Friday, August 29, 2014

Time to Refocus // Turning This Blog Around

Friends are great.  I mean like really, really great.  The very best kinds of friends are the ones who, among other things, get you to leave your comfort zone from time to time, whether it's riding the stupid Power Tower at Cedar Point that I'd sworn off for life, meeting new people, or running when you haven't run in seventy billion years and are proportionately out of shape. For better or for worse (looking at you, 240-foot drop), I've got several friends like that, and so yesterday I grabbed my prehistoric running shoes and headed to a lake to meet one of my friends who is weirdly in love with cross country.  Like, in love enough that's it's been three years and she hasn't quit.  I know.

So, we met at the lake as planned and I got my legs to start doing something resembling a running motion.  Kind of like this, but slightly less adorable.

Running like a baby duckling apparently uses up A LOT of oxygen, because I started to do my favorite really horribly, ugly sounding running breathing about thirty seconds in.  You know, where you suck in air like you haven't breathed in a year and exhale even more forcefully, all while clearing your throat, spitting and hoping it doesn't fly back and hit you, and crying? That.  I really like talking when I run so I can try to ignore the fact that I'm running, but that just really wasn't happening yesterday, so I let Ms. Cross Country run her mouth bestow some wisdom on me.

The conversation monologue eventually found its way to blogging, something that both of us really enjoy.  She said something like "I finally posted for the first time in like two months today!" and I was able to get out something like "Yeah - inhale -I've - exhale - missed - lots of quick breaths - you!"  She went on to talk about how she had started out her blog for one reason and that what she wrote about on it now had changed  from what she originally wanted and how she wasn't sure if she should keep doing it, as well as a bunch of other stuff because I think she was sick of me trying to talk and the resulting disgusting noises and loud breathing.

All the stuff she said got me thinking, though.  I had started my blog with a vision that it doesn't really resemble at all anymore, too.  Originally, I wanted a blog where I could document how I was loving people and living recklessly for God.  God would be the big picture, and this blog would be a place for me to talk him up.  That's so not how it is right now - not in my life, not here.  The side show got a little too much attention and started taking over the main act; this place that I created to only glorify God has gotten big enough to block my view of him.  Is that a problem? Uh, yeah.  Refocus.

We ran on, stopping for a halfway point walking break and finishing near this mile marker that makes it appear as if we ran 5.25 miles, which we did not.

The sun going down had everything looking so pretty just as we finished up, so we took some pictures of lake water and sky.

And then I was unsatisfied and got fancy (THERE IS AN ANALOGY IN THIS SO PAY ATTENTION) so I made us walk down the lake coast to where the boats are docked.  I was kind of disappointed when the picture wasn't that pretty.

In a last-ditch effort to save my idea, I tilted my camera up a little bit, away from the little things on my ground and up to the huge, blue sky. 

Oh, there it is!  Much better.  Like my life, the big picture of the sky and the waves and the sunset got cluttered when I tried to do my own thing with it.  At the same time, it became significantly less beautiful.  I had to look at the big picture to get the beauty. Refocus!

Refocusing is what's going to be going on around here in the next week or so.  I'm going to do everything I can to get back to why I started, which would be to blog about what God's doing in my life.  That means that, as of next Friday, I'm going to take my blog off of Bloglovin, turn off comments, and delete my separate blog Instagram account - anything that could cause me to focus on feedback from readers instead of what God wants me to do. (The only reason I'm not doing that right now is so, if you're so inclined, you can read along some other way.  I'D BE ELATED! But I won't have any way of knowing, nothing will be held against you.)  I'm going to post, but it'll be about God and honest life stuff instead of whatever might bring in a page view or two, and it won't be allowed to get in the way of my relationship with God, because that's idolatry and we don't do that.  Reckless is going back to its roots, and I'm so excited.  This time, with a clear view.  Refocused.


P.S.  This is what I look like after I run. You're welcome.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Grown Up // It's Harder Than It Sounds

I am a senior.  I AM a senior.  IIIIIIII amasemior.  I. Am. A. Senior.

No matter which words I emphasize or how often I roll it around in my brain, I cannot get a grip on the fact that I'm in my last year of high school.  Maybe it's the fact that my planner is still decorated with princess stickers? Or it could possibly be the fact that my dad still drops me off there every morning, just like he's been doing since I was five and pretended that his truck was an airplane.  (He teaches at my high school!  I am a responsible driver and have my liscense.  Shame on you for doubting me.).  It's also possible that I'm young at heart and completely not ready to take on the world alone, which is 100% true.  Whether I can stomach it or not, my last nine months of completely not being an adult are here and going quickly, and I feel like I should use them wisely.  You know?  I'm usually a horrible procrastinator, (ie, finishing my summer homework on the way to my first day of school.  Uhhhh. ) but I suddenly have this sense of urgency, like I need to do some stuff like right now.  I rarely, rarely have that feeling.  I've been known to make cupcakes rather than do something that was supposed to be done yesterday or head to Cedar Point the day before school starts with exactly zero of my 7384 pages of summer reading complete. For whatever reason, though, my version of senioritis is causing me to want to get stuff done, before this year over.  I'm really intent on learning adult skills, and so that's what I'll be doing senior year!  Besides, you know, the usual partying hardy every weekend and stuff.  My senior year to do list:

| Consistently use my planner,(yeah, that thing they've been giving me for the last 8 years)  and, as a result, get assignments done before they're due. 

|. Take better care of myself. Including, but not limited to, washing my face right after practice, getting enough sleep (four hours per night is not enough),  and eating healthy food most of the time! 

| Research college and research opportunities.  I'm aware that God knows exactly what I'm going to do, so now it's my turn to look around and see where He's at! 

| Be nice.  As in, learning how to function around people when I'm tired, stressed, hungry, or worse.  As in, I actually have to talk to them and be civil. Practice makes perfect, as they say, so that's what I'm doing this year! 

|. Looking presentable most of the time.  I feel like this will be a good skill to have once I have a job where they care if I do things like show up and school with my hair wet or wear shoes that, while being the best shoes EVER, have holes in them. 

| Take on more responsibilities.  Whether it's putting my own money in the bank or buying myself new clothes or speaking in front of the school,   I'm going to start doing things on my own.  Like, putting gas in the car might be a good one to figure out.  Or maybe not.  //

Okay, so this is a really tall order!  Basically making over my life in five ish broad, all inclusive, complicated steps. Okay.  I'm excited about it, though; growing up kind of marks the pre beginning of a new, exciting part of my life! I'm going to do my best, and, most importantly, enjoy every day before I have to start cooking for myself and doing laundry all the time, because, no thanks.


