47. Get a massage.

When I saw that the fitness center was having a special on massages for the month of January, I knew the perfect time to get one – right after spring semester move in. I scheduled my massage for the morning after and didn’t give it anymore thought until I arrived for it.

Obviously, this is going to be a post without pictures. Massages are supposed to be all about relaxing and de-stressing and I’m pretty sure snapping pictures with my iPhone would have been frowned upon. I already think I’m on my masseuse’s shit list for having my phone on the table with me. (What? I was on call!)

Overall, the experience was wonderful and I would have just loved to crawl back into bed afterwards instead of going to my office. Below are some of my more…interesting…observations.

The Music.

So you know how all yoga classes have the same CD of “relaxing” music always playing? My masseuse had a very similar CD. While the music was definitely more relaxing than say…Beyonce…I found myself paying WAY too much attention to the music. First of all, it’s not just music. It’s a mixture of Asian-sounding instruments, water flowing, and forest noises, like birds chirping. I spent a good amount of time thinking about that set up. One, I’m clearly not getting a massage in the woods, so why pretend? If I was getting a massage in the woods, I’d probably be concerned about spiders and bugs and snakes and birds pooping on me. Also, if I was in the woods, why would there be all these musicians in the woods with me? Just when I finally started to accepted that the ideal massage experience would take place in the woods with an entire orchestra present, the music changed slightly and started to resemble something from the “Titanic” soundtrack. The sounds of water were still present. Done.

The Clothing (or lack thereof).

Until I arrived for my massage, I completely forgot that you’re supposed to get undressed. This was my first professional massage – all massages done before this were those free chair massages during finals week and my massage therapy class at RIT. So the morning of my massage, I woke up and got dressed like it was any ol’ day. It wasn’t until I got in the room and saw all the blankets that I thought, “Oh shit, I forgot to shave my legs!”. I thought it would be really weird, but the masseuse left the room so I could strip down to my undies and climb under the covers. During the actual massage, the masseuse practiced some fancy blanket-origami so only the body part being worked on was exposed. This was wonderful, since it was January and I really didn’t want to get out from under the blanket at all. This also made it so the masseuse didn’t have to see the underwear that I picked out thinking that nobody would see it.

The Lotion.

This probably sounds like a weird thing to notice, but I’m a weird person, so of course I noticed it. Part of my post-shower routine (also known as Towel Time) in the colder months is to completely slather my body in lotion. I then sit patiently play on my iPad and wait for it to dry. Well, during my massage I also got lotion slathered all over my body. The major difference was that it wasn’t MY lotion. My masseuse doesn’t know my life. At the end, I still felt kind of slimy. Actually, the texture felt very similar to my cream blush, which was really weird. Also, my feet were the last area of my body worked on and right after I had to shove my sneakers back on, so my feet felt really gross all day.

Ideally my next massage will be part of some spa package at a resort, but until then this will have to do!

Ready? Okay!

(Truth – the only time those words have come out of my mouth, they have been completely sarcastic!)

I was never a girl-y girl. I swear, if I went back in time and told my 12 year old self that my twenty-something self became a cheerleader, joined a sorority, and was obsessed with Lilly Pulitzer, my 12 year old self’s head would explode. I’m starting at my closet right now. My eye is twitching a bit from the amount of pink.

So getting back on track. I became a cheerleader. I’m not sure exactly how it started, but I think it started with my friends renting the movie “Bring it On” when I was in eighth grade. Most of my friends at that point were cheerleaders, so we spent this gathering learning the dances and cheers from the movie. I think I still have the opening cheer memorized. Within weeks, the high school that we were all planning on attending announced that they were holding cheerleading tryouts AND that it was open to incoming students. I had absolutely no intentions of playing any sports in high school, unless you count “competitive saxophone-ing” as a sport but somehow I got suckered into it. I might have spouted off that “cheerleaders are dancers gone retarded” line in front of my friends one too many times. Now if I hadn’t made the team, this post would not exist. I won’t bore you by telling you about tryouts. I can’t really remember the nitty gritty details anymore. I just know that it was winter and I was dancing in the cafeteria to Britney Spears and then next thing I knew, it was summer and I was going to the high school for cheerleading camp. ME. CHEERLEADING CAMP.

