Monthly Archives

January 2018

My Toxic Relationship

Posted in Lifestyle, Relationships by

A blond woman lays on a couch beside the window. It's grey and muted, her hair and her hand covering her face. A sense of sadness and loneliness is captured by photographer Benjamin Combs. The title "My Toxic Relationship" is overlaid.

There are plenty of people in my past that I wish I had never met. Or that I had stood up to. Or that I didn’t keep in my life for as long as I did. But the aliens/government/my future self aren’t sharing their time machines, so I’ve just gotta keep going with those black marks in my past.

The biggest stain on my people report card was my relationship. The relationship, singular, one, uno, can’t be confused with the other one because the other one doesn’t exist. That’s a tangled web of psychology and chaos to unwind at a later time, although it does likely have something to do with what that relationship was: toxic.

What is a Toxic Relationship?

As a kid, I heard all about abusive relationships that involved one partner hitting and beating and threatening the other. It wasn’t until I was describing my situation to my college roommate that things started to connect. Here’s the truth: an abusive relationship can exist without any physical harm. It’s called emotional abuse.

In some cases, emotional abuse is more obvious: “you’re stupid”, “you’re worthless”, “you’re ugly and lucky I love you because no one else would”. In others, its less: “I don’t want you to go out”, “you make me sad”, “you don’t do enough for me”. If your partner–or your friend or a family member–makes you feel worthless, that’s the toxin in your blood that they put there. If your partner makes you feel guilty about going out with friends, or wants to know every detail of the plan, s/he is trying to control you.

It can be subtle. It can develop slowly. Have you heard the story about the frog and boiling water? If you put a frog into a pot of boiling water, it will immediately jump out. If you put a frog in water and slowly raise the temperature to boiling, the frog will stay and die. No one is hit on the first date and thinks “s/he might be the one!” In the same case, no one is made to feel worthless and unloveable on the first date and instantly falls in love. In the beginning, everyone is happy. Everyone is falling in love. Then, a year later, you wonder why you’re so miserable. But the darkness of emotional abuse is that it’s so subversive that it often draws the victim closer to the abuser.

Underwater, people are swimming. There's a sense of drowning as only the shadows and limbs are visible. Overlaid is the quote "If it's destroying you, then it isn't love, my dear." Photo taken by Tim Marshall.

How it Happened to Me

Disclaimer: Every story is different. This is mine. Whatever comments I make about myself, my decisions, my mentality, the things I perpetrated, do not apply to anyone else that may or may not have been, are in, or will be in an abusive relationship.

I was not popular in high school. My dates to dances were groups of friends and my run-ins with admirers were guys I had zero interest in (and were also at the bottom of the food chain. It was high school. Stop judging). As a result, once I got to college I got a bit…desperate. Not desperate for a date or willing to take just anyone, but I was all about finally being in a relationship and not being the ugly duckling any more. I dated. I hooked up. I had a good time. But no one was willing to commit.

Until Jon*.

He had admired me from afar when we lived in brother and sister halls in the dorms (unbeknownst to me. I had never seen him). Then it turned out we were living in the same apartment complex. A passing hello and a few group events later, we started dating. He made me happy: he spent time with me, was interested in me and everything that made me me (even the dark parts. In retrospect, especially the dark parts). He fixed my flat tire, taught me how to drive stick, cooked me food, and invited me over every day after class. We’d talk for hours. We talked about a future.

Jon turned 21 before me. He went to the bars every now and then. About every Thursday. This will be important later.

We moved into different apartments when the leases ended, but I spent the majority of my time at his place. We’d talk: about our dreams, about how he wasn’t happy in the ROTC program he was in, about what it was like having divorced parents, about his fears of being cheated on, about how hard and confusing life was. About how he was scared I would cheat on him. About my rising depression. About feeling like we wouldn’t be loved by anyone else. Around the seventh-month mark, the conversations were mostly somber, dark, usually involving one or both of us crying. We talked about wanting to be honest with each other and doing everything we could to make the relationship work. That turned into criticizing each other over the tiniest things: “you don’t say thank you enough”, “you don’t listen to me”, “I love you more than you love me”.

I turned 21 and was excited to finally graduate from house parties to bar crawls. Suddenly, Jon was “over” the bars and didn’t want to go out. Since he and his friends were pretty much my only friends by this point, it meant that I didn’t go out. And it was okay, because I was spending time with him.

Right?

