Cyber Bullying: Why I Won’t Post Pictures of My Kid

I’ve been sitting on this post for a while now. But, I figure it needs to be addressed sometime, because people will ask.

Over the last few years, this blog has exposed me to some cyber bullying. It’s been in the form of nasty threads posted about me on “Get Off My Internets,” hateful comments on the blog, and hurtful emails from complete strangers. It’s weird and uncomfortable to talk about, but hey, it’s a reality.

I’d by lying if I said I have ice water running through my veins and these things never get to me, because they totally have. Honestly, the things people write are just flat out mean, and I’m way sensitive.

I know it seems harmless because these comments are posted by usernames and avitars, but behind those things are real people typing the most hateful words about other real people. 

Maybe they don’t consider me to be a real person because they’ve never met me. Maybe when they pick apart my appearance, my marriage, my intelligence, and my life, they don’t think I’m a real person who has real feelings.

I truly believe that the majority of those people wouldn’t ever dream of saying those kinds of words to my face. 

This is not a “woe is me” post, because I know I’ve willingly opened myself up to this kind of bullying. The unfortunate truth is that if you put yourself out there, someone will be readily available to pick you apart. While I don’t condone their hateful approach, they have every right to say whatever they want.

Which is why I won’t be posting any identifying pictures of our baby on this blog or related social media outlets. 

Cory and I made this decision before we were even expecting. And while safety concerns and maintaining privacy are major factors that contributed to this decision, so is cyber bullying. 

This upcoming generation will be prime candidates to experience online bullying, and I just don’t want to expose my child to it before they even have a choice (or at least before we can even have the “what’s okay to put on the internet” conversation.)

Because if you don’t think those cyber bullies who write about bloggers don’t write about their children, you are sorely mistaken. I can handle people saying mean things about me, but I can’t handle people saying mean things about my kid (or anyone’s kid, for that matter.)

I admit, it kind of feels like letting the bad guys win, and I hate that, because there are so many good guys who read this blog. But it is what it is. I give those guys enough material on my own. I gotta draw the line somewhere ;)

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Disclaimer: So many of my blog friends and “real life” friends choose to post pictures of their children on the internet, and I applaud them! The great thing is that we all get to make our own decisions. I am in no way judging anyone who posts pictures of their kids on the internet. This is simply the choice that works best for me. 

 

A Day in The Life

5:45am – Cory’s alarm goes off. He’s going for a run. I’m going back to sleep.

5:45 – 6:57am – Get up to pee for the 800th time since going to bed last night, get back in bed, toss and turn.

6:58 – 6:59am – Finally get comfortable.

7:00am – Alarm goes off.

7:03am – Roll out of bed looking like a straight up ~*~goddess~*~

morning

7:03 – 7:30am – Shower [attempt to shave my legs, ha.], do hair and make-up, start to resemble a human.

hair spray

7:30 – 7:50am – Enjoy my daily cup of orange juice [pulp free, because I’m not gross], publish blog post, and respond to the day’s first batch work emails. I can already tell it’s going to be a busy one. “Busy” in the sense that I’ll be on the phone all day, not “busy” like traveling or doing trainings.

7:50am – Penny is drooling on my shoulder as I sit at the kitchen table, which reminds me that I should probably feed her. We have a “feeding ritual” with Penny; she’s not allowed in the kitchen while we serve her food. She sits and waits until we say “enjoy!”

penny breakfast

7:50ish – 9:30ish – Work, work, work. Work has been so busy lately. My officemate is onsite with a client this morning, so I stick around the house a little later than normal and continue to take calls and answer emails from my kitchen.

9:30ish – Get ready to leave for the office. Grab my lunchbox from the fridge, fill my water bottle. I walk into the living room and scold Penny. She knows she’s not allowed on the furniture, but she’s feeling a little sassy this morning, and I don’t appreciate it.

bad penny

I take Penny out one more time. I put her in her crate and start singing that damn Sarah McLachlan song.

crate

10am – 12:45pm – Seriously, the time flies. Work, work, work. Eat some snacks. Feel like I’m juggling 10 situations at once. Experience moments of deep depression each time I’m reminded that it’s only Tuesday. 

