An Unintentional Break

Confession: I don’t know how to start off a blog post after taking an unintentional month-long break.

Hi! 

How are ya?! 

Boy howdy, it’s been a while! 

Do I just ignore it?

I don’t know.

But, like a good friend, blogging just sort of falls back into a natural rhythm, picking up exactly where you left off.

I’d be lying to you if I said I took a month off from blogging because my life has been fantastic, and I was too busy with all the goodness of it all to find time to blog. That I was preoccupied with world travel, an influx in freelance work, or volunteering with needy children/making the world a better place.

Because none of that happened. Not even close.

I have a day job, and it’s been busy.

My weekends have not productive, as they majority of them have been spent on the couch watching Criminal Minds and The Killing (I swear I’m not a sick bastard, but I do love those types of shows.)

My aunt ended (I refuse to say “lost”) her battle with leukemia; it’s unreal how you can see death coming from a mile away, yet are still knocked out by grief when it finally arrives.

My mom made a visit to Richmond, I had dinners with Jamie and Emily, and we’ve finally trained Penny to stay off the new couches. We bought a new comforter, and have grand plans of painting our bedroom, but I have serious doubts. I got back on Facebook, de-friended the shit out of people, and now I know what’s going on in the world ;)

And last but not least, I wrote a blog post.

 

 

 

Fact: I Collect Mugs

I sorta kinda have a problem.

A mug shot problem, that is. Whether it’s my favorite university, my favorite animal, or something weird [like cow udders] I just can’t pass up a good mug. We have plain, boring white ones in our cabinets, you know, in case the President comes over for coffee – but they’re pushed to the way back.

collection

If you collect anything, you know that each item tells a story or has some kind of significant meaning. While I don’t think the Lancers mug is all that attractive, I am wildly obsessed with my alma mater, and seeing that mug reminds me of the place where I made life long friends + met my husband. It also reminds me of pure debauchery, but that’s neither here nor there.

One place I routinely find the best, funky, oh-so-perfect gifts is Uncommon Goods. From when I posted a picture of my new mug on IG, it seems like I’m not the only one who loves that place. (For my fellow blog lovers: please check this out – who knew?!)

mugs

Our anniversary was earlier this month, and while I was poking around their site for gift ideas, I knew these mugs HAD to end up in my possession. So yeah, maybe I picked out an anniversary gift to myself, from myself but…whatever. Happy wife, happy life. AMIRIGHT?!

colleen

Because I’m curious: Do you collect anything?

Disclosure: Uncommon Goods provided me with my choice of personalized item. All thoughts and expressions are genuinely my own. 

Thinking Makes it So

One of my worst qualities is that when it comes to my own life, I tend to be a catastrophe thinker. For a real life example: someone else could tell me “I have a weird pain behind my eyes.” I would think, “Take some Tylenol.”

But if I’M having a pain behind my eyes, I think “This is probably a brain tumor.”

Writing it out, or when explaining it to my mom, I’m painfully aware of how insane I am. Though, I must say, I find comfort in the fact that crazy people don’t normally know they’re crazy. [Humor me, okay?]

 mom

So, I’ve been kind of weird lately. Wishy washy and kind of blah.That’s how life goes – it ebbs and flows – sometimes I feel totally legit and ON THE BALL, while other times I feel insecure question ev.er.y.thing.

Last month, I could have told you exactly where I want to be in 5 years. This month, I can’t tell you with certainty what I want to have for breakfast.

Thankfully, I’m never in this weird emotional purgatory for too long before God decides to send me a life line of a message to kick my ass in gear. Like one of those, I HEAR YOU, BIG GUY messages. You know what I mean?

Recently, I was stressing out about something beyond my control [go figure] when an unlikely person in my life voiced THAT message. He asked me, “Do you remember what Shakespeare said?” [For the record, I did not remember what Shakespeare said] “Nothing is neither good nor bad, but thinking makes it so.” 

shakespeare

That was it. That’s all it took. Like I said on Facebook yesterday, I am constantly humbled by how things never turn out as catastrophically as I imagine they will. Life, God, the Universe, people – they’re all good, because thinking makes it so.

Any Other Fake Adults Out There?

I was recently involved in a minor car accident. I’d never even gotten a speeding ticket, so it totally rattled me. Like, I didn’t even know what I was supposed to do or what I was supposed to hand over, besides my insurance information [God damn it what IS my insurance information!?]

I never realized how much SHIT was stuffed into my glove compartment until I realized I needed one small piece of paper. Note to self: clean out glove compartment.

When I stepped out of the car with jello legs, the gentleman involved said, I’ve called the police. 

Unaware of that being standard procedure, my thoughts turned to the worst. Oh my God. I’m going to jail! I’m not ready for Orange to be the New Black! 

Cory, who I had just had lunch with, made  a u-turn and drove back to “the scene” to meet me, because I’m incapable of handling situations like this alone. [Any other fake adults out there?]

He asked what happened, and I told him the cops had been called, and I’d probably be arrested and sent to death row.

Ladies and gentlemen, this was a parking lot fender bender.

And a rude awakening to the fact that I should probably take a fucking chill pill.

On My Soapbox: Sponsored Posts

I may be preaching to the choir on this one, but hear me out.

I don’t know why making money from my blog via sponsored posts makes people go ape shit crazy, but it does. Lately, I’ve been getting comments on my sponsored posts like, “SO.MANY.SPONSORED.POSTS!” [I'm lookin' at you, "Olive"] or comments calling me a sell out because I get paid to write about coffee creamer and other products I otherwise legitimately spend my own money on.

So, I felt like addressing the topic [again.]

For anyone who is annoyed by sponsored posts, my question to you is: do have a job that you get paid to do? Like, do you do work every day and get paid for it? You do?! How DARE you?!

Do you see how stupid that sounds? 

penny

The Lunchbox Diaries may have started out as a weird hobby/experiment three and half years ago, but since then, it’s turned into a small business.

Bloggers make money because creating content and sharing it with the internet is work. Writing posts, editing photos, responding to comments and emails, managing several social media accounts – that’s work. While it’s fun work, it’s not like playing a video game or writing in a diary.

I genuinely enjoy the companies I work with, the products I write about, and yeah I enjoy getting paid to do it. I also enjoy running ads on my blog, as I get paid for that, too. [Tip: if you hate this blog, stop coming, because every time you lurk around, I make money.]

I can’t speak for every blogger out there, but it’s never my intention to “pull one over” on my readers. I’m as transparent as possible. I work hard to make this a blog that empowers and encourages other people. I also like to make people laugh. And like anyone, I don’t consider extra money a bad thing.

That said, if you enjoy what I post here, I want to  assume you’d be cool with me being compensated. Yes, that sometimes means writing about products and companies, rather than random mishaps or self-esteem, but that’s the name of the game, son.

 

 

 

Inspiring Design


In grade school, I was the epitome of an ugly ducking. I was chubby, had braces, massive green-rimmed glasses, and I fell prey to the slicked back pony tail look.

I know girls my age remember that look. We used clips and pins and water from the bathroom sink throughout the school day to make sure our pony tails were perfectly slicked back. It didn’t matter when my mom said I looked bald in every picture I took, because I knew it looked so kewl.

The summer before 7th grade, God probably felt like I had burned enough innocent retinas, and granted me some mercy in the form of straight teeth, contacts and repositioned body fat. Guys, things changed.

Well, sort of.

I mean, I looked different, but I still loved N*SYNC, boys with frosted tips, and going to bed early. I still made the same inside jokes with my best friend, I was still miserable at math, and still hated PE class. Even though the outside changed, my inside remained the same.

And as silly as it sounds, the new Coffee-mate design by David Bromstad reminds me a whole lot about gaining my “new look” during the summer before 7th grade.

table

Bromstad has partnered with Coffee-mate and Target to create a new look for Coffee-mate [my fave, you know that.] It obviously looks fresh and updated, but it’s great because the inside has stayed the same. My beloved vanilla? Looks cool, but still has the same classic comforting taste. I even stepped outside the box and picked up some Hazelnut. [I live on the edge.]

And, yeah, that reminds me of myself – or any of us, really. Our outside appearance is going to change at some point or another, but the inspiring part is when we keep all of our goodness on the inside the same.

coffee

“For more inspired fun, snap a photo of the newly designed bottles and share it on Facebook with the hashtag #CMInspiresSweepsEntry for a chance to win a year’s worth of Coffee-mate, $500 Target GiftCards, and a signed print from David Bromstad!

 

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

[Thank you for your support as I continue to work with sponsors. Homegirl here has drive thru addiction.]

One Month Facebook Sober

Guys.

It’s been over a month since I made the life changing decision to deactivate my Facebook. Okay, so maybe life changing is a bit of a stretch, but still.

I thought that after a Facebookless month, I’d have a really dramatic post to write, but I fear that’s not the case. That said, I felt like some things could be addressed:

  1. Leaving Facebook is a humbling experience. I’ve learned that I do not have 1,015 friends in real life. In fact, it’s more like, 15 [on a good day.]
  2. When I do get back on Facebook, I will be going through a severe friend purge.
  3. Being off Facebook has made me even more aware of the Facebook culture. At least once a day someone says to me: Did you see what so-and-so posted on Facebook?!?!?!? 
  4. When you remind said person that you aren’t on Facebook, you will [without a doubt] receive an eye-roll.
  5. 3 divorces, 12 pregnancies, and 8 million blog posts have been posted about this past month, and I missed all of them. 
  6. Buzzfeed is so much more entertaining than Facebook.
  7. I have genuinely stopped caring about pointless shit happening in other people’s lives.
  8. Instagram is the perfect fix for me. I get to share little things, and I love seeing other people’s pictures.
  9. I love getting to hear stories first hand, rather than seeing them on Facebook and then half dozing when I hear about them in real life.
  10. Everyone’s main concern was where they’d be able to see Penny pics. No, nothing about me – just my big dog. So I post about her here and here.
  11. On our anniversary, we got so many texts! That is way, way better than someone writing on my Facebook wall.
  12. My mission of talking and connecting with the important people in my life has been accomplished. I despise talking on the phone, but I’ve gotten better at it! I even sent a few handwritten letters this month.
  13. It’s even been an exercise in scaling back what I share on the blog and on other social media avenues. We’ve had exciting things come and go in the past month, and it’s been nice just sharing them with the people involved. Does that make sense?

Screen Shot 2014-08-08 at 7.47.40 AM[does she mean a shot of vodka?]

 

Cultivating Happiness

If I just get this promotion…

When I get married…

When I own a home…

If we buy a dog…

If I lose 10 pounds…

When the stars align…

Then I’ll be happy…

I’m guilty of the if/when happiness trap. Of putting my happiness in the hands of The Future [which we all know is a mythical land that does not exist.] Yet, that is where we place the majority of our happiness.

More than once I have found myself in the situation that I knew would make me happy, only to realize that I felt the same. Not unhappy, but not as elated and ecstatic as I imagined my life would be in that moment. It took me a long time to realize that I had been mistaking excitement for happiness.

Cultivating daily happiness, rather than cultivating excitement, has been a practice of mine for quite some time. Life is exciting, absolutely. But not every day is a parade, and the practice has been choosing to be happy in the mundane.

Today is our third wedding anniversary, and my marriage has taught me a great deal about happiness.

So, so many exciting things have happened to us over the past 3 years, but the happiest times have been in the mundane times. Long car rides, getting lost in a conversation for hours, laughing until we cry, or simply sitting in the same room together as we’re both lost in different projects - that is where the happiness lies.

Being married is the happiest, most challenging, and most fantastic blessing in my life. But to be with someone who makes me happy in the mundane moments: that been the greatest gift.

Screen Shot 2014-08-06 at 9.19.25 AM

 

 

Things Late 20-Somethings Say

Maybe it’s because my friends and I are closer to 30 than we are to 20, but recently, I’ve caught us saying things that make me feel like I deserve to wear orthopedic shoes. Tell me we’re not the only ones…

1. “Kids these days.” 

2. “Why does this concert start so late?”

3. “Are we supposed to stand for the entirety of said concert?”

4. “No more drinks tonight, I’ve got errands to run in the morning.”

5. “Want to come over on Friday? We can order takeout and watch Dateline.”

6. “Did her parents really let her out of the house dressed like that?!”

7.”My kids won’t have iPhones until high school.”

8.  “These shoes are really comfortable”

9. “Please don’t call me ma’am.”

10. “When I was in college…”

We also discuss things like 401k’s and taxes and investing and it’s weird. I also chose a sophisticated glass of wine over a liquor drink the other night and I almost wanted to slap myself.

No Touching Allowed

I was about 16-years-old the first time I saw Fall Out Boy in “concert.” They preformed at a small music festival at the rec center within walking distance from my house. There were, to my memory, a handful of kids there. I jumped and sang along to Take This to Your Grave whilst making eye contact with Pete Wentz [who was so hot, prior to the whole dick pic thing] and Patrick Stump.

take this

Months ago, my cousin Amy and I decided that we’d go see them [and Paramore!] when they came to Amy’s town of Charlotte, North Cackalacky. Thankfully, I have two uncles in radio, and one was able to get us passes to meet Fall Out Boy.

Swoon.

When we arrived, the radio intern who was tasked with taking us “backstage,” told us there were several very important rules:

1. No autographs [wtf, fall out boy?!]

2. No kissing [fiiiine.]

3. NO TOUCHING.

I wanted to be like: Patrick, I liked you when you were fat and had a minimal fan base. I’m not new here. We could be together. But, life happened.

Remember – no autographs, no kissing, NO TOUCHING. 

So, what’s the first thing I do when I walk up to take the picture?

I put my arm around Patrick Stump. Like, an enthusiastic Duggar side hug.

In a moment of panic, I turned to him and said, “OH MY GOD! No touching! I’m so sorry!” He laughed at me and told me it was fine.

But, so much was left unsaid.

A missed opportunity.

Welcome to my awkward life, ladies and gentlemen.

FOB