Dear 17-Year-Old Me,

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First of all, you look great! Stop obsessing about your body because you look hot now, so enjoy that. Stop trying to starve yourself into a Kate Moss body when God gave you a Christina Hendricks-ish frame.   (You probably won’t understand that reference until you really get into Mad Men.)

I know you’re worried about dating. You shouldn’t be. By that I don’t mean you’re going to date a lot or meet Mr. Right immediately freshman year, because that’s not the case. I would be lying if I said there wasn’t going to be nights when all of your friends and roommates are out on dates and you spend the night watching a sad movie on your laptop (I’m past the statute of limitations on that, right?) and sighing into a Cup-O-Noodles. You’re going to get your heart-broken, more than once. You won’t be a stranger to the sting of rejection. It makes you a stronger person, but don’t let it make you hard-hearted and cold. In fact just don’t worry about it. In the words of Amy Poehler “Too often we are told to visualize what we want… Try to care less. Practice ambivalence. Learn to let go of wanting it.” Do you want to know what happens when you stop worrying about how you’re ‘not dating’? That’s right, you meet the man of your dreams. Oh, and throw away all those notes about how you’re supposed to act on a date (yes, you actually pay tuition to take notes on stuff like that, but that’s a rant for another time) or how you’re supposed to look, because he loves you for you. Just the way you are, quirkiness and all.

Let loose and have some fun! You’ve always been a rule-follower so what I’m about to say is probably going to blow your mind. The memories of college that’ll make you smile aren’t the ones where you’re following all the rules. Be sensible, but do something a little crazy every once in a while. It’s good for you.

Love Love Love,

You(24 years-old)

P.S. Maybe put a little more effort into your spaghetti bridge project for physics. I’m married with a baby and people still talk about how awful it turned out. So, don’t procrastinate, seriously.

 

 

It was my junior year of college, I, like every other
student, couldn’t wait for the short Christmas break that marked
the end of a particularly rough semester. I had just started seeing
somebody, nothing serious at that point, but I really liked him. He
was different, and by different I mean he someone I found
interesting for a change. It was the first time I wasn’t going to
be headed home right away. Because of work I would have to stay an
extra ten days on campus before I could go see my family. I told
myself it wasn’t a big deal, that I could handle it. Who was I
kidding? I had a chapel date for the annual dismissal service,
which was good because it would keep me from throwing myself a pity
party and letting myself sulk in jealousy for all those who would
be on their way home to food with flavor and private showers. It
was a good date, we laughed at the jokes, joined in with the
timeless carols, and enjoyed each other’s company, no sulking. We
watched  Mr. Evan’s dismiss with his infamous solo. All of
the students eagerly waited for the  “Have yourself a merry
little Christmas… NOW!”  The line was sung, the chapel
emptied, and we sat enjoying the chaos. I wanted to sit there
forever. I didn’t want him to go home. It was a nine-hour drive to
Northern Michigan, and he had his car ready to go. But he didn’t.
Instead, he walked with me to the dining hall where we ate bland
food on styrofoam plates. Every morning for those ten days, he had
breakfast with me in the Square where we played endless games of
Scrabble and talked for hours. I couldn’t believe it. Every morning
there he was, sitting on the other side of an uncomfortable booth,
drinking bad coffee with watered down creamer. With me. He chose to
stay with me. He didn’t have to. We had been “dating” less than
three months. He had no obligation to stay. But, he did. Those ten
days felt like nothing. Do you know why? Because every morning I
would get dressed and walk into that little campus restaurant and
see him sitting at that booth with two coffees and a Scrabble
board. A year later, he asked me to marry him. Stephanie &
Jesse Wedding [Captured by Studio Cline] Lake Portrait 045

Fall Fever

fall

When I was in college I hated being there, so I took to daydreaming. I guess I didn’t think of it as daydreaming, but more of a visual plan for the future, and it was among these “future plans” that I stored plenty of mental slides of what autumn would look like  as a newlywed. Of course in all things imagined instances I was dressed fabulously with one of those tasteful pattern-mixed ensembles PInterest addicts everywhere would approve. Also, my hair was that perfect length  where the ends are five fingers above the elbow ( yes, I just used “fingers” as a standard of measurement) and they’re curled into perfect spirals.  My husband always looked great too, in a blue gingham shirt with a pumpkin under his arm that we just bought from an orchard, and we would walk hand in hand to a nearby Starbucks to pick up some lattes.