12:45pm – Leave the office and head to my doctor’s appointment. The fact that my appointments with my OB are now every two weeks makes me feel like I’m in the home stretch.

1:15pm – Meet Cory in the parking lot at the doctor’s office. Berate him for stopping to get himself lunch without offering to get me anything. He lets me have half of his pickle, so I shut up. I make a mental note to go buy some pickles.

1:20pm – Get called back by the nurse for the whole “weight check, blood pressure check, urine sample” routine.

1:20ish – 1:30ish – Wait for the doctor and provide gallons of laughs by making numerous inappropriate jokes. Cory says something that reminds me I’m writing this post, so I have him take a picture of me. I grumble over the fact that I look like Buddha, Cory grumbles over the fact that I never like the pictures he takes.

buddha

1:30ish – See the doctor. She asks me how things are going. Asks me if I’m experiencing any “leaking body parts.” I feel horrified.

1:40ish – Head home, call my mom on the way, duh.

2:00ish – 5:15pm – Free Penny from her crate, take her out. She’s really exhausted from all the napping she’d done so far, so she heads upstairs to nap until dinner. I head to my desk to finish out the workday. I take a picture to document it, and I realize I’m horribly messy. Shout out to all you clean-desk-havers out there.

desk

5:15 – 5:45pm – Make calls to my brother and my mom while I start dinner. I was so ravenous and all I wanted was spaghetti. Cory thinks spaghetti is the most boring dinner ever, but man, it was all I wanted.

6:00pm – 6:30pm – Cory gets home from work, we eat dinner and catch up on our days. Sitting down to dinner as a family [or couple, I guess] is really important to me; the dinner table is a ‘no phone zone’ and it’s a place for connection and conversation.

6:30 – 7:15pm – We clean up the kitchen after dinner and Cory wrestles with Penny while I lay on the couch like a beached whale.

7:15pm – The beached whale phase mildly subsides and we head to Sweet Frog. I’ve had Sweet Frog on my mind for a few days, so I finally decide it’s time to go. I can’t believe I haven’t “craved” this during my pregnancy, but it’s really only the second or third time I’ve had it since July.

sf

7:40 – 9:30pm – We’re really boring during the week. After dinner + dessert, we just hang out, but kind of do our own things. I write this blog post, Facebook stalk, and Pin recipes, workouts and makeup tutorials I’ll never end up trying.

9:30pm – Realize it’s an ‘acceptable’ time to go to bed!

And that, my friends, is a day in life of yours truly. 

What time do you have to get up for work in the morning?

What It’s Like Owning a Great Dane

This past June, I wrote a post about the eight things you need to consider before owning a Great Dane. Penny was still a wittle baby puppy, and I feel like I’ve learned so much more about her since then.

what its like

Oh my God, I cannot even explain to you how big of a diva this dog has become. She doesn’t like being cold or getting wet [so, the winter is fun for everyone] yet she won’t pee or poop if she’s wearing her coat.

Yes, I bought my dog a coat. I thought this would quell her inner-diva, but it just made me an enabler.

coat

Penny eats 8 cups of food every day. What goes in must come out, my friends. Picking up the shit of a Great Dane is no small task. [She gives zero fucks, by the way.]

penny1Owning a Great Dane forces you to think about how you decorate your house. A cute coffee table decorated with adorable knick knacks from Home Goods? Not in our house. Rooms void of drool rags? Nope, not here. Never having ice cubes strewn about your kitchen floor? Not a reality. 

