Category Archives: Just Me

Happy Birthday, Abby Gabs!!

Five years ago today, I launched my brand new, shiny blog, filled with all the possibilities that an aspiring writer can hope for. I had a million ideas. And for nearly 3 years, I blogged practically every single day.

Seriously. Between February of 2011 and December of 2013, I’d published almost 450 blogs.

(I was pretty impressed with myself, especially since I had to bust out my calculator to do math.)

I’ve become a little less prolific since the heyday of Abby Gabs, but I’m still determined to keep this little site going. It’s not just given me a place to put down my thoughts, or to stretch my creative muscles, but it’s brought me so much joy. The Gabs isn’t just a blog for me. With it, I’m a creator, a writer, an artist, a comedian. I am clever, and funny, and relevant. Abby Gabs makes me a better me.

And so, in celebration of my fifth birthday as a blogger, I’d like to present to you my favorite blog from each of the years I’ve been writing for Abby Gabs. (This is my version of a clip show—you know, the one where they inundate you with scenes from episodes past? Slightly annoying, super-endearing, but always worth the watch.)

An Announcement of Epic Proportions (Published October 16, 2015)

I don’t think it will surprise anyone that my absolute favorite post from last year is the one where I announce to the world that we are finally, FINALLY parents. While it may not be my best piece of writing ever, the beautiful comments we received will forever remain in my heart. Bringing Kal home was the best day of my life, and I was thrilled to finally get to share it with my readers.

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Enthusiastically Eating My Veggies Today (Published December 11, 2014)

A dream blog involving salad, Justin Timberlake, and back-up dancers. There’s really not much else I can say. This post is quintessentially Abby Gabs.

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The Infertility List Blog (Published September 24, 2013)

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This one may be a bit of a controversial pick. Here’s why it’s my favorite from 2013: it is INCREDIBLY difficult to find humor in life’s hardest moments, and I feel like I really managed to do it with the topic of infertility here. Sure, it may be uncomfortable for some people to read, but I dove into the depths of my comedic soul to find a way to write about something very important and very personal. To me, that equals epic blog fodder. And it’s why this post isn’t just one of my favorites from 2013, but one of my top 5 favorite Abby Gabs, ever.

How a Weekend Sale At the Mall Made Me Feel Like a Granny (Published Dec. 29, 2012)

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By this time in my blogging career, I’d become much more comfortable publishing my cartoonish illustrations. Why? Because they make the funny story even funnier. This is one of those moments when my story-telling skills merged happily with my artistic-skills, creating the perfect blog of funny, which is why it made the list.

 

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I Finally Know I’m Not Alone (Published April 4, 2011)

This blog introduced the world to my arachnophobia. It also introduced the world to my ability to pull my face like a Muppet for the sake of comedy. It also introduced to the world the fact that I have no shame, and will do anything for a laugh. In short, it gave me permission to be as silly as I wanted to be on a public forum…and I never looked back.

(The only bad part about this blog is that it gave the world permission to tease me regarding my fear, because I’d teased myself. That resulted in endless spider posts to my Facebook page, in hopes that they would receive an animated and Oscar-worthy response. So…it sort of back-fired. But it was worth it.) (Mostly.)

Do you have a favorite Abby Gabs moment that wasn’t included in this list? I’d love to know which ones you love best, because it was incredibly hard to make these choices.

Except for the J.T. blog. That one makes me laugh every. Single. Time.

When Blogs Go Silent

As a blogger, at some point you realize it’s been a few days since your last post. Maybe you’re strapped for time, or your creativity is on vacation. Either way, that need to publish something worthwhile sits on your shoulder like a tiny little troll, reminding you on a daily basis that you’re not writing.

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(Extra points to anyone who recognizes the font in this graphic.)

Yes, blog troll. I’ve noticed. Thanks for rubbing salt into a gaping, open, “Trauma in the ER” type wound. Ow.

Eventually a week goes by. Two. Maybe even three. You’re out living your life, spending time with friends, paying bills, going to the gym, doing whatever it is that you do that keeps you away from your keyboard. But every time you have a free minute to yourself, that troll starts speaking up again.

“You’re losing readers!”

“You haven’t had any page views since May!”

“C’mon, there’s bound to be SOMETHING you can write about! Sit down and do it!”

