Category Archives: List Blog

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.

2014-foto

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.

2013_0

The Infertility List Blog (Published September 24, 2013)

cooler-than-you
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)

hollister 5

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.

 

2011picture

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.

Look, Y’all! I Wrote A Blog! (One-Handed)

The last six (almost seven?!) months have passed by in an absolute whirlwind, with a million tiny spectacular moments suspended in time, like so many dragonflies in amber, waiting to be reexamined and  treasured in the months to come.

And the fact that it took me thirty minutes to think out and type that sentence with my left thumb, on an app from my phone, with a squirmy baby taking up four-fifths of my attention, is just one of those shiny moments I’ll remember in my old age. “Remember when I used to type one-handed?” I’ll say to no one in particular from the confines of my rocking chair, which probably won’t rock as much as levitate, and will come equipped with its own hologram television, WiFi internet connection (password protected), and locator beacon for my more widespread adventures.

I’m getting distracted. Let me start again.

I’m a mom. A fully-entrenched, pureed sweet potatoes in my hair, dark circles under my eyes, laughing till my sides hurt, worrying till my brain aches, honest to goodness, bonefide mom. I spend my days adoring this child, and my life couldn’t be more perfect.

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I have become well-versed in all things teething, submersed myself into the world of baby sign language and environment enrichment, and know way more about poop than any medical professional on the planet. (Pretty sure a doctor has to take a course called “Baby Poop: It’s Many Forms and Functions” in order to get their license. And yours truly could teach it.) But the one skill that has become the most valuable, and the one I use most frequently on a day to day basis, is the ability that moms across the globe have been perfecting for generations: that of being able to thrive with the limited use of only one hand.

In true Abby Gabs fashion, I leave you with a list of things I’ve managed to accomplish (nay — master) in my short time as a mother. Enjoy.

Things I’ve Done With One Hand (and Occasionally, My Toes)

* Picked up a dropped pacy/toy/blanket (most impressive when performed with my toes)
* Updated my Facebook status
* Perfected the “Mommy and Me” selfie

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* Made (multiple) daily cups of coffee
* In that same vein, made hundreds of perfectly toasted PopTarts (that covers the two main Mommyhood food groups)
* Cooked dinner (because warming up leftovers totally constitutes cooking)
* Pet a purring, sleeping kitty
* Loaded and unloaded the dishwasher
* Answered my phone (or, more likely, frantically smashed buttons or swiped the screen in order to silence my phone before it woke a sleeping baby.
* Rocked a restless kiddo in his car seat while blow drying my hair (this is another toes thing)
* Cheered maniacally (and relatively quietly) as my Carolina Panthers smashed their way into the upcoming Super Bowl!!
* Sorted, washed, dried, folded, and put away laundry.
* Caught an epic baby vomit with a burp cloth, singlehandedly avoiding a giant mess and therefore, more loads of laundry.
* Vacuumed. My whole apartment. Like a boss.
* Carefully maintained precious friendships with those I used to see far more regularly than I do now. (I’m a text messaging, Facebooking, digital-corresponding expert.)
* Blown my nose. (Not kidding. That’s Yoda-level parenting, people.)
* Surfed for a better television program. Not so impressive one handed. Circus-level impressive when done with toes.
* Written a blog.

While I’ve mastered the art of surviving with one hand (and sometimes toes,) the most important part of it all is finishing those tasks so I can finally, happily get back to the important stuff: playing tickle monster, steadying a wobbly baby who’s learning to crawl, snuggling him close when he wants to nap. Those things require both hands…and five-fifths of my attention. So til next time readers, stay tuned for the next installment of Abby Gabs: “Funny Things I Did With Only Four Hours of Sleep.”

Slainte!

Today is St. Patrick’s Day (in case you were wondering why people are walking around in green from head to toe and shouting Gaelic phrases at you while drinking Guinness from their coffee mug.)

There are lots of reasons I love St. Patrick’s Day (the coffee mug of Guinness is only one of them.) While I know my family is of Irish decent, I’m probably only 1/67th% Irish. But that doesn’t keep me from celebrating our heritage, and with gusto. Here are a few of my favorite things about St. Patrick’s Day.

