monday nights are coming up roses

I confess.  I have recently become a loyal viewer of The Bachelor.

Not only have I become a loyal viewer, but I will be attending weekly viewing parties with girlfriends.  And it gets worse…

I’m also in an online sports-style bracket competition for The Bachelor.  In fact…I’m in three.  Between watching the premiere last week and perusing the ladies’ headshots online, I have predicted, week by week, who I think will receive those all-important roses in a variety of pick ’em challenges.

Now, I am not exactly new to The Bachelor.  When the show aired for the first time, I was in the fifth grade.  My dad (!) and I watched week after week.  Then throughout middle school, my best friend Taylor and I were avid fans and even watched the first-ever season of The Bachelorette.  When Trista and Ryan got married after The Bachelorette, I’m pretty sure I cried.  And would you look at that?  They’re still together, 12 years later.  True love can happen on television!

After the mid-2000’s (and a brief stint in 2009 to watch Jillian’s season of The Bachelorette), I took a break from the show.  I am now returning to it with a startlingly different perspective: I am the age of many of the contestants.  It absolutely baffles me as to why any woman would put herself up for public ridicule (hello, Hot Mess Tara) and judgment, but I’m glad these women are…because they’ll providing me with two hours of (not-so) quality entertainment these next few months.

Want to know my early favorites?  These are based on a whopping two hours of airtime, but they are Becca, Whitney, Ashley I. and Kelsey.  Also Britt but only because they have good chemistry…she’s not ready for married life in Iowa!

The newest episode is calling my name, but I’ll leave you with this fun Bachelor anecdote:

There was this moment last summer when I was in Nashville, TN and I was sitting with friends in a restaurant that had live music.  The girl who introduced the singer to the stage said, “You might remember him as a bad boy heartbreaker who had a girlfriend on The Bachelorette!”  Onto the stage walked none other than Wes Hayden, the guy from Jillian’s season who made it to the top four while keeping a girlfriend back home in Texas.  I finished eating while I listened to his mediocre country music.  (Moral of the story?  That’s where evil Bachelor or Bachelorette contestants wind up.  Singing to a crowd more interested in their french fries than the music at an non-air conditioned restaurant in Nashville, TN.)

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i have a YouTube problem and i’m not afraid to say it

Wow.  It’s been 10 days since I last blogged!  I was so nervous to publish that last post, as it was so much more serious than my usual style.  Now, having gotten such wonderful feedback, it’s hard to go back to my lighthearted, silly style!

When I was dragging my feet, however, procrastinating on writing a post, I started thinking about the things I do when I ought to be doing something else, like schoolwork or sleeping.  That’s right, I thought about my procrastination techniques as a form of procrastination.  I hope now that one of my favorite ways to procrastinate–watching YouTube videos– might inspire you to blink and lose a few hours to the black hole of productivity.

At least one night a week, my roommate Maddie comes home to find me sitting on the couch, laptop on, watching YouTube videos.  This is, without a doubt, my absolute favorite way to waste spend time.  The problem for me is that YouTube is like eating M&M’s.  You can’t just have one and be happy.  (Side note: I always feel really bad for those kids who are getting potty trained whose moms give them a single M&M for #1 and two M&M’s for #2.  That is way unsatisfying and not a fair exchange.) No, when I venture on to that website, I know very well that I’m committed to at least an hour of laughing, crying and singing along.

Without further ado, I present another one of my abnormal obsessions, some of my favorite YouTube channels.

Music:
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard of Boyce Avenue.  Their covers are some of my favorites and they have great harmony.
-I went to a Landon Austin show earlier this month and it was the best thing ever.  He is the perfect country/singer songwriter blend on top of being adorable (with impeccable hair).  He also has a vlog channel which is a major guilty pleasure for me.
-My friend Alex (who also happens to be my music soul sister) introduced me to Tyler Ward and if there’s any guy who makes me feel like a 15-year-old fangirl, it’s him.

Beauty: (I’m terrible at makeup and I rarely wear it but these videos make me at least feel knowledgable…)
Nikki Phillipi is adorable and so unashamedly herself–something I absolutely love in a person!
-I’ve been watching Elle Fowler for years and for me, she’s that cool-older-wish-you-were-my-sister girl.
Michelle Phan is hands-down the most popular, iconic YouTube beauty guru.  She even has her own makeup line as a result of her immense internet popularity!

Others:
-I love to laugh and the Harvard Sailing Team always delivers.  Particularly notable is the hipster Thanksgiving video which made me cry laughing the first time I saw it.
-It’s not technically YouTube (hi Vimeo) but I am obsessed with watching strangers’ wedding videos.  This channel is great but I love to just search and search and watch and watch until I’ve cried several seas of tears…mostly of joy for the happy couples (not normal, I know) but also in sadness that I’m FOREVER ALONE.  (Just kidding, I don’t actually think that I’ll be forever alone…just ’til age 40 or something like that.)

Anywho, I hope I’ve given you some good material to kill an hour or four on this fine Friday!  I’ll be spending the weekend in Orlando so hopefully I’ll have some blogworthy stories when I return to Gainesville!  (After all, the last time I was there I met John Stamos!)

blogception

I come to you today in the format of a blog post to tell you about how much I love blogs, and to direct you to a blog where I contributed a feature on blogs I think everyone should be reading.

Got that?  If not, feel free to go back to the beginning and read again.  It’s like that Friends episode where “they don’t know that we know that they know.”  You remember that one?

