of you can relate to this feeling (call it perfectionism, anxiety or whatever you will), I've decided to blog today about some of the falsehoods my head tells me...and why my head can be so dead incorrect.

False: I'm a lazy human being.
I used to have no problem relaxing when I was working full-time. But since I haven't had a full-time job in almost 5 months, the random Netflix shows and lounging and reading sometimes just make me feel like an unmotivated slob. I combatted this feeling by coming up with productive ways to get out of the house (and I think I'll feel better now with Anthro going on), but I still struggle sometimes with some generic guilt about it all.

But the truth is: There is nothing wrong with just hanging out and relaxing. And yes, being lazy. It does not mean I am a lazy no-good. I should enjoy the down time I have right now because I haven't had it in so long and may never again! Laziness is not a sin, even if perfectionism tells you it is.

False: I don't know how to talk to people.
Sometimes in my California social scene I still feel like the awkward new kid. Back in Arizona, I'd reached a point where I knew pretty much everyone and could go to any party and feel confident approaching any group in the crowd. I have had way too many moments lately where I stand on the edge of parties and don't know how to break into things, and then I feel discouraged with myself.

But the truth is: I really AM still new. I can't compare my social ease here to Arizona because I had 4 years there and only 4 months here. The social comfort will come! One friend at a time. And my BFF reminded me a couple days ago that I AM good at being a friend. She told me I always know what's going on in the lives of 700 people and remembering to call or send a card or whatever. It was so good to hear that from her.

False: I'm not good enough for any job to want me.
Like for reals, it can start to feel this way when I apply to full-time writing jobs I know I could rock at and don't even get an interview. Or, I get an interview and then they don't want me...I haven't decided which scenario feels more insulting, haha.

But the truth is: I am good at writing. I AM! All my current freelance/contract clients are more than pleased with my work. My resume proves I've got some chops. I honestly do believe it's a matter of the right fit at this point and not a measure of my ability (or inability).

False: I'm a terrible runner.
Man, one second I'm training for Ragnar and running crazy miles and the next I've let it all slide and only run (maybe) once a week. I feel guilty about doing all that training and then letting it go.

But the truth is: The truth is that it doesn't matter if I'm a runner or not. Five times a week, once a week, once a month, never....it just doesn't matter. It simply doesn't. It's OK not to love it sometimes. Being a runner is not a measure of my worth as a person. And, I can't discredit all the past achievements: three Ragnars, one half marathon....running currently or not, I am a fantastic runner.

False: I suck at dating.
Seriously, what is dating but a succession of failures? When it comes down to it, every experience is a breakup until you get married and stay married. I know that sounds downright negative, but it's true. Dating, in essence, is just a long series of breakups. And I know I know, "You learn something from every experience." OK, maybe, but sometimes it just feels like a series of kicks in the face. I'm not going to sugarcoat that. There is nothing more awful to me than participating in something that too frequently requires hurting other people's feelings or getting my own feelings hurt. It makes me want to crawl in a hole and adopt a cat.

But the truth is: Hope is a powerful thing. And even if I will probably never say that "learning experiences" make the pain (or inflicting pain) feel worth it in the meantime, I can say that HOPE plays a motivating role in my life. I am buoyantly hopeful for a positive outcome, even if I hate the process. And as always, I am still happy with my single life.

False: I'm going to be an awful mother.
I don't like children. I hated babysitting as a teenager. I don't know how to talk to other people's kids, especially in front of them. I'm terrible at playing pretend or being silly with kids. I feel judged when people watch me awkwardly interact with children. I often think children seem more like a burden than a blessing, especially based on the Facebook statuses and blogs of friends of mine who go through rough patches after they have children. (Not saying they shouldn't talk about it; just saying it usually confirms and multiplies my own fears about it.)

But the truth is: I like children I know. I love my nieces and nephews. And I actually do inherently love all newborn babies. Not every mom loves all children...and you can still be a good mom without being "a kid person." I don't remember my mom being silly or playing pretend with me and I turned out great; I just played with my siblings/friends and relied on my mom for a different kind of relationship. Not all moms are the same! I highly doubt I will be a neighborhood-preschool-teaching, plastic-horse-pretending, Pinterest-birthday-party-throwing kind of mom, but that doesn't mean I can't still be a good one in my own adult-ish way. (Another trip to the library, kids? More Beatles or Simon & Garfunkel? DID YOU WANT YOGURT SAUCE TO GO WITH YOUR INDIAN LAMB CURRY?)

