three thoughts on shopping

1. Remember that time I wrote about my local mall in Shreveport? The miserable, desolate mall where great deals go to die? Remind me to do a post now that I live 4 minutes from the complete opposite of that mall. A mall that has a store entirely devoted to Peeps. And a wedding chapel. And a log flume. But still manages to somehow be miserable in its own way. 

2. Urban Outfitters is selling rare Lisa Frank items, clearly trying to appeal to girls exactly my age. However, the last time this 28-year-old walked in to Urban Outfitters, I immediately had to turn around and walk out because THE MUSIC WAS SO LOUD. Turn down your music, Urban. And get off my lawn while you’re at it. Then maybe I’ll think about buying a folder with a picture of two hot pink dolphins hugging. 

3. Yesterday, I went to Target to buy bread. I came out with a bag that was so heavy it set off the seatbelt sensor on my passenger seat. Story of my life.

What about you guys? Any random musings on shopping?

an urban hike in st. paul

Lately I’ve been feeling kind of lazy. I partially blame the book I’ve been reading.

Writing a memoir about hiking 1100 miles is just cruel. I’m talking to you, Cheryl Strayed. You start telling me about your journey, about your boots! the stars! how amazing it feels to bathe after walking for miles and miles! and I’m ready to buy out REI and embark on my own physically challenging expedition to find myself. But you’ve sucked me in to your tale, and now I’m stuck on my couch for the next 4 days, not moving, shoving snacks into my face, desperate to see how it ends. 

Also, a guy jumped from space. 

I managed to make three crockpot meals in the past week. Only one of them didn’t burn. That’s been my contribution to society lately. 

Inspired, I dragged Y and Ike on our own version of a journey to find ourselves: a three hour hike that was mostly on a paved trail. Baby steps.

Note: I actually wrote the above paragraphs in my head before we actually hiked. I just knew something noteworthy would happen, most likely:
  • I’d get mistaken for a weird celebrity (celebrities I’ve been told I look like: Cameron Diaz, Suri Cruise, Blair Underwood. Let’s recap: Cameron Diaz looks nothing like me, Suri Cruise is four, Blair Underwood is a black man.)
  • I would trip in some hilariously slapstick manner
  • One of us would say or do something ridiculous.
Spoiler alert: It ended up being the latter.

Because while we were walking through the parking lot to our trail, this pulled up.

Out walked the best dressed hiker you’ve ever seen, and his impossibly adorable little boy. The dad spouted off the history of the trail as he pushed his hair back with his Ray-Bans. The little boy gazed adoringly at his dad.

I don’t know what you do when you come across a Cool Dad. Maybe you smile. You probably don’t think twice about it.

Y and me? Well, we invent a sitcom about their adventures and spend the next few hours writing the theme song and singing it while hiking. In case you’re interested, the song starts “I’ve got my son for the weeeeeeeeeeeekend”, Bradley Cooper plays Cool Dad, and the show is called Custody. As in joint custody. Because, you see, Bradley Cooper and his ex-wife got a divorce after it became clear that she was a lesbian. 

Sidenote: the last time I went hiking was in Central Arkansas during Carol Convention. We made a Justin Bieber music video in the woods. Is it possible that I’m too ADD to hike?

FYI: We “hiked” from Harriet Island to Lilydale Regional Park, through Lilydale, and back. The Lilydale trail winds uphill on what used to be a brick factory, so there are old bricks scattered throughout and a brick oven hiding in the woods. The uphill switchbacks are a pretty good workout and end in a nice view that was probably amazing two weeks ago, before the leaves fell. 

real fall versus blog fall

Having lived in Louisiana for most of my life and loving the idea of fall, I never truly knew what a real fall was like. For the past few years, I’ve been relying on bloggers in cooler climates to show me. 

Now that I live in a “cooler climate” myself (have you heard? It’s cold here!), I know the truth. There’s blog fall, which is pumpkin-scented and crisp and lovely and all of those other words bloggers like to throw around. 

But then there’s real fall. The greater blog population doesn’t tell you about real fall. 

So I will.

