I ♥ Team Bride!!!

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No, no, I am NOT getting married. Sorry if anyone got excited on my behalf.

However, one of my closest friends from college IS! 🙂 I got a call from Sara just before Christmas to tell me the good news — we’d all known it was coming for a while — and to ask if I’d be a bridesmaid!

Sara and I have known each other since we were 17 and 18, respectively. We met as high school seniors, when we both toured the same college (which we both ended up attending). We’ve been there through boyfriends, break ups, the Freshmen 15, semesters abroad, 21st birthdays, senior theses… and “firsts” for a lot of things that don’t need to be shared here. It was a bumpy four years, and we both definitely changed and grew during that time. The first few years, we were completely inseparable. We never quite got back to that level of closeness, and we’ve only seen each other in-person a handful of times since we graduated nearly four years ago. But I don’t know who I’d be without her in my life, and I’m thankful that I have a friend who has stuck by me for as long as she has.

I’m so happy that she has found a guy who loves her and treats her well and with whom she wants to spend the rest of her life. And I’m THRILLED that she wants me standing next to her on that day.

Bridesmaids

On a funny note, my mom was worried that I would be jealous or feel insecure about the fact that I’m still single. But PSH! I’ll either find a date or I’ll be the fabulous single bridesmaid who gets to dance with all the hot groomsmen… (Speaking of which, I really should start stalking reviewing her fiancĂ©’s list of Facebook friends.)

So, friends and followers, what do I need to know about being a bridesmaid??? I’ve never been in a bridal party before. Relatives and childhood friends have gotten married, but they’ve all either eloped or gotten married while I was halfway across the country in college. Sara is the first of my close college friends to get married, which is a milestone in and of itself. I don’t want to flub my bridesmaid responsibilities on my very first attempt. 😩

In all seriousness, I’m open to suggestions, advice, pointers, et cetera. Please send them on my way. Particularly advice about long-distance bridesmaiding, as I live 1000+ miles from the bride. I should have plenty of time to figure this stuff out… they haven’t set a date yet, but she says they are leaning towards Spring or Summer 2015. I’ll be sure to keep you all updated on the progress of Operation Bridal Party. I’m eager to find out her wedding colors! (Waiting to see if she goes with the same color she used to decorate her half of our dorm room during sophomore year.)

Huzzah for Team Bride!!

Bridesmaids

Three miles down… many more to go.

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We finished the 5K!!! No snow, not even any rain, and no injuries among my teammates. (An improvement over last year, apparently, when my friend Ray wiped out on the cobblestones and finished the race with a busted knee.)

So I can officially say that I’ve run my first 5K race. I find it a little funny that it’s taken me this long, considering that I completed a 10-mile Tough Mudder event over six months ago. I lost my mind slightly and jumped into the Tough Mudder with very little experience or training. For some reason, it took me a while to double back around and get to the 5K that I should have done much earlier on. (Which reminds me that doing another TM — with more preparation this time — needs to be added to my List.)

Anyway, the race was great. It was a good one to start with, as no one takes it too seriously. My friend Ray describes it as basically a parade minus the floats. People come out of their homes and business to watch and cheer on the runners; some of the participants rock full-on holiday costumes, like elves, reindeer and nutcrackers (see below); and the route is packed enough that you can’t move too quickly unless you’re already at the start of the pack.

Forget the ballet, it's the Nutcracker 5K!     Can you find Buddy the Elf?

There were definitely some runners who were there to set a great time. The winner averaged about 5 minutes/mile. I averaged 10.5 minutes/mile. I’m totally okay with and proud of that! I haven’t been running for very long, I’m not planning on being a competitive runner, and that’s actually a few seconds faster than I’ve been running recently.

The course was a little hillier than I’d expected, and I was really glad that I had my two friends Ray and Shannon running with me. They are both more experienced runners than I am but are super encouraging and were there just to have fun. I felt challenged and inspired to stick with them, which was rather helpful on the final hill. 🙂 We three amigas crossed the line within a single second of each other! Next up, Shannon is putting together a team for a Mud Run in the spring. Woot!

Party Hosting 101

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I have a strange relationship with social events. I love planning them. As a teenager, I filled notebooks with details of themed birthday parties I could imagine hosting. But I only actually pulled off one of them, when I was 11. After that, they were just dreams and sketches on scrap paper.