P.S.  Any tips on how to be an adult?  Um, and does anyone love doing laundry and want to do mine fo freeee? 

I Cry Over Spilled Water // First Day of High School Horrors

So, as you can see here and here and here, I'm obsessed with blogging about school starting lately.  I'm trying to face my fears head on, and I really see no reason to stop because I'm all about fueling my obsessions and ignoring all attempts at "balance."

I started my senior year of high school yesterday, and thinking about that reminded me of my horrible first day of freshman year.  Okay, horrible first few hours.  It was rough.  So, because blogging is cheaper than therapy or whatever, I should probably handle it and just blog it all out.  Thanks, you all, for being my therapists.

The day started off innocently enough with pictures in front of this lovely tree in our front yard that has faithfully backgrounded our first-day-of-school pictures for the last 12+ years of my life.

(I was planning on putting my first day of school picture from freshman year right here, but it's trapped inside my mom's old, dead computer so I'm really sorry about that.  You can just look at this one from last year if you want.  It's the same tree and the same people, so it seems like basically the same thing to me!)

I had my backpack all ready to go with all my brand new binders and pencils and scrapbooked pictures to hang in my brand new locker, which, by the way, I learned how to open like a pro.  Being the super prepared student that I am, I even had my brand spanking new, customized (with a Sharpie, whatever) JV volleyball water bottle, filled to the brim with ice water, stashed in my backpack to hydrate.  I mean, I was kind of adorable.  Unfortunately, the lid-bottle connection part of that water bottle had a mind of its own and was a prankster and thought it would be fun to randomly detach itself.  AND IT DID IT.

It would have been less horrible if I'd have noticed it an hour before I left, but I obviously didn't. That evil drip didn't show itself until I was en route to the car.  I opened my backpack up, and there were like two inches of water in the bottom, making a mess and dripping all over everything and drowning all my new supplies and ruining the cute binder covers and scrapbooked pictures that I had worked so hard on.

 You had better believe that I got a little teary about that sitiation.  So teary, in fact, that my mom forced me to use    offered me one of her purses to carry my stuff in for the day.  It actually matched my carefully-chosen first day of high school skirt really well, come to think of it, but at the time I was just terrified that I was going to be pegged as The Girl Who Carries Her Books in a Purse forever and ever, amen.  And that, my friends, is the stuff of  X-rated horror movies and terrifying nightmares.

I kind of got over the purse thing (not really, because X-rated, remember? X.) and allowed myself to be taken to school.  I walked in with my heart beating with all the cardiac muscle power it could muster and began the task of trying to remember which of the four hallways in the entire school had my locker in it, which is harder than it sounds.  I mean, I had looked for that thing for a good ten minutes without finding it.  Understandably, I began to lose hope. The freshman hallway obviously did not exist.

  I couldn't even find another person I knew, much less another freshman.  I'd walked into school with my friend who was on crutches and in an immobilizer at the time, but she had somehow gotten away.  I kind of wandered aimlessly around, asking for a girl on crutches under the pretext of "wanting to help her."  Ha, ha.  I'm sure everyone could tell that I was the one in desperate need of help.

Fortunately, my wandering eventually landed me right in front of my locker, from which point I found a friend who had all the same classes as me and followed her around for the rest of the day.

  That worked out well.  I'd recommend that. I'm pretty sure the rest of the day worked out fine and I returned home, thoroughly exhausted and prematurely jaded toward high school.  And here we are.  Senior year, and, if nothing else, I no longer carry my water bottle inside my backpack.


P.S. I can't be the only one - any memorable first day of school stories?          

Friday, August 22, 2014

I Post on Saturdays // Currently


Depending on when you're reading this, I'm either playing volleyball, line judging for another team's match, or eating, AKA the first tournament of the season! It's exciting stuff.  While I'm doing that, I'm going to let you know what's up with me via a little "Currently," post that apparently resembles something that might be found on MySpace in 2004.   Not that I'd know, but that's what all the cool bloggers tell me.  

As of August 23, 2014 at 3:21 p.m., I'm:

Running: Not much at all, oops.  My goal is to start on Monday and work my way up to a 5k by Septemer 20th and an 8k by early November.  

Doing:what I shouldn't be, AKA writing this post while I have homework that needs to be done sitting on the seat next to me.

Hitting: the letters on my iPhone keyboard. 

Reading: Oedipus Rex. For school. Puhlease, I'm not a total nerd.  But I actually really like it, and if anyone thinks that old plays are safe to let your children read, you might want so reconsider and save that for when they're older.

Smelling:  myself.  TMI?  I just played volleyball a lot and I smell, and that's just the way it goes sometimes. 

Thinking: that I really hate driving on two-lane highways and that I'm glad that my dad's driving right now instead of me, because I would definitely crash us or get pulled over.

Also about college, and it's really stressing me out so I think I'll stop.

Dreading:  School.  I mean, I like it, but maybe after like a year or something.  Time needs to slow down.  Please?

Thanks for hanging out! 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Al's Ice Bucket Challenge // For ALS

You may have seen a million or few videos just like this one popping up around the Internet and social media lately, accompanied by #ALSicebucketchallenge.  Contrary to popular belief, this trend wasn't started by a guy named Albert in hopes of drumming up business for his overpriced frozen water and popularized by peer pressure.  It's actually in pursuit of a much worthier cause than that - the viral videos help to bring support to those suffering from ALS.

