BlogU15: The Good, The Awkward, and The Bloody

For those of you not obsessively stalking me on social media (First, PSA – what are you thinking? You can savor little bits of me in small doses, and each social media outlet is like an adorable and ridiculous puzzle piece that fits into the grander scheme of me, people. Go forth and use those shiny social media buttons at the top of my page and love the shit out of me…), you may not know that I was waking a roommate up each morning to “Good Morning, Baltimore” from Hairspray as we relished a weekend of blogging camaraderie at the BlogU conference. I’m going to tell you now that my roommate, Vicky, loved me and wouldn’t trade me and my Breath Right nose strips for a toffee and sea salt chocolate bar any day. I think.

How to Prepare for a Blog Conference - get your wardrobe, feet, nails, beer and eats on.

The only picture I have of my middle school outfit was from Thursday night packing. My rainbow pants were a recognizable conversation starter so I could ensure people spoke to me (and I didn’t retreat into the introvert side of my brain).

I survived three glorious days on almost 14 hours of sleep total, pretending I was in college again. I had the time of my life with a beautiful mish-mosh of (mostly) women (plus like 4-ish dudes) bloggers as we learned, partied, played and learned some more. On Friday, at the crack of dawn, Brian loaded my suitcases into the trunk of my car as I prepared to embark on my first solo trip in more than five years. I realized I was terrified as we made our way to Midway Airport, and told him as much. I explained I thought I was going to throw up, and asked what would happen if it wasn’t as amazing as everyone said it was? And what if no one liked me? What if I got nervous and shy and said nothing?

You may not believe me, but it’s true.

Bloody Mary

I’d only met ONE other person attending BlogU – Aussa Lorens (who, after hanging out with a couple times at two blog conferences, I think I can safely say that we’re BFFs). So I planned to start my afternoon with Joules, who wasn’t attending the conference but lives…sort of nearby. We had a killer delicious brunch and were joined by a hundred other bloggers. (Or like 15. Whatever.) I had the most beautiful bloody Mary ever to grace the planet, one which I will never be able to replicate (until my imminent return next year).

The most beautiful bloody Mary ever

Miss Shirley’s Bloody Mary – tomato, shrimp, Andouille sausage, cheese, okra, meat thing, pepadew pepper, jalapeno bacon.

So the weekend began with a bloody…which turned out to be my theme for the weekend. In many more ways than one.  The drink was loaded with deliciousness and just a hint of spice. Someone told me to look at it like it was the biggest dick I’d ever seen…this is the result:

I split breakfast apps with my new friends, McCall and Anne. I had to sweet talk the server into splitting up our check a little more than the original plan (ONE check per table and max FOUR credit cards. I promised we’d tip well, and I’m pretty sure we did), but it worked and we were all golden. Then I bid farewell to Joules and piled into a car with four other bloggers and their luggage (me carrying the most, of course).

Bloody Shaving

At dinner on the first night (a lot of these stories are going to revolve around eating and drinking. Deal with it, yo), I was drooling over the dessert table, when Jen Simon started swooning over some magic half brownie thing. I already had 27 desserts on my plate, so she was like, “go try mine. There’s my table. Don’t tell them you know me.”

Not one to miss out on a golden opportunity of awkward moments, I strolled over with a fork, sat down, and dug in. Everyone laughed and I made a new table of friends, including the super sparkly Mary. So then, Jen walked up and stood behind me, chatting. And I felt something warm and wet on my lower back…because there was some hot chocolate drizzle rollin’ down my back. She felt bad, but I didn’t. I had planned to wear my rainbow pants and tee shirt to the pep rally and Term Paper of the Year (and was beginning to feel a bit on the self-conscious side) but now I had an excuse to change. I brought enough clothes, and decided I wanted to look adorable with all the other people (seriously, everyone I met was adorable).

I decided that if I was changing, I should probably shower. And if I was showering, I should probably shave. Well. If you may recall from my shit that’s hard for chubby girls post, I’m not exactly great at shaving my legs. And I almost always regret this beauty regimen. But I braved the fucking shower yoga so I didn’t feel completely self-conscious in front of so much amazing talent…and cut the fucking shit out of my legs.