And then, inevitably, at some point in your blogging career, you will look at your last “recent” post and realize it was published almost two months ago. You’ll realize it’s been a few weeks since that troll grumbled something in your ear about “practicing your craft.”

That’s when you realize that if writing is like exercising a muscle, then you must be this guy:

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(Awwww…he’s a-DORK-able!)

Now look here, readers. (Or should I say, crickets?) I don’t mean to make light of a bad situation. I’ve had creative droughts before—some of them disguising themselves as writer’s block, others just blatant distractions like beach time and ‘Friends’ marathons–but I’ve never had one like this before.

It’s not that I don’t have ideas. I have tons of them. I’m jotting them down on my phone every single day.

It’s not that I don’t have the spare time to write. I do, I’m just using it to watch reruns of Parks and Rec instead.

My drive has put itself in park. My gumption has dumped me. My ambitions went on vacation then forgot to come home. I used to be driven, and now I’m just stationary.

Somebody stop me.

Or, don’t stop me, but cheer for me to continue rambling in a disconnected fashion until I have a blog I can publish!

In all seriousness, I feel the call to get back to that part of myself that feels most complete when I’m writing. It’s time for me to carve out that time every day to dip my toes into the creative pool inside of my brain. (No, it’s a sparkling pool of creativity, not a gross pool of brain goo.)

I’ll find my way back to it, with posts like this one. It may not deserve the Pulitzer Prize of Bloggy Awesomeness, but it’s a start. And everybody has to start somewhere.

Even glasses-wearing weight lifter guy.

A Letter To My Mopey Self

Dear Self,

Life has been tough lately. For whatever reason, you’re sitting around in your cookie pants, watching re-runs of Friends and wondering if things are ever going to get any easier. You’re not getting what you want in the time that you wanted it in, and you keep stumbling over road blocks or speed bumps, and that’s frustrating. I know it’s frustrating. I know that you sometimes sit in the shower, with the water cascading over your shoulders, your hair hanging in your face, and you cry your eyes out because no one can hear you over the sound of the spray. I know that sometimes, you sit in traffic and suddenly feel the overwhelming need to scream, and so you do, never sparing a thought for what the driver in the car next to you must be thinking. I know that sometimes, when the alarm clock sounds in the morning, that your first thought is “I don’t wanna.”

Well, friend, I think what you need is a little perspective. Sure, things are hard right now. It’s probably not going to get any easier in the next week, or month. You probably won’t have that thing you want more than anything else in the world by then. But here is what you DO have:

You have a husband that would move heaven and earth to make you happy. And he has done, on multiple occasions. And now here you are–you and that beautiful man you married almost 11 years ago–sitting on this same island of despair together, holding each other up when you both want to fall over. There are a lot of people in this life that would wish for a love like the one you have. So embrace it. Revel in it. Remember it in the darkest of times when you feel like your dreams will never come true.

You have a family that loves you, and supports you, no matter what. They are unshakable, unwavering, and unquestioning. They will give you advice–some that you’ll use, some that you won’t. They will make you laugh when you thought laughter was impossible. They will hold you up, and give you strength. They will love you, even if you don’t reach your dream. Enjoy every moment that you have with them–they are priceless.

You have friends who are with you in the trenches, the same mud on their faces that’s smeared on yours. They will amaze you in a million little ways, and even more huge ways. They will sit by your side in the blazing heat, selling lamps and rugs and hand-me-down clothing, just so you can add a few bucks to your savings account. They will rally around you when you get news, be it good, bad, or somewhere in the middle. They will send you little cards and messages of support, just so you know that, even though it’s been awhile, they’re still thinking of you every single day. They will shed tears for you, ones that you’ll never know about, and they will feel every divot in the road that you feel, sometimes tenfold (since you tend to remove yourself from heavy feelings as much as you can.) These people are more than just friends–they are your family. And you are SO beyond lucky to have them.

Last, but never least, you have a DREAM. A dream of becoming a parent when biology wouldn’t let you before. A dream of holding a little one, so dear, in your arms and kissing their tiny baby cheeks, and knowing that they are yours. Of little giggles, and sleepless nights, and future Mother’s Days filled with flowers and handmade cards and slightly-chewy pancakes served in bed. Never let go of that dream, self. It is pure, and shiny, and filled with so much joy that no matter how many times you fall on your face in pursuit of that dream, it will, without doubt, be totally worth it.