Related Reading: The Things He Said

I was formally diagnosed with depression. He started looking through my phone in the middle of the night, waking me up to ask who Eric (a project partner) was or why I was having coffee with Jeff (an old friend, whom he had met on several occurrences). We started fighting. I was always made out to be the bad guy. I stayed because I was determined to do everything I could to make things work, both of us insisting that I could do more, should be doing more.

Finally, I was reaching the end of my rope. No matter what, I wasn’t good enough. Things weren’t getting better. He left work in the middle of the day to come talk to me about it. We both knew what was coming. While I waited, I talked with my roommate, who was busy painting the kitchen. I told her about the things that annoyed me and why I was unhappy: he didn’t like me going out, he constantly put me down, I felt like I wasn’t allowed to be me and life my life. That’s when she said it:

“That sounds like abuse.”

Cue the sound of shattering glass. Everything clicked into place. Everything made sense. Holy shit, I had fallen into a trap and been too blind to see it.

We broke up. He made me be the one to say it, insisting that I be the bad guy.

My only regret is telling him that he was still a good person.

*Names may or may not have been changed to protect identities. 

A couple sits in a car, not touching. They seem stiff and uncomfortable with each other. Overlaid is the quote "You'll never really see how toxic someone is until you breathe fresher air."

How to Recognize Abuse and Toxicity. And What to Do About It 

Maybe it’s happening to you. Maybe it’s happening to your best friend or your sister or your brother-in-law. Look out for yourself; look out for the people you care about.

Notice the signs: unhappiness, pulling away from other people, feeling guilty about little things, second-guessing things.

It is okay to want to spend time with your friends without your significant other. It is okay to dance the two-step at a country bar with someone that’s not your partner. It is okay to have drinks with a friend of the opposite gender (or same gender or non gender or anyone that is not your partner).

Talk about it: with your partner, with your BFF, with your sibling, with your parents, with your hair dresser, with a therapist. Speak as honestly as you can. Listen to what they have to say. If you think you’re seeing signs of abuse towards someone you love, bring it up with them.

Don’t accuse or pick a fight: abusers are skilled in turning everything onto you. If you attack, they’ll attack back. Things might escalate, get ugly, get worse. Victims, likewise, often don’t view themselves as victims. They’ll have something of a Stockholm syndrome: they’ll defend their attacker, insist you don’t know what you’re talking about. I found that phrases like “I’ve noticed x and y, can you tell me your take on it?” are much more effective and help people come to their own conclusions.

Be present and active: the worst thing to do, as a victim, is to fall deeper into it. Keep your friends and family that are outside of the situation, whether you talk to them or not about it. Make a point to have some control over your own life. If your talks with your partner isn’t doing enough, get outside help. If you think someone you love is being abused or is in a toxic relationship, don’t let them pull away: invite them out for drinks or activities, text them, call them, let them know you’re there for them. You don’t have to talk about the abuse all the time (or at all), but make sure that they feel safe with you. Because if they get out of the relationship, they’re going to need someone around to help them rebuild.

 

A blond woman lays on a couch beside the window. It's grey and muted, her hair and her hand covering her face. A sense of sadness and loneliness is captured by photographer Benjamin Combs. The title "Recognizing Emotional Abuse" is overlaid.
January 30, 2018
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11 Messages You’ll Get on Plenty of Fish

Posted in Lifestyle, Relationships by

Yes, it’s that time again, where I’ve reactivated or downloaded a new dating app. I read an article about online dating saying that you’re doing it wrong unless you’re on multiple sites. Therefore, I’ve upped my game by downloading two more apps on my phone. Call me crazy for trusting some random person’s advice on the internet, but hey, I have dating apps, you should already know I’m (partially) desperate.

I’ve tried online dating in the past, my first actually being Tinder when I was in college. Since then, I’ve used Plenty of Fish, as well as tried Coffee Meets Bagel and Bumble. I tried using a few others, but I’m too cheap to pay a monthly fee.

For your amusement, or perhaps caution, here are the 11 types of conversations I’ve had through my go-to dating app, Plenty of Fish:

 

Horses

Wow, that’s it? Not even going to ask how my day is or tell me you think I’m a person you’d like to get to know? There is literally nothing in this statement that tells me anything about you. What it does tell me is: “I’m too lazy to think of anything else to say”, “I’ve already put in the effort into another conversation”, “I’m boring as hell”. I hardly ever respond to these unless the guy is extremely attractive (yeah sounds snobby, but it’s online dating, you have the freedom to pick and choose what you want).