The Food
Look, guys, I’m not going to sugar coat it for you. I’m Irish, and I love potatoes. I think it might be written in the law somewhere that Irish people have to love spuds. Even though I’ve been eating healthy for the past year, we still have potatoes around here on the regular. (There are some things you just make room for in your healthy eating plan. Like potatoes. And chocolate ice cream.) We also visit our favorite local pub on an alarmingly frequent basis. (They know us by name. And order, because we always get the same thing.)

There’s something about Irish food…the kind you make on St. Patrick’s Day…that just takes “comfort food” to the next level. Shepherd’s Pie, Corned Beef and CabbageIt just doesn’t get any better than that.

But…it sort of does. Our family’s most favorite Irish recipe is Whiskey-Braised Pork Shoulder with Colcannon.

Whiskey braised pork
<Paused for drool clean-up.>

It’s just…I mean…look at that…I can’t even.

Just trust me. Read the recipe. Buy the ingredients. Cook this meal. And thank me later.

The Sentiment
I always wondered where my penchant for sage advice came from–both the giving and the receiving. I’m guessing it must be my Irish blood, because the blessings and phrases and quotes that come out of Ireland are some of my favorites.

“Lose an hour in the morning, and you’ll be looking for it all day.”

“You’ll never plow a field by turning it over in your mind.”

“You’ve got to do your own growing, no matter how tall your father was.”

(It’s imperative that, when reading these quotes, you drop all the g’s, and put on your thickest Irish brogue. Trust me, it just works.)

These phrases don’t necessarily have to do with the celebration of St. Paddy’s, but they tend to come out of the woodwork around this time of year. There’s nothing better than a good turn of phrase to get my juices flowing. And I also happen to love some of the Irish blessings that show up on Facebook on March 17. My favorite?

Irish wish

Tis the wish I wish for you, my friend.

The Parties
There are lots of other holidays that have parties that try to rival St. Patrick’s Day—Cinco de Mayo, Independence Day, Christmas, my birthday. They just don’t hold a candle to the parades, the dancing, and the merriment that we Irish partake of…well, pretty much year round, but especially on St. Patrick’s Day. Savannah, Charleston, Boston, NYC…you don’t have to look very hard to find a rowdy group of Irishmen (and women!) ready to don their favorite green gear and spend the day searching for the luck of their people.

Plus, you know…there’s the Guinness.

 

st patty's day

What else do you need to officially claim St. Patrick’s Day to be the most fun holiday, ever?

A half-assed Photoshopped picture of me as a dancing leprechaun?

Fine.

Abby leprechaun

There. I win. St. Patrick’s Day RULES.

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:

werq

…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

Click for Source

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.
Birthday-Cake

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.)
Snake 3
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.
Sexy back 2

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

4

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

5

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?

6

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:

unnamed

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

The Formal Chicken Fling

7

I have no words.

To Me, From My Fiercer Self

Dear Self:

So, you hurt your knee while working out yesterday, huh? I see your ice packs, and your ibuprofen, and your frowny face.

Bum knee

I’m guessing you’re pretty down about the whole thing, and worried that this injury could impact your progress with weight loss. And those tears you cried yesterday? Those were less about the pain you were in and more about the possibility that you might have to miss WERQ© classes for the rest of the week.

Well buck up, little camper. I’m here to remind you of some amazing things you’ve learned about yourself since you shed those 30 pounds while dancing your tush off. And between you and me—it’s a pretty substantial list of AWESOMENESS. Enjoy.

You Can Do 300 Squats In One Day…
…and you’ve done it more than once. That’s right, sister—those legs that you are currently cursing for landing you on the injured list are the very same legs that can squat till the cows come home. All you needed was a distraction from the DIY Network, the ceiling fan set on high, and your hubby behind you reminding you of how dope your bootie is looking. Oh, and those super-awesome, super-shrinking, super-strong legs.