So I’m just going to leave this letter here. That way, you can find it when you need it. Let it serve as a reminder as to why you should never even dare to give up hope. How dare you give up hope, when you have so many people on your side, fighting the same fight, wishing the same wish, and hoping the same hope that you do?

So get up. Knock the dirt off, sister. Put on some real clothes.  And get back to your life. You’ve got work to do.

Sincerely,

Abby

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How Abby Became Internet Famous (Thanks To That Drunk Guy On ‘Jail’ Who Turned Out To Be Pseudo-Famous)

I’ve written about a lot of things here on Abby Gabs over the years. I’ve told you funny stories about my husband, Photoshopped silly pictures of myself doing silly things, and illustrated moments in my life that have been deemed blog-worthy. I’ve discussed current events, shared with you my hopes and dreams, and written about everything from Donnie Wahlberg to depression. I’ve even tackled emotional subjects like cancer, adoption, weight loss, and infertility.

So naturally, you would HAVE to expect that out of all the many blogs I’ve posted, there must be at least one that has garnered enough attention to warrant calling myself “internet famous.”

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Well, you’d be right, readers. But never in a million years would I have guessed that the Gabs most likely to be clicked on would be one I wrote in the first year of publication about an unknown actor named Evan, and his televised night in the drunk tank on a reality show.

Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the most read post in Abby Gabs history, “What Happens When You Cross Cough Medicine with Bad TV?”

It’s all about our discovery of a dude named Evan Lockwood, who apparently appeared in famous movies like “Ramblin’ Rose” and “Fried Green Tomatoes.” But he’s more famous for his drunken speeches on the Spike reality show, “Jail.” This post includes a half-assed “video blog” of me (in my jammies and wearing no makeup) doing my best impersonation of Evan’s ramblin’ “Ramblin’ Rose” speech.

For your amusement:


I only hate myself a little bit for sharing this terrible video again. And all in the name of internet fame.

Anyway, I always know when Spike has aired a rerun of this particular episode, because my little blog get a flurry of activity, and I get a slew of new comments on this post. Why?

Because if you see the episode, the first thing you do (or at least the first thing I did) was turn to Google to see if this guy’s story has any validity. And here’s what pops up:

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First and foremost, I’d like to drag your attention to the fact that Mr. Lockwood does, in fact, has his very own IMDB page…which lists him as an actor in “Ramblin’ Rose,” “Fried Green Tomatoes,” and, hilariously, “Jail.”

Secondly, let the record reflect that Mr. Lockwood is also active on social media powerhouses, Twitter AND Facebook.

But the most important lesson here, friends, is that when the American public get their first taste of Evan Lockwood on Jail, the SECOND thing that pops up in their curiosity-ridden Google search is my little blog.

BOOM.

 

This phenomenon explains the awesomesauce of comments I’ve received on this post, including my all-time favorite:

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Thanks, Seifer! Not only do you have a seriously awesome name, but your suggestion that I become a famous movie actor will be subsequently stewed over, and potentially acted upon.

Ha. Acted upon.

See what I did there?

And so, in the event that one day you see little ol’ me traipsing down a red carpet, I have Evan Lockwood, the producer of “Jail,: and Seifer from Cleveland to thank.

(Thanks, guys, in case I forget to thank you in my Oscar acceptance speech.)

Guess What, Guys? Pinterest Is STILL Drunk

I wrote a post last month called “Go Home, Pinterest. You’re Drunk.” You guys sort of loved it. In fact, it got more traffic, comments, and shares than any blog I’ve written in the last 6 months. So, I thought it would be a kick in the pants to turn it into a serial.

You’re welcome, readers.

And so, without further ado, here are some more of my favorite pins from the world weird website, Pinterest.

The Bath Poof Dress

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I’ll be the first one to admit to you that I know diddly squat when it comes to fashion. Trends always skip me by, I’m always the last to know that I can’t wear black shoes with a navy blue dress, and my nails look like they should belong to a five-year-old nail biter. However, I’m pretty certain about one thing: I don’t strive to look like a giant bath poof when I go to a cocktail party.

The funniest part of this pin? It’s not a Halloween costume tutorial.

