I’m Listening to Your Conversations and Writing Down Your Words

One of my favorite pastimes is people watching. It began as a simple pleasure.

Dining alone at a restaurant allowed me to play games in which I guessed everything about you, from your relationship status to the reason you ordered the salad or the steak. I’d watch carefully as you tucked that strand of hair behind your ear 15 times or as you hugged your girlfriend, wife, mother, child goodbye at the door. I’d create a story about you in my head that made sense. Sometimes it was a funny story, and sometimes it was sad. But it always felt real.

Sometimes, I’d pen a few words in a notebook as I watched you. Write your story down, to remember it. To change it and tell it later. Maybe you’d be the hero in my future fiction best seller. Or the villain in a screenplay I’ll write one day.

And then something changed. I started carrying this mini computer everywhere. I got lost in Facebook. Twitter. Instagram. Snapchat. Blogging. E-mails. Everything but what truly surrounded me. Scrolling through an endless stream of what people I “know” are up to. What they’re eating. Where they’re vacationing. When they go to work. How they go to work. I discovered I could people watch without watching anyone. I could see their lives unfold without being anywhere near them. I didn’t need to make up a story, because it was all right there on my screen.

You were forgotten.

Instead of watching you argue with the cashier at LOFT about a coupon, I was staring down at my phone in a trance. Watching them talk about their most recent Amazon purchase or what their kids ate for breakfast. Laughing about a meme that everyone was sharing.

Once in a while, I’m reminded of you. Your screaming is so loud, I’m drawn back into the real world. I see you. I hear you. And everything you say is absolute gold. And now, with this tiny computer, I can capture it. Whether I’m recording you on Snapchat like an asshole (I’m the asshole, not you) or sending myself your words for posterity in an email, I’m there. Listening to everything you say. I promise.

I'm Listening to Your Words

In case you don’t believe me, here are some of my favorite things you’ve said.

Middle Schoolers on an air plane trip to Washington DC

“I feel bad for all these people.”

To be fair, we were warned that it was a full plane and the back half of the plane was going to fill up with tweens.

“You have to pay $8 for Facebook!?”

Technically, it’s $8 for the whole Internet, but you know…tomato, tomahto.

“I’m attracted to a 7th grader.”

I’m assuming you’re in 8th grade, and it’s probably not going to work out for you, my friend.

“Wow, they’re really pooping those things [luggage at baggage claim] out.”

You’re not wrong, my young friend. You’re not wrong.

In case the Internet isn't creepy enough, whatever you say in public has become fair game. Click To Tweet

Lady on the train without a ticket

“My sister died! My sister died! They didn’t even let me see her! You know who my grandfather was? Al Capone. Could you hold this [coffee]?”

I feel really sorry for you, lady, even though you’re lying…at least about Al Capone. But I also feel sorry for the women to whom you passed your coffee cup. We shared a sympathetic look as she set your coffee cup on the floor while you went to take a crap in the train bathroom.

Business guys at a hot dog joint

“What is she Croatian? Is she Romanian? I know she’s not Greek, ’cause I insulted the Greeks in a meeting and she didn’t flinch.”

Oh boy, gentleman. Your deep Chicago accents are making this way more entertaining than it should be.

“He dead?”

You sound so flip. At least train lady was obviously distressed.

“Just like that guy who got his arm stuck in a boulder and had to cut it off.”

You guys are a train wreck. Please don’t leave. I want to listen to you for hours.

You left.

What juicy conversations have you overheard in your world? What are your favorite people-watching places?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Things You Shouldn’t Do When the Side Effects of Your Meds Include Anxiety

I pinched a nerve in my back. Which, if you’ve never done so, is one of the most painful experiences I’ve ever had the “pleasure” of dealing with. I believe that’s what I did about a month ago, when I thought it was just from yoga-ing without stretching…but now I think it was just something waiting to happen. And the yoga-ing was the straw that broke the camel’s my back. It wasn’t nearly as debilitating the first time, and it went away relatively quickly.