And there you have it! The falsehoods I too often tell myself and the reasons why I'm dead wrong about so much of it. Got any of your own rolling around in your head?

Thank you for joining this therapy session :)

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

A new iPhone case every month?

I love small businesses and I love cool ideas amen.

Note: I'm not getting paid for this shout out. I just think it's a nifty thing.

When I heard about Phone Case of the Month from Lauren, I was like HELL(O)S YEAH! I just think this is a super cool (and affordable) idea, and I'm a fan of sharing super cool (and affordable) ideas. Plus I'm a sucker for nifty branding. (Case in point, a little monster with a beard, saying "I'll protect you like a beard in the tundra." That is marketing GOLD.)

How it works:
$10/month (shipping included) to get a brand new, different, cool-designed iPhone case EVERY month! If you scratch the edges of your phone cases up because of mucho accidental dropping (looks around the room like I have no idea who does that kind of thing) or just have a short enjoyment span for any phone case in general (looks around the other side of the room), you can probably get down with this. And who doesn't like getting surprises in the mail? I figure if you ever don't like a case design, you have plenty of past months to choose from. No sweat!

Anyway, you can check it out HERE if you're into it. 
Use that link and you'll get a $5 discount on your first month. Shazaam! Enjoy, and you're welcome.

Monday, October 21, 2013

A&A: The Existential Angst of Jon Arbuckle

▲ The Netflix category specifically titled "Made-for-TV Movies Featuring a Strong Female Lead." It doesn't get much more I'M SINGLE than that.
▲ The one time when I had went to the DMV three times because I couldn't stop forgetting things I needed to take with me. (Don't worry, I got my official CA stamp of approval.)
▲ This lake that turns animals to stone. #freaky
▲ When I was talking to a boy via Skype and the video made me look real good. (This is why I use Google Hangout 99.9% of the time.)
▲ Admittedly awkward in a totally awesome way, these Garfield Minus Garfield comic strips. Please note the site's own description: "Garfield Minus Garfield is a site dedicated to removing Garfield from the Garfield comic strips in order to reveal the existential angst of a certain young Mr. Jon Arbuckle. It is a journey deep into the mind of an isolated young everyman as he fights a losing battle against loneliness and depression in a quiet American suburb." Behold one of my favorites:

▲ I still know all the words to Will Smith's "Gettin' Jiggy With It."
▲ These.
▲ The geniuses who added monsters to thrift store paintings.
▲ This old man is validating my intense devotion and loyalty to Microsoft Paint by creating art with it.
▲ This collection of selfies with couples making out in public.
▲ The Bigfoot Discovery Project/Museum, which is located a mere 1-hr drive from me and with which I am nigh unto obsessed with visiting someday soon. Please note from the website: "Mike and Paula characterize the project as being in support of efforts to ensure that the Bigfoot and other such forest people are guaranteed their equal rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness (as for Mike and Paula, they’re just following their bliss.)"
▲ Let's talk about this comic strip again:

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Music: You're the One For Me

This is one of those exultant feel-all-the-feelings anthems.

You know, the roll your windows down, stick your fingers in the wind, feel a little reckless and bold and brave and in love with someone or the whole world in general kinda thing. It comes your way from a group called Great Good Fine OK. (See? All the feelings. Just like I said.) I've had it on repeat since a boy with respectable taste sent it to me earlier this week. Love love loving it!

And now I'll cease talking so you can enjoy it:

...what's your favorite song this week?

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

So I work at Anthropologie.

True story: I'm now a seasonal Anthropologie employee!

I had a little chat with myself last week when I was wallowing about my career. I decided that even if my long-term plans didn't seem to be taking shape, that I needed to suck it up, get off my high I-have-a-degree-and-a-long-resume horse and find SOME kind of job because them billz gotta be paid. So, off I went hunting for retail jobs! And let me tell you, the mall loves me! I had more success with those applications in a week than I've had with the rest of my job hunt in several months.