The Ostrich Pillow

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First of all, sleeping in public places is just weird. People can steal your purse, or draw on your face with a sharpie, or stick things in your ear. I suppose this product would keep them from accomplishing two of those three things, but it also accomplishes making you look like a complete weirdo who sleeps in public with a giant pillow on your head. Weirdo.

Crocheted Short Shorts….For Men

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Again, I’m no fashion-guru. For all I know, lemon-yellow is the 2015 color of the year. But I’m pretty sure that the short shorts look for men went out of fashion sometime in the early 1990s. Maybe the next time you want to crochet a gift for your man, you should take a page from my last Pinterest post and make him THIS instead.

I’m Sorry—Did you say Watermelon JERKY?

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I have one word for you, readers. Ew.

The Privacy Dome

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Love your hubby, but hate the attention you get when you suck face in public? Well, this is the product for you! Just unfold the purse-looking apparatus, plop it down over your heads, and enjoy that kiss fest! No one will EVER KNOW what you’re doing under there! Perfect for weddings, the post office, cocktail parties, holidays, and even an afternoon stroll through Target. Now you can enjoy that makeout sesh just as if you were in the privacy of your own home. (Also comes in black.)

There is nothing left on the internet that can top that last one, kiddies. Trust me, I’ve looked. If you’d like to see more weird things, visit my Pinterest board titled “I’m Sorry…WHAT?” And if you stumble across a hilarious pin yourself that you’d like to see featured here on AbbyGabs, send it to me at ThatGabbyAbby. Let’s find Pinterest’s weirdest pins together, readers! Until next time…happy pinning.

Things I’m Loving Lately (Brought to You By The Letter “F”)

I was sitting here this morning, wracking my brain for a blog topic. And then it hit me.

When in doubt, write a list blog.

So, friends, I’m sharing with you a list of things that are making my life a little more exciting lately. And lo and behold, in a totally accidental way, every single thing on my list starts with the letter F. That doesn’t quite equal alliteration, but it’s really dang close. (High five, high school English teacher.) And so, without further ado…

Fthings I’m Floving Flately

Farscape

The hubs and I are really into this whole “binge-watching” television on Netflix. I mean, we were always sorta binge watchers, anyway, just not in an “All Day Sunday In Our Cookie Pants Fourteen Episodes” kind of way. Thank you, Netflix, for profoundly changing our weekends.

We’ve devoured tasty gems like “Breaking Bad,” “Chuck,” and “Sherlock,” all thanks to the wonders of steaming. And now, we’ve delved back into one of our favorites–the all-too-delightful Sci-Fi series, “Farscape.” It was one of those shows we bonded over back when binge watching meant having to rewind VHS tapes. Oh, those were the days. (PS: John Crichton, I still adore you.)

Fitbit

I got a FitBit for Brian’s birthday. (Technically, I think it was supposed to be my Valentine’s Day gift, but I bought it for myself back in January. I’m an overachiever like that.) It’s the Charge HR, and I’ve gotta tell ya, readers, I adore this little bit of technology. I’m not one of those folks that wears it all day, every day, and I certainly don’t sleep in it (although it can track your sleep and let you know how often you’re waking up.) But I DO wear it when I work out. It keeps track of my heart rate, tells me how many calories I’ve burned, and monitors how many steps I take. And when it spits out data like this:

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…it not only makes me squeal with delight over the “WERQ” I put in (see what I did there?) but it also makes me want to keep wearing it. Nothing says success like dancing off almost 600 calories in an hour.

Fitz

Are you guys getting sick of hearing about our kitten yet? No? Well that’s good. Because he’s a little fuzzball of energy and adorableness, and he puts a smile on my face every single day. He likes to take frequent breaks during meals to hop on your lap for a ‘thank you’ scratch, he enjoys playing with rolled up receipts more than anything else on the planet, he sleeps under the covers so he can keep an eye on the “blanket monster,” and he plays fetch.

Oh, and guys? He still “meeps.”

 

HOLY CRAPBALLS SO CUTE!!!!!!!

K stupid

I’ve been collecting stuff for awhile (mostly Doctor Who goodies) but this recent release from Funko made me go all squishy inside. (I also have some of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer Funkos, but not the full set yet.)

Allow me to point out that Wash is holding—-*sob*—a tiny toy dinosaur. So. Much. Love.

(Also, bonus points for the flowers in the background–those were a Valentine’s Day gift from my Fabulous hubby. Cue chorus of “awwww” now.)

