Dear Vicki

May 31, 2013

Dear Vicki,

I don't know if you know it, but you're carrying precious cargo in your glove box. My TomTom charger and USB cord. I know. It's hard to believe you've had such precious goods in the recesses of your car for so long, and knew nothing about it.

I know. It's equally hard to believe I never had the chance to ask for it back in the middle of dealing with your son's fake bouts of depression. What? That's over now? That's good. But there's still one thing, Vicki.

I need those cords.

I know you resent me for never wearing enough Charger blue to home games, or making up for it by bringing a hefty plate of baked goods. I know you think I'm stupid when I get nervous when you interrogate me about why I'm not wearing Charger blue and I mumble "Uh, uh but it might rain." I know, Vicki, I know.

But I need those cords.

Can we make a deal? I'm picturing something tense and emotionally charged on top of the dam overlooking the river. The sun will be setting and our cars can roll slowly across the gravel. We'll step out. Our fingertips brushing only for the brief moment when you take the bottle of wine from my left hand and I take the cords from your right.

I know, Vicki, I know. I don't like the idea of me driving all the way through Ohio anymore than you do, trust me. But you know what's worse than the thought of me driving all the way through Ohio? Having to spend even more time in Ohio because without my TomTom I get lost and confused and paralyzed by fear.

What's that, Vicki? I can have my cords back now?

Thanks, Vicki.

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P.S. In case you missed it, it's road trip week here on The Unreal Life. Follow along with my snarky sass as I voyage through the midwest this weekend via twitter and instagram

The Mind of a Road Tripper

May 30, 2013

Let's just consider this "The Week of the Road Trip" here on The Unreal Life. I could write about road trips for days. Jack Kerouac...move over. I've been itching to go on another one. There's something so calming about them: never panicking over missing the start of your favorite song--it will be on again in 10 minutes; finding random talk shows; going for the big bag of chips because there's no one to judge you; and finding all sorts of new places to prop your free foot up within the confines of your dash board. Just you...and the open road. Today I present, The Mind of a Road Tripper .

God. This is so good. So good. I love this. I feel wild and free. 

Wait. Where's my phone? 

Got it. 

Man. This is getting tiring. I have to remember not to get tunnel vision. Look at the trees. Look at that bird. What the hell is that...wait, road. Focus on the road. 

Yeah, time for a break. 

What is this truck stop? Marble showers? Stop. 

How many flavors of cappuccino is too many flavors of cappuccino? 

Back on the road. 

I've heard this song like 12 times. 

I'm gonna call someone. 

Wait, I've run out of options. 

Mom, mom...who's that cousin I have in Wisconsin who we never see or talk to? Yeah, that one. Oh, they live in Georgia now? What...well...text me their number. Why? Because I'm BORED Mom. 

Finally got a hold of Grandma. 

Awful choice. Can I get off the phone now?

Did I close the windows before I left?

Historical marker? Don't stop. Just get where you're going. 

What the hell, I'm only here once. 

Are you kidding me? I stopped for this? This is a joke. Back in the car. 

Almost out of gas, better pull over. 

Was that historical marker a joke? Should I remember who that person was? How much can I remember from AP US History...hold on, Pitbull's on. Love this song. 

This truck stop looks legit. 

Better switch to fountain pop, these cappuccino cups are piling up. 


Gosh. I have to stop eating such crap. I'm going to Subway. 

What do you mean I can make it a meal if I get two cookies? Of COURSE I want two cookies!

On the road again. I just can't wait to be on the road again. 

Is there a way to work out in the car?

Where have I heard this song before? Oh that's right...FIVE MINUTES AGO. 

Wow. There really is nothing like gas station coffee. Real treat, this one. 

AMARETTO Creamer? Luxurrrry! The last one only had Irish Cream. Better get two. 

Thanks for stopping by kids! XOXO.
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Come home, TomTom

May 29, 2013

All I can think about today is my missing TomTom charger. Which means all I'm going to write about today is my missing TomTom charger.

Here's the deal. That TomTom and I have been through a lot. A few summers ago, I made an epic road trip from good ol' Michigan to Seattle. Coast to coast. Alone. Did I mention I planned this road trip in oh, two days?

The first day was brutal. I stopped somewhere in the middle of Illinois after getting on and off the same highway exits for about 45 minutes (Literally. When I realized I was just going in circles on the same clover-shaped highway exit paths I broke out in instant tears.). I pulled into a CVS and called my boyfriend at the time, sobbing. Straight up sobbing. 