In college, I joined our University Activity Board and helped to plan social events, fairs, fundraisers, and more. The committee we put together was one of the most productive the school had had in years, and our events were seriously successful (by our small, rural university’s standards.). I was right in the thick of it all — calling other college’s social coordinators and e-mailing fraternity presidents, handing out flyers at campuses I’d never set foot on before.

And in all four years, I never hosted an actual party of my own. I had an apartment. I had a large group of friends and knew most everyone on campus. My roommates were my best friends in the whole world. But the image of college students with pizza and beer, or snack food and homemade punch, with music blaring and funny themed costumes… those were never a part of my reality. I think I got invited to those once or twice. I talked about going for about an hour. And then I curled up on the couch with my roomie and watched a movie and had a great, quiet, party-less night.

The fun has always been in the planning. The research. The details. Envisioning how each little thing might be. Carefully creating backup plans for inevitable “oops” moments. That’s what I love. That’s what makes me happy. Actually putting myself and my ideas out there? Sending invitations and being faced with the reality of how few friends might show? Being reminded that I don’t own the perfect outfit, nor do I have the money to go buy it? That’s what triggers the anxiety and sends all my ideas back into the scrap pile.

So when I sat down to begin developing The List in mid-August, “Host a Party” was one of the first items added. I knew it would be a challenge for me. But that’s what this project is about… not backing down from those things that intimidate me and (hopefully) learning that they aren’t nearly as scary as I expect them to be. And after 15 years of planning, I shouldn’t have any shortage of party ideas!

The right opportunity came sooner than I’d expected, when I was reminded that one of my roommates loves Halloween. I mean LOVES. Apparently it’s a thing in her family; her mom is even more into the holiday that she is.  So when she casually threw out the idea, “Hey, I was thinking it might be cool to host a little Halloween party…” I jumped. As did our third roommate. And so it began.

As expected, the planning was awesome: The Facebook invites to anyone we thought might possibly attend and a lot that we didn’t think would. The glow-in-the-dark spiderwebs on the front porch. The floating eyeballs in the punch. The “fingers in the a blanket” and “monster cookies.” I even managed to pull together an outfit that made me really happy, even though I held off on telling anyone what it was until the last minute because I was worried if others would think it was stupid. We all sat around laughing, as we imagined all our friends in the same room, because we are three very different young women with very different friend groups.

And then came the lack of RSVP’s — or the “Sorry, I can’t make it” RSVP’s — from most of my friends. My roommates Becky and Dani both had plenty of people say they would come. (We actually started to worry a bit because more of Becky’s friends RSVP’ed than she’d ever expected.)

Halloween arrived, and I started wondering how I might get out of going to my own party. Really, that shouldn’t surprise anyone based on my history of pre-social event anxiety. And then the most amazing thing in the history of the world happened.

My two best friends showed up on my front door… after driving seven hours and sitting on my couch for 20 minutes waiting for me to get out of the shower so they could see the look of shock on my face. Suddenly, it didn’t matter who else showed up or what anyone thought of my costume or whether I accidently burned the finger food or if the jello shots were WAY too strong.

But others did show up. And people had fun. And all our friend groups played nicely together. And apparently my legs looks great in my costume. And I didn’t burn the snacks. And the jello shots were strong enough to make my best friends make out with my neighbor’s cross-dressing friend from out of town. And the beer pong table was packed all night. And there was the perfect amount of leftovers. And nothing in our home got broken. And I even met a really sweet, cute guy. (Maybe if I’m lucky he’ll pop back up in another of these posts.)

In other words, the party was a great success! And something about the entire experience made me want MORE. More socialization, more parties, more friends. A few weeks later, I accepted an invite to a “Friendsgiving” hosted by friends I hadn’t seen in six months. Last weekend, I carpooled to an out-of-state Christmas party with the same group of friends and remembered why they were my friends to begin with. I still get major butterflies just before anything social, but now I know that if I push through, I’ll probably be glad I did. So, we’re making baby steps here. Progress is slow, but it’s worth it.

That’s what this project is all about.

And I’m committing — right here right now in public — to hosting a party in the spring for my 27th birthday. I’m looking for volunteers to help keep me accountable!