And finally….

To Protect And Serve

Ok, so this one is a bit of a stretch, because the only thing I watch on television on Friday nights is Blue Bloods. And Blue Bloods starts with a B not an F. But it’s my blog, so I can cheat if I want to. And I had to include it in this list for one reason and one reason only.

And no, it’s not (just) Donnie Wahlberg.

It’s because of Jamie Reagan and Edit (pronounced Eddie) Jenko.

Guys, I ship them so hard, I might as well be Fed Ex. It’s TOTES OBVI that they’re madly in love with each other. But here’s the thing–they’re partners, so they can’t express their feelings  because then they won’t be able to work together any more. Oh, the feels!

I’m tempted to start a letter-writing campaign to CBS titled “Why Jamie and Edit need to get together and start making little Reagan babies.” Wanna join me?

So that’s it, gang. Just a few little things that are keeping this gal happy right now. Is there an item in your life right now that’s making you grin from ear to ear? (Extra points if it starts with the letter “f.”)

A Year In Review–Abby Gabs in 2014

Everyone has a favorite place. I actually have a few. There’s nothing like the instant calm that washes over me when I’m sitting on the beach, in the sunshine. I can’t describe the feeling of walking through the front door at my parents house–it’s a combination of comfort, safety, and love. And there are fewer places I’d rather be than snuggled up in my giant king-sized bed with my hubby and 3 cats, a good book in hand and my feet in warm fuzzy socks.

This place is one of my favorites, too. Abby Gabs has come to mean more to me than a super-cute website where I can write about silly things and make my readers laugh. It’s become a sanctuary of sorts to me–a place where I feel safe to share my creative side, my silly side, and my emotional side. It lets me flex my writing muscles and share my passion with the entire internet–even though only about 10 of you regularly read it. (Hi, Mom!) My blog is my safe place. My happy place.

It’s MY place.

And so today, on my 4th anniversary, I needed to come here, to delve into the last year’s worth of posts. While I haven’t been as prolific this year as I have in years past, and the tenor of my writing has changed along with the ebb and flow of our life, I still managed to bang out a few gems last year that I’m pretty danged proud of. So I’m sharing them with you here today.

But more than sharing them with you, it’s been about sharing them with myself, as a reminder of why I keep returning to this blog of mine.

Abby Gabs in 2014

Feb 2014-Dialogue: Real Life Vs. Internal
A peek into a conversation I had at a party, and the first time I referred to myself as a real-life, honest-to-goodness writer.

March 2014–Letter To My Son
This was a follow-up post for Letter To My Daughter–two of my most heartfelt blogs I’ve ever written. In fact, my husband loved them so much that he insisted they be included in our adoption portfolio. I still can’t read either of them without crying.

April 2014–A Letter To The Dancing Kid
I was all about letter writing in early 2014, apparently. I love this one because I still think about this kid during trying commutes, and when my patience is frayed, I still follow his lead. Because after all, dance is life’s most pleasurable therapy.

May 2014–Happy Anniversary,
Guys, you know it has to be true love when I blog about a television show. Even calling FRIENDS just a television show hurts my heart. It is still one of my all time favorite shows, and I quote it regularly. (Could I BE any cooler?)

Friends cast

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June 2014–Grown-Up Birthday Do’s and Don’ts
It wouldn’t be an Abby Gabs anniversary celebration without a list blog. This one touches on some birthday etiquette for the “thirty-something” year old. Also, you learn about my affection for cake.
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July 2014–To Me, From My Fiercer Self
I love this post. Like, true love. I might buy it some flowers on Valentine’s Day. In this post, I tell you all about how much my Werq class (hip-hop dance fitness) has changed my life for the better. I remind myself that I’m Beyonce’s cousin (twice-removed), and that my ferocity comes with a side of passion. It’s the best pep-talk I’ve ever given myself.

August 2014–The Day My Brother Stabbed Me
I didn’t do too many illustrated blogs last year, but this was one I’d been dying to tell since I started Abby Gabs 4 years ago. It’s a story we tell around the Thanksgiving dinner table almost every year–one of those that we look back and laugh about now. And I also love this post because I wrote it on my brother’s birthday. (Because that’s just the kind of big sister I am.)
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September 2014–Tacky Fun Day
This is a really long post filled with tons of pictures. It’s not particularly well-written or witty, but it’s on this list today because it’s proof that my husband and I know how to party. (With neon t-shirts, miniature golf, and science.)