 

A Loss for Words

I can’t tell you how many messages I’ve gotten where it’s gone something like, “I don’t know what to say, but I think you’re cute and would you like to talk”. Clearly you know what to say, just take out that first part! I’ve had my moments where I’ve had the same intro “hey, I don’t know what the f*** I’m supposed to say, but here’s a dad joke, I hope you laugh. P.S. I like your dog, what type is it?” The difference with mine is that I’m actually leading into conversation. I get how awkward it is to start a conversation, but it’s also a big piece of how I judge the kind of person you are. Like how do I even reply to this? “Thanks” (??) and then what?…

Related Reading: How to Handle Getting Hit on at a Bar

A Beggar

It’s admirable for those who actually want to know about me, but I cannot tell you how many terrible conversation starters I have created. “Yeah I hate one night stands too”, “I want the same things you do”, “I’m a genuine person giving this a genuine go”.  At the same time, it just sounds like he is more desperate than me. Don’t tell me what you are, just be it! One time, I set my bio to “I’m impressed you read this far down” and I swear the messages came in like fleas: “Are you impressed?”, “Hey I can read”, “Give me a gold star for reading your profile”…. I have no one to blame but myself.

 

The Persistent 

Sometimes I wish there were “read receipts” on these messages. I felt bad for not responding, and not to sound conceited in any way, but I get a lot of messages! I’ll respond to the ones I’m interested in, which means the ones I don’t respond to result in either this, or having a guy throw a fit. I know it kinda makes me look like a brat, but it’s online dating. We’re both already judging each other by looks first, sorry if I don’t like yours.

 

A True Gentleman

Clearly I dodged a bullet by not responding…. I understand why he was upset, but that’s not fair for him to judge me solely off of that. If he had responded with “hey I’d really like the chance to get to know you, please give me a chance to get to know you” maybe things could’ve been different. But don’t accuse me of not being interested in a “true gentleman” who “respects” me. Sorry, but calling me conceited or mocking me doesn’t exactly make me feel respected… And yes, I do know I spelled “conceited” wrong, I was too fired up to care. This is exactly why this site is called Plenty of Fish…. *flush* moving on.

Related Reading: Dating 101: 7 Red Flags You Shouldn’t Ignore

 The Defeated

Yeah, I realized I used the same message (which resulted in same spelling for “conceited”), but it was the nicest way I could say I wasn’t interested, but thanks anyway. This guy just wanted a response, although  his frustration is clear to me (I’ve had my fair share of no replies, too). I actually received the message above and the one before that (the butt-hurt) in the same DAY. What are the odds of two guys asking why I won’t give this (a.k.a them) an actual chance in the same day? Greater than someone actually asking me out to dinner, sadly.

 

A Sugar Daddy

Uhhhhhh, yeah you tell me how you would’ve responded to that. Either this guy was making a hilarious joke or a American Psycho offer… I’m okay with never knowing which.

 

The Grey Zone

You know they make sites for people like you right? Yeah I watch 50 Shades of Grey, doesn’t mean I want to live it! Next!

 

Just WTF

Spoke too soon… Really?! First I get a Dom request now a Submissive? I’m out.

 

Prince Charming

This is the best part about this site. The odds are pretty decent for meeting someone I may be interested in! These guys are the ones I want to plan something with and that I give my number to. I only do this if I can see myself going out on a date with them in the first place. Like having things to talk about, clicking. There may be a lot of interesting guys on dating sites, but there will always be good guys that make me remember why I have it in the first place.

Related Reading: The Things He Said

Plenty of Fish: worth your time?

I’ll say this for any sort of online dating: it’s worth it to try. There are so many people out there and if you’re like me, you don’t meet new people everyday. Online dating is something that can help you do just that. And hey, at the very least, you’ll have some interesting stories to tell your girlfriends later!

January 25, 2018
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W(h)ine About It: The Little Things

Posted in Winer's Corner by

Hands work a corkscrew into a bottle of wine. The title "W(h)ine about it: The Little Things" is written over it.

I’m standing in line for a latte that was going to be hot but will turn out iced. I’m desperately peeling off as many layers of clothing as I legally can while trying to form a coherent sentence for the barista. It’s a warm January day (35-degrees) with the sun out, and knowing that I’ll be outside when it drops below 20 tonight, I’ve layered up like the well-prepared Colorado native that I am. Unfortunately, the building manager set the cafe temperature to a balmy 70-degrees and I’m starting to sweat. And I don’t like sweat.