penny3

Great Danes are so fun. It’s true that they really have no idea how huge they are. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve seen your fair share of Penny attempting to finagle her way into tight spaces. It’s also a riot when she interacts with kids and other dogs, because she thinks she’s the size of a beagle. Even the strongest “social cues” don’t click with Penny. Take Lulu’s face for example:

penny4

They crave attention and interaction, so you could never own a Great Dane with the idea of it being an “out door” dog. Before I got pregnant and couldn’t smell all the things, Penny was allowed in our bed. She’s now only allowed on one couch upstairs, and it’s undoubtedly her favorite room in the house.

penny2

Even the less-than-glamourous parts of owning a Great Dane aren’t enough to make me not want to own five more. Honestly, if Cory would agree to it, I would bring one home tonight. I’m all like “think of all the love and cuddles!!” and he’s like, “think of all the spending $150 on dog food each month.” Oh, yeah. That.

But seriously, we’ve found “our breed” and I can’t imagine this family without a Great Dane in it.

Do you have a favorite dog breed?

Reader Survey: The Feedback

Okay, can I just say thanks to the few hundred of you that took the time to take my reader survey? I literally sat at my computer on Sunday afternoon and read through every single response, took notes, laughed out loud, and felt so appreciative [of both the “you go, girl!” responses and the respectful constructive feedback responses.] I loved it all! I’m genuinely thankful.

After looking back at my notes, here’s the overall consensus:

Topics: More of/Less of

I was pleasantly surprised that the randomness of my post topics doesn’t annoy you. I get self-conscious because I’ve never really had a “niche.” I’m not a fashion blogger, a fitness blogger, a mommy blogger, a DIY blogger, etc. I’m just a blogger who writes about stuff. I’ve always wanted this blog to feel like a friendship. Meaning, in friendships, you don’t just talk about one topic, you talk about tons of different things. So, I appreciate that we’re on the same page with that one. 

more

I got tons of feedback about what you’d like to see more of, and that was so fun. Penny is apparently very popular. I won’t tell her this, of course, as she’s already the biggest diva I know.

Video blogs were also a very common request. Which I find to be terrifying, by the way, as I think my videos are painful to watch. I mean, does anyone really like seeing themselves and hearing the own voice?!

Overall, the pregnancy posts have been well received, but other people said they don’t relate to them. While the majority of you left comments about being excited to follow my journey into motherhood, I did see comments voicing concern about this turning into a “mommy blog.”

As I mentioned above, I don’t ever see The Lunchbox Diaries turning into a niche blog where I write about one thing. As I do write about pregnancy now, I will most likely write about parenting at some points, but I’d gouge out my own eyes if that’s all I ever wrote about. Not gonna happen. 

[I also got one comment about using “less F bombs” and I have a sneaking suspicion this was my grandmother.]

Sponsored Posts

Wow. You guys are so awesome. While everyone was pretty honest about sponsored posts not being their favorite thing ever [which as a blog reader myself, I totally get] you guys really voiced your understanding that they’re a nature of the beast.

spon

I got some “make those dolla dolla bills, girlfrand” comments, which I totally appreciated. I got some “I just skip them or don’t come read your blog that day” comments, which I appreciated just as much.

Overall, you were all extremely supportive and understanding. I can assure you that I never want The Lunchbox Diaries to seem like a running infomercial, which is why I’m selective and intentional with the sponsored posts I write.

WHY do you read this blog?

I’m not really a hugger, but I wanted to hug each and every one of you who took the time to answer this question. Like I would do in a counseling session, I asked it because I wanted to see where you are as a reader. Not that this is anything like a counseling session, but I think you know what I mean. The why is important to me. What do you want to get out of this? What are your expectations? Why are you here?

Overwhelmingly, the answer is simple: you find me relatable, funny, and unapologetically honest. Those were the three phrases that kept appearing, and I wanted to totally fist pump because that’s exactly what I’m trying to get across.

responses

I got a lot of “I think we could be friends in real life” and I totally agree. I think we could be, too. Like I mentioned at the top of this post – I’ve always strived to make this blog feel like a friendship, so I’m glad it’s working.