October 2014–365 Days (Times Four)
This one always goes on the list. It’s the most profound, honest, raw blog I’ve ever written. I tell you the story of the day my husband had life-saving surgery to remove a cancerous tumor from his colon. It’s a day that changed our lives in a hundred different ways.

November 2014–It’s That Time of Year Again…
Nanowrimo has become an annual tradition that I don’t just look forward to, I crave. An entire month dedicated to the craft of writing quickly–what a concept! I’ve participated–and won–four years in a row, and even completed my first ever novel from the words written hastily in those thirty days. I’m already plotting for this November.

December 2014–Enthusiastically Eating My Veggies Today
This is it–my favorite post from last year. I love it when a dream turns into a hilarious blog post, and this one definitely takes the top prize. If you haven’t read it yet, you should if you are 1) a Justin Timberlake fan, 2) a fan of broccoli, or 3) interested in seeing how the inner workings of my subconscious function.
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January 2014–For The Love Of The Game
You guys already know I’m a fan girl, and that I was a cheerleader in high school, and that I have a tendency to be super-passionate about a lot of things. In this post, I show my hand and reveal to you how deep my love of football runs. I’m a mega-super fan. #TheMoreYouKnow

Did you have a favorite that I didn’t share in this list? Let me know below. And thank you, readers, for another year of friendship. I’m hoping to be more active in my fifth year of blogging. I’ve already got a list of blogs waiting to be written–so stay tuned!

Go Home, Pinterest. You’re Drunk.

I spend a lot of time on PinterestFor the most part, I pin words of wisdom, healthy recipes, and nerdy stuff like crossover memes where Sherlock meets Doctor Who meets Harry Potter.

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*crying silently*

Pinterest isn’t just a time suck for me; I utilize it on almost a daily basis to help me with my weight loss goals, or to find the words to describe an emotion that are otherwise lost to me. I’ve come across graphics that have inspired blog topics, found craft projects that have turned into heartfelt gifts for friends or family, and have found some BANGIN’ recipes, like this one for skinny orange chicken.

All of those things make Pinterest worth the time I spend on it (and believe me when I say, I spend a LOT of time on it.) But guys? I think the unsung hero of Pinterest are those weird pins that make you sit back, stare at your computer screen, and go, “What the —–??” You know the ones I mean. You’ve shared them on your Facebook pages or Tweeted them to your followers, all in the name of understanding the origin of said pin. I’ve even started a folder for them. They make me laugh, they make me cringe, and they  make me write a blog about how weird the internet can be sometimes.

Here are a few of my favorites.

Full-Body Sweater

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I have two questions: 1) In what world do you need your face to be warm before your toes and your hands? and 2) When did fashion become about emulating characters on Sesame Street?

In that same vein…

Faux-Muppet Coat = High Fashion

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It was the photograph that made her career. It just saddens me that I’m sure that ice cream went uneaten. Sigh.

Bowling Ball Art

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Now, don’t get me wrong. I have a love affair with my glue gun just like the next girl. But this seems…well, like a giant waste of time. And it isn’t even that pretty. I can think of better things to do with my bowling ball. Like go bowling.

A Wedding Dress Made Of Balloons

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I don’t know about you, but it was my dream as a young bride to come squeaking down the aisle in a dress made of balloons. And can you imagine the receiving line? Don’t hug this chick too hard or we’re gonna go from formal wedding to a streaker at a soccer game in 10 seconds flat.

You Just Crocheted WHAT?

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When you first see this pin, you’re all like “Aw, look! What a cute little mask!” Then you read the title of the article: “26 Super-Sexy Pairs of Men’s Underwear.”

And then you make this face:

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And finally, the WEIRDEST thing I’ve EVER seen on Pinterest, EVER

The Formal Chicken Fling

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I have no words.

Path To A Happy 2015

Guys, my holidays pretty much sucked. There was no Christmas spirit. There was lots of crying and “woe as me.” There was a WHOLE LOTTA forced merriment. I took my decorations down the day after Christmas, and as each bauble found its way back into storage, I felt a little bit happier, like I was packing away the source of sadness that had plagued me since just after the turkey went cold.