I know, I know, 2018 is supposed to be about being positive and complaining less, but I need to get some things off my chest. There are so many little things–inconveniences, irritants, complaints, irrational temperatures–that get under my skin. Here’s my list:

  • People that walk on the wrong side of the sidewalk.
  • Websites that lead you in circles and never get you to the information destination you need.
  • Starbucks that don’t accept rewards on gift cards, like the one’s in Barnes and Noble.
  • Slow drivers in the left lane.
  • Groups of people that take up the whole damn sidewalk and then walk reeeaaallllyyy slooooowwwly.
  • Free trials that require a credit card.
  • Free e-courses that don’t actually give you any information, but tell you that all the information is available if you purchase their e-book.
  • Cashiers that insist on giving quality customer service by asking everyone about their family history when there’s a three-foot-long line.
  • People that say “Give me a smile” or “You should smile more” or any variation of that. I have RBF, and you telling me to smile is actually just going to make me want to punch you.
  • Drivers that don’t use turn signals.
  • When an app–especially GPS–takes forEVER to load.
  • Apartment complexes that don’t have guest parking.
  • People that post every single life development to their social media pages.
  • People that create networking groups and use it as a platform to post about every single life development.
  • When people ask you to work on a project or assignment before you’ve finished waking up. Especially if they know you don’t function until at least ten in the morning (ELENA!!!).

To be honest, the list could go on forever. But my body has finally adjusted to the cafe temperature and I was able to put my outfit back together, and I figured it’d be best to end here before the five shots of espresso catch up to me. Now it’s back to being positive and cheery and a good person. Or at least I’ll try to.

January 23, 2018
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7 Ways to Enjoy a Night Home Alone

Posted in Lifestyle by

home alone to do

I live with my sister, her boyfriend, a cat, and a dog. Usually we are all home or have friends over on the weekends to play games. Last weekend I found myself in a peculiar place: I was home alone. With just the cat and dog to judge me, I decided to take advantage of this time to do things I wanted to do in solitude.

Here are just a few of the opportunities that crossed my mind:

 

Pamper

My sister and her boyfriend always get me Lush products for gifts, which I love! Having a night to myself meant that I could use that bath bomb under my sink with a face mask on without anyone complaining how I used all the hot water. Then, when I finished with my bath, I could trim my nails and pick out some nail polish for my fingers and toes. My face would feel fresh, I would be relaxed and my nails would be beautiful!

 

Read 

Photo by Jacalyn Beales on Unsplash

I’m a bookworm, but I usually only find time to read before I go to sleep. Being home by 5:00 p.m. made it so I could easily dedicate some time to my book without interruption (minus the cat throwing up a hair ball). This was a good way for me to catch up on some reading for book club as well as to my own personal list (currently reading the second Harry Potter book).

Related Reading: What Should I Read Next?, We Started A Book Club!

 

Write

I love to journal, but I’ve been pretty bad about it recently. However, I do have this and having a night to myself could really benefit me by having more time to write content for posts! This would be an opportune time for me to think of new post ideas, too. Or think of that next big seller that will be on the shelves in Barnes and Nobles… you never know! Sometimes it feels good just to empty your mind on paper, regardless of if there’s a point to it or not.

 

Television

I could watch a chick flick while eating my take-out with a bottle of wine of my choice without any guilt or worry about what others would think! I could enjoy my movie without disruption or comments in peace while I cried during a part that’s probably not even sad… or I could binge watch that new show on Netflix that everyone is raving about, or catch up on a show I haven’t watched in a while (Outlander).

 

Craft

I have a couple of projects I’m slowly working on/haven’t even started yet. Having all this time gave me the time to start that travel map collage, paint the rest of my paint by numbers or color in an adult coloring book. This way I could play music or watch something in the background while I busy my mind in a productive way.

Related Reading: Creating a Bullet Journal

 

Meditate

Photo by Lena Bell on Unsplash

I received a yoga kit as a company gift this Christmas. It came with a mat, a strap, a block and a DVD to follow. I could move furniture, plug the DVD into the TV downstairs and stretch out my muscles. At the very least, I could sit in complete silence if I really wanted to!

 

Cook

I preach about meal prepping all the time, but it was a Friday, which isn’t the best day to start that. Also, I had worked a full week; I didn’t want to have to think about next week yet! I could take this time to cook a decent meal, or at least preheat the oven for some hot, gooey cookies for dessert!

 

These are just a few of the possibilities that crossed my mind when I was home alone. Naturally I opted for take out, wine, and a chick flick (which I didn’t cry to!) on my couch with animals sleeping on me. Some other things to consider doing if you’re home alone would be to knit, play an instrument, do a puzzle, play video games, or complete a Sudoku. What do you do with your nights at home alone?