Fingers in a Blanket    Monster Cookies    The beer pong aftermath

On “Bucket Lists”

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I don’t think I like the whole “Bucket List” thing. I’m not completely sure how I feel about it. I do like the idea of goals (obviously) and having aspirations and things you want to accomplish. But life is fleeting and you never really know what’s going to happen. There’s something very final and win/lose about a list that you have to complete before you “kick the bucket.” What if you don’t? What if life strikes and you don’t have time? Are you a failure? Was your life a failure?

Isn’t it better to just go with it? Take things one day at a day! Seize the day! Learn. Stretch. Challenge yourself. Don’t get too comfortable. Or find something you love and get comfortable. I don’t know. Just don’t stop growing and loving and living.

And that’s all I’m going to write tonight, because that little spiel inspired me to get up and do my INSANITY workout, rather than blowing it off after a rough day. (Which also reminds me that I forgot to include INSANITY on my to-do list, along with several other items that I had jotted down in various notebooks and journals. See updates below. And check out the new “The List” tab for the most up-to-date version.)

  • Go on a blind date
  • Go on a not-blind date
  • Ask a guy out for drinks or dinner
  • Hike a mountain (again)
  • Run a 5K
  • Road trip with a friend
  • Take a bus to another city
  • Host a party
  • Practice yoga regularly
  • Set off fireworks
  • Become fluent in Spanish
  • Get a tattoo
  • Sleep outdoors (again)
  • Find a used bookstore
  • Find a real record store
  • Visit New York City
  • Make homemade pizza (again)
  • Watch the sun rise over the ocean
  • Watch the sun set over the ocean
  • Watch the sun rise over the mountains
  • Watch the sun set over the mountains
  • Go to a live concert (again)
  • Dance like no one is watching
  • Join a flash mob
  • Refurnish the old dining room table
  • Go to a restaurant or bar and tell them it’s my/my friend’s birthday, even though it isn’t
  • Try a guest pass to a new gym that I can’t actually afford
  • Buy and drink a “good” bottle of wine
 and probably accept that I don’t actually like wine and finally quit forcing myself to drink it.
  • Sit on a rooftop overlooking my city.
  • Find events to wear each of my formal dresses.
  • Read the best science fiction books ever/ read one book by each of the greatest sci-fi authors.
  • Form a bar trivia team.
  • Cross the Canadian border.
  • Attend the Boston Marathon.
  • Complete INSANITY workout.
  • Write a play.

Barely Under the Deadline (a.k.a Not Waiting for New Year’s)

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I’ve been working on this blog since mid-August. The last draft I have of this entry was titled “Hello, World” and has a saved date of October 1. I never made it past the second paragraph. The title has changed, most of what I wrote has been scrapped, and it’s been more than three months. But the sentiment is still the same, and this quote seems even more appropriate:

“Goals are not a January 1st kind of thing. Set them weekly. Set them monthly. Set them so that you are moving forward and always trying to progress. Life can grow stagnant without them
 beware.”

So, even though January 1 is just right around the corner, I’m refusing to wait. It’s Sunday, December 8, 2013, and I’m setting my goals NOW. Not the kind of goals that have to checked off in 12 months, or it’s the year’s been a failure. I’m creating a list of goals that will continually be changing and fluxing. I’ll be adding and crossing off and editing and tweaking every day for the rest of my life.

This is just a jumping off point for the awesome adventure to come…

  • Go on a blind date
  • Go on a not-blind date
  • Ask a guy out for drinks or dinner
  • Hike a mountain (again)
  • Run a 5K
  • Road trip with a friend
  • Take a bus to another city
  • Host a party
  • Practice yoga regularly
  • Set off fireworks
  • Become fluent in Spanish
  • Get a tattoo
  • Sleep outdoors (again)
  • Find a used bookstore
  • Find a real record store
  • Visit New York City
  • Make homemade pizza (again)
  • Watch the sun rise over the ocean
  • Watch the sun set over the ocean
  • Watch the sun rise over the mountains
  • Watch the sun set over the mountains
  • Go to a live concert (again)
  • Dance like no one is watching
  • Join a flash mob
  • Refurnish the old dining room table
  • Go to a restaurant or bar and tell them it’s my/my friend’s birthday, even though it isn’t
  • Try a guest pass to a new gym that I can’t actually afford
  • Buy and drink a “good” bottle of wine… and probably accept that I don’t actually like wine and finally quit forcing myself to drink it.