Truth. It’s Autumn and my hair still sucks. Not really, I still have some of the highlights from my wedding, but it’s a few inches off from being that perfect length. I was always too lazy to curl my hair in college, marriage hasn’t changed that about me either.  Due to my new job most of my outfits have consisted of red and khaki so, while I do try to look cute for work I’m sure I’ve let the imaginary fashionista-pinners down with  my boring Target uniforms.  I dress up for church sometimes, but I do miss having friends that tell me my outfit look nice. Is that totally lame? Probably. Moving on.

But we do have pumpkins! I bought them, at Aldi’s. I was so stoked to see them there.  In fact, I was so excited to buy these pumpkins I found myself pushing two elderly women out of the way as I dove headfirst into the large cardboard stand.  I had to find good ones after all. Don’t worry about the old ladies, we became friends after I made two pumpkin dives for them as well.  They wanted cute pumpkins, and I wanted jack-o-lantern worthy ones, so after we all found what we were looking for we drove our grocery carts our separate ways. Both pumpkins are on my front steps. While they add a small amount of visual appeal to our entrance as is, we haven’t been able to carve them yet.  My husband I bought a pumpkin at an orchard while we were dating with plans to carve it. It didn’t happen. First we attempted to draw on the pumpkin with a sharpie until we discovered how horrible we both were at simple art.  Naturally, we decided that the best fate for the vegetable was to be rolled down the college bowling lanes. We had a grand old time, and I’m pretty sure I bowled a strike or two.  As much fun as it was, I do my Aldi’s pumpkins serve the purpose I bought them for. October isn’t over yet, so I still have hope.

Now lattes. I enjoyed my first pumpkin spice latte a few weeks ago, and now I’m convinced that stuff has crack in it. My mother (also a Starbucks addict) has often joked that the vanilla and cinnamon shakers provided for the customers to alter their drinks are actually laced with addictive substances to keep their customers coming back for more. I used to laugh at her. Now I don’t think she’s that far off.  Ever since that taste of heaven I’m back at the in-store Starbucks every chance I get. I’ve found myself pushing $4.01 across the counter in change with withdrawal-induced shaking hands. Why? I’ve even memorized how much it costs with the employee discount! I’ve gone without eating to indulge myself with that sweet elixir of the harvest season. I mean I’m fine now but what am I going to when winter comes? I don’t like peppermint!

All that said, even though my newlywed autumn isn’t exactly how I pictured it, I love it! I wish my husband and I had days off together more often, but it’s okay because I celebrate my October days off with some horror flicks and errands, by errands I mean mapping out my next couponing expedition.  It’s been great, being married is the best thing that’s happened to me!

Until Next Time.

Honestly Modest

I Love Gossip Girl and Don’t Care Who Knows It

Thanks to Netflix millions of us have happily succumbed to the dangers of having entire television series and movies at the touch of a remote. It was through this drug I stumbled upon Gossip Girl.

Chuck, Blair, Serena and NateGossip Girl, seeing the title gave me flashbacks to high school when the young adult book series was popular. It seemed like every girl carried around a copy of Cecily Von Zeigesar’s books like a hot accessory, but I was never really interested in reading them. Pictures of girls in plaid skirts whispering to each other above titles like All I Want Is Everything didn’t appeal to me at a time when I had Orwell and Golding chapters summaries to turn in for Lit.

Then the show came out. I was definitely-not-in-a-million-years allowed to watch it. We had strict TV standards in our house. The only shows we watched were Jeopardy, Survivor and The Amazing Race. A show like Gossip Girl with common themes of underage drinking and drug use would not last five minutes under my parent’s roof. Thus, all talk of “Blair” and “Serena” was something I was completely out of the loop on in high school.

Now, four years out of high school I find sucked into Von Zeigesar’s world of the Upper East Side. Why?

  • I’m sure part of it is a case of I-Gotta-Do-All-The-Things-I-Wasn’t-Allowed-To-Do-Growing-Up-itis.  It’s a pretty common condition among children with strict upbringings, but if my acting out is watching a show about social climbing teens, then I’d have to say that my case is fairly mild.
  • The Clothes! While Mad Men was the first show to draw me in strictly on costume design, it was the script and story line that kept me a loyal viewer through the seasons. With Gossip Girl, the clothes are definitely still a strong pull for me coming into season four. Part of the allure of Gossip Girl is the portrayal of these characters with ridiculously extravagant lives, and what the characters wearing is always going to play a big part in that.

 

  • The soundtrack. I love everything about it. They’ve had Florence and the Machine guest star along with others, and with bands like The Bravery, The Kooks, Cold War Kids playing in the background, of course I fell in love!

 

  • The subtle nods to literature and classic movies. I appreciate that all the episode titles are plays on works of literature or popular films, such as The Serena Also Rises and Damien Darko. Also, one of Blair’s redeeming qualities (and she doesn’t have many) is her appreciation of classic movies. There are a few episodes that begin in Miss.  Waldorf’s nightmares which are almost always plays on old movies like My Fair Lady, Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Wait Until Dark.
  • Chuck Bass. ’nuff said.

My poor husband married me thinking I had a high standard for quality entertainment (which I still believe is true!), he’s had to learn that every girl needs her cheesy, totally-predictable, unbelievable, soap opera dramatic, chick-flick shows to watch. He’s also getting pretty excited that almost done  with all the episodes of Gossip Girl (too bad he doesn’t know I have Pretty Little Liars next on the queue!)

You know you love me,

XOXO

Honestly Modest 😉

Sorry For Being “That Woman Driver”

woan driver

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Everything has a history. Here’s this one.

 

 

First Attempt

Eighteen. In my defense, family rule was no driving before eighteen. So there I am, nervous and scared out of my mind, A cross, matronly woman steps out with a clipboard and sat in my passenger seat. My first goal is to pull out of the DMV and merge into traffic. Now, I had read somewhere that  hesitation is the number one reason people fail the driving test, hesitation isn’t what failed me. Nope. It was eagerness. I see my shot and take it. The car behind me slams on their brakes. My next goal was to turn right back into the DMV where I started.

Failure: Dangerous Maneuvers (I didn’t mind telling people about this one because it sounded very Jason Statham-ish)

 

Second Attempt

A couple of weeks later. A younger, nicer-looking woman gets into the passenger seat. I make it out of the DMV. “I might actually have a shot at passing this!” I think to myself. Then I start daydreaming about what I’m going to do with all this freedom I’m going to have. I hear the instructor say “Turn left here.” I glance up, see a green light, and start turning left. I think I’m doing great until I hear a honk, a scream, and the instructor takes the steering wheel away from me. Guess that’s what happens when you skim over the “right-of-way” page on the manual.

Failure: Intervention by the instructor. (Not as cool-sounding as Failure 1, so I’m not too keen on telling this story)

 

Third Attempt

A couple of months later. A very young, Asian guy comes out. He skips a lot of the preliminary questions. “Yes! I got this!” I think to myself, again. I make it out of the DMV and a successful left turn. I’m in the right turning lane.

“I want you to go straight” he says.

I point straight ahead, “Like ‘over there’ straight?”

“Yes. Straight”

“You sure?” I ask.

He nods.

I drive straight through the intersection, right over the large white arrow pointing right.

Failure: Lane Violation (I still think the Asian man tricked me. Shouldn’t have counted)

(And he took my permit away)

(And, I might have cried all the way home)

 

–Three Years Later—

 

Fourth Attempt

Twenty-one. Pretty boring story. I passed!

 

Now

I’ll end this post by apologizing to all the competent and experienced drivers I’ve made angry in the past two years.  I  have not mastered merging and switching lanes, but I have mastered the apologetic wave and the mouthed ‘sorry’ in the rear view mirror. Sorry!

 

Mean Things I Say to the Dog, But Hopefully Never to My Children

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Note: I’m not a dog-hater, and this was written exclusively for humor

It’s a really good thing you’re cute, cause you’re really dumb

As I’m eating   “Why are you smiling? You’re not getting any.”

“You are the stupidest dog there ever was.”

“That’s it! You’re getting neutered!”

“Shut up! Breaking Bad is on!”

“Move, you flea-infested animal!”

“Fight! Fight! Fight!”

Things Christian College Girls Say: Dress

“I had to wear a scarf today cause this is so not three fingers.”

“I hope she doesn’t check that my slit is pinned, not sown.”

“Pretty sure that girl never wears nylons.”

“Wait, does wearing heels make my skirt look longer or shorter? I forgot.”

“You know, some girls just shouldn’t do the whole no-makeup no-filter thing.”

“Bless her heart, someone needs to teach her how to walk in those heels.”

“White tights should not be worn by anyone who is old enough to read.”

“Do I think I can get away with wearing a skirt under this dress?”

“She dresses like she’s on tour; last time I checked that’s not a compliment.”

“I’m rocking black tights today cause this skirt is a little on the short side.”

“Her skin was showing through those tights. I mean she was practically wearing fishnets!”

“Big necklaces and scarves cover a multitude of sins.”

“Is that guy in college this semester?”    “I don’t think so. He has facial hair.”

“Some guys need to realize that skinny jeans should only be worn by skinny guys.”

“Oh, you mean that guy in our class with the preacher part?”

“Pretty sure the only guys who wear polo shirts tucked into their pants have grandchildren or  a tuition bill due this Wednesday.”