"I can't do this," I blubbered, "Everything is really hot and fuzzy and I don't feel good and I just feel like I'm gonna pass out. And I'm clammy. And I have a fever. Oh my god I think I'm sick. Oh my god. How can I do this?"
"Autumn," he said calmly, "Is your AC on?"

Oh. Remember that summer? The great summer of country-wide heat wave when the electric companies literally shut off power for a few hours each day because they were overheating their machines? You know, that one. I had been driving in that god-awful heat wave (97 degrees at the time?) for four hours with no AC. 

Once I got the AC on, I made my second mistake of the day by hitting the 'refresh' button on my iPhone map. Insert fresh round of sobbing when my map and directions completely disappeared because I was in the middle of nowhere and not connected to the right network (who goes on a cross-country road trip with just their iPhone?!?!?!). This time, I called my parents sobbing who insisted that I stop at the next major town and get a real GPS. The next major town: Hannibal, MO. 

Every stereotype you have ever heard, and more. I pulled over at a gas station and interrupted the female cashier (missing four teeth, leather skin, smoker voice) and a nice young man (missing one tooth, freckled skin, cowboy hat) chatting.

"Excuse me," I said. "Do you have a Best Buy around here?"
"A what?" she said.
"A Best Buy? You a technology store." She stared. "I need to buy a GPS? I'm taking a road trip?"
" we ain't got one of those anywhere around here. But we do have a WalMart. They should have most everything you need."
I took down some directions from her and was about to leave when she literally jumped up on the counter, reached over, and grabbed my necklace "Wellll lookeeeee here!" she shouted, "That right there is a real pretty necklace! I've never seen such a thing before!"

Now I don't know about you, but after driving for four hours with no AC, getting lost countless times, and pulling into the world's sketchiest gas station in America's most poorly named city, the last thing your heart needs is some woman you've never met grabbing at your necklace. Surprisingly, she genuinely did just want to compliment my crucifix (praise Jesus!) and send me on my way with well wishes. In the end, I got my TomTom and everything after that was relatively smooth sailing.

The point is, TomTom, I went through a LOT to get you, and I can't quit you even though sometimes you try to be a straight up biatch and send me into the middle of nowhere Wyoming (still hatin' on that, yep). And now, you're gone from me. I have a road trip this weekend across four states, and I need you. I need you, boo. I can picture you shivering, alone and cold, in my ex-boyfriend's mother's car. I hope she treats you right. Do you hear me calling for you TomTom? Do you think we could organize a trade? Bottle o' wine for my TomTom? We could have a nice little chat and bitch about our mutual hatred of PTLs? TomTom, come home. 

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May 28, 2013

Hi friends!

I hope you all had a most wonderful long weekend! If you follow me on the tweeter, you know that the highlight of my weekend was:

 #babe #livedating

Here's the story. I met a boy at a bar last weekend, and we hit it off instantly. We shared a mutual love of all things football, Pope Francis and M*A*S*H* so it was basically a done deal. A few days later, we had our first date (more on that to come later). In a word: no. Just no. It was just off. It felt like I was talking to a completely different person. But I still agreed to a second date because I don't often find people with similar loves of Pope Francis and football round these parts, so I more chance. But as the week went on, I got increasingly more nervous and started regretting it. But we all also know, I can't say no. 

So my roommate came up with the perfect solution: we'll pregame your date. 

We sat by the pool with some straw-beer-itas and did exactly that. And it was perfect. But I was still nervous, so I looked over with some big puppy dog eyes at my two girlfriends and said "Come with me. Please." They looked at me. They looked at each other. "Ok!" they said in unison. I practically screamed with delight. This my friends, is true sisterhood. 

And that my friends, is how my two girlfriends ended up spending their Friday night stalking and live tweeting my date. At one point the boy and I were walking into the restaurant and he goes "Hey, I think I see your friends up there!" to which I snapped "Don't you think you should be focusing a little more on me during our date?" He didn't mention them again after that. 

Other than that, my weekend was filled with BBQ fun, pool side time, reading and other jank, jank things that are just really too much all for one post =) How was your weekend? Have you ever stalked a date? 

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Happy Memorial Day!

May 26, 2013

"When I see a dogwood, I think of you. 
Of the college that shaped us, the times that tried us and the love that relieved us." 

A fist had made a canvas of his left eye, and swirls of disturbing shades of blue, purple and pink were rising to the surface. She waited patiently on the worn leather couch and let the realizations role over her. This wasn't the first time a stranger's fist would connect with his face. In fact, in the life he had chosen, it was likely to be a very routine incident. And how willingly he chose it. He would put his face and his body and his mind and his heart in front of strangers seeking to hurt him, to kill him, to destroy him. And he would do it willingly. Willingly. He would put it all on the line to protect...all of this. To protect the freedom to have rowdy college nights and young loves and fist fights and friendships and laughter and everything in between. 