January 16, 2018
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Cherish: A Story of Silver Linings

Posted in Lifestyle by

Cherish

When I was seventeen, my first tattoo was going to be a wing on my ankle. Two weeks before I turned eighteen, I rear-ended my best friends car. Bye-bye tattoo money. Thank goodness, too, because I would have regretted that tattoo.

Instead, the first tattoo I got was the word “cherish” on my left wrist, exactly one month before my nineteenth birthday. A lot of thought went into it: which word was the most important to me? that would mean the most? that wouldn’t be too cliche? In retrospect, I should have put equal consideration into the design, but what’s done is done. So much had happened in my first year of college, and I needed something to commemorate that growth, and to remind me to continue on that path.

The Tattoo

I see my wrist every day. Just as I see my nose every day, but rarely register it. After six years, the ink on my wrist has become so common place, that it has nearly failed in its responsibility to be a daily reminder.

In my teenage years, I had a sour nature and tendency to focus on the negatives. I strung up my unfortunate events and flew the banners from the rooftops, clinging to the notion that they excused my sullen and sharp behavior. It wasn’t until I had someone very dear to me start pointing out that I was poisoning myself with that negativity. I wasn’t doing myself, or anyone around me, any good. He directed me towards finding positive things in my life. Me, being the stubborn woman that I am and still inclined to see the negatives, compromised by finding the positives in the negatives.

One way or another, the idea of a commemorative, reminding tattoo came about. I thought of the word “treasure”: to treasure what has happened, and that it’s often hard to find. But it didn’t sound right, and it seemed an odd word to appear on someone’s wrist. A few others came and went, until I finally settled on the winner.

“Cherish” means to hold dear and to protect, to care for lovingly. I direct it towards my memories, my experiences, the lessons learned, the people I’ve met, and to myself. It has served me well, when I take the time to reflect on it.

Things I Cherish

  • Having a friend in elementary school that introduced me to video games, fantasy and sci-fi books, and writing. Even though our friendship didn’t last (most likely for the best), that’s where my identity took root.
  • An argumentative divorce that took ten years to fall into silence. However damaging that it was, it did at least teach me the importance of civil speech and forgiveness.
  • Owning a horse and learning how to become self-reliant.
  • My independent, take-no-shit attitude that alienated me from potential friends, but also prevent all but a few, minor instances of bullying.
  • My abusive relationship in college, the ending of which made me realize exactly how great I am and what I deserve.
  • Fantastic friends that have stuck around through the years and across cities.
  • The chance to spend six months abroad, even though it wasn’t the right place for me.

Related Reading: Carpe Diem and Other Ambitions for 2018

A girl walks through a green field under a bright sun. In an orange overlay box, the quotes reads "Once you start replacing negative thoughts with positive ones, you'll start seeing positive results."

The Importance of Silver Linings

Bad things are never going to stop happening. What can change, though, is how you let them effect you.

I still have a long way to go. I make excuse after excuse for why my work isn’t done; I whine about my terrible boss and the crappy weather; I rage at my BFF when she decides to go visit her family for the weekend instead of binge-watching Harry Potter with me. But I am taking steps to shift my thinking towards the positive and taking things in stride. I’m turning my excuses into aspects of my life that need to be examined and redirected; the weather isn’t going to change and now I have a great excuse to wear my rain boots.

It’s also about having a growth mindset. When you can find the positives in the negatives, you find the lessons in the failure. It’s from there that you can grow (understand why it’s called a growth mindset?).

Maybe you don’t have to be as extreme as me and get a tattoo, but try to find something that will remind you to think positively. Put a message in the corner of your bathroom mirror. Put silver things in your house. Repeat a positive mantra. Keep a gratitude page in your planner. Make the change.

Related Reading: 6 Mantras to Live By in 2018

Related Reading: Creating a Bullet Journal

 

January 16, 2018
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The Things He Said

Posted in Lifestyle, Relationships by

what he said

 

I’ve been in the dating game for far too long. So far, I’ve had two “real” relationships that went beyond the dating realms: commitment, ‘I love you’s, meeting the family etc. That’s not to say my dating life has been complete failure; I was close to that relationship status with a couple of guys. But there was always something that wasn’t right, something off that my gut knew better than my head. Looking back, it seems clear why those relationships never turned into ‘my forever’. The way he would respond to what I said or wanted was degrading and would make me feel stupid at times. I decided to write a post about a couple guys I’ve dated recently and what they said in different scenarios.

Here’s a list of all the things he’s said to me while we were dating:

 

The Bad

When he wouldn’t commit to spending time with me and my friends and I ignored his call:

“You are a child”

When I invited him to my birthday party two weeks in advance and he said he would come, then backed out the night of:

“You all pissy now”

When I told him I was over it (the first time)

“I know I f***** up.