Side note:  If you thought that Albert the ice guy was responsible for all of this, I'm not judging you.  That's what I thought until my little brother told me that it was my turn to dump ice water on my head, which is when I started educating myself.  

The #IceBucketChallenge was started by the ALSA to raise awareness for ALS, and their system works pretty well.  Challengees are supposed to take a video as they douse themselves with cold water and then upload that video to Instagram, Facebook or Youtube with the hashtag #IceBucketChallenge, #ALSIceBucketChallenge, or #StrikeoutALS.  They then "nominate" four ish "friends" to dump ice water on their head, and so on until your entire Instagram feed is comprised of videos of your friends dumping ice on their heads with various degrees of creativity.  The whole point is to raise awareness for ALS, and I'd say they're doing a pretty darn good job!

So far, the Ice Bucket Challenge has been hugely successful, raising over 15 million dollars for research and support for those with ALS.  Amazing, right?  The idea is that, if you don't take the challenge, you donate anywhere from $25-$100 to the ALS organization of your choice, which you can do here.  It's basically a win-win-win, and it's kind of really fun!  For evidence, please see the GIF below:


P.S.  Have you dumped cold water on yourself yet? What do you think of the challenge?

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Reckless DIY // Photo Board

I've been doing some room redecorating lately.  And by "redecorating," I mean I bought some cheap acrylic paint from Michaels and have been using it to cover everything in sight until I have a collection of coral colored things big enough to help me fully qualify as a typical female right now.  Some of those objects may have been mason jars.  Typical girl level: expert.  But I love my coral mason jars so you can stop making me feel like I'm not unique now!

One of the first pieces of decor in my room to fall victim to Hurricane Coral was this butterfly photo board. 

Kind of sad looking, isn't it?  To be fair to the poor little guy, this picture was taken after

Monday, August 18, 2014

104 Days // How to Have the Best Summer Vacation Ever

Today I was a faced with a harsh reality.  School starts in a week.  Seven days, 200ish hours, and I'll be a senior in high school instead of a junior in summer. While I intend to make the most of those 200ish hours, they're still going to be gone about 200ish hours from now, and the problem is that I'm kind of in love with this summer and I'm not ready for it to end.  What about all the DIYs we were going to make together, summer?  All the farmer's market visits?  All the bike rides and warm, late nights?  I get the feeling that this is one of those breakups that's going to have a messy ending, complete with pints of ice cream and chick flicks galore.  I'm just too attached. 

It's going to be rough letting it go, but I am so, so glad that it happened!  Aren't you?  Isn't it great to get so attached to summer that you can't stand it coming to an end?  I've deliberately spent lots of hours being relaxed and happy; I'm convinced that summering is an art.  So, as summer's ending, let's look back at what made it so fantastic and maybe even prepare ourselves for an even better one next year.  Ready?

Create a routine . . . 

I know that's the most counter intuitive thing I could ever say, but

Saturday, August 16, 2014

First Things First Saturday // Brain Vomit

There's going to be brain vomit going on up in here today, because it's Saturday and that just seems right.  Saturday mornings are for big, delicious breakfasts, staying in bed for too long, and vomiting brains.  Am I right? So, the first ten things that come to mind:

| It's cute how I keep trying to invent new kinds of vomit other than word vomit. (I.e.  GIF vomit.)  And now it's time to stop using the word vomit so liberally.  I'm kind of grossing myself out.

| I am really glad striketheough text exists because it helps me in my ever-present struggle to be funny and also lets me admit to a lot off stuff without straight up confessing. 

| I watched TWO scary movies last night, doubling the amount of horror-genre minutes that I've logged in my lifetime.

| Speaking of movies, I watched High School Musical 2 this morning, which was a good life choice, and I am still amazed at the fact that Disney discovered Zac Efron.  Major props.

| Related: Zac Efron is very attractive and an all around great guy, and it would be pointless to try and convince me otherwise.

| My eyelids are trying really hard to close but I'm trying to stop them and so far I am crushing the competition.

| In a surprising turn of events, I'm losing now.

|  I'm really excited to get my senior pictures back, and I hope they're gorg! 

| Did you know that bro-hug is in the dictionary? It's one of those hyphenated deals.

| My pillow pet is making my nose itch BUT ITS SO SOFT!  The struggle is really real, guys.

| School starts again in less than two weeks and I can't do that so I might have 
to skip town. 

And, while we're at it, how about some of my favorite posts from around the Web this week?

| Emily's adorable video

| Another hilariously sarcastic list from Juliette

| Real talk with Allie

Happay Saturday!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Love Like An Ocean // Because God is Super Cool

I feel like there's some unfinished business between us.

Sorry, did that make you anxious?  I totally got anxious typing that, and all this anxiety was completely unnecessary, because all I'm doing is telling you a story that happened about a month ago.  It's a God story and it involves the beach and pictures of the beach, so get pumped!

This whole thing started after an amazing week with my dad's side of the family, who are some of the most loving, encouraging people I know. I had just made the decision to love people with reckless abandon (more on that here) and to start this blog about my adventures, but I was having trouble with where to take it from there. Apart from the support system that my family had provided for me, I was struggling to love as I had when I was with them.  When I was constantly being poured into by the people around me, nothing seemed more natural than to love recklessly; however, everyday life didn't fill me the way they had.

God's timing was, as usual, on point, and the week after we got back I committed to a Bible study that's been going on at my church for a while - one that I'd been invited to participate in before.  They were reading through this amazing little book called He Loves Me, and I took it with me to vacation numero two. (Yes, this is the beach one!)

Vacation numero two was very different in that it took place at an island house instead of a campsite in Wisconsin, that it took a lot longer to get there, and that I was surrounded by a really different group of people.  While my mom's sister and her family, who we were staying with, are fantastic people (forreal, they're funny, both intelligent and knowledgeable, caring, have really cute kids and cook well . . I KNOW) they don't have a relationship with Jesus.  I wasn't surrounded by fifty + constant reminders of God's love, and it really tested my new commitment to reckless, Christlike love.