This time, it came back with a vengeance. A vengeance that was not willing to part with me quite so quickly. And it all happened days before I was supposed to board a plane to New York for one of the biggest parties of the year. Brian almost didn’t even let me go!

So I went to the doctor. Who prescribed muscle relaxers(corti-something something) and steroids (prednizone) after taking 37 seconds to press my back in 3 places (which will cost me something in the 3-digits)…thus diagnosing me with a pinched nerve in my lower back (sciatic nerve methinks, but non-radiating). She has since refilled the steroids (with a different, apparently more potent version) and told me to get my butt to physical therapy, a place I’m all too familiar with. And now that I’m  off the drugs, I’m stuck with a twice-daily PT routine that feels as tough as my most intense yoga class. Or personal training.

But when I was on the drugs, I got some serious fucking anxiety. Now I have a tendency toward anxiety and depression,  and whatever good Prednizone did to my back, it was wicked and evil to my brain. It was the worst anxiety attack I’ve had in years. And I’ve had a few.

So I did what any normal girl would do when hopped up on pain killers with a side of anxiety. I did everything wrong.

Things you shouldn’t do during an anxiety attack

When the meds for the pinched nerve in my back made me absolutely insane, I decided to do these really stupid things that only magnified my anxiety to the nth degree. Learn from my lessons people.

Have your palms read

In my infinite wisdom, while out with some girlfriends at a ladies day out event, I thought it would be brilliant to have my palms read. Sure I didn’t really believe in any of that mumbo jumbo but figured I’d give some quack 20 bucks, and she’d tell me some of the badass things in my future. Of course, I didn’t realize that her visions would be vague and could lean toward the negative or positive depending on where my head was. And fucking being the lunatic on drugs that I was,  I definitely leaned toward the nego. And my anxiety was through the roof the rest of the day. And just to drive the nail a little deeper, I fucking believed that bitch. The minute she told me I was on a lucky streak, I took everything she said and mentally filed it away.

Consume alcohol

With all that anxiety, you may find yourself in search of chocolate. When the only chocolate in the house requires baking (fuck that) or is the last piece of Easter candy (a hollow cookies and cream bunny) that you planned to snap photos of for a potential blog post next Easter (that you’re probably not going to write anyway), you know what you have to do. You open a bottle of Bailey’s and pour a largely portioned shot (twice) and take pictures. Since your tolerance is pretty much shite, you’re drunk…and you anxiety is now magnified even more. You’re probably going to start crying pretty soon, aren’t you? Oh, you’re too smart for that shit? Me too, guys. Me too.

Upgrade your website host

When your anxiety is already raging, there’s no time like the present to fix what ain’t broken. Well, my site was kind of broken. But not really It was running super slow, and the people at DreamHost told me if I  spent more money, my site would run faster. And everyone wants that, right? So I jumped on my computer after a few shots and went to town. I also panicked the fuck out and spent 30 minutes chatting with customer support who told me I should avoid making any changes for a couple days while it transferred over. They also said some other stuff which I promptly forwarded to Brian.

Contact your boyfriend who’s out with his friends

So now I’m freaking out about my stupid soothsaying palms, drunk, with a broken website…and alone. Brian was out with a friend,  catching a flick. After movies, they tend to stand outside and talk…sometimes for hours even when it’s balls cold outside. I couldn’t handle that much more of my anxiety alone. I needed to drag someone else into my crazy bullshit. Since Brian voluntarily lives with me knowing I come with my own brand of crazy… I played the part of psycho girlfriend.

First, I checked the runtime of said movie. Then, realizing he was still in the movie, sent a text…something along the lines of “hey. I’m crazy right now. My anxiety is killing me slowly. Please come home as soon as possible so I don’t accidentally die over-analyzation.” I made that last part up. I don’t think I actually thought I was going to die. But my brain was not pleased with where I was at.