I'm super stoked about Anthropologie because I wanted it the most out of all the stores I applied to or interviewed at! There's just something really warm and caring about the atmosphere, an impression that I still have after 6 hours of training this morning. Plus, they seriously make the cutest, most delightful, whimsical trinkets and clothing. Admittedly, I'm more prone to shopping at thrift stores, Target and H&M. I like cheaper clothes; it's just who I am. But I still tip my hat to the Anthro designers because, man, they are NAILING what they do, and you get great quality for what you pay. I really do mean that.

People have already asked me if I'm going to be tempted to spend my entire paycheck with a job at an amazingly tempting place like Anthro (and a pretty fat discount to go with it). My answer? I'll prioritize paying rent and eating and life adventures, and we'll go from there. Not saying I won't have my moments but I don't think I'll be as tempted as the average Anthro Joe.

Excited about my new job, excited about all the nice people, slightly nervous about being in a customer service role again after many years at a computer with headphones in (eep!), excited to keep freelancing on the side so it adds up to some kind of full-time income, and...

...excited to have a reason to wear all my clothes again! 

I mean, it's my responsibility to wear a really good outfit to work. How fun is THAT? Especially after several months at home in sweatpants. (Not complaining.) And, their style totally suits me -- I mean, they sell overalls! And they won't hate on my fringe moccasins and horse-print sweater. Don't worry, pictures will be shared. (If outfit posts bore you, I give you advance permission to check out from those updates.) But for starters, here's what I was wearing when I landed the job:


Monday, October 14, 2013

On New Journals & First Pages

New journals have the most delicious kind of anticipatory magic.

...of course I picked the gray leather one. IT SPOKE TO ME AND WE'RE NOT EVEN A LITTLE SURPRISED ABOUT THAT ARE WE.

Every time I write in the first page of a new journal I get caught up thinking about where I'll be by the last page.

When I started my last journal, about exactly a year ago, I had just been on a blind date with a boy I was about to fall pretty hard for. And then, briefly, I was going to think I wanted to marry him. And then, ultimately, I wouldn't. And gosh, something about love or almost-love or something-in-between-love. And it would take me a really long time to let go of it, whatever it was.

When I started that journal, I had a full-time job that I loved, with people I loved, and about zero intentions of leaving Arizona. The coastal Californian region wasn't even on my radar, except for the occasional beachy trip to Oceanside or Huntington. I had few questions about my future because it all seemed predictable and laid out for me. I was happy, with exhilaration and anticipation in all the little corners of me.

By the last page of that journal, which was last night, just about.....everything....in my life has changed.

As of the first page of this new journal, I (you know this already) live in northern California. I (obviously) no longer have that full-time job. I'm far away from pretty much everyone that my life circled around at this time last year. My future is nothing but one big question mark. You could say my life got a little turned on its head during the pages of the old journal. But I can say, I am still happy and exhilarated and full of anticipation in all the little corners of me.

My journals mean the world to me. I get some of the best insight into my present life when I go back and read my old stories. (Even these amazingly embarrassing ones from my childhood, bahahah.) I wonder what stories this new journal is going to tell?

Dear brand new first page....let's make some stories.

p.s. Are you a journal writer?

Friday, October 11, 2013

Movie Trailer: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

You know a trailer is good when it doesn't even need words.

I first saw the preview for The Secret Life of Walter Mitty when I went to see Gravity last week, and it was a hook, line and sinker experience. I love that the trailer tells you just enough but still keeps you guessing a delicious amount of mystery.

Sometimes I just know that movies will speak to me. Like Moonrise Kingdom last year. (Admittedly sometimes the good ones sneak up on me, like this surprise favorite of the year thus far.) There are so many exciting movies coming up in November (ENDER'S GAME BOOK THIEF CATCHING FIRE ETC ETC ETC) but now I've also got my eye on the end of December for some Walter Mitty. I do love me some Ben Stiller! (I know my freckled meggles is excited too. We discussed it.)

Check it out:

...does it look like your kind of film?

I love the exhilarated look on his face when he jumps into the helicopter...like his own bravery is surprising him. Man, I totally get that.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

My NBC Reality Show Space Mission

If they make me eat space bugs, I will eat space bugs.

I woke up this morning to discover that NBC has announced a new reality show to send a civilian to space.

(moment of silence)

(another moment of silence)


You bet your interstellar buttons I'll be applying.