Somehow, I made it through that year with only minor humiliation one truly embarrassing story. There was all sorts of drama, including a last minute coaching change. The following year, I didn’t return. Don’t get me wrong – I have some wonderful memories from that year. I really enjoyed it. But at the end of the day, I had to choose between cheerleading and everything else I loved. And I chose everything else. And I enjoyed that too.

Unfortunately, I had been bitten by the cheerleading bug. It came in handy sometimes. When my friends needed to reach something high, they’d quickly throw me in the air to get it. When CMT announced that it was doing a show about the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders, I was GLUED to the TV. I was regularly doing parts of the DCC’s routines in my parents’ living room. I thought it was all I was going to get until I had a little girl of my own and could coach a pop warner team.

Fast forward a few years to my first second week of college. I started seeing posters advertising – GUESS WHAT – tryouts! I hadn’t cheered in AGES but I still decided to give it a go. For being such a large college, there was a surprisingly small number of girls trying out. Similar to my high school days, tryouts were a week long – the first part was spent learning different routines and the second part was the actual audition. I didn’t tell anybody what I was doing. I wanted to surprise my friends and family. Some people were planning on visiting in October, so I had to keep it a secret until then, but I wound up quitting the team before any of my friends could arrive on campus. I couldn’t afford the uniforms and the shoes and everything else.

Fast forward a few more years. While watching “Making the Team” one night, I suddenly had the craziest idea. I live near a major city with an NFL team. What if I tried out just one more time? I went through with this insane idea. I drove to Philly for different workshops and got to meet the coach and the returning cheerleaders – it was a pretty awesome experience! Very early on I realized that I had a very, very minuscule chance of making the team. I was competing with girls that were DANCE MAJORS. But I stuck it out just to say that I did it. Surprisingly, they waited until the second round to cut me. A benefit of going through the process – I was in the best shape of my life at the end of it and I wound up with an impressive collection of make up.

I chatted with the one in the front!

 

Now, at the ripe old age of 26, I have officially retired from cheerleading. Yes, I still watch “Making the Team” and occasionally I break out one of my old workout videos, but I will not be hauling my butt to Philly (or any other city) for auditions any time soon.

Whoaaa we’re halfway there…

First weekend of the semester AND I’m on call? I’m clearly not going anywhere. So instead I decided to pay attention to my poor, neglected blog.

I’ve been adding things to my list and today I finally published an updated version and realized that I’ve hit the halfway point. I have over 150 items on my 300 before 30 list. I’ve also completed 17 of my currently 155 item list. At the rate I’m going…I need to pick it up.

But hey…celebrate the little things!

#23 – An Update

Back when I started my list, I had the grand idea to put $30 in savings for each item that I accomplish. Unfortunately with my student loans, my current budget, and my once-a-month paycheck, this was really not a realistic goal.

Let’s take my first goal, for example. Eat a lobster dinner. Well, in order to prevent a recreation of “Annie Hall” in my kitchen, I’m most likely going to a restaurant to accomplish that one. My monthly restaurant budget is $100. That lobster dinner plus the $30 I would put in savings would wipe almost all of that out!

I’ve decided to put $10 away for each item I accomplish instead. If I accomplish all 300 goals, that would mean $3000 saved which is still a decent chunk of change. I’ve reworked my little savings account already and used some of the original money to go towards student loans and other bills. Yes, it kind of sucks that I won’t have $9000 saved…but I’m still saving something and I’ll have a little bit more to pay down that debit AND to accomplish all 300 things on my list.

Looking at the List #9

110. Watch every single Daria episode AND made-for-TV movie.

Daria finished its original run while I was just starting high school. How depressing. LUCKILY the N (home to some of my favorite high school shows, like Degrassi) showed reruns on a fairly regular basis. I spent many a track bus ride imitating many of the shows’ characters. Last time I checked, the show wasn’t on Netflix, so I eagerly await the day that someone gifts me a box set of the DVDs.

113. Visit Ground Zero.

I grew up outside New York City. I did all the “tourist” things as a kid. I avoided them more and more as I got older. As a result, I don’t remember the last time I saw the Twin Towers. They were just always in the background and then one day they weren’t. I haven’t been to Ground Zero yet and not because it’s a “tourist” thing. I view it as the opposite. It’s a New York thing. It’s a home thing. It’s a thing for all the people that lost their people that day. I was on a bus that rolled by once six years ago, but that’s the closest I’ve gotten. Now that I live farther from Manhattan, I don’t visit as often. I have a few New-York related items on my list, so hopefully I can find time to visit and knock all those items off my list!