He came in gruffly and shut the door with a bang, collapsing on the couch next to her. His whole body was rigid and she could feel and see the tension running through him. 

"Thanks for waiting," he said quietly, placing his hand on her knee.

"Of course," she whispered back, intertwining her fingers on top of his. They sat in silence for a few minutes until she added "I think you need some ice." 

"No I'm fine."

"I think you need some ice."

He shook his head, and she saw his jaw clench tight. So she just sat there and rubbed his shoulder until finally he looked over and said "I think I need some ice." 

She nodded and waited for him to return with a clumsy handful of ice in an old towel rag. She took it from him and tied the rag ends together so the cubes wouldn't fall out. He reached for it, but she pulled back and pushed his hand down.

"Let me," she said. Ever so gently, she raised it up to the injured eye and let the cooling ice cubes lightly touch the raw bruise. She bit her lips, remembering the revelations of earlier. Grateful, eternally, for the lesson he had taught her about a soldier's sacrifice. 

He looked her closely in the eye. "Why are you doing this?"

"Because I won't always be able to."

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Hug Me Friday

May 24, 2013

Happy Friday, friends! I'm sure everyone's Monday (Tuesday?) weekend update posts will be nice and long to accommodate for the THREE DAY WEEKEND. Woot woot. What will I be doing?

A lot of this:

While listening to this:
(I heard a lot about this music video. And then I watched it and caught myself going "Dear God. I would actually prefer your to be naked MORE than you already are because your outfits are so hideous. Also, TI is the best part because he just looks so genuinely confused as to why he's there.)

While reading this:
Pre-ordered book magically popping up on my Kindle? Yes please. I'm a huge fan of his work. Hope this one lives up to the expectation!

And in case you choose to read some funniez while recovering from a delicious hangover sunburn, check these out:
Dating Disaster Funniez
The Five Assholes You'll Date In College
This was the first thing I ever wrote on my blog when it started, 
and remains to this day my favorite post. 
It's sharp, witty, funny and sassy. 
GIF Letter Funniez
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Friday Funnies

School of Unreal Life

May 23, 2013

I know we're supposed to talk about what we didn't learn at school...but, just go with me on this one. The more days I'm out of school, the more I realized I did learn in school. Most of this has come from one class:
Readings in Power and Leadership.

It was taught by the type of adorable old man professor who has been a lawyer for 50 years and adores his wife with every fiber of his being and dotes on his grandchildren. The type of professor who asks you "how are you?" and you have to fight the urge to spill the entire contents of your life trails and problems on his desk and ask him to solve them. You know. That type. 

The more I'm out of school, the more I find myself applying lessons I learned in his class:
*Don't make a decision out of fear, or a time crunch. 
*Be able to look yourself in the mirror. 
*Develop a news habit. Read a news source every day. 
*Pick a life partner who's smarter than you at something. 
*Give yourself time to think. Every day. 
*Don't willingly surround yourself with temptation. 
*Practice integrity and character in the small things, 
so you'll be ready for the big things.

Other lessons from the school of unreal life:
*Do not under any circumstance date a boy who at one time dated a girl who then came out as a lesbian. PTL problemz for dayz, kidz. 

*When you can listen to Adele solely for the beauty of her voice, 
and not the emotional way she describes your breakup...pat yourself on the back. 

*Don't do anything after a breakup that will make a lasting mark on your physical body, 
even after you are emotionally and mentally recovered and ready to move on. Party it up once in a while? Sure. Couple drinks with the girls? Sure. Few rebounds? Sure. Tattoos, STDs, 20 extra pounds from emotional eating? No. 

*Never refute another person's feelings. 
For example, if they say something made them sad, etc. don't say "No it didn't." 
Don't try to tell another person what they felt. 

*Don't pretend something didn't happen, 
just because you don't like the way it turned out. 
Learn from everything.

*Try to remember how far you've come at least once
for every three times you compare yourself to others. 

*Be the one who will,
Not the one who could.

*Two things in life are always free: volunteering and going to church.

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Dear Dorota

May 22, 2013

Dear Dorota,

There are several reasons why you should come work for me instead of my bestie, Blair Waldorf. I love Blair, but now that she and Chuck are married...well, she doesn't need you. I need you. If you were to come work for me, here is what I would ask of you:

When I wake up, bustle into my room quietly but efficiently with Starbucks (mocha in winter, iced hazelnut macchiato in the summer). Get me my eye cream and moisturizer and make sure I put them on ASAP so they have the necessary 20 minutes to set before I put the rest of my makeup on. Make sure I am sitting up (because if I don't literally sit up I will fall back asleep immediately) with some perfectly fluffed pillows and my laptop. Before I awake, I would like you to scroll through my bloglovin feed and 'mark as read' all the posts you know I don't want to read--giveaways for birth control websites and 20-sponsor monthly giveaways (actually, if you could enter those on a separate account for me, that'd be great).

When I'm ready to move out of my bed, please have my clothes prepared for me. In the winter, I would appreciate you warming them up briefly so I don't freeze hopping from my jammies to my sweaters. Drive me to work and listen to me vent about anything and everything that strikes my fancy. During the day, glue yourself to country radio stations and complete all the ticket-giveaway contests they have. I want Florida Georgia Line and I want them now, dammit! After that, please find the exact STL location of Nelly's house because you know I want to meet him.

In the evenings, I would ask that you follow at a discrete pace behind me and Dasani so you can make sure this total stranger doesn't kidnap me. He seems like a well-meaning old man, but you can never be too safe.

On the weekends, please prep my beach bag. When I awake from my weekend naps, have a mango flavored alcoholic beverage waiting for me. When not occupied with these activities, please amuse yourself by finding answers to the following questions: Did Ryan Reynolds watch all six seasons of Gossip Girl before or after he married Blake? How does the eLibrary system work? How do I audition for The Bachelor? How do I capitalize on creating a cable channel that plays 24 hour Sex and The City marathons?

What do you say Dorota? Sound like a plan?

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The Best of Unreal: Favorite Posts

May 21, 2013

First off, thanks to everyone who stopped by yesterday for the Bloglovin' linkup! If you're new to The Unreal Life, 1) welcome and 2) here are some good posts to get started with:

The Five Assholes You'll Date In College
This was the first thing I ever wrote on my blog when it started, 
and remains to this day my favorite post. 
It's sharp, witty, funny and sassy. 

Again, sassy. While working out gives most people a rush of endorphins, 
all my workouts do is give me a rush of pure anger. 

While my blog is mostly a conglomeration of sassy posts and GIF letters, I'm also proud that I've gotten to share my more serious side with the blogosphere as well. I know where I've been is a huge part of who I am today, and I want my readers to know that. Laughing is great. But knowing that you can still laugh having come through trials and tests is even better. To get to know the girl behind the blog better, check out the following:

In which I share the true story of my love of the word timshel, 
and how it led me to be the Christian I am today. 

This was probably the hardest post I've ever written, 
but the support and love from your comments was amazing--thank you. 
"Never be afraid to fall apart, 
for it's a chance to rebuild yourself as you wanted all along."

Long before I was a blogger, I was a short story writer. 
You can read a short snippet here, as well as see my more sentimental side as I remember some of my favorite moments beneath those dogwood trees.

{Co-Hostin'} Bloglovin' & Meet Dasani

May 19, 2013

Today I'm excited to be co-hosting this linkup with Lisette and Rachel. In order to help bloggers transition away from GFC as the main way to follow blogs, Northern Belle Diaries and Postcards from Rachel have teamed up to host I Love Bloglovin'

If you're new to The Unreal Life from this link up, welcome! Thank you for taking the time to stop by my little corner of the interweb! Here, you'll find my documented attempts to stop dating assholes, use appropriate office lingo and say no to strangers. 

Speaking of strangers...I made another friend in my apartment complex this weekend. I was taking a walk, and a kind old Indian man insisted that since we were both walking, we should walk together. He then proceeded to talk to me about his attempts to learn English, pass his ultrasound tech exam and sell his apartment he still owns in Pakistan (whaaaat?). 

He then asked me my birthday and apartment number and promised to "bring a birthday present. A cash present. Because, that is what you do when you have wealth. You share it with your friends. You and I, we are friends now. If you need anything, financial support, you come to me. I help you out. But uh, we are just friends, you know, nothing more." Uhhh...thanks? 

He then asked for my email address (which I gave, because I can't say no) and I promptly walked home to find three emails from Dasani waiting for me. The classic, grandma, savor-the-moment forward types. We have a standing walk date for 8 pm. 

Again, I can't say no! How was your weekend? Meet any strangers? 

Snapshot: Joy {May Challenge}

May 17, 2013

When I read the topic for today's #MayChallenge, I didn't hesitate. I knew exactly what picture I wanted.

Problem: this photo is literally half an inch wide. Not exactly the most glamorous shot of me. What I love about it is that it almost didn't get caught. My face is literally falling off the edge of the paper. Half a centimeter in the other direction and the camera would have lost it. But I love it. Because when I look at this, I just see radiating happiness. Carefree, radiating happiness. Contentment. Joy. It was taken at a lake in Washington a few summers ago.

But, since it's only half an inch here are some that actually include my whole face:

I love this one because it's just so me. Like honestly, who goes hiking on a snow covered mountain in a tank top? What was I doing? It was wild and spontaneous and care free and fun. 
I like this memory. 

The prompt today was actually a huge help. After my last nasty breakup, I literally broke down in front of my sister when I realized I had maybe ten photos of myself from the entire year-ish period following that break up. I didn't feel happy, so I didn't take any pictures. I felt so tired and drained and ugly. So looking back at these was an awesome reminder to myself. As women, we tend to be so hard on ourselves. While some may see picking a favorite photo of yourself as vain, it's been the opposite for me. It's been really self-affirming and encouraging. When I look at these photos, I see a woman who is happy, content, joyous and living life in the moment--and it encourages me to keep going for that mindset!

Happy Friday all! xx. 

Oh, and...let's #backthatazzup.
Kisses Down Low by Kelly Rowland on Grooveshark

Top 5 Awkward Things to Call Your Ex For

May 16, 2013

I know. There are things like Google. Wikipedia. Self-help books. Friends.

But sometimes, you just need that one person. That one person you KNOW has the answer. Even if you know you're not supposed to talk to them, and there are other options. I am the worst at this (but, getting much better!).

Here are some awkward things I've had to call/text my ex for:

5. "I think your mom still has my TomTom charger, and since I'm moving halfway across the country...I need that."

4. "Where did you put that thing that I stole from that frat house when you moved out? Because I kinda need to return it..."

3. "Can you send me the amortization table you made for my student loans?"

2. "I think the Holocaust is stalking me."

1. "I can't tell if this is razor burn or bugs under my skin. You remember when you and your housemates got skivies and the whole place had to be fumigated? Well, how did you know those were bugs? What did your skin look like? Because I think I might have that."


Travel Tuesday: Lessons from Watchee

May 14, 2013

Today is Helene's last link-up with Travel Tuesday (but I'll let you in on a secret...Semi-Charmed Kind of Life is also doing a Travel Tuesdays link-up so if you still like to reminisce about traveling...check it out). And now that the PSA is done...

When I was in the DR, we had two "watch guards" who would keep watch at night. Read: we had two "watch guards" who would fall asleep as soon as we were all in our room, and then wake up mangled and disgruntled at 5 am in time for us to wake up and see them walking around.

We called them "Watchee." 
(To be read in a very sneaky, snake-life voice. Watcheeeeeee.) 

They were not fans of the name. Which may have been why they decided we weren't worth guarding.

One time, we caught Watchee #1 asleep. Normal. However, there was a huge tarantula about 12 inches from his face. Not normal. You could see it just waiting, watching. Waiting and watching watcheeeeeeeee. We tried to wake Watchee up (which led us to realize we didn't actually know his name--they weren't big on mingling--so we proceeded to keep whispering Watcheeeee very sternly until he woke up, pissed. Waking up is rough. Waking up to a nickname you hate it worse.). We pointed to the tarantula, now a mere six inches away. Watchee glared at us, laid back down and fell asleep.
Lesson #1: Sleep trumps tarantulas, every time. 

Another night, we woke up to Spanish radio blaring outside our window. The rays of dawn were just coming up, and everything was hazy and calm. The music was bumping. Straight up Spanish club beats rockin' us awake. And then we heard Watchee #2 make a discreet call to the radio station and play a request. Instantly, it went from bumpin' club music to a melodic, dramatic Spanish love song. Oh, Watcheeeeeeeee.
  Lesson #2: You never know who has a surprising soft side. 

Helene in Between

Unanswered Questions: Gossip Girl Edition

May 13, 2013

Hi friends!

Yesterday I took over Helene's page for a fun intro to the Unreal Life, so if you haven't had a chance to check it out, head on over and show Helene and I some blogger love =)

If you are stopping by for the first time from Helene's, THANK YOU! I am so excited to have you here at The Unreal Life and promise to take good care of your time by regaling you with entertaining stories of my inability to say no to strangers and/or assholes, another shot of vodka and team-building exercises (Trust falls? Not my thing.). 


Confession: I really, really, really miss Gossip Girl. As in, miss it so much that one more rainy weekend may find me restarting the entire series on Netflix for the third time. As in, I may or may not have Blair's final headband collection pinned to my Pinterest wedding board, ready to go. But as much as I miss it, I have some unanswered questions.

1. How did Serena get away