But I’m ready to grow the f*** up and stop being that person to you.
I really am going to try and not being that total f*** up..”

When I said I didn’t see this working out:

“Trust me, I know this won’t really work. And I know 100% cause I feel like I don’t care.”

When I started not to care and had little effort:

“I hope you grow up”

When I stopped responding:

“I’ll f*** someone else

When I told him to stop sending me stupid, pointless snapchats:

“Someone’s pissy. Have fun doing nothing at work” 

When he accused me of cheating on him:

“I was blackout drunk

You never let me know that I made you happy. You never let me know you.”

 

Related Reading: Dating 101: 7 Red Flags You Shouldn’t Ignore

 

kaboompics

The Good

When I was gone on vacation for 5 days:

“I MISS YOU”

When he realized I was serious when I said I was done:

“I f***ed up

I’m ready to grow the f*** up

I just want to hold your hand.”

When I remembered his birthday and got him something:

“You are too nice to me”

After we met for the first time and he found me on Facebook:

“I thought you were really cute last night and had to remember to somehow get a hold of you”

When we were both home alone:

“Stay with me”

When we had “pillow talk”

“You’re so beautiful”

When we were driving to dinner

“How did I get so lucky”

 

 

After I Broke Up With Him:

 

kaboompics

 

“I will only love you

You are what matters to me

I will do anything for you

You are the one I’m supposed to be with. 

I’m losing everything that matters to me.

You are my forever.”

 

Weeks after I broke up with him:

“I hope you know I care about you a lot

I will always love you

I’m sorry”

 

Those things made me feel good for a time, and like the good could outweigh the bad. Ultimately, I knew things wouldn’t be the same, and I was tired of being called crazy or a b****. So I made the decision to walk away. Turns out it was a lot harder than I thought it would be, but it was the right thing to do.

 

Related Reading: 3 Reasons to Love Being Single

 

January 11, 2018
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Concert: Here Come the Mummies

Posted in Lifestyle by

concert mummies

It’s not every day that you get to witness a group of grown men in full mummy gear play funk music for two straight hours. If that day every comes your way, grab it and go because it will be the best concert you ever see.

Our dear friend Mitch gifted us concert tickets to Here Come the Mummies at the Boulder Theater for Christmas. He had first introduced us to the band, however briefly, at dinner a few months earlier when Belle mentioned having enjoyed seeing Big Bad Voodoo Daddy at the Arvada Center. BBVD is very classic swing music, but Belle’s mentioning of the horns and saxophone prompted Mitch to pull of clips of the Mummies’ funk music. Later, when he saw the band would be touring with a stop in Colorado for the first time in their 18 years as a band, he had the genius idea of getting tickets.

From left to right, Elena, Mitch, and Belle snap a selfie at the Boulder Theater before Here Come the Mummies hit the stage.

The Band

Decked in paint and mummy apparel, the “500 year old Egyptian Mummies” band members are shrouded in mystery. The identities of the eight musicians in the Nashville funk band are kept “under wraps”, as they say. Rumor has it that some of them have Grammies on their mantles from their solo or other group ventures, but nothing has been confirmed. Although it’s very likely because ooooh! lawdy that band can play.

Since 2002, the band has produced nine studio albums, four EPs, and two live albums. The members have fluctuated over the years, but the funky and powerful music has remained true. In addition in performing wicked saxophone, guitar, and trumpet solos, the band has a certain knack for word play. Out of context, lyrics are raunchy and have listeners looking quizzically like “did they really just say that?” In context, it’s just about a guy selling hotdogs (see: Attack of the Weiner Man).

Here Come the Mummies perform on stage. Blue stage lights illuminate band members dressed in mummy costumes and face paint in the funk concert.

The Show

The Mummies entered from the street front of the theater, parading through with drums and an Anubis in tow. Once on stage, the lights went wild. And so did the band. And so did the audience. Immediately, the music was loud, strong, and full. With drums, a key-tar, bass, electric guitar, trumpet, vocals, and three types of saxophone, it was a party.

What we found to be the most OMG was that the mummies didn’t stop. Ever. They masterfully used solos to give members quick water breaks and breathers, but the music never stopped. The dancing never stopped. The vocals never wavered. On it’s own, that’s impressive athleticism and performance abilities. But to do that in Colorado, where the air is thin and the oxygen lacking, that’s down-right amazing. We’ve heard people at various concerts and musicals and sporting events talk about the added difficulty of performing well with less air. We bypass out-of-state hikers keeled over on the side of the trail gasping for air. There’s such a thing as altitude sickness! But the Mummies handled it better than anyone we’d ever seen before (maybe it’s because mummies don’t have lungs? IDK).