You Are One Funky Cold Medina, Honey.
Oh yes. Yes you are. Turn on some current top 40, put a round fan in front of yourself on high, and watch yourself Werq, girl. You’ve got some moves hidden inside of you that you had no idea you were capable of. Don’t believe me? Turn on Beyonce’s “Countdown” and watch your face in the mirror. See that? Your hip hop stank face is rivaling Bey’s.

Stank Face With BeyonceYou Are a Sweat-er.
And I don’t mean the kind you wear to a Christmas party. When that music starts playing, and you start grooving, you start sweating like a line backer in the third quarter, girlfriend. And believe me, that’s a GOOD THING.

Your Self-Confidence is Showing.
You’re not the chubby girl hiding in the back corner any more. Oh no. Why would you be? You are fierce and sexy and strong. You stroll onto that dance floor like you own it. Take your spot front and center. Wave hello to all the folks watching you embrace your inner goddess and smile. THAT is the power of transformation. THAT is the power of WERQ©.

You LOVE What You See In The Mirror.
For the first time in what feels like forever, you don’t shy away from your reflection. Sure, there’s still lumps and rolls and dimples that you dislike. But no longer do you look at them and see permanence. They may be there now, but they won’t be forever. This, your adult body—the one you’ve hated for 11 years–is becoming leaner. Stronger. And you are loving it…and yourself. Victory.

Click for source

Click for source

 

So, Sister Warrior, Lover of Pop and Dance, Sex Pot in Sneakers—-I’m just going to leave this list here for you. Now you can come back and revisit it while you’ve got your knee propped up on a pillow. When you’re feeling defeated and like you’ll be fat forever, when you just couldn’t resist that chocolate ice cream and you’re beating yourself up over it, or when you need a friendly reminder that you are SUCCEEDING at LIFE, you just come back here and read it.

Signed,
Your Thinner, Healthier, Sexier, Fiercer, HAPPIER Self

Grown-Up Birthday Do’s & Don’ts

Birthdays change the older you get. Once upon a time, it was all about balloons, stacks of presents, and creepy animatronic bears that play the ukelele and sing disco songs. Then, as you hit the teenage years, it became all about how much money you were going to be given so that you could hopefully (FINALLY!) buy that coveted Ricky Martin CD. And finally, as the calendar sent you rocketing toward that all important 21st birthday, all plans involved where you were drinking, what you were drinking, and who you were drinking with.

As the twenties come to a close, and you find yourself looking down the barrel of “thirty-something,” birthdays become something all together different. There may be a fancy dinner out with a spouse, or some cupcakes from your best friend. But gone are the days of “week long birthday celebrations” and “themed birthday parties” and “night of a thousand shots.”

33

Yeah….pretty much.

I find with each passing birthday that I become more introspective; flipping through my memory files of the last year and taking stock of all I have accomplished, making note of the failures and heartaches, wondering how things will change in the next 365 days of my life.

And since my birthday has become such a different event with age, I figured it was high time to create a “Do/Don’t” list for adult birthdays. After all, I’m not the only one on this thirty-something rocket ship heading straight for middle age.

Abby’s Grown-Up Birthday Do’s and Don’ts:

DO: Bring me cake. No restrictions here—all sweets are fair game. Bonus if there’s chocolate!!

DON’T: Ask me how old I am turning. I think that ship sails after your 21st birthday. Besides, math isn’t my strong suit. I’m pretty sure I told no less than 4 people that I was turning 34 today. Turns out, after I pulled out my calculator, that I moved a decimal point or something incorrectly, and I’m ACTUALLY 33. What? Math is hard.

math is hard

See? Told ya.

DO: Feel free to wish me a happy birthday. Facebook messages, Tweets, emails, phone calls, birthday cards, sky-written messages of your love for me—-all 100% wonderful. I love hearing from you, especially when you’re telling me I’m awesome.

DON’T: Spend a fortune on a gift for me. Truth be told, there’s not a whole lot in this world that I need or want. I’d rather you bring me the aforementioned chocolate goodie and spend thirty minutes with me than for you to buy me a diamond studded tiara. Unless, of course, you feel so inclined. Then bring on the bling, baby. I can rock a crown like nobody’s bidness.