The Many Faces of Selfie Queen Quirky Chrissy

At the end of the conference, I was dubbed Queen of the Selfies…This is probably why. There were more selfies of my narcissistic self than me with other people on my camera. Thanks Sarah for being the only photo bomber.

Bloody Towel

After taking a miniature battle axe to my legs, I toweled off with the tiniest towel ever to grace my body. Poor Vicky almost caught a glimpse of everything but my left tit, because that’s all this terrycloth bitch could cover. I set it on the towel bar in our shared suite to dry, where the sight of it broke the amazing Chris Dean’s heart. As one of the few people lovely enough to believe that my hair really is THIS RED…she was disappointed to discover the bloody towel hanging on the rack. As a faux ginger herself, she knows the site of a hair-dyed towel when she sees one. But…did I mention Vicky and I got to share a quad with Chris and Anne (from breakfast)? Because that was definitely a highlight.

Bloody Period

Well…thank GOD Jen Simon spilled hot chocolate on my ass (literally), because if she hadn’t…I wouldn’t have showered. Or changed. Because I was pretty thankful when I was cut off mid-sentence telling Vicky that I was glad I didn’t have to worry about getting up and speaking during the Term Paper of the Year…as they announced my motherfucking name…

I looked at Vicky and Sasha, shell shocked. “Umm…I think that’s my name.”

“Woohoo!”

I stood up. I looked around like a deer in headlights. “What do I do?”

“I think you go up there.”

“Oh. Fuck.”

I didn’t even know what I was reading. I couldn’t remember for the life of me what I submitted. And then I stood in front of 200 people I hadn’t introduced myself to yet, and read the story of my first period. Thank GOD they laughed when they were supposed to laugh. Because speaking about bleeding from my lady bits (and not fucking knowing it) in front of brilliant writers was the most terrifying thing ever. I gripped the podium like I was hanging onto the edge of a building and prayed that I didn’t fall down. And when I was done, I was shaking. Thank you, Vicky for capturing this on video:

Bloody Shoulder

The rest of the weekend seemed to go pretty well and remained relatively accident-free. Until I was sitting in Jen Mann’s session about writing books (because books). I was listening, learning, and laughing (I love it when people are funny in real life…especially when they make the universal tongue-in-cheek sign for blow job), when I looked down and noticed a significant amount of blood welling up on my left shoulder. Of course, I reached to touch it and ended up with blood on my fingers as well.

The girl sitting next to me (who my mind is COMPLETELY blanking on and for that I’m so sorry. If that was you, please let me know so I can credit you for your sympathy) searched her purse for a tissue, but came up empty, apologizing profusely. So I improvised. The thing about having a former life as a catering manager is that you learn to improvise quickly. I ripped out a piece of notebook paper, wiped my bloody fingers, folded the paper up, and used it to apply pressure/soak up the blood.

Bloody Shoulder wiped up with paper

And took a picture. Obviously. ( I haven’t mastered my new camera phone yet, which is why my head looks gigantic)

Bloody Dance Floor

First, you should probably be listening to this song as you read this next part. It’s one of my favorite jams. And this section is all about jams.

 

Okay. So. At the AMAZING middle school awkward party hosted by Nickelodeon, I would love to tell you I was the belle of the ball, and since there were about 200 belles, so I guess I’ll say I was just one of them. Dancing my freaking ass off like I was 22. I seriously believed I would lose like 10 pounds after an epic dance floor experience, but alas, not one pound. Anyway, I was really hoping to hear, The Bad Touch, because I know all the words and was SO ready to dirty rap for all my new friends. After an appletini or two, I walked up to the DJ and explained he NEEDED to play The Bad Touch because it was a quintessential song from my existence, and I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if he didn’t play it.

An hour later, I was jumping around to Madonna, singing Like a Prayer, and pretending I was 22. I’m a firm believer in dancing the lyrics, so when Madonna sings, “down on myyyyyy knees…” I got down on my knees like a motherfucking boss.