Blog fall:

Real fall:

Blog fall:

Real fall:

Blog fall:

Real fall:

Blog fall:

Real fall:

Blog fall:

Real fall:

bubble necklace > yoga

So I bought this necklace. 

I won’t dwell on it, because I know what you’re thinking.

Wow, another blogger with a knock off bubble necklace. What else is new?

But I will tell you this:

For the past year, I’ve been practicing yoga pretty regularly.

(Stay with me. I have a point, I promise.)

It helped with most of the things you think yoga might help with — concentration, flexibility, strength… oh, and road rage.

(Side note: Sure, I can touch my toes now. But the most helpful thing about yoga is that it completely cured me of my road rage. I’m not sure how… something about inviting kind thoughts and standing on my head.)

The only thing yoga didn’t help me with was my posture. I still caught myself hunching all the time, even after so many hours of muscle locks and ujjayi breath.

Enter the ubiquitous blogger accessory, the bubble necklace — which, if you’ve never felt one, is a heavy, clunky piece of jewelry.

Here’s a glimpse into my life post bubble necklace:

Arrive at work. Sit at desk. Check e-mails. Start making a to-do BAM.

That’s the sound of my bubble necklace hitting my desk as I begin my descent into 8 hours of slumping.

The noise startles me (I hate loud noises. I can’t be in the same room as balloons, but we can talk about that later.) and I sit up straight. This situation repeats itself basically every 10 seconds until finally I admit defeat to the bubble necklace. It’s too cute to take off, so… I reluctantly sit up straight. Like this cheap Chinese piece of plastic is a 1950’s schoolteacher rapping on my desk with a yardstick.

See, non-believers? There’s more than meets the eye with the bubble necklace.   Next time you see one, be kind and know the truth. We don’t wear it because it’s cute. We don’t wear it because every blogger and their mother and sponsor and favorite Etsy seller have one. 

We wear it because I’m now 3/4 of an inch taller.


on donuts + a pumpkin spice donut recipe

I’ve been thinking about donuts a lot lately. 

About our neighborhood donut shop.

About how dangerous it is that these amazing donuts exist less than 10 blocks from our house.

About how impressed people are when you bake these pumpkin spice donuts.

Even though, honestly, they’re just muffins.  In a… suggestive… pan. 

(Special thanks to Y for ensuring that I will never look at my donut pan the same way.)

southern hospitality; minnesota nice

“You’ll miss it down here, ” they* said, “the people up north aren’t as nice as in the south.”

(*They being the same people that felt compelled to remind me that it gets cold up north.)

I disagree. And to prove my point, here’s a story:

This is the face of a murderer:

Well, an attempted murderer. Last weekend, Ike half-killed a mouse. He plucked it out of the bushes, carried it across the yard, dropped it, and stared at it. Because I have a terrible habit of personifying my dog can communicate with Ike, I know that he was innocently wondering why isn’t it playing with me?

At this point, the mouse was pretty much dead. In fact, I thought it died. So I went to a yoga class, and decided I would deal with it later.

Sidebar – my shavasana was completely ruined. All I could picture was that poor mouse.

When I got back, I ran immediately to where to mouse had died. It was gone! It had lived! It was a miracle!

And then I realized it had managed to crawl a few feet away and dig itself a hole in which, I’m assuming, it could die peacefully. It was pathetically sad. Also, the mouse was still alive, gasping for breath.

I knew I had to put it out of its misery, but I couldn’t do it. Luckily, my neighbor was outside.

“Excuse me,” I called over my fence, “Ike half-killed a mouse. I don’t know what to do.”

My neighbor wrinkled her nose. “I hate mice. Bash its head in.”

“I can’t,” I admitted meekly. “I can’t do it.”

Before I could make sense of what was happening, she was in my backyard with a shovel and the mouse was dead.

I will not hesitate to give this woman a cup of sugar should she need it.

A similar thing happened in Shreveport. A few differences:

1) it was a squirrel,
2) I maintain to this day that Ike found it already half-dead and did not participate in the killing, and
3) our neighbor let Y borrow a gun to finish the job.

My point: Minnesotans are just as nice as Louisianians, but with fewer weapons.