Some of the audience knew the band’s work and flew their Freak Flags (it’s a song. It’s great); others were like us and vaguely knew the band. But everyone–everyone–had a great time. 100% would do again.

 

January 9, 2018
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Carpe Diem and Other Ambitions for 2018

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Carpe Diem ambitions for 2018

Every New Year’s Eve, I get excited about the new year coming. Anything seems possible, so I make a mental list of all the things I want to do. In reality, I usually only do a couple of those things. I’ve never actually finished a checklist, even if it’s just what I need to grab at the grocery store. But I always make a list so I can go back and remember “oh yeah, those are all the things that would make me happy”. I know we’ve already mentioned some mantras for 2018, but here are some of my personal aspirations for this year.

 

Budget successfully

Since I started bullet journaling, I see how much money I spend and on what each month. This has helped me realize that I spend way too much on material things, things that I’ll probably get rid of in a couple months anyway. My goal is to pay off as much as I can on my credit cards and loans. Last fall, I switched my car insurance, which has saved me about $50 a month. I also transferred my credit card to an outside bank with 0% APR for 21 months so I can catch up on payments without the interest. I’m looking at ideas by The Penny Hoarder and seeing which work best for me.

 

“Me” time

Photo by Anna Demianenko on Unsplash

I’m surrounded by people nearly everyday. I work on a team, I have roommates, I hang out with friends, I talk to the cashier at the grocery store. It’s good to have that interaction with people, but sometimes I need to step back and have time to myself. I find peace when I’m doing puzzles, writing, reading, exercise or watch T.V. by myself. It’s a place where I can zone out and purely focus on what I’m doing without interruption, like a meditation of sorts. I want to take an hour a day once a week at LEAST to dedicate to myself.

 

Related Reading: 6 Mantras to Live By in 2018

 

No complaints

I know I’ve already mentioned this in our other post, but I’m really serious about it. Too often I hear myself coming up with excuses of why I can’t do something. Granted, money is usually a factor, but I need to think of other alternatives. I don’t want to make people feel incompetent or left out on my account either. So instead of insulting or saying something negative, I’m going to work on constructive criticism, controlling frustration and letting others speak before I do.

 

Good vibes only

Carpe Diem and Other Ambitions for 2018

I have a lot of friends, but I also have had a lot of people who have hurt and dismissed my understanding and friendship. So as a favor to myself, I’m cutting out those people, and focusing my energy on myself, putting in the effort where it counts. I don’t want to look back and see how much effort I put into something and never realized until all that time was past. I want to take initiative, be forward, push for what I want, what makes me happy and involve those who want to be included.

 

Related Reading: Our Bucket List for 2018

 

Carpe Diem

I want to be able to end my day with a sense of accomplishment. I have a journal where I can write one line of whatever I want everyday for the next five years. That page should be something that I am proud of, or an influence someone had on me that day. I want it to be for what I’m grateful for and things that make me happy. I don’t want to take it one day at a time, I want to make it into an event.

January 2, 2018
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Our Bucket List for 2018

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Bucket ListAs 2017 is coming to an end, we decided to write down all the things we wanted to accomplish in the new year. Some are things that we never got to in 2017, others were thought of in the moment. We have an entire year to do everything (or close to) on this list. Welcome 2018, we’re excited for what you’ll bring!

2018 Bucket List

  • Hike a 14er
  • Go camping
  • Visit Canada
  • See the Northern Lights
  • Visit a city (in state) we’ve never been to
  • Spend a day on the water
  • Go skiing
  • Visit Hanging Lake
  • Write a story
  • Go on a Cruise
  • Do at least ONE Adrenaline Junky activity
  • Meet someone famous
  • Foster a pet
  • Go to a concert
  • Spend a day at a resort spa
  • Make our first $100 as bloggers
  • Take a cooking class
  • Go fishing
  • Swim with sharks
  • Go clamming
  • Stomp grapes
  • Try a strange food
  • Learn new songs in American Sign Language
  • Volunteer
  • Shoot a gun
  • Go paintballing
  • Go to at least ONE sports event per season
  • Ride a tandem bicycle
  • Ride a “beer bus”
  • Visit a hostel
  • Book an Air BnB
  • Go to a winery

 

January 2, 2018
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Santa Belle: What I Gave for Christmas

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Christmas ideas

Christmas is my absolutely positively favorite holiday of the year. I love the festive decorations, the cookies and sweets, the music, the gathering of friends and family, and the gifts. As someone in her young twenties, Christmas is a reliable time of year to get some help on all the things I need and want but can’t afford. Like this year I received a much needed blanket for my bed and gift cards to some of my favorite places. But better than receiving the gifts is giving them.