122. Learn to pack like a pro.

I have two ways of packing. I either overpack or underpack. If I overpack, I wind up bringing tons of stuff that I won’t wear or use with me on my trip. If I underpack, I bring the same two sweaters with me and don’t have enough to put together a full outfit. I tend to pack more if I’m going somewhere farther away or plan on being gone for a long time. I’m incredibly jealous of the people walking through the airport with only a small tote. My next big trip is in two months and I’ve already started looking up packing tutorials so it doesn’t feel like I’m a pack mule in the airport. Let me know if you have any tips or tricks!!

77. Go to a wedding.

(I swear I did not purposely make this #77!!)

Last month, I had the privilege of watching two of my friends from college get married to each other.

I don’t know exactly when I met either Steve or Steph. Steve was in Eight Beat Measure, an a cappella group at RIT. I know how I became friends with the group – Karl rescued me from a shopping cart in the tunnels – but I don’t have stories for how I became friends with each member individually (except for Mark and Brian). Steph was a photo major so I guess I just knew her from being around. She was also in Singers with me and we had some mutual friends.

Then, right at the end of our third year, Steve and Steph met each other. I remember the first party she was at. Steve and Steph began dating shortly after that and when we all returned for our fourth year, she was a regular in the Eight Beat apartment. I was really happy to have another girl around! Steve and Steph kept dating. After graduation, they both moved downstate and eventually got a place right outside the city. Best part? They frequently invite us to visit. [=

Time has flown by since graduation – something that feels like it just happened last year is actually three years behind us! So forgive me when I can’t remember the exact details anymore…first we were wondering when Steve was going to propose and then he did propose and the next thing we knew, we were counting down the DAYS until the wedding.

Steve and Steph’s wedding was just beautiful. I know, I know, all weddings are beautiful BUT THESE ARE MY FRIENDS AND THEY’RE AWESOME SO IT WAS MORE BEAUTIFUL. (My logic hasn’t changed much since graduation.) I could sit here and go on and on about the food and decorations but that’s what actual wedding blogs are for. So instead I will overwhelm all of you with pictures. Enjoy!

The happy couple!

The happy couple!

First Dance

First Dance

Hoskins saved me a dance.

Hoskins saved me a dance.

 

Dave and me

Dave and me

 

The closest thing I have to a group picture

The closest thing I have to a group picture

 

 

How I Spent My Christmas Vacation

This time last month, I was eagerly counting down the days until I had a whole, glorious, twelve days off from work. I decided that I was going to take an ACTUAL break during the holidays…but didn’t tell anybody. Oops. Sorry for going off the radar! To be fair, I was supposed to be back “on” the radar three days ago, but as of typing this post, I have not had a healthy day in 2014 (more on that later). I was hoping that MAYBE I’d be able to accomplish #15 (go a day without internet), but the closest I got to that was that I brought my laptop to Connecticut but didn’t once turn it on. Baby steps.

The Good

You may have noticed that #54 on my list was to get my parents a big Christmas gift and that for the longest time it’s had (December 2013) next to it. Well, I actually bought the gift months ago, but obviously couldn’t write about until after Christmas. So what was their big gift? A new TV!! The last time my parents bought a TV, I don’t think flat screens even existed. They had been mentioning getting a new TV for quite some time, but something else always seemed to come up. Unfortunately there was no easy way to smuggle the giant box into the house, so my parents received their present two days early.

My parents BIG Christmas present!

My parents BIG Christmas present!

I got to hang out with my older cousins for a bit on Christmas Eve. I’m smack dab in the middle of my family – there are thirteen years between me and my next oldest cousin and thirteen years between me and the cousin younger than me. Clearly there’s not much in common when we’ve got this thirteen year spread, but now that we’re getting older, it’s easier to bridge that gap.

Anytime I go back to Connecticut, I try to see all of my home friends. I did a decent job – one night at Biscotti’s, one night out to dinner with Lexie (great food, crappy service), and WHERE THE HELL WAS RENO?! Earlier in the holiday season, I texted my usual group of girls and suggested something new – doing a group gift exchange instead of individual gifts. We wound up doing a bottle exchange – one bottle of wine, one bottle of nail polish. We were talking about other types of gift exchanges and I think next year we are going to do a “My Favorite Things” exchange!

Gift Exchange 2013

Gift Exchange 2013

The one home friend that I got to see more than anyone else was Elissa. I was glad to have time to catch up with her and we celebrated another New Year’s Eve with one another. It was tame by twenty-something standards, but it reminded us of our “glory days” of middle school…including the winter break that Elissa slept over my house for four or five nights in a row!

We let Lilly hang out with us too.

We let Lilly hang out with us too.

The Better

On Christmas Eve, I went to take the dog out only to find out that it was snowing! That’s two years in a row with a nice Christmas dusting!

The view from the top of my driveway.

The view from the top of my driveway.

Since I was all too eager to go off the radar this break, I spent a good portion of it curled up on the couch in front of my parents’ new TV streaming Netflix from my Wii. I think my mom was pretty bummed when I took the Wii back to Reading with me, but my dad is looking into getting a Roku or some other sort of streaming device so my mom can watch Netflix on the TV.

The Bad

Unfortunately break wasn’t all sunshine and roses. It started on a pretty sour note – my car failed its inspection (and the inspection itself took nearly two hours longer than it was supposed to). Now I get to research tires and brakes and all those other fun things.

Spending time with my older cousins came with a price – a MAJOR hangover. It’s true what they say – you really can’t keep track of how much you drink when your drink keeps getting topped off.

My student loan payments were due at the end of my little vacation. That was expected, but the change in my minimum payment was not!! It was my hope to fully pay off one of my student loans in the near future, but with the minimum payment change, it’s not possible. This just solidifies that I need to find a financial advisor (#118!).

The BLECHHH

I mentioned earlier that I haven’t had a healthy day since we switched calendars. 2014 started fine. Since Elissa and I had the tamest NYE celebration this side of high school, there was no pesky hangover to worry about. One per vacation is enough, thank you. But by that afternoon, I wasn’t feeling so hot…I was at a party with TONS of food and I wanted NONE of it. Anybody that knows me can confirm that’s not normal. I shrugged it off and went to sleep early, only to wake up at 11:30 feeling incredibly sick. I’ll spare the nasty details, but let’s just say I did not leave the bathroom until 7:30 the next morning. The next (same?) day, I couldn’t get off the couch for anything. All I wanted to do was sleep, but all I could do was lightly doze. Luckily, the day after that was MUCH better. I could get up and move around, but it left me exhausted, so after I drove back to Reading, I crashed HARD. I woke up at 9:30 to find my apartment freezing. Broken heater. Great. I woke up at 12:15 to let the facilities worker in that graciously brought me a space heater. Woke up later in the night because my neck was itchy. Removed a necklace and went back to sleep. Woke up at 7:30 itchy all over and discovered I had some terrible rash. Benadryl is taking care of that, but I still have no energy. I’ve been trying to unpack, but I keep having to sit down and rest. I cannot wait to get better!!

Oh and BLECH that it’s 2014…I was just writing something down and wrote 2012. I’m not one year behind like a normal person…I’m TWO years behind. To quote Blink 182 – “Well I guess this is growing up.”

I hope you all had a wonderful 2013!! I'm looking ahead to a fantastic 2014 - once this plague is behind me!

I hope you all had a wonderful 2013!! I’m looking ahead to a fantastic 2014 – once this plague is behind me!

31. Get the balance of my student loans under their original amount.

The day I’ve been waiting for since 2009 is finally here…I can actually start paying my loans DOWN now.

At 17 when I was signing off on my first student loans, I understood that I was going to have to pay them back at some point in my life. I even understood that there was something called interest which meant I’d actually owe more than what I had borrowed. I just never realized how MUCH more I would owe. 6% tax on a $50 sweater isn’t much. 6% interest on loans on loans on loans IS.

When I first got out of college, I was working three (very) part time jobs. I couldn’t afford the original monthly payments, so they were lowered based on my income. Even though I was putting a little bit of money towards my loans each month, the amount I owed was going up because my loans were accruing more in interest than I was able to pay each month. Ouch. Now that I have a “real” (full time) job, I pay MORE than my minimum payments so I can pay these loans off faster. I know that I won’t always be able to do that – someday I hope to have a house and a family and if I wait until my loans are paid off to do so, that “house” will be a nursing home!

It was incredibly frustrating to feel like I was getting nowhere with my loans…hitting this point is like just being able to see that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. The next milestone should come in a month or two – I will have paid off one loan in full!

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115. Throw away thirty things.

Earlier this month, I wrote about the cleaning spree that I went on during Thanksgiving Break. I had BAGS AND BAGS of clothes to donate but it was NOTHING compared to how much stuff I threw out.

Some stuff on its way out of my room.

Some stuff on its way out of my room.

While I was visiting my parents, I decided to tackle the closet in my room. Even though I don’t live there anymore, my closet and dresser are completely full with clothes (and other crap) from when I was in high school and college. Somewhere in the back of my head, I thought it was nice because if I forgot to pack something to wear, I had clothes to wear at home. Except. I didn’t. Most of the stuff in there was free t-shirts and pajama pants – I couldn’t make an outfit out of that! I realized that it was useless to keep all that stuff around…all it was doing was making my room look messy. I couldn’t put things away on longer trips home because there was nowhere to put them.

I didn’t throw out EVERYTHING that was in my room. I had to spend some time organizing the stuff that I was keeping – mostly craft supplies and some special shirts (including four RIT Springfest shirts). Some of the stuff that did go? Old electronics, a broken (fake) Coach purse, and a bunch of empty alcohol bottles that were hidden away in the closet. Classy.

I’ve been pretty determined to clean since Thanksgiving, but my apartment is much more overwhelming than my old room and my parents’ house. I know that I haven’t used the stuff in that closet for ages and ages. It was much easier to throw those things out. I also don’t have as much time (or energy) in my own apartment. After a long day at work, I just want to watch 50 episodes of “Say Yes to the Dress) do nothing. I did manage to make some progress in my craft corner – I cleared off the desktop and the middle drawer! It doesn’t sound like much, but it already looks a ton better.

Some helpful/inspirational sites during this cleaning spree? I Heart Organizing – this blog makes me want to go raid an Ikea. SO MUCH INSPIRATION!! Unf*** Your Habitat – while the other blog was inspiration, this blog was motivation. There are lots of little reminders and “Weekend Challenges”. They also have an app which I haven’t bought yet, but maybe it will be a post-Christmas present to myself. Oh, and last but not least – Netflix for marathons of hoarding shows.

Lilly Billy

On the first day of my last year of college, I wrote a small to do list. What was on it? “Write resume, get job, get apartment, get dog.” Those were my goals for the next year. I eventually did all of those things, although it might have taken me longer than a year.

This was the day I adopted Lilly.

This was the day I adopted Lilly.

My dog Lilly is turning three this month. She’s a dachshund mix and we’re pretty sure “mix” includes beagle and jack russell. She’s the absolute perfect size for apartment living and it makes me so happy to come home to her after a long day of work.

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Of course, Lilly herself isn’t perfect…but I will tell anybody who listens that she is! Lilly came from a shelter and was abused in the past so she’s not the best when she meets new people. Eventually she calms down if I hold her, but if she smells cigarette smoke, all bets are off. Honestly, I’m still learning new things about her every day. She’s scared of the weirdest things…including trash cans.

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Lilly also has Diabetes Insipidus. It’s not your run-of-the-mill Stacey-from-the-Baby-Sitters-Club diabetes. Lilly’s body doesn’t make the hormone/enzyme that processes water so she’ll drink and drink and drink and pee and pee and pee. Luckily they make a synthetic version that I give her twice a day that helps with it, but you can definitely tell when it starts to wear off! I have to be careful when I schedule things – if I don’t give her her medicine, she’ll drink all of the water from her cage bowl and pee in her cage. I’m always worried about if she’s getting dehydrated or if she’s uncomfortable.

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Even if Lilly didn’t have some rare disorder, having a dog is hard work! I keep hoping that one day Lilly will suddenly grasp the concept of the toilet, but she has not. Snowing? Gotta take the dog out. Pouring? Gotta take the dog out. There was just a mugging down the block? Still gotta take the dog out. Dogs can also cost quite a bit of money – just like a person she needs food and medicine and bedding. You should definitely take all of these things into consideration before you decide to get a dog! Remember – different breeds require different things!

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I absolutely love my little weirdo – coming home from work has gotten 10x better now that I have Lilly to greet me! Happy (early) 3rd Birthday Baby Girl!