Not even kidding about this. Will it be like Survivor? Will I have to eat bugs? Space bugs? Will I have to wrestle alien creatures? Jump off tall things even though I'm afraid of heights? Are space bugs crunchy or squishy? Bring. It. All. On. I once tackled a pig at a rodeo, for crying out loud. This is space we're talking about here. SPACE. My #1 ambitious bucket item list is to see the earth from the outside. (Not even Gravity deterred me, remember?)

So cross all your fingers and toes and whatever appendages for me while I (im)patiently wait for applications to open so I can tell NBC exactly why they want me. I wouldn't mind the free pass instead of saving the $250K it usually costs for a civilian space trip, you know? (My pennies will add up someday, right?)


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

TED Talk: How I Hacked Online Dating

I've had some conversations lately about online dating.

If you've been around this blog since last year, you know I tried online dating for like....a month...last December. I've had two good friends get married off eHarmony this year, so I'm not a disbeliever in online dating by any means. But, I'm not convinced it's for me. For one thing, both those marriages resulted from long-distance dating. Let me tell you, long-distance dating is.....not my strength. Let's put it that way.

Recently I had all these crazy thoughts about doing an experiment in which I try out different dating sites (even Tinder, the infamous people-swear-by-it-but-I'm-not-convinced-it-wouldn't-make-me-feel-like-a-cheap-piece-of-meat app) and then blog about my preconceived notions and whether or not they were proven true. I don't know, that blog experiment is still up for debate. (Not fully convinced it wouldn't just stress me out.) (But it could be good for me.) (Would you read it?)

So, it was timely when I came across this amazingly funny TED Talk about how this woman hacked online dating.

Not saying I'm planning on doing any hacking, but this woman is smart and hilarious. I wish I had been there in person to laugh in the audience until I cried. There's just something about her that I relate to! So if you have a little less than 20min to kill, perhaps something to watch during lunch or before bed, here you have it! I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Monday, October 7, 2013

In the name of life updates...

I've started and stopped this post like eleventy times. I also love the number eleventy.

I titled this blog about life updates and I kept trying to write about my life and was like...."What IS my life right now...." and then I'd be like "I'm hungry" and then "I need to watch more clips of Joseph Gordon-Levitt shaking his tush to Nicki Minaj" and then...you see what I mean.

I've been craving human interaction lately.

Socially, we're good. (Outings to 90s music night at the roller rink in a favorite bedazzled shirt, for example.) I mean human interaction in a job way. I'm ready to be around people, in an office again. It's funny because I always used to wish desperately to work from home! The grass is always greener, eh? I think a mix of office and home is probably the sweet spot of career life. As it stands, I spend a lot of time every day with....my kitchen table, my laptop, and Moby the Great White Pumpkin. I miss work friends because work friends are the bomb.com.

Life is good but life is also hard.

...and life is sort of in a rut. I have been working on various freelance gigs (for which I am grateful), and also for the antiques temp job I mentioned awhile back, but mostly....mostly I just still need a real, full-time job again. It's been a little over 4 months since I left my last job, and about 3 months since I moved myself to California. One interviewer recently asked me what I'm looking for in a career and I said without hesitation, "A long-term committed relationship." I've had many glimmers of hope for my struggling career, but none have seemed to really latch on. (Yeesh it really is like dating!) I'm ready to have my feet on something stable.....and you know, get insurance again so I can get my 6-month teeth cleaning. (Oh how I love my 6-month teeth cleaning!) Mostly I'd just like to grab some companies by the shoulders and say, "You and I, we could be so great! Why can't we just love each other!"

I have a hard time blogging about my job hunt for a couple reasons.

For one, potential employers probably look at this blog occasionally. I can't be all complainer-face or I might scare them off. (Hey potential employer! Don't leave me! I'm not a complainer-face!) Second, it gets exhausting to blog about every little possible job thing because then I would ultimately have to blog about each of them not working out. (Another way in which job hunting is like dating, haha.) Third, there's only so much I can write about cover letters and job boards before you'd all leave me for greener blog pastures.

But in the name of transparency and general life updating, there you have it. Freelancing a bit, temping a bit, job hunting and praying for something stable a-lot-a-bit, etc. Occasionally I also deal with my problems like a grownup and my roommate catches me wallowing on the floor. I've had so....SO...many moments lately where I got on my knees to pray about it all and all I could think to say was, "What else do you want from me?" and "Please don't make me do this anymore." I'm straight up exhausted by job hunting and general life instability, but still trying to trust there is a plan/timing/reason to all of it....and trying to stay positive all at the same time.