When he didn’t respond shortly after the movie was out, I sent a Gchat message. Because crazy requires company…and gchat lets you see if someone has seen your message.  And I could be a little less anxious knowing he hadn’t actually seen my message. See? Batshit crazy. But I was just like…”hey no big deal, but just…let me know you saw my message. Kthxbye.”

When in doubt, visit Facebook

As if my anxiety wasn’t already rockin’, I took to Facebook where everyone’s joys were flying all over the place. Why is it that when you’re super anxious, Facebook is all look how happy everyone is? And when you’re flying high on life, it’s all, “OMG look at all this SAD.” Why? Because Facebook is a dick. Luckily, I have some pretty bad ass friends who I shared my anxiety with. They told me I probably shouldn’t have done anything I did, but hey while you’re here, let’s talk about squirrel-foxes, macaroons and nannies. Best. People. Ever.

Thankfully,  the drugs are out of my system and I’ve returned to normal levels of crazy. Well…normal for me, anyway.

When have you had to deal with crazy side effects?  Any experiences with psychics or palm readers?  Do you get anxiety? What have you done while anxious that just increased your anxiety tenfold?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Stop with the Jamberry Groups, Already

Dear Jamberry sales reps. (And Younique Eyelash peddlers. And essential oil people. And rando jewelry consultants),

I get, I really do. I’m obsessed with my nails too. I paint them a couple times a week. I have a bit of a Julep problem. And sure, I’ll share my findings with you on occasion…but I’m not force feeding it down your throat. I don’t think, anyways…

Gratuitous nail photo: The spring nails that brought the Chicago spring snow

Gratuitous nail photo: The spring nails that brought the Chicago spring snow

When you find something you like, you want to share it with the world. I totally understand. And while in-home selling parties are so passe (don’t get me wrong, I’m still going to throw annual Pampered Chef parties, y’all), Facebook parties are the it thing.

Cool.

The thing about a PARTY, though, is that people who are invited to parties know they’re invited and can…wait for it…decline before they’re spam tagged with a million posts about how great Jamberry, Younique, and whatever else you’re shilling is. This isn’t just about Jamberry. This about any consultant sales company that is training consultants to use Facebook groups instead of event invitations to sell their shit. Talk about taking high-pressure sales to the max.

I very deliberately join groups that are interesting and beneficial to me. I’m involved in some amazing groups of bloggers, women, and local discussions. Groups in which I chose to be a part of. I didn’t choose to join your press-on nail or mascara group, because I’m not interested.

Now, if you were to invite me to an event, I may browse and discover the product is not for me, and then easily decline the invitation. I may also realize that I love the product which I’ve done with those fabulous Thirty-One bags, KELLY (okay secretly, thank you…they’re like…the best bags for games and Sam’s Club shopping ever). You could invite me to a real party where I get to see or try the product (and you feed me…and you booze me up) and discover that I love them or I’ve had enough wine to think that $50-$100 is an acceptable shopping budget. Because I may buy a few things and help you earn free stuff with my purchase. I’m happy to do so, when I’ve been properly invited (digitally totally counts, y’all) and not automatically added to a group of every. Single. Person. You know.

The fastest way to get me to ignore your stuff, my friends? Is to add me to a group so your consultant can swoon and tell me how much I’m going to help you get free stuff. Every. Flippin’. Hour.

I know I’m not the only one, either. I’ve heard and seen a lot of complaints from friends and peers. This is not a good sales technique, kids.

Gratuitous nail photo: That's right. I painted Animal on my nail to match the BandAid on the other thumb.

Gratuitous nail photo: That’s right. I painted Animal on my nail to match the BandAid on the other thumb.

I get it, though. You love your jams and you want everyone else to love them, as well. And you know what? Your nails look totally adorable. But those things aren’t for me. I LIKE spending the time it takes to paint my nails. It’s therapeutic. I like that even with my quasi-expensive nail polish, I’m still spending way less money than it would cost to change my nails as often as I do if I were using Jamberry. I like that I can flex my creative muscles with color combos and designs. It’s a thing, okay?