The house we stayed at was about five blocks away from the beach, and every morning, most and every family member would make the trek to the ocean for some form of exercise.  For my part, I ran before spreading out a towel withing ten yards of the crashing waves and reading the new book from my new Bible study group.  The book, titled He Loves Me,  shares the freedom of pursuing a relationship with God and attempts to explain his infinite love.  Every day, as I sat on the beach and listened to the waves and let the wind tug my hair, I'd read this book and pray for God to reveal his love to me.

Well, guess what? He did.  About halfway through the week,  the book decided to tell me that God's love was constant.  It said, "And since God's love is constant, you can live as one who is loved a ridiculous amount every day, regardless of what you've done or haven't to deserve it." (That's just a rough paraphrase.  Please don't sue me for misquoting your book.)  It made sense in my head, but I had trouble with internalizing, with accepting that truth and making it a part of me.  And then I heard the ocean.

I've never felt especially close to God through nature.  Some people do, and that's cool, but I just don't.   That day was an exception, though, because obviously God can except things if he wants to.  I listened to the ocean waves climbing the beach and falling back, climbing and falling, climbing and falling.  I realized that God loves me like that.  He's just there, loving as an action all the time, and I can't stop his unfathomable delight in me any more than I can slow the ocean's rhythm. That was the first lesson. 

The second lesson came when I opened my eyes and re-noticed that the ocean is ginormous.  My thoughts wandered to the fact that that ocean could probably swallow whatever it pleased, whenever, and then God helped them out and they wandered to the fact that his love was like the ocean in that way, too. It is so wide and deep that the stuff I worry about on a regular basis is completely insignificant in comparison.  God's love can crash down over overwhelming situations and uncertainty and sadness and pull them away from me in a current that won't let up. Easily, and without hesitation.  God loves me like that.

Moral of the story? If you'll recall, I couldn't figure out where to get the strength to love recklessly.  That'd be God, and his ocean expanse of resources just waiting to pour into me and overflow to the lives of anyone it could.  His love is constant like the waves and huge like the depths, and, most importantly, he longs to share it with me.  That's the craziest part. At the very least, what God gives is plenty for one human girl to love recklessly on for a good long while. I can love recklessly, no matter who I'm around or what's going on inside or outside me, as long as I live in the reality that God's love is like an ocean.

And that is all I have for today.

Later, skaters!


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Friendly Advice // Things I Want to Scream At Freshman in the Hallways

"STOP BEING A JERK!"  In other words, being mean doesn't make you cool.  I think a lot of times, kids of all grades think that being a jerk will earn them a ticket to the popular party.  Well, guess what?  I'm obviously the holder of the tickets to the popular party, and I don't like it when people are mean, so there. Ha.

"DON'T CUT THROUGH THE LIBRARY!" It's not that I really car whether they, or anyone, cuts through the library.  I think I just have some kind of deep-seated bitterness left over from the time when I was singled out for taking the shorter way back to my locker.  If I had to experience that, they should, too.

"DO YOUR HOMEWORK!"  In other words, classes actually matter now and if you don't do well you could lose 2045084 dollars in scholarship money / not get into the college of your choice / have to take two math classes in one year / ruin your whole entire life.

Also, your cat napping on top of your binder (above) is not a legitimate excuse for nt doing your homework, nor are the activities pictured (below) actually considered studying. 

"YOU'VE KNOWN EACH OTHER FOR 5 DAYS! STOP MAKING OUT!" In other words, you're probably not going to end up marrying that guy that you think is super hot freshman year.  Related: Freshman boys are not hot.  So just stop making out, please and thanks.

In other words, the friend who submitted this one is short and for some reason thinks that senior year will be the year that she's taller than someone she goes to school with.

"GET OUT OF MY WAY!"  In other words, we seniors feel like the fact that we've been in high school for three more years than you have earns us the right to walk down the halls unopposed.  There's not really a good reason for that, but that's the way it usually goes.  Personally, I think it's just common courtesy to try to avoid running into another human being when you walk past them.  Just me? Okay.

"CAN YOU PLEASE STOP STANDING THERE AND SO SOMETHING?"  In other words, go to stuff!  Join stuff! Play stuff! Do stuff with people!  High school is not nearly enough fun without doing things like painting your body for football games or making a fool of yourself in front of the entire school while running for student council.  (I've done neither of these things.  Obviously my listening skills are impeccable.) But, forreal.  Hang out at school as often as possible.  Totally worth it.

Also, make a big deal about everything. My friends and I decorate each other's lockers and eat cake at school for each of our birthdays, and it's just the best! 

"DO YOU THINK ANYONE REALLY CARES?"  In other words, don't stress about what you look like or whether you do things wrong.  If you're anything like me, your style might be a little off sometimes  almost every day and you'll do stuff wrong (ahem, cutting through the library.)  Some of my favorite things that I did freshman year are things that I wouldn't be caught dead doing now.

For example, going out to the football field to take pictures with your friends after school. Not pictured: me wearing the sweatshirt of a boy I'm not going to marry.

|" YOU'RE A FRESHMAN!" In other words, yes, it's high school, but you're still pretty young, so go ahead and act like it!  Get comfortable with not knowing things and having to ask for help.  Watch the TV shows you loved as a kid. Bring your pillow pet to sleepovers. Four years later, you're going to have to basically be a functioning adult (ew), so take the opportunity to not so that while you can!

Also, embrace your ridiculously high metabolism.  Eat all the brownies.  An entire pan.  Just know that you'll have to cut that habit someday.  #OrNaw


P.S. Check out Itunu's Declassified School Survival Guide for more help with all things education.  Probably in a nicer tone of voice.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Free Stuff Isn't Free // Trying To Use Birthday Coupons

So, if you follow me on Twitter, this little life update may have shown up in your feed yesterday:

This was me trying to set myself up to live tweet about the 340845 places that I would get free food from because it was my birthday.  I Googled up a list of over one hundred places that would give me free stuff for officially being a year older and then chose five or six that are pretty close to my house, figuring that I'd be gone and back in about an hour with the car overflowing with free coffee, ice cream, subs, and stir-fry meals.