I try throughout the year to give meaningful and thoughtful gifts. It’s the chance for me to say “I notice you and appreciate you”. Now, meaningful and thoughtful doesn’t have to mean expensive, which was very true this year (I spent an average of maybe $10 a gift); it means addressing someone’s interests, style, or personality. And this year I hit it out of the park.

So I don’t want to brag about the gifts I got. I want to brag about the gifts I gave. Hopefully this can give you some insight and help on what to give your loved ones the next holiday season!

For the ladies in my family:

Waaaay back in September I stumbled on a secret Kate Spade sale that finally let me achieve my dream of owning one of her purses and a wallet. It also let me get some Christmas shopping done.

  • For my mom, I got her a pair of dangling earrings, a collection of brassy little circles which she loved.
  • For my step-mom of sorts, a circle bracelet with a mod black, white, and blue pattern that 100% matched her beautiful style.
  • For my sister, a simple gold and crystal necklace since her ears aren’t pierced. As a similar lover of designers, she loved adding it to her collection.

Related Reading: Dear Bellena: Help with the Holidays

For the ladies that love a good home-made gift:

I love little crafts, especially those involving yarn or string, because it gives me something to do during my frequent Netflix marathons. They also make for great, inexpensive, heart-felt gifts!

  • For my best friend in the whole wide world: a “flowery” cross-stitch to decorate her fancy-pants cubicle and let her coworkers know just how much she cares.
  • For my step-sister of sorts: a framed cross-stitch that pairs her love for cats and activism in one perfect little picture.
My step-sister and step-mom pose with their Christmas gifts on the couch. My step-sister holds a white-framed cross-stitch pattern that features four cats and the words "less catcalls, more cats". My step mom looks down at the Kate Spade bangle bracelet I got her.

Step-mom and step-sister pose with their gifts.

Related Reading: Adam’s Mystery Playhouse: Holidays R Murder 

For the southern dad that loves to cook and already has everything he needs:

My dad is the hardest to shop for. He doesn’t like a lot of fancy things, likes to keep thing simple and clutter free, already has every tool in the tool shed, and buys everything he needs for himself. I have to get super creative with his gifts, and they’re usually the ones I stress over for the entire year. But this year I stumbled on perfection.

  • A little book from Barnes and Noble’s discount shelves called Well Butter My Butt and Call Me a Biscuit, a collection of weird and crazy sayings and stories from the south, perfect for someone who spent his summers on a farm in Missouri as a kid.
  • A Himalayan Salt Plate for cooking and bar-b-queing. My dad loves to cook and is a master at it, but already has all the pots and pans and knives he needs. This gave me something I could give to him that was new and interesting and expanded his cooking style. I’m looking forward to whatever he makes with it!

A salt plate with a serving tray and cook book sit on the coffee table after being opened as a gift on Christmas.

For the world-conscious, give-backers that rule the world:

These were other stumble-on miracles that I found that managed to combine duel interests into one perfect gift.

  • For my best friend’s sister, the green-thumb guru: a K-Cup Recycling Tool. Keurig pods can’t be recycled unless the top is separated from the bottom, which requires a nifty tool like this (which is relevant because she uses a Keurig for her morning coffee). Bonus points: the coffee grounds make great compost for her many many house plants.
  • For the friends and sister + brother-in-law that have a rescue pup(s): coffee is a great gift, but coffee that gives back is even better. Grounds and Hounds donates a portion of their profits to animal shelters and rescues, which I’m all about. This way, I was able to include the doggos in the gift without adding yet another squeaker toy to the over-flowing collection.

For everyone else, they are coffee mugs:

Simple, versatile, useful, necessary, and you can never have enough. Mugs are a great way to spread the love without emptying your wallet.

  • For the dog-lover stuck in a house with two cat ladies: a mug covered in cartoon pups. He needed a mug of his own that didn’t read “crazy cat lady” or “how do you like me meow?”
  • For the sassy, silly, YOLO AF bestie: a mug sporting the life motto of “no regerts”.
  • For the football-loving brother-in-law that married a Colorado native: some orange and blue Broncos pride on a mug. That he received while wearing a Steeler’s jersey. Welcome to the family, bro.

Related Reading: 5 DIY Christmas Gifts for the Office

What was your Christmas gift win this year? Tell me in the comments!

January 2, 2018
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