DO: Feel free to change the subject. Sure, you can wish me happy birthday, ask me about my plans, even sing to me in Spanish if you want to. But after that, we can talk about anything else in the world and I’d be ok with it. There’s something about no longer being a fresh-faced pig-tailed 8 year old who’s wishing beyond hope for a flying unicorn with pink wings for her birthday that makes them not so sparkly any more. And that’s ok. I’d rather talk about that thing that happened the other day than my birthday anyway.

DON’T: Let me mope about turning a year older. It’s going to happen. Inevitably, about a week before my birthday, you will find me in a melancholy, mopey, morose place. Remind me that 33 isn’t that old, I still have plenty of time to accomplish my goals and chase my dreams. Tell me that I’m crazy–there are no gray hairs to be found atop my head. Shake your head and laugh at me when I worry out loud that I’m getting laugh lines. And above all else, give me permission to keep wearing my favorite nerdy tees, despite the fact that I probably should’ve stopped wearing them at 26.

And finally, DO: Bring me cake. I know….I already mentioned that before. But seriously. I like cake.

What I’m Lovin’ Lately

You know it’s been a really long time since you posted a blog when you’re faced with the log-in page as soon as you click over to Word Press.

Oops.

The thing is, life has been…well, lively, lately. And after all, the whole point of life is to be an active participant. Am I right? So that’s what I’ve been doing. Participatin’.

When I’m not working out, working, or out, there are a few things that have been tying up my extra attention the past week or two. And since those things have kept me so busy, I thought the least I could do would be share them with you. Then we can participate together, and I’ll stop feeling so guilty about my lack of blogging, because you’ll be enjoying life, too.

Here’s a list of things I’m lovin’ lately.

National Grammar Day
You may or may not have known this, but yesterday (March 4, 2014) was National Grammar Day. Now, as a writer, every day is Grammar Day for me. But…it’s nice to have a day set aside in the year to highlight something as important as proper grammar. And no one does it with the same grace and panache as my friends, Fafa and Mario. If you haven’t heard of Glove and Boots, then please, let me introduce you to the funniest video blog on the internet with my FAVORITE one, ever: “Fix Your Grammar.”

NKOTB reference, FTW.

New (To Me) Music
I know, I know. I’m a little late to the Bruno Mars party. Truthfully, I was actually familiar with a few of his songs before his amazing performance on this year’s Super Bowl–I just wasn’t really aware that it was Bruno singing. Ya dig?

Anyway, after witnessing my entire family (ages 26-65, respectively) bobbing their heads along to the music during Super Bowl halftime, Brian and I decided it was high time we downloaded some new tunes. And so, Bruno Mars has taken over our iPods, and we listen to him with an almost religious fervor.

My favorite song changes from day-to-day, but the one that always sends me into a dance frenzy is “The Lazy Song.” And so, I’m here to share it with you today, so you can dance, too.

Also, the monkeys kill me.

Exercise That I Actually ENJOY
I never thought it would happen. I’ve been trying to find a fun method of burning calories since I was in college. Step aerobics–not fun. Bike riding–not fun after the age of 10. Running drills on the elliptical–fun like a root canal is fun.

But a couple of weeks ago, my shiny new Weight Loss Buddy (WLB) and I discovered Werq classes at our local gym. Now we’d tried Zumba, and while it was sort of fun, it was a little more challenging than either of us were quite expecting. But Werq? It’s like Zumba’s favorite hip-hop cousin. And ZOMG, it is SO much fun. I’ve been doing 2-3 classes a week, and have managed to lose 14 pounds and 8.5 inches since Jan 7.

Just watch—it even LOOKS like fun!


The best part is the energy in the class. Everyone who shows up is really ready for a fun hour of dance. So. Much. FUN. And clearly, it’s working!

The Most Epic Song-Bomb, EVER.
You guys remember the video blog I did awhile ago about being song-bombed, right? No? Well click HERE and go watch it….I’ll wait.

Now, if you think THAT song is the most epic bomb, ever, then you haven’t seen the new Lego Movie yet. We saw it two weeks ago, and we’re still walking around singing “Everything is Awesome.” (It doesn’t help that it also runs rampant through the video game, which Brian and I are currently playing together.)