After convincing my little sister that, yes, she did want to ride around with my while I got free birthday food and ate it in front of her, I headed for my first destination:  Baskin Robbins.  BR promised me a free 2.5 ounce scoop of ice cream on my birthday and I had the coupon to prove it, so I was pretty confident as we waded through the parking lot as fast as we could to avoid the rain.  I walked in and smelled the smell of ice cream shop, which, for those of you who haven't had the pleasure of smelling it, is pretty delicious.  When I walked in, the ice cream lady was helping another customer, so I scouted out my options and laid my eyes on the most delicious, chocolatey ice cream I have ever seen.  And then the other customers left and it was time for me to get 2.5 ounces of it for free.  I was so excited, so full of hope, so completely sure that free ice cream was headed my way. . . (foreshadowing)

"Hi! Do you do the whole free ice cream on your birthday thing?"


Oh.  OH.  I don't thing I said any words; I just kind of walked out of there, secretly steaming at the ice cream lady.  How DARE her Basking Robbin's not participate in the free birthday ice cream promotion? Why was she so mean?  She was trying to ruin my birthday!

As disappointing as that was,  I'm not one to give up on free food that easily.  I had my dad's word that Biggby gives you free coffee on your birthday, even if you show up with no coupon and no legal ID.   We drove a little further away from home, country radio blasting and wind shield wipers in a frenzy.  We sloshed through another parking lot and I approached another cashier with slightly less confidence.

"Um, hi.  I heard that you get free ice cream here if it's your birthday?"

"You do if you're registered! Is it your birthday?"

"Yeah . . . I'm not registered.  That's disappointing.  It's okay."

The two Biggby cashiers proceeded to feel appropriately sorry for me as I hung my head and walked out the door.  It was so sad.  I thought I was going to cry, true story.   I guess once I get set on something, it's really hard to give it up.

Brooke and I sat down in the car to regroup.  I checked my email, desperately searching for birthday freebie offers, and WHAT DID I SEE but five free dollars from Menchie's!  Which is froyo.  Which I love.  Brooke transformed into my copilot and informed me that the nearest Menchie's was twenty minutes away, which was obviously a small distance to travel for five glorious dollars worth of free froyo.  So we drove, and it was still rainy.  And at one point we were stopped at a red light because that's the law and I was dancing to the song on the radio because I was so overjoyed about my free froyo.  And then I looked up and apparently the guy in the truck next to us thought that show was for him, because he was just staring away and laughing.  The nerve.  Of course, that light proceeded to be red for about the next five years, giving me a change to act really sophisticated and erase all memories of the dancing that had just been going on.

Anyway, when the light turned green we got to go to Menchie's.  I grabbed myself a cup and eyeballed five dollars worth of mint - iced coffee swirl, which I easily paid for with my five free birthday dollars.  Except my eyeballs were a little off, because I had only spent $2.50.  After demolishing my froyo, I decided that, it being my birthday and all, I'd shell out the other $2.50 for Brooke to get a cup of her own.  She was super happy and concocted herself a mix of lemon yogurt and gummi bears and lots of other fruity stuff and we went to pay.  By pay I mean, not pay.  But then there was a birthday surprise, which was that apparently you have to use all five of your birthday dollars in the same transaction.  I mean, obviously.  So I had to give the lady some actual money and then we left.

At that point, I was slightly discouraged.  We'd been out for quite a while with only some BOGO froyo to show for it, and that was unacceptable.  Naturally, I told Brooke that we were going home and that the only way we could get something else was if we saw one of the free birthday stuff stops on the way.

We saw it on the way. "It" being Firehouse Subs.  I didn't really want a sub, but by that point I was numb to the pain of rejection, so it was worth a shot.  WE DIDN'T EVEN GET REJECTED!  The really nice cashier glanced at my drivers license to make sure I wasn't making the whole birthday thing up, helped me choose a sub, and gave it to me for free without any trouble.  It was a really good sub, and I can not tell you how much that helped my mood.  Suddenly, I felt like we had had a super productive day and that it had all been worth it.  I probably should have told the manager of Firehouse Subs some of that.  My cashier might be able to get a promotion or something.

So, yeah.  Two + hours of driving for BOGO Menchie's and one Turkey Bacon Ranch Firehouse Sub. A word to the wise:  on your birthday, don't go to Basking Robbins expecting a free scoop OR try and step food in Biggby without registering first OR use your five Menchie's dollars in two transactions.  These people are ready and willing to play hardball with you, birthday or not.  You're better off signing up for the birthday coupons now and hitting up Firehouse Subs for a TBR on wheat.  Trust me.


But, seriously.  Where do you guys go for free birthday food?

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Let Them Eat Cake // The Time I Tried to do a Giveaway

Hey guys!  I hope you had a great weekend!  I got to spend mine playing sand volleyball on the west side of the state, along Lake Michigan.  Ugh, so pretty.  Ugh because it was so pretty it hurt, and also because I'm currently sitting on my couch instead of at the beach, getting sand in my shorts and just generally being happy.  #withdrawals

Oh, and then later on Saturday I sat by a bonfire with some of my favorite people and ate a bunch of chocolate chip cookie dough dip, sometimes on graham crackers and sometimes on my fingers.  I came home mosquito bitten and smelling like campfire and happy.  So, yes, I guess you could say that the weekend treated me okay.

But then Monday came, and it couldn't just let Friday through Sunday be the coolest days of the week! Oh, no.  Today happens to be a really exciting day . . .

Um, yep!  Today's the big one-seven, and it's going to involve omelets for breakfast and free Starbucks and canoeing and a triple layer red velvet cake and a sweet sign decorating my spot at the kitchen table, compliments of my mom.  Maybe a present or two, and an eighty percent chance of rain.  I'm down.  In blogging terms,  the fact that it's my birthday today means that we're going to have ourselves a little birthday link party (and possibly a winnable party favor)! A Monday party . . . is that okay? 

| One of the coolest things about celebrating your DOB? All the free stuff.  We're talking enough free food to last me until next year at the very least.

| Why human birthdays are better than animal birthdays.

| And how did they even celebrate birthdays before Pinterest?

| It's okay if you forgot / didn't know it's my birthday today . . . it's not too late to send one of these!

| As long as we're celebrating, let's throw it back with a taste of the playlist from my thirteenth birthday party.  (There was also ping pong and a chocolate fountain involved. . . I know. )

|  The reason we light our cakes of fire and blow them out while making a wish for, oh, I don't know, Zac Efron forever.   

|  If you're ever in need of gift wrap, coughcough I like Disney movies and clothes coughcough,  you can customize some here and here!  

| The adorable little boy in this video is so funny, and he probably has a birthday, so I can include him in this post.  