I popped up and continued dancing, feeling a little twinge of pain in my knee, but it wasn’t unbearable. As the song was ending, The Bad Touch came on and I was READY for this shit. Until I accidentally looked down and saw that there was mass quantities of blood gushing from my knee to my ankle. I stared in horror…deer in headlights AGAIN…and I was ushered off the dance floor. Evacuated, if you will. I kept trying to go back because they were playing my JAM and I was missing every glorious second of it.

Thanks to Jana, this moment was not completely lost. I only wish I had waited to wipe the blood that was dripping down to my ankle...

Thanks to Jana, this moment was not completely lost. I only wish I had waited to wipe the blood that was dripping down to my ankle… And let’s talk about that awesome friendship bracelet handmade by the beautiful Jessica D’Pirate who woke up early and practiced yoga with me and Jessica.

Jana brought me paper towels and took a picture. Others offered to bring me alcohol. Estelle searched her purse for a Band Aid (I had them…in my dorm room) which she couldn’t find. I stood there crying about missing my song. Then, I took Estelle up on her offer of Purell because I wanted to emotionally snack on mass quantities of gummy candy and I couldn’t do that with bloody hands. So I cleaned up my act and finished the evening in style.

I also spent the rest of the evening yelling at people to be careful because I thought I knelt on glass, because there’s no way I was just…bleeding from the dance floor, right?

Bloody Squirrel

The next morning, walking to breakfast, my new friend Amy commented on the insanity of the local squirrel population as they swirled and swung from the tree tops. I just chalked it up to college campus squirrels, as the Bradley squirrels were a little…well…squirrely too.

But as we were walking BACK from breakfast, we happened upon the saddest scene in the world. A squished squirrel, posthumously named Skippy by Tracy, lay bloody in  the middle of the campus road, as his little buddy gingerly walked up to him and nuzzled his battered body. I cried a little bit watching this happen. Can we just pause for a brief moment to recognize Skippy?

Thanks.

I did actually engage with other people...I promise.

A few other highlights to prove that I did actually engage with other people…I promise…including Estelle, Jen Mann, Sasha, Jen Simon, Aussa, Andra, Audrey, Ashley, Jenn Rian and Vicky

Bloody Delayed Flight

After my flight was delayed an hour, and I woke up from a power nap on the floor of the boarding aisle, I made my way to the back of my aircraft and passed the fuck out. For about an hour. I woke up, gave myself a good scratch and…wait for it…started bleeding on my right shoulder. I cursed silently and decided that my bloody weekend needed to be over, and so I went back to sleep and woke up in Chicago (or something like that).

I made so many more friends and wish I could tag every damn one of you, but this post is already at an unreadable length. But you were all fucking magical. I learned a LOT. I laughed constantly. I found my people. Every single person that was there was my people. And I adore you all. My nerves were quickly replaced by friendships that will last forever.

A big fat thank you and shout out to Nehemiah (Boogie Wipes, Kandoo, Dreft Home, Downy Wrinkle Releaser and Febreze In-Wash Odor Eliminator) for reimbursing my ticket as part of a random drawing for members of their blogger team)!

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!

6 Ways to Keep Yourself Entertained on a Plane (That DON’T Involve Tapping Your Boyfriend on the Shoulder Asking “Are We There Yet?”)

I fucking love flying. Air travel makes me ridiculously happy. There’s some mix of “I’m going somewhere exciting or new or just somewhere ELSE” that makes it magical. And at the end of the trip it’s all: “I’m going to sleep in my own bed tonight!”

You can get almost anywhere in less than a day. At least anywhere I’ve been. Which is awesome. I’ve only flown on my own a few times, but Brian and I have been trying to travel somewhere twice a year for the last few years. Florida in the dead of winter and some place else in the summer or fall. It’s a good system. When we fly, I try to make it as easy to get on the plane as humanly possible. I used to try to bring an emergency set of everything in my carry on – toiletries, clean underwear, an outfit, etc. But now? I’m VERY selective as to what I bring on board. Of course, we almost always fly Southwest – where bags (two per person) fly free, so it’s pretty easy to check everything (including that empty suitcase to fill with seashells, wine, Christmas ornaments or other souvenir crap on the way back).