Gratuitous nail photo

Gratuitous nail photo

When I host product parties (I used to be a consultant for Tastefully Simple and love me some Pampered Chef), there are snacks. There’s liquor and wine and beer. There’s laughter. If it’s a digital party, there’s an easy opt-out button that allows you to say, “thanks but no thanks” and then notifications stop without feeling like you have to explain why you are leaving a group.

So do everyone you love and respect a favor. If you’re a consultant for one of these companies, stick with events and not groups. If you’re hosting one of these parties and you want me to buy stuff? Invite me to an event. Whether it’s a digital party or you’re hosting something at your place (and there are snacks and wine? even better!), I’m more likely to consider buying something.

Jamberry Groups

Come on, guys, fess up. What really irks you about these parties? Do you hate being added  to groups as much as I do? Do you love these parties? Are you addicted to the Jams? Or the crazy eyelashes? Or the scented oils? Now, let’s end on a positive note – What home parties can’t you get enough of?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Let’s Be Facebook Friends and Start a Community of Awesome

When I met Jenny Lawson, I was nervous as hell. But before I met her, she read an excerpt from her book and then opened a little Q&A. People seemed just as afraid to stand up and ask a question as me, but I did it.

I asked her what tips she would give to bloggers who are just getting started. And you know what she said?

Create your own community. Build a support system of bloggers and readers. Support other bloggers.

So that’s what I’m going to do.

Recently, I decided that I had had it up to HERE with Facebook’s page nonsense.

1350ish people like my Quirky Chrissy Facebook page. In the last month, do you know how many of them saw posts I created? Maybe like 100. And that’s being generous. Some posts were lucky to get 10 views.

I like about 50 or so Facebook pages, maybe even more. I wouldn’t know because I never see them in my newsfeed. You know what I do see in my newsfeed? Ads. Ads for pages that MY FRIENDS like. Ads for shit I could care less about. Just because I have friends with babies and dogs does not mean that I want to see posts from companies who cater to moms (of babies and dogs).

Why all of this nonsense? Because Facebook doesn’t know how else to make money. So they bully us little people. The bloggers. The small business owners. The freelancers. Buy our advertising and your fans can see your shit again.

Fuck you, Facebook.

Fuck you Facebook PagesI’m joining a slew of others who’ve already migrated to a full-fledged Facebook profile for their blog or business. And you know what? I’m excited.

Friend me on Facebook. Or follow me if you’d prefer not to share your own personal profile. Not only will I be able to share with you my thoughts and posts, but also you can share with me, and most importantly, we’ll be able to interact with each other. I want to encourage conversation and entertainment.

Because I’ve built it up, and you never know what will happen, I’m going to keep my Facebook page, but if you really want to be a part of this awesome bloggy blog world, join me on Facebook. Let’s BE a community. Whether you’re a blogger or just a blog reader, we can make this what we want it to be!

What do you think? Are you going to join my mini-revolution? Because you totally should!

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Confession Friday: I Love Myself

A short post but the truest of genuine posts that could possibly be.

I don’t want to sound cocky or anything…but sometimes…I totally think I’m awesome. Even when I’m not.

I have this thing for liking my own blog posts. And Facebook statuses. And tweets. And anything else that I could possibly like that belongs to me.

It’s not even a stats game.

Because I stopped obsessing over the stats.

I’ve got a friend who likes every comment she makes or posts on Facebook. And I admire that in a person. I mean, if you say it, you should like it right?

And I recently realized that no matter how much shit does not go the way you want it to or expect it to…

If you love your life, you should live your life and not worry about the things that haven’t happened yet or the things that you can’t change.

So I decided that I’m going to love my life. And my blog posts.

Twitter Likes Blog Post Likes

 

 

 

 

What can I say?

I’m a sucker for liking myself.

I like my own posts

 

What about you, Blog Friends? Do you like your own posts? Tweets? Do you think it’s ridiculous that I like mine…publicly?