Party game time!  It's called. . . Try to Win My Cake. Sharing cake with people I like is one of my favorite parts of my birthday (let's be honest, that's partly because of the fact that I get to have some, too!)  and so I'm hosting my first ever giveaway today!  The prize at stake?

One ready - to - make red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting, which just so happens to be what I'm eating today.  

Okay, so it's not made with rainbows and smiles, but I can almost guarantee that eating it will make you happy! :)

Well, don't just sit there reading words . . . you have a cake to win!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, August 8, 2014

You Can Drink Happiness // Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Shake

Good morning! Oh, wait.  Afternoon?  I'm a little off today.  I spent last night playing one-arm volleyball, watching Pitch Perfect, and telling, among other things, my most embarassing story in an attempt at team bonding.  A girl who I play volleyball with hosted a lock-in for the team at her church, and, of course, we were determined to do anything but sleep.


 It was so, so fun!  (I am, by the way, half of the champion sardines team of the night. I know, I know.)  I got home around eight this morning and promptly put myself to bed, waking up only due to extreme hunger. Extreme.  So, here I am, and I'm discombobulated and I think maybe a little rambly. 

Even in super groggy state, though, I think I can pull myself together enough for a quick recipe!  Edna leaves me no choice.

Today's recipe is for one of my favorite breakfasts of all times, a chocolate peanut butter protein shake!  This thing keeps me full until lunch, it's good for me, and it takes like chocolate.  If you have a problem with any of that ... well, I mean we can still be friends and I won't suggest that you check yourself in to a mental hosptial.  I just don't get you.  

Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Shake
1-2 T peanut butter
1 T cocoa powder
1 c. water or milk
1 serving vanilla protein powder ( usually about 1/4 cup)
handful of ice (Maybe 6-7 cubes? Don't hole me to that!)
*optional: 1 cup of raw spinach, if you don't mind sacrificing your smoothie's looks for a little extra nutrition.

1. If you're using spinach, blend that up with the water first until it's nice and smooth.  You don't want spinach chunks in your smoothie. 

2.  After that, or for those who don't want a smoothie that resembles swamp mud (sad but true) blend all the ingredients until smooth.  Add more ice if it's not thick enough. 

Other add-ins:
Flax seed (good for digestion) 
Oats (good source of fiber; these should be blended with water before the entire smoothie is made as well.)
Cottage cheese (thickness, protein)

This smoothie is best enjoyed on a deck,  accompanied by a beautiful sunrise and plans for a lazy day ahead and slurped through a straw.  

Or really any time.  Anywhere.  Any way you can get it into your mouth. 

This has been another delicious post with: 

Happy smoothie drinking! 


What's your favorite smoothie flavor? I'm always on the look out for new thigs to try! 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Nobody Puts Baby in a Corner // (Or God in a Box)

I tried to name this post "Nobody puts Baby in a corner God in a box, but then Blogger was like, "No, no!  No being witty today!" So I had to not be witty.  But, just for the record, I tried really hard for about thirty seconds. 

The point isn't to hate on Blogger, though.  I really like Blogger, because, duh, it allows me to blog for freeeeeee.  The point is to tell you all a really, really cool God story from when I was babysitting some children last week.

Once upon a time, it was Monday.  I was driving home from work, which right now means that I was leaving the neighborhood where I babysit two little boys, ages seven and nine.  I was driving home, and I was completely overwhelmed.  My job was to keep the boys from disturbing their mom while she worked in her home office, and as far as I could tell, I had failed miserably.  As soon as they woke up, the boys fought over everything from whether to watch Total Drama Island or Teen Titans to who had stole / spit on / broken / lost the other's Nerf gun.  Where I drew a line, they crossed it; when I asked them to clean up their spilled orange juice, they argued; when I took them to the park, they screamed all the way there.  They had broken into their mom's office at least half a dozen times and she'd even come out once to tell them to stop fighting.

I wasn't mad at God, but I was frustrated with my circumstances and kind of put out with Satan for just being so darn bad.  I rolled down the windows, turned up the music, and tried not to cry. (True story.)

This picture was taken through a windshield, so I thought it fit the car reference.  And, yes, that is a footprint on the glass. Enjoy.

Play that scenario on repeat for a couple days.  Each morning, I prayed out loud to God in the car as I sat in traffic on the freeway, waiting for the exit that I was sure would lead to my ultimate doom. Okay, it wasn't that bad. I can be a little over dramatic first thing in the morning.  "God, just help me to get through the day and help me to maybe learn something."  I'd show up at the house, greet the boys, and try my best to stay afloat, leaving six hours later with my head just above water level.  I got through each day; I learned some lessons.  God was answering my prayers with a resounding "yes", but He wasn't nearly finished with me yet.  

By Thursday morning, I was kind of worn out and discouraged, and I definitely wasn't hoping for things to get better.  On my way out the door, my mom stopped me and said, "Allie, I think today's going to be awesome. "  I really wasn't feeling that kind of attitude just then, so I tossed some form of "Okay, Mom," over my shoulder and drove away.

Despite my attitude, my prayer changed that morning.  As I curved around the freeway on-ramp, I told God He could make the day awesome if he wanted to.  "Mom thinks today's going to be awesome, so if you could do that, that would be great. So, yeah."  I continued praying: for my cousin who was going to beauty school and my aunt who didn't love God anymore and my friend who had lost her confidence - in twenty minutes I was at the house and had all but forgotten that I had kind of asked God to make my day awesome.  That's when the miracles started.