But even packing super light (did I ever tell you how much the TSA hates me? They MANHANDLED my cheese. Probably because of my letter to TSA.), I need to make sure that I have enough valid ways to entertain myself without bothering Brian TOO much. Because he does not love flying as much as I do. Something about people and lines and crowds or something.

Here are just a few ways that you can occupy your time on the flight.

6 Ways

How to entertain yourself on a plane full of people without being a jerk…mostly

Read

I mean…this one’s a given. But when you’re packing light, I highly recommend an e-reader. I was always against them until Brian insisted on buying me one. And I haven’t looked back. I can take FIFTY books on a plane with me…and my bag weighs less than it would with a single regular book. It’s fucking magical. Just be cautious, because the funnier the book, the more you’re likely to become a jerk and irritate all the people on the plane.

Watch a movie

In addition to the possibility of an in-flight movie…If you have some sort of tool that allows you to copy your DVDs to memory cards or tablets (I think that iTunes sells your favorite movies and TV shows too, but since I’m not really an Apple girl, I’ll have to assume maybe?), you can plan in advance and bring about a movie or two that you want to watch (I’ve watched Bridget Jones even though Helen Fielding is dead to me and some other beloved favorites). Just for the love of all things – WEAR EARBUDS.

Watch TV

Along the same lines as watching a movie, you can catch the newest released season on DVD of your favorite show (This last trip, Brian and I used an ear bud splitter to watch Person of Interest because we were binge watching to catch up to the current season). If you have Wi-Fi on the plane, you can Netflix Kimmy Schmidt or Grey’s Anatomy or Hulu Plus your current shows. Some flights even offer free (or paid) in-flight TV. Again, headphones are a necessity.

Play games

Whether you bring one of those fancy handheld gaming consoles (I haven’t had one since I got my Sega Game Gear in 1991), you carry on your travel version of Scrabble in order to whip your boyfriend/girlfriend/husband/wife’s ass, or you pay for the Wi-Fi to play some games on your phone (Hello Simpson’s Tapped Out, I’m looking at you…), you can keep yourself entertained and occupied while enjoying that competitive thing you’ve got going for you. Of course, if you have the sound on while you’re playing these games, someone is going jump across the seat and wring your neck or throw your device. I’m just saying. I’ve thought about it. Several times. Turn the notification sounds off. No one wants to hear you rocking out to the Candy Crush greatest hits.

Snack

I don’t know about you, but I love a good snack pack. Brian and I have an excellent flying/packing system. I carry…well…almost nothing in my purse (a few bandaids, necessary drugs like Midol, Dramamine, Gas-X, Zantac, Pepto, and Sudafed to help us survive the airport time and 2-5 hour plane ride, and my travel pillow). And Brian carries the power cords, backup batteries and snacks in his backpack. It’s a really good system. I recommend trying it. So snacking is a great way to kill time. If you travel during dinner time and bring a meal on board, that’s a good 10-20 minutes of snacking depending on how fast you eat and what you grabbed at the airport. You could also play with your food – you know get like some animal crackers and play with them Ben Affleck style. Just remember if you’re sitting next to strangers that you don’t need to share. Especially when it comes to your crumbs. Be kind, my friends. Be kind.

Social Media/Blog/Internet Time Suck

You can live blog about the crazy lady on the plane or the kid that keeps kicking you…or continuously share on Facebook pictures of your kid’s first flight or humblebrag on Instagram how you can’t wait to be somewhere warm. People eat that shit up. You’ll have fun and so will I. Get lost down the internet rabbit hole and you’ll be at your destination in no time. Just you know…don’t BE the crazy lady or the mom that doesn’t tell her kid to stop kicking (you totally get full points for trying. I won’t judge. I was kicked on a plane once. They mom tried to keep the little guy at bay, but he fell asleep and apparently kicks in his sleep. She apologized several times and kept trying to move him. The effort was acknowledged and I was fine…albeit a little bruised.)

Okay blog friends, your turn. What do YOU do to occupy yourself when you travel? Even if you don’t fly – how do you keep yourself entertained on the train or in the car?

 

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!