I am warning you now…if you don’t want this ridiculously catchy tune stuck in your head from now until the end of days, you won’t click the play button. But you really do want to hear it, don’t you?


Now, readers, I release you back into the wild, where you’ll inadvertently share your new favorite song with the world. Believe me, you will. You’ll be singing it at the grocery store, in the shower, at the post office, in line at Target….

Heeeee’s BAAAAACCK…
I told myself I wasn’t going to watch it…that it would be too painful after our very public breakup last year. I made a promise to myself to avoid the torture, especially when I learned that SHE would make guest appearances on the show centered around the Wahlberg’s new chain restaurant.

But when Wahlburgers started up a couple of weeks ago, I broke that promise to myself and DVR’d it.

And I hate to admit it, but the truth is…I’m utterly charmed.

It’s funny, it’s heart-warming, and Alma Wahlberg (Mother to Donnie and Mark) is just about the cutest thing in the world.

But I don’t watch it for Alma. Or Mark. Or Paul. Or the burgers.

Nay, I watch it for Donnie.

A bad habit is hard to break, ladies. Especially one that’s been practiced since childhood.

So…what’s been keeping you busy, readers? Got anything fun you’d like to share? I’m always looking for new forms of entertainment. Tell me all about it in the comments below. And remember…

EVERYTHING IS AWESOME….EVERYTHING IS COOL WHEN YOU’RE PART OF A TEAM…EVERYTHING IS AWESOME…WHEN YOU’RE LIVING YOUR DREAM!♪

My Philosophies On Life

I’m not usually one to dispense unsolicited advice.

I mean, if I run into you at the grocery store, and you ask me a question about pea pods, I’ll be happy to answer, and in great detail. But if I run into you, and I notice you’re admiring said pea pods, I’m unlikely to wax philosophical about the health benefits of green vegetables without being prompted. It’s just not how I operate.

But there are a few philosophies that I choose to live by–words that become my mantras when I’m feeling blue, or having a bad day. And I find, by living my life according to these philosophies, I am a happier person.

So, I’m going against the grain and sharing them with you here today, in the hopes that if nothing else, you might learn a little bit more about what makes me tick.

(Don’t worry, none of them have to do with pea pods.)

Save the Drama Fo’ Yo’ Mama
Over the years, I have learned that life, all by its little self, is stressful enough without putting myself in situations or relationships that stress me out. If I don’t want to go to a baby shower because I know it will make me sad, I don’t go. If I don’t feel like hanging out with a particular person because all they do is complain about the price of milk, I don’t hang out with that person. If I don’t want to answer a phone call because I’m in the middle of watching the newest episode of Downton Abbey, (OMG THE FEELS…) I’m going to let it go to voice mail.

Here’s the thing: there are going to be stresses in my everyday life that I can’t change. Work stress. Money stress. Family stress. Stress about trying to adopt, and trying to get published, and saving to buy a house. These are all a part of that little thing we call life.

But stress caused by a social media acquaintance that annoys the whiz out of me? I don’t need it, and I can control it. I just delete them from Facebook, avoid social situations that I know will put me face to face with them, and move on with my life.

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It’s not always easy to cut those strings, especially if you’ve been tethered to that stressful person/situation for a long time. But when you’re spending your time worrying about it, trying to solve it, or avoiding it to save your own skin—just grab those scissors and *snip snip,* baby. I’m TELLING you, your life will be better for it. I’ve experienced it first hand.

Turn Down The Noise
I’ve told you about this philosophy of mine before, and I quote it often and loudly. Because it really is the best advice I ever received. It also goes hand-in-hand with removing drama from your life.

When I was a shiny new bride, my father-in-law told me once that when life gets complicated, or scary, or too much to handle, to circle the wagons and focus on the most important thing. “Don’t be afraid to turn down life’s noise and focus on each other,” he said. And while it isn’t the most profound notion in the world, it has easily become the bedrock of my marriage.