Miracle numero uno was that both boys were still asleep when I walked through the door.  That never happened.  Their mom had always kindly made sure that they were awake, dressed, and breakfasted (is that a word?) That day, though, she let them sleep.  For an hour.  An hour is an eternity in babysitting Mike and Daniel time, and I savored every second.  I think I blogged.  It was fantastic.

When they woke up, they were kind of still subdued.  Maybe someone slipped something into their juice boxes? I didn't really care.  I made them pancakes.  They ate them, quietly.  Wow.

I don't remember too many specifics about that Thursday, except for my growing gratitude as the day unfolded in a way that was, indeed, awesome.  Mike and Daniel got along, ate fruit with their lunch when I insisted that they couldn't live off of only BLTs, and spent most of their time outside where their mom couldn't hear them screaming.  And I was on cloud nine.

Around lunch time, between frying bacon for the BLTs and mixing myself a protein shake, I heard God loud and clear.  He was saying,

"Dude! (Does God say "Dude"? Probably.) Do you see this? This could have been your whole week if you would have asked! I don't fit in that tiny space in your head.  I do things that you don't think are possible.  Don't you know that?"

Oh.  Well, yeah.  I guess that would make sense.  That whole creator-of-the-universe,  coordinator-of-every-event-ever, knower-of-every-thought stuff would seem to point to a God who could make a couple pre-adolescent boys behave if he is so inclined.  I didn't even give God that much credit.  I told him, "You probably can't make this situation great; can I at least survive?"  I had forgotten that my God could calm a raging sea, win impossible battles, and move something as unshakeable as a mountain.

As I'm writing this, I'm glad that I had those couple really sucky days first, and I'm pretty sure God wanted it that way, too.  How is he supposed to show his power if I haven't experienced the alternative?

  He is the Rock, his works are perfect,
    and all his ways are just. 

Deuteronomy 32:4

God loves to use impossible circumstances to show us something about himself; the greater the difference between the situation when he's involved and the situation when he's not, the greater the miracle.  

 We have a God that can walk on water, tame lions, and create life with a breath.  We also have a God who knows how many hairs are on our heads and every top-secret plan of the military.  He'll allow stuff to happen - stuff that we don't like.  But you can bet that in the midst of all that stuff, he's waiting, eyes hopeful and pulse quickening, for us to ask for him to show us how great he can really be. 




What's God been up to in your life lately? 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Everyone Needs An Arch Nemesis // Stories About My Cat

Mine happens to be my cat, Si / Pepper.  She has all my friends and family fooled, apparently. They all seem to think that she's just the best thing since our old cat blew this popsicle stand, but she's not. She's a life ruiner.  She ruins lives.  End of story.  She has it out for me, and that's no way to make friends.

She's obviously a master of destruction.  Just look at her, sitting there and plotting against me. 

*Side note: The whole two name thing is due to the fact that when we were naming her, my little sister, who the cat technically belongs to, wanted to name Si Pepper.  I thought it would be funny to name Si Si, after Uncle Si on Duck Dynasty.  My brother and I both really like the name Si, but we get in trouble for calling her that out loud because my sister doesn't like it and Si is her cat.  Besides that, Si is a girl and we don't want her to have gender identity issues.  But this is my blog, and I'm going to call her Si. 

Si and I started off okay.  She was this cute little kitten who purred really loudly and I was a naive fourteen year old girl.

Then, it started.

At least once a week during my junior year of high school, when I was already suffering from lack of sleep because, homework, Si would walk into my room at around 2 AM and start scratching at a post of my loft bed.  And scratching.  And scratching.  While I was supposed to be sleeping.  When If I finally fell asleep after all that racket, I would wake up in the morning to find Si's handiwork, ie a pile of bed dust accompanied by a bed post that was getting closer by the scratch to breaking and unceremoniously dumping me on the floor while I slept.  Things went downhill fast when she started doing that.

Some nights, Si wasn't content to destroy my bed and steal my precious hours of sleep.  She also felt the need to knock things over.  How fun!  The worst was when she stuck her paw in a glass of water, looked right at me, and proceeded to tip the glass over, never breaking eye contact.  The nerve! 

Then there was the time that I was icing my knee (I'm less than a year out of ACL reconstruction surgery and still recoveringish)  and she grabbed the bag of ice in her mouth and pulled it off my knee.  Like, she purposefully attempted to do damage to my health.  Don't tell me she was just curious about the mysterious, cold plastic bag.  She knew what she was doing.

(Almost) caught in the act.  I didn't Instagram her . . . this time.  Just you wait, Si.  Just you wait. 

She also tried really hard to eat the brace that keeps me from breaking my knee some more during physical activity.  Ok . . . she looks kind of cute here.  But so did Regina George, and she was mean. 
When she couldn't destroy my knee, Si went after my mental health.  Last night, I was sleeping (in a very warm, friendly, non-threatening way, I don't mind adding) on the pull out couch in our basement.  You know how there's kind of a crack between the pull out bed part and the couch back part?  Yeah, well Si had decided to crawl under the bed / couch and hang out for a while and set up shop right under the crack.  When I moved my hand a leeeettle too close, she felt the need to aggressively maintain her territory.  In other words, she slipped her grubby little cat paw up through the crack and attacked my hand.  In the middle of the night.  While I was sleeping.  It terrified me and so we're in a fight right now, because that was kind of a jerk move.

I'm off to cat proof my room.  And my knee.  And my life.  Wish me luck!


Monday, August 4, 2014

And The Liebster Goes To . . . // Everything You Never Wanted To Know About Me

As a small blogger, I've noticed that there are a lot of perks to being a big blogger; namely, people read your blog.  That's pretty cool.  (Not that I don't appreciate it, Mom. Thanks! Love you!)  Besides having your mom read your blog, there are a few other perks to being a smaller blogger, too, one of them being that you're eligible to be nominated for the Liebster Award!  It's a way to connect with up-and-coming (coughcough smaller coughcough) bloggers, and it's really cool!