In Which I Annoyed the Crap Out of 138 Souls, 6 Flight Attendants, a Pilot, Plus 4 Lap Children on a Small-ish Aircraft

I remember the day that The Bloggess starting following me on Twitter like it was yesterday. I was stoked. I mean, she’s the freakin’ BLOGGESS! And she’s funny. And her blog makes me laugh. But it took me a while to read her book. In the end, I couldn’t put it down. I finally finished.

Flight to Florida

Last week, Brian and I made our way back to Florida for another fun-filled vacation of joy in which I did a whole lot of awesome things when Brian wanted to be sleeping. But this post isn’t about our trip. This post is about airplanes. And The Bloggess (Jenny Lawson). And her book, Let’s Pretend this Never Happened.

On our flight down, I was reading a book that I was less than impressed with (and will not name) because I wanted to finish it before getting back to laughing hysterically at the one and only Jenny Lawson. I was stuck in the middle seat next to a larger older lady who took up her seat, half of my seat and some of the aisle. Needless to say I was not pleasantly seated for the 3 hour flight.

Not only did Bitchy McBitch feel the need to take up half of my seat, she also glared at me. Like I was spewing poison from my left cheek or something. Sure I was sitting up, leaning on my tray, but that was only because I needed somewhere to rest my arthritic, carpal tunneled wrist and she was in my way.

I feel that it’s important to say here that people who are stuck in the middle seat should be granted BOTH fucking arm rests. Also, people who recline their seats on airplanes are ass hats.

But we landed safely.

On our flight back, on the other hand, I had an excellent seat. I went in with a plan. My seating on Southwest was about 60 people before Brian, so I got on, and made my way to the very back of the plane, where the flight attendants informed me that there were 175 seats and 139 purchased. (I also overheard them say that there were 4 lap children. I’m not making shit up, people.) I sat down, and reserved the two other seats in our row.

When Brian arrived, I took the aisle, and he took the window. No one was going to come all the way to the back to sit in a middle seat. It was a brilliant plan. Once we were in the air, I scooted over and snuggled up against a sleeping Brian. Then I started to read.

Let's Pretend this Never Happened by Jenny Lawson

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: A Book Review

When I told the world that I was going to read this book, the world responded with a resounding “OMFG this book is amazing!”

I’m not going to lie, though. It took me a few chapters to get into it. I totally get that the strange happenings in Lawson’s life made her the brilliant and funny writer that she is, I just couldn’t really get into the Wall, Texas thing. I didn’t totally relate. I had heard there was laugh out loud humor…but I longed for a little Chelsea Handler…until…

Jenny Lawson grew up (sort of). And found Victor. And started making me laugh so hard I almost peed my pants. Twice.

Once the Bloggess grew up, I found that I wanted her to be my new best friend (Don’t worry Katie–you’re irreplaceable). I would be reading in bed and Brian would tell me to quiet down, for fear of waking our neighbors (like seriously, not jokingly.)

So there we were on the plane with 142 other souls ( I think it’s entertaining to say souls instead of people. Does anyone know why they did/do that? Please enlighten me!) and I was reading. And laughing. And reading. And laughing more. And every time I laughed, I looked at Brian and if he was awake, I made him read the paragraph that made me laugh. Or I would wake him up to tell him. Or I would just look to see if my laughter woke him up. And then I looked around to see if anyone was silently judging me. Which they were. But I didn’t care because Jenny Lawson is hilarious.

She talks about being weird and kind of an outsider (which I can TOTALLY relate to). She talks about being a writer and a blogger and a daughter and a woman in a relationship with her person and a mom. Minus the mom part, I totally get it. And I feel like she’s one of my people.

I love that she interjects with comments about her editor. I love the randomness that the book is created out of. I love it all. And I bet if I went back and read that first part, I would love that too.

And the whole time, Brian would wake up and comment that I needed to be quiet because the captain at the front of the plane could hear me laughing.

Jenny Lawson, welcome to my hero club. You have 142 “souls” to apologize to, because I was all up in their business during that 3 hour flight with my echoing laughter. They really should just read your book, and then they would totally get it.

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!