I also literally laughed out loud at this person’s comment, who I think summed it up pretty well:

“Sometimes you make me laugh, and sometimes you make me realize I’m not the only paranoid nut job out there.” 

Yes. That’s the point. We all need to laugh, and we all need to realize that we’re not the only paranoid nut job out there. No one’s perfect, so let’s not try to pretend that we are.

Again, I’m so thankful your time and I’m looking forward putting your feedback to good use and making 2015 a fun year on The Lunchbox Diaries. Thanks for being here!

15 Juices + Smoothies to Try in 2015

I’m not one for New Year’s Resolutions, but I am a super fan of goal setting. I’ll admit that there is something fresh and exciting about a new year that makes me want to set goals about being a better person, doing more exciting things, making more money, etc.

But then come mid-February I normally realize that I’m pretty okay with being average, I’m not ever going to be an adrenaline seeker, and I work in the mental health field, for Christ’s sake.

So rather than setting myself up to fail, I decided that one of my foci for 2015 would be to try new things. Whether that’s trying new smoothies or trying to raise a small human – I’m in.

One new thing to try? Pairing with Foodie.com. I’m working with Foodie this month and I created my first collection: 15 Smoothies and Juices to Try in 2015.  Look at all those gorgeous drinks. Seriously, they look almost too pretty too consume.

Check out 15 Juices and Smoothies to Make in 2015

by Colleen Whitney Nichols at Foodie.com


 

They all look scrumptious and I’m pretty confident I can make all of them without totally screwing up. Will I be able to take pretty pictures of said smoothies and juices without totally screwing up? Come on, I said I’m trying new things this year, not performing miracles.

Are you into smoothies and juicing? If there’s a recipe I should know about, please share!

Full disclosure – This post was created in partnership with Mode Media and Foodie. You know the drill: all opinions and confessions of being a resolutions slacker are my own. I appreciate your support!

Friday Favorites #3

Praise the Good Lord above, it’s Friday! I feel like this week inched by for some reason. Anyway, let’s keep this train going and kick off another round of Friday Favorites.

Friday Favorites #3

GARNIER SKIN RENEW MIRACLE SKIN PERFECTOR BB CREAM //  I don’t think you can tell in photos or video, but I am super fair skinned, yet my nose and chin are super red. A winning combination. It’s normally quite difficult for me to find a foundation or the like that’s pale enough to match my skin, but cover my redness. When my friend Whitney bought this shade by accident [it’s too light for her] and asked me if I wanted to try it, I figured it’d be worth a shot. 

What I like about this BB Cream compared to the other ones that I’ve tried, is that this actually has decent coverage to it, and it’s not too dark! I’ve felt confident wearing this as my “every day” coverage. It’s a keeper in my book!

bb

THE FAT JEWISH // If you don’t follow this guy on Instagram, you are sorely missing out. He’s a fucking riot and I normally laugh out loud at each and every photo he posts. You’re welcome.

the fat jew

THE DISTRICT // Our friend Bobby is a super talented graphic designer and he’s opened up a neat little Etsy shop. If the name doesn’t give it away, most of his current prints are related to Washington, DC, but he’s starting to do more customizable prints.

bobby

Do you have a favorite Etsy shop?  

I’ve only purchased a few things off Etsy before, but I’m always looking for cute shops. We’re specifically looking for cute typography print for the nursery at the moment!

 

Totally Truthful Thursday

1. I’m a firmly believe that someone who casually “drops by” does not get the privilege/mirage of a clean house. I love when a friend just wants to come over and say hey, but if that’s the case, I refuse to apologize for the crumbs on the counter and the dishes in the sink. I clean on Saturdays. Take it or leave it.