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But I’ve also learned this past year that this philosophy has a little room to breathe and grow. When life gets hard, and I need an emotional compass, Brian is the one I turn to. And he reminds me that sometimes I need to turn down the noise and refocus on what makes me happy. It’s thanks to him, and that support, that has brought me back to blogging and writing my second novel. And for that, I owe him the world.

Every Day Should Start With A Little Music
I’m not 100% sure when it happened, but it occurred to me awhile ago that I was always waking up with the grumpies. By the time I hit the showers, I was already thinking about all the things I dreaded about the day, and all the things in my life that try to make me unhappy. I would stand under the spray, lamenting about my job, my lack of success in the publishing industry, or even just the fact that it was Tuesday, and whatever potential I had for a good mood would wash down the drain with the soap suds.

I found a very simple solution for that problem, ladies and gents. My alarm clock goes off, I hop out of bed, immediately turn on my phone, and let the 80s Pop Station on Pandora whisk me away.

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Before the grumpies have a chance to attack, I’m dancing in the shower to a little WHAM!, and my day is off to a colorful start.

Now, I can’t guarantee this will work if you tend to love sad music, or heavy music. I’ll be a pop princess till the day I die, but it’s the music I love that makes me happy, and makes me dance, that puts me in a good mood every day. I’m guessing that if you listen to the music you love, it might just work the same for you. Try it, and let me know how it goes.

“Be A Rainbow In Someone Else’s Cloud.”
I can’t take credit for that quote–it’s Maya Angelou’s. She’s much wiser than I am, and I’m okay with that. Her words are some that I live by.

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I like to spread cheer. I’m like Buddy the Elf, except all year long, and I don’t necessarily always sing it loud for all to hear. (If you are not a fan of the movie, “Elf,” then you will not understand this reference. All I can do is beg you to see the movie and then come back later.) I will, however, try to be a bright spot in your day. I might send you a chipper private message to tell you hello, or share a funny article I read that made me think of you. I might offer to do you a favor, or do you one anyway without asking first.

Now, listen. I’m not trying to toot my own horn or say that I’m the world’s best friend. I’m not. My point is this: even on my grayest days, I find that making one of my friends smile gives me a small bit of color back. Helping my Dad in the kitchen, or picking up Brian’s socks without complaining, or sending my best friend a silly card–I do these things for them, but I do it for me, too. Making them smile makes me smile. So this whole “rainbow” gig works both ways. Ya dig?

Be You. No Matter What That Means.
I’m a bonafide nerd. I geek out over everything from my favorite celebrities to video games and everything in between. I will quote Star Trek quicker than you can say “Beam me up, Scotty!’ Then, when you say that, I’ll gently pat you on the shoulder and tell you that Scotty never actually used that phrase–not once–in the original television series.

Fifteen years ago, if you’d told me that I’d be waving my nerd flag proudly at the largest comic book convention in the country, I’d have laughed in your face. It was more important to me to fit in with the “in” crowd. Whatever that means.

But I figured it out several years ago–I’m a grown ass adult who likes certain things that most other people my age aren’t into. I have a Doctor Who mini-fig collection that will rival your child’s entire Lego obsession. I follow superstitions to a tee when it comes to football, and will paint my face and wear the same shirt every single weekend in the season if it means my team keeps winning. I will sing show tunes at the top of my lungs, and even provide you with some jazz hands, if the mood so strikes me. And I will inevitably pick you up in my car at some point, and will have to apologize that the speakers were so loud, the lyrics from that New Kids on the Block song will be ringing in your ears till Easter.

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But I won’t apologize about my music choices, or my nerdy t-shirts, or my penchant for correcting your grammar. Because why? Because all of those things make me who I am, that’s why.

And in my opinion, that’s a glorious thing.

So, readers, those are my philosophies on life. I try to live according to them, and most days, I’m successful. I’m not saying that these words of wisdom always work; I’m not Mary Poppins, and every day of my life isn’t supercalifragilisticespialidocius. But when I put these philosophies to work for me, and remember that life is too short to spend it being angry, or sad, or bitter, then I get a little bit closer to being happy every single day.

And isn’t that what life is all about, anyway?