I really do (even still) feel blessed to be in California, going after this whole thing.

And I didn't expect it to be an easy ride to take a huge risk, pack up my stuff and run away to the (expensive) coast and be a #bravekatie dream-chaser. (Though I did hang two dream catchers on my bedroom door and I think they need to work a little harder.) (*turns around and points at the dream catchers with an I-mean-business expression*) I know these things take work and time, and I've come this far so you bet your buttons I'm going to just do what I have to do -- buckle down and keep going. So if you're the praying sort, or the good vibe sort, or the positive juju wishing sort....send some of that my way. Whisper some secrets into the wind about Silicon Valley being good to my bank account if ya will.

In the meantime, I'll try and stay off the floor and focus on riding my bicycle and hanging my laundry up or something. I might also have a little pep talk with the ol' dream catchers.

This post is bought to you by the letter J and the number eleventy.

Friday, October 4, 2013

movie review: Gravity

Let it be said that I still want to go to space.

It's my #1 ambitious bucket list item to see the earth from the outside, like a swirly marble. I would really like to go all the way around the planet and see the Aurora Borealis from the outside, etc. I'll start with seeing it from the inside sometime. But back to the movie....

The trailer for Gravity only mildly hooked me, as much as I love space...and Sandra Bullock and George Clooney. But then my friend told me that it was getting insane praise, including a 98% on Rotten Tomatoes, so I was like, "Sure, let's do this."

My overall reaction? (no spoilers!)

Go see it...unless you can't handle anxiety or get easily motion sick. (I did see it in 3D, but regardless, there was a lot of spinning in this movie.) One of the guys I was with said it was one of the best movies he's ever seen. For me, it was more like Castaway -- an awesome, thought-provoking movie that I enjoyed but probably won't watch repeatedly.

I will admit that I had my moments in the middle where I thought, "We're beating this I'm-struggling-in-space-and-things-keep-going-wrong horse to death." I feel like, unlike Apollo 13 (to cite a similar film), I didn't feel as connected to the characters in this one. However, that connection came like 3/4 of the way through the movie with some more moving, personal moments. The last 20-30min reeled me back in and added to the tense anxiety-fest that characterizes most of the movie. And, the movie is only 90min long. (Praise the heavens, more movies should figure out the benefit of a shorter film these days.)

Other than the stunning space visuals, I really liked some of the deeper metaphorical stuff in the movie about courage, recovery and rebirth. I can't find the exact quote online just yet, but at one point there were these words that just spoke to me. It went something like, "I'm either going to come back with one hell of a story, or die in an explosion in the next 10 minutes. Either way, it'll be one hell of a ride."

...kind of reminds me of the whole move-to-California-by-myself thing I pulled off this summer, eh? I love that mentality. Go all in, because...why not? It made me consider if I'm currently holding myself back from anything in my life. Always a good topic to ponder.

Anyone else seen it yet? Thoughts?

p.s. Congrats to Amanda for winning the Moo card giveaway! Thanks to everyone who entered :)

Thursday, October 3, 2013

An open love letter.

When it comes to you and I, let us adventure. Let us read. Let us travel. Let us pause to look at libraries, oceans, caterpillars and sports stadiums with equal passion and awe. Let us laugh for hours about youtube videos, memes and inappropriate typos in textersations. Let us lose ourselves in the throb of live music and the energy of the crowd. Let us stay up too late watching "just one more episode." Let us make french fry runs at 1am. Let us quote homestar, heavyweights and harry potter. Let us paint the door blue and the ceiling gray. Let us take naps, oh yes please abundant naps. Let us push each other forward and let us keep each other young. Let us talk deep and let us talk shallow and let us realize the import of both. Let us keep each other's questions, doubts and worries safe. Let us ramble and let us be silent. Let us be the same and yet let us be different. Let us go out of our way to serve both friends and strangers. Let us be passionate about the human race. Let us pause to kiss unabashedly on street corners with wind in our hair and the sun in our eyes. Let us sail, fly, land and anchor. Let us drive out of our way on road trips to quirky cafes, legendary landmarks and Bigfoot Museums, and let us wear plaid and coonskin caps. Let us be fiercely independent, and yet let us place a hand always on the small of the back in a crowd, with every finger firmly saying safe, mine, don't worry, I'm here, I've got you.