Considering the fact that, in years past, I have been accused of being as jolly as Buddy the Christmas Elf, this is some pretty serious news in and around these parts.

The reason why doesn’t really matter as much as finding my way back to happiness. What’s done is done, the past is in the past, and I’m ready to move forward into a happier, healthier, shinier new year.

Since my day-to-day life has been pretty colorless lately, I pointed my browser over to my favorite blog, Heck Awesome, written by the lovely and talented Carrie Baughcum. She is a daily source of inspiration for me, and though she doesn’t know it, I think of her as the Creativity Queen. And just as she has in the past, with one adorable and heartwarming post, she inspired me to try something new.

Art Journaling.

Finally, a way to combine my “artwork” with my words. (Note the quotations. Perhaps “cartoons” would be a more accurate description?) I’ve found a way to fully express the ideas in my brain. And use my awesome multi-hued felt-tipped pens. It’s brilliant.

And colorful. Did I mention art journaling is colorful? <—-COLOR IS GOOD.

So I decided to start my journal with that nasty holiday depression in mind. What can I do to ensure that my path in 2015 is filled with light, and humor, and happiness? I can accomplish the goals I’ve set forth for myself. I can exercise and let the sunshine in. I can write more and whine less. I can start every day with a positive thought. I can hang onto hope, even when hope seems fruitless. I can smile. I can laugh. I can draw and write and paint and doodle. I can create my own sunshine. I can be ME.

Path to a Happy 2015

It’s not as impressive as other art journal pages I’ve seen as I’ve perused Pinterest, looking for ideas. In fact, it’s downright amateur-ish. But it’s a start. And it made me happy, which was the whole point of the exercise anyway. So I’ll move forward. I’ll draw a doodle every now and then, and add the page to my journal. I’ll draw out my feelings when I can’t find the words to express them. I may or may not share them here, depending on how proud I am of said doodles.

Either way, my toes are off the starting line, and I’m moving up that path to happiness. I know it’s there, waiting at the top of the hill for me. It may be an uphill climb, but I’ll make it. And I’m taking my art supplies with me, because…

crayons

(Or, in this case, felt-tipped pens.) (But use whatever works.) (Heck, fingerpaint with pudding if you want to. I won’t judge you if you won’t judge me while I’m licking the paper clean.) (Great, now I want chocolate pudding.) (Mmmm. Pudding.)

To Carrie: You are my sister in creativity. Thank you for continuing to inspire me. XO

Like A Bowl Full of Jelly

I’ve gained three pounds since December 1.

This may not seem like a big deal to you. I mean, three pounds isn’t a whole heapin’ lot. And could easily be shed with a couple of diligent weeks worth of work.

Here’s the thing, though. I made a pact with myself that I wasn’t going to gain the typical five (twelve) pounds that often comes with the holidays. I was going to keep indulgences to a minimum, continue my three-times-a-week trips to the gym, and avoid the merriment of gorging on cookies until the actual holiday.

I wasn’t looking to continue losing during the holidays. That’s too much pressure to put on anyone, especially a fat girl who really loves Christmas cookies.

weight loss 1

But I was going to maintain. That was my key word. MAINTENANCE.

See, I’ve managed to lose (and up until two weeks ago, maintain) a 35-pound weight loss this year. That’s three dress sizes, people. I started Werq in late February, and have been dancing my way to a slimmer, sexier me. I know what you’re thinking–thirty-five pounds isn’t a whole lot. Especially when you think of how long it took me to lose that weight. (9 1/2 months. But who’s counting?) But for me? It’s the most successful I’ve been with weight loss since I figured out I needed to lose weight about ten years ago. I’ve never lost this much, never kept up an exercise routine for this long, never been this successful before. And so, as the holidays approached, I promised myself that I would stay on the wagon. Or at least, hitched to it, so that when January 1 rolls around, I’ll already be ahead of the curve.

But. Cookies.

I have to be honest with myself. It’s not just the holiday cookies. It’s the “it’ll be easier to pickup a pizza” phenomenon. The “it’s just one bottle of wine” scenario. The cheerful Christmas cheeseburger (with extra bacon.) That’s been happening, too.

So I’m reigning it in. Move over Santa. You can have the big jiggly bowl full of jelly. And you can have my share of Christmas cookies, too.

Weight loss 2

After I eat this oatmeal cookie sandwich with a side of chocolate peanut butter globs.