2. Cory and Bobby made tacos this past weekend, and they made so much food that we’ve been eating some form of tacos for dinner every night since Saturday. I never thought I’d see the day when I’d turn my nose up at a taco, but it’s here, friends. It’s been here since Tuesday.

tacos

3. Because I’m not getting sick anymore, it’s impossible for me to justify eating like shit, but oh my God, all I want to do is eat Papa John’s and french fries. And then dessert. In reality, I’m eating healthy, and it’s just not satisfying. There, I said it.

4. I think the difficulty level of capturing a unicorn is on par with finding the perfect shade of foundation/concealer/BB Cream/blush/lipstick/everything that’s supposed to make me look prettier.

5. I feel wrong for saying it, but I don’t watch The Bachelor. I know I’m like, thee only one, so if you do watch the show, it’s imperative that you read this blog. I don’t even watch the show and I legit laugh out loud reading these posts. Thank me later.

6. Not long ago, I was laying in bed scrolling through Instagram and I dropped my phone on my face. I was pretty concerned it was going to leave a mark.

7. If you’re a mom or a mom-to-be, read THIS post. It made me feel all the emotions, and I cannot guarantee that you won’t ugly cry.

8. I believe that my dog can understand English. Meaning, I’ll often speak to her in full sentences with the belief that she knows exactly what I’m saying. Like,“If you make me go outside in this freezing weather one more time without actually shitting, I’m going to be very mad at you.” 

 penny

9. I really want you to read my post about why I’m doing a reader survey. Then I want you to take the reader survey. Then I’ll love you forever and ever.

1o. I don’t have a tenth truth for the week, but I wouldn’t even dream of ending a list with nine items.

Online Dating

I’ve always been a major supporter of online dating sites. Maybe it’s because I know I’ve met so many great people via the internet, but it just makes sense to me. All of my single friends are independent, busy, working women and I don’t know how they’d find the time to just meet someone. Sheer luck? [I don’t believe in luck.]

I’ll also admit that I’m the obnoxious married friend who tells my single friends, “Just try Match.com or something! It makes sense!”

But then, not long ago, I put my money where my mouth is and helped a friend set up an online dating profile.

It was terrifying and led me to believe that I’d be alone forever if I personally was on the market. It made me think “how would answer these questions in order to trick someone into wanting to date me?” Like, it’s hard work trying to find that balance of honest and not-quite-so-honest.

Screen Shot 2015-01-12 at 3

“I’m the life of the party!” Until I want to go home and go to bed at 9:30pm.

One portion asks “simple” questions like:

For fun: Could Netflix binging be an appropriate answer? Because it’s the truth.
My religion: Guilty, recovering Catholic?
Favorite hot spots: Wrapped in a blanket, in front of my space heater.
Favorite things: Netflix, my space heater, snacks, not wearing a bra [not in a sexual way, but in a “I’m not going anywhere for the rest of the day” kinda way]
About me: I’m in my late [God Almighty…] 20’s, I’m slightly neurotic, I’m always cold and I own too many cardigans. I plan my days around when I can eat next, I can overanalyze anything, and I have no idea what I want to be when I grow up.

And then picking the right profile picture!? Oh sweet Jesus. Do you post a really pretty picture of yourself that was taken at just the right angle in just the right lighting, and possibly be a let down when you meet your Match in person? Or, do you post a subpar picture of yourself and have your Match be pleasantly  surprised on your first date?

fitness

“I love waking up before the sun to work on my fitness!”

The questions, though…they just keep coming…

Do you want kids: Yes, but please don’t assume this means I’m good with other people’s children. Because I’m not.
Body type: Female
Height: With or without the heels I wear that make my legs appear longer than they really are?
How often do you drink: This question seems a little judge-y, don’t you think ?
What Sports and exercise you like: I like watching figure skating and I only exercise because I don’t want to have to buy new clothes.
Exercise habit: Guilt
Daily diet: Monday – Thursday or Friday- Sunday?
Astrological Sign: If this means something to you, we probably don’t have much in common.