As I may have said here before, I am an absolute blog fiend and eagerly check Bloglovin’ every day to read the latest and greatest from my favorites.  One of my longtime favorite blogs has always been La Petite Fashionista.  When I saw that Lauren was publishing an online magazine as a part of LPF, I knew I wanted to be a part of it!  After emailing with Lauren, I was on board and contributing my first feature.

The magazine went live last week (view it here) and I’m so happy with not only how my piece of it turned out but how the entire thing looks!  Lauren always does a fantastic job and the wheels are already spinning in my head on what I could write for the next issue.

In this issue, I highlighted some of the style bloggers who I’m crazy about.  I emailed all of the ladies I featured and was so pleasantly surprised to hear back from most of them.  I guess to me, I read a blog with tons of followers and sponsors and honestly consider that blogger a celebrity.  Not normal: seeing a blogger in Nashville at a party and feeling butterflies and anxiety as you approach her like you’re meeting a famous person.  This happened.  

What this showed me, though, was that behind the fancy lenses and beautiful clothing, there is a normal girl who checks her email and is touched by kind words.  And that is awesome.

While we’re on the topic, I love kind words!  Feel free to leave a comment on any of my posts to let me know you’re reading.  🙂  I found out today that a sweet friend (hi Marissa!) had been loyally reading my blog and I had no clue!

a beautiful thing called a nap

Naps.  I absolutely love them.  Specifically, I love napping on the small couch in my living room, curled up into a tiny ball with no time in particular that I have to wake up.

Back when I was in high school, my mom would get mad at me for taking a nap before dinner because a) I was grumpy and groggy when she’d wake me up to come set the table and b) I couldn’t sleep well later that night, resulting in my grumpiness and grogginess the next morning when I had to go to school.

Looking back, I guess I can’t blame her for not being fond of my naps.

Now, however–I am a nap MASTER.  It doesn’t matter if I have 20 minutes or 3 hours, I will nap the heck out of an afternoon or evening.

Tuesday, I had 45 minutes before I had to be at a friend’s birthday dinner.  While my roommate Maddie did the responsible thing of actually getting ready for dinner and making herself presentable, I collapsed onto the couch, took a 20 minute power nap and awoke just in time to hop onto my scooter and over to the restaurant.

Then there was yesterday, when I took the most glorious, leisurely, satisfying nap I’ve had in years.  It began sometime around 2 p.m. (I’m not sure, it was whenever my episode of New Girl ended on Hulu and I neglected to start another show) and didn’t end until 5:05 p.m. when my alarm woke me up to get ready for work.

You might be thinking, “That’s not a nap at all, it’s a bear’s period of winter hibernation.”  You are correct.  And this bear, snuggly in my flannel shirt and all, was more than ready to spring off the couch at the end of it.  Not normal: using a weird metaphor where you refer to yourself as a bear and then making a hibernation pun.

The best part of today’s nap was that my upstairs neighbor practiced guitar while I slept.  I didn’t even know that she played guitar, let alone that she knew the most soothing, melodic tunes ever.  But when I woke up and rubbed my eyes and heard a soft strumming, I realized it wasn’t my dream boyfriend serenading me at all, but Carmen in Apt. 3.

I guess the downside to my nap is that it is now 1:47 a.m. as I write this.  Even if I’m not tired now, I still look back fondly on those three hours spent wondrously on my couch and look forward to taking as many of those naps as possible this year before I have to join the “real world” where adults work through the prime nap hours.

my abnormal obsessions: Larry’s Giant Subs

larrys

In a nondescript, unassuming strip just off University Avenue, there sits a place unlike any other.  Tucked between an overpriced smoothie chain and a mediocre BBQ restaurant, you might never go into this gem unless you’re in the know.

Once you enter, however–I guarantee you’ll be back.  Or maybe you won’t.  But if you do go back, you’ll probably run into me there.

You see, Larry’s is like my second home.  While my love for the food began sometime during sophomore year of college, it wasn’t until this past spring that I became a true Larry’s fangirl.

It was as I sat in Larry’s in May, waiting on a friend, that I began talking to Mike.  Mike is the franchise owner of both Larry’s locations in my city.  I confided in Mike on this day that as often as I had eaten there, I’d only ever tried one sandwich.  I also told him that I couldn’t afford to eat there as often as I’d like.

It was this day that Mike gave me great advice: try the special.  Since then, I’ve tried about 10 of the sandwiches as they were on special and have liked all of them.

The food–although definitely a critical part of the Larry’s experience (and far better than any other sub from any other place)–is just the beginning.  What I really love about Larry’s is the staff.  Mike, Allie, Sarah, Gage, Chris, Miss Pearl…the list goes on. Not normal: knowing nearly the entire staff of a sandwich shop.  

Whether they are making me laugh or listening to a story about my day, the staff at Larry’s treats me like family and they accept my weirdness.  In fact, the first time I really bonded with Allie and Sarah was on Cinco de Mayo as we sang Taylor Swift (loudly) in the restaurant.  Not normal.

Just yesterday, I hung out with Allie and we laughed about how we had become “real friends” as opposed to just customer and employee!  Last night, as she and others had to work 10 p.m. – 5 a.m. (!!!) I took them Krispy Kreme donuts as a little pick-me-up treat.

I think you get it: I love Larry’s.  I love the staff.  I love the food.  I dream of meeting Larry Raikes one day (really, I do) so that I can gush about his products and tell him some of my branding ideas for the company.  Until then, I’ll keep showing up regularly (like, 4 times a week…) and being an unofficial ambassador for the best sandwich shop ever.