I was nominated by Itunu, who blogs about fashion, fitness, and lots of other super fun, feminine things over at Beyoutiful Beauties.   Itunu's blog is really pretty, and she writes with a positive voice that leaves me with a serious case of the warm fuzzies.  So, you should probably go check her out.

The Liebster Award is kind of like a chain email, except not annoying and a lot more productive.  Once you're nominated, you're supposed to nominate eleven other people for the award.  Supposed to.  The thing is, I kind of like to rebel sometimes, and so I'm going to rebel.  Instead of nominating eleven people right now,  I'm going to collaborate in some form with eleven up and coming bloggers throughout the year.  I have no idea exactly what that's going to look like, but I'm doing it.

So, the facts first:

1 |  I'm 5'7", which means my little brother is taller than me.  He wastes no opportunity to make this fact

2 |  I love volleyball, a lot.  I play for my high school team and my dad is the coach, so I have a built in practice partner / coach around pretty much 24 / 7.  It's pretty cool!

This picture's not winning any beauty contests, but it's proof that I play volleyball! There I am, with my hands on my hips.  Sassy. 

3 |  iCarly may possibly be my favorite show of all times.  They're showing reruns of it on Nickelodeon recently, and I don't hate it.

4 |  My love language is NOT physical tough.  If you were wondering.

It's not, I promise.  I don't even know what I'm doing here. 

5 |  I struggle with Twitter. (And you can be front seat to those struggles here.)  I know it's important for blogging and stuff, and I think I'm getting better, but being witty/interesting/relevant in 140 characters or less is tough! So one time I just tweeted about how it was ten at night and I wanted to eat a brat.  That should not have happened. No one needed to know that.

6 |  My room is a disaster zone.  I used to keep it super clean, but its tidiness has disintegrated with the general together-ness of my life. Oops!  I've decided that I seriously need to get my act together before college, because roommates don't like messy roommates, probably.

7 |  I recently learned how to use GIFs. (See also: Just like any other photo.  Who knew? )  I wrote a post using them, and it was pretty much the most fun thing I have ever done.  Not true, but it was great! I highly recommend them.

8 |  I am kind of wishing that whoever invented this award thing had liked the number seven instead of eleven, because I was doing pretty well with these up until now.

9 |  My favorite song ever is Iris.  It's emotional and the music is on point.  I literally saw the Goo Goo Dolls in concert this summer just for that song.  #WorthIt

10 |  I've got less than a year to decide where I want to educate myself after high school, and I'm still in that "Oh, I don't knowwww . . . I have plenty of time to figure that out!" stage.  I'm also starting to realize that that statement becomes less accurate by the day.

11 |  I am a very, very slow texter backer.  I just get distracted and forget to respond to texts, or I can't think up a response so I just don't.  That's bad of me.  I don't want anyone who ever texts me to think that I hate them!

Answer these questions:
1 |   If you could go anywhere on vacation, where would it be?
Africa.  Africa, Africa, Africa.  I have always wanted to go. 

2 |  What's your favorite dessert?
Does a parent have a favorite child?  Okay, but I'll try my best.  Right now, a peanut butter Oreo blizzard from Dairy Queen sounds amazing, but I'd go for anything pretty much anytime.  #SweetTooth
3 |  What was your favorite thing to do as a child?
I used to make my mom use a hole puncher to punch "dots" out of pieces of construction paper.  I kept my dots in a box until one day I decided to be a fairy or something and sprinkle them all around the house.  I think my mom enjoyed seeing her hard work paying off. 

4 |  What are some of your hobbies now?
I really like cooking and baking, and I'm always up for pretty much anything active.  (Except hockey.  I'm afraid of hockey.) I like spending time with my friends (duh), and reading, and blogging, and doing my hair, and taking pictures, and, and . . . lots of things.  Oh, and eating. 

After my first (and only to date) 10k! I'm on the right.
5 |  Who's your inspiration?
My mom!  She's such a hard worker and has an amazing relationship with God and a perpetual positive attitude.  Plus, she lets me wear her old crew neck sweatshirts, and they're pretty great. 

6 |  What's your style (preppy, boho, urban, etc.)?
Errhm,  retro / preppy / athlete? Is that a thing?  I like dresses and collars and cardigans and Keds, but most of the time I'm rocking the running shorts and t-shirts because that works well for what I spend most of my time doing. 

I loved these Keds to death.  I think they have a total of 9 holes between the two of them. 

7 |  Where do you see yourself 10 years from now?
Well, I'll for sure be twenty-six.  Other than that, not a clue.  I could be married with kids or super duper single.  I'll probably have some sort of job, though, because adults have to do that, right?  And hopefully not living at home.  

8 |  Tribal print or polka dots?
This is hard! I keep typing one and then deleting it and then typing the other.  I can't do it.  Okay, fine.  Polka dots! 

9 |  Why did you decide to become a blogger?
Before this space was birthed (ew, I don't like that word), I blogged at another blog that I called (un)cool.  I have no idea where that one came from.  I mean, I've always liked writing, but I have no memory of what made me want to start a blog.  Reckless, on the other hand,  started with a viewing of The Great Gatsby and some quality family time that inspired me to love other people more recklessly.  I wrote a pretty in depth post about that which you can read here. 

10 |  Who is your style icon?
Can I Pinterest that? Yes? Okay, hold on a second.  Princess Kate, because she's always lookin' good.  Plus, her hair.  She's a beaut. 

11 |  What's your favorite t.v show?
Besides iCarly, there's Duck Dynasty and What Not to Wear and Full House.  And Harry Potter Weekends on ABC. 

We already talked about how I'm not nominating people right now, but I already went to the trouble of linking all these nice links to some of my favorite bloggers, so I'm just going to leave them there and you can do with them what you want.  (One option, for instance, being to click them and see what's going on with some bloggers you may not have heard of before!)
Later, skaters!


Oh, and P.S. . . Speaking of chain mail (Yes, I did mention chain mail in this post.  Were you even paying attention?) lets hear the biggest thing promised to you by chain mail that didn't come true.  Comment those broken promises! Let it all out!

That is all.

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