I think I met my husband when I was 18 because the Good Lord knew I’d be the conductor of the Hot Mess Express trying to figure out the online dating scene. To my single ladies, please let eat my words: Online dating doesn’t necessarily make sense, and it’s certainly not easy.

 

I’d Like to Hear From You

Next week will mark my four year blogging anniversary.

Huh? What?! Never in my life would I have guessed I’d still be doing this when I started my blog four years ago as a fresh college graduate attempting to navigate graduate school, plan a wedding, and adjust to The Real World.

one week

Like people tend to do, I’ve changed in the four years since I launched this project. I’ve married, changed jobs, moved, found my writing voice [sort of], made mistakes, learned new lessons, and I’ve seen this blog’s audience morph from a small handful to a few thousand.

It’s true when I say that I blog and write for myself. I get enjoyment out of this. But, I also realize that writing this blog is different than writing in my journal.

Here, I have you. I think about you every time I sit down to write a post. I think about how you’ll react; Will you laugh? Will I strike a nerve in you? Will you feel inspired? Will you be entertained?

I know blogging, at it’s core, it’s largely egocentric. I write about myself, my life, my opinions. It can easily be argued that blogging is a very “me, me, me” kind of hobby.

face

But I want you to know that I genuinely think about you, the reader, before I hit publish. Every single time. 

Which is why, as I near my four year anniversary, I’d like to hear from you. I created a short reader survey that I’d really appreciate if you took the time to complete.

I’m thinking of this survey like I would think about the yearly review at my “real job.” I want to know what I’m doing well, but also where I can improve.

As I head into a new year and a fourth year of blogging, I have some goals and plans for this little piece of the internet — but before I get ahead of myself, I want to know what you think. I want us to be on the same page.

The survey is short, sweet, and can be found here. I promise to report back once the survey is closed, and to let you know what I intend to do with the feedback.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

PSA: You’re Not a Terrible Person if You Don’t Enjoy Being Pregnant

A friend recently told me that she knows a woman pregnant with her first child who is struggling with guilt because she doesn’t enjoy being pregnant. The woman feels like a terrible person, and consequently, a terrible future mother.

totally related to this stranger and wanted to give her a hug.

In my experience, I’ve felt pressured to enjoy pregnancy. I’ve felt the pressure to enjoy the beauty and the miracle and all that good stuff; and when I tell someone that I haven’t had the most Pinteresty experience, I normally get some sort of backlash and am left feeling like I’m failing.

Because some people don’t like honesty.

But fuck those people, right?

I threw up daily until I was 25 weeks pregnant. That means that over the past seven-ish months, I’ve had a lovely three-week grace period of not being overwhelmingly ill. If you tell me that’s beautiful and a miracle, I promise that I will want to throat punch you.

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I love looking pregnant [compared to just questionably fat] but I’m not immune to waves of panic about my weight gain. A pregnant woman is a beautiful woman, she’s growing a life!, but if you tell me that stretch marks and not recognizing your own body in the mirror is beautiful and a miracle, I promise I’ll want to drop kick you.

Not being able to take a walk without feeling winded or feeling desperately fatigued even though you “slept” for 10 hours [which is a joke when you get up to pee every 2 hours] or being so uncomfortable all you can do is cry — that’s tough. 

And if you experience these things [and more] it doesn’t mean you’re a bad person or that you will be a bad mother. It means you’re human, and that you’re growing another human, and that you admit it’s hard work.

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I haven’t enjoyed every minute of being pregnant, but I cry happy tears every time I think about meeting this baby. I walk down the hall every day to peek into the nursery and imagine what it’ll be like to have a baby in there. I geek out every time I feel a massive kick to ribs, and even though it hurt, I want it to happen again so Cory can feel it. I’m putting my body through the wringer because I already have such an immense love for this tiny person I haven’t even met yet.

It’s those pieces that remind me that it’s okay if I [or you] don’t love this physical journey of creating a baby; because I know damn well when it’s all said and done, I’ll love the baby more than I could even possibly explain. And that’s the important part.