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Because YOU Asked For It: The Fan Pants

I was having a  little bit of writer’s block this morning…so I posed the question to my pals in the social media world…what the hell should I write about today? And what I got back was brilliance. Today’s post is brought to you by the wonderful world of Facebook, Twitter, and my fucking awesome fashion choices in life. Among other things.

Katie says, “Write about the fan pants!”

Unfortunately, when Katie made that suggestion, she opened a can of worms that will likely take up the majority of the blog post. I can’t help it. We were fashion victims and didn’t even know it. Gather round Blog Friends, and listen to the tale of Bradley. You can backtrack to when I first met Katie (who I very briefly referred to on this blog as Penny…but then she outed herself in her first guest post about Cinderblocks) at Bradley…or you can just join in the fun here.

Katie and I were VERY different people. She was an angry bookworm who wore grunge tee-shirts and wide leg jeans…I was a peppy social butterfly who wore flared jeans with “party shirts.” I listened to pop music; she listened to 90’s and classic rock. She was a Mac. I was a PC. But somehow, we shared a brain. It was like she knew me before she knew me. She understood me. And even when she was secretly (or openly) judging me, she still loved me.

Katie is family. Katie is my butter-churning sister from a past life. Katie and I have had an on-going battle royale fight discussion about our differences in opinion when it came to fashion…She wore Jar Jar Binks boxer shorts with these hideous doggie socks (all. the. time.) I wore fan pants.

Secretly Judging Your WardrobeJar Jar Binks Boxer Shorts

Annnnnyways, what are fan pants? You ask…

Fan pants were a flared pair of denim jeans (my favorite for quite some time) that had pleats in the flares. I’ve always had a thing for jeans that are a little bit different than other jeans. When I was five, I stopped wearing jeans (FOR SEVEN YEARS) because I outgrew my favorite pair of jeans (that were splashed with bright colored paint) and couldn’t find an adequate replacement.

Sweet pants

Me and the sweet ass pants. Making things happen (and looking exceptionally skinny!)

So after plotting out the post about these pants, I came up with a plan. First, I decided that I would try to find them on the internet because the internet knows EVERYTHING. Unfortunately, the place catalog that I ordered the fan pants from more than a decade ago (Shut it. Shut the fuck up now. Stop judging me for being old.) is now out of business and their website is gone. But I did come across an AMAZING blog post about that company…Girlfriends LA anyone? There, I found the following catalog images…

Girlfriends LA Catalog  Bathing Suit

I had like…everything on this page.

Girlfriends LA Bag

See, there’s the bag hiding in this picture of me after graduating from high school…in Florida…

Girlfriends LA bathing suit 2

There’s the bathing suit…in Florida…BEFORE graduating from high school. I was a lucky girl to go twice in one year!

Girlfriends LA Bathing suit

There’s that bathing suit in Florida again. Check out the HUGE headphones.

Girlfriends LA Catalog Sweater

I had the long black sweater

At which point, I decided that it was time to dig through my photo box. And by box I mean giant tub ‘o pictures…

Memory box

This is as far as I got before I gave up and decided that you’re getting enough awesome for one day.

This is the best I could do with the fan pants. There was a better picture of the pants, but I didn’t think you would want to see Shawn til Dawn’s thonged-ass over them…

The fan pants

It’s an angle thing. I wasn’t ACTUALLY that disproportionate…

Alpha Phi Omega Burke Family

Same picture…WAY more proportionate.

And this is also where I found all sorts of glorious pictures of Katie and I. But I’ll only show you this one. And it’s really to make up for the less than flattering picture that I captioned above. But you know, that’s what happens when you secretly judge me.

College girls in party shirts

This was the same year. After we took Katie shopping for “party shirts”

OK, there were definitely more ideas, but I think that this post is quite long enough. Tomorrow I will be posting responses/answers to the rest of your suggestions and questions.

So what else do you want to know about me? Ask me anything and I’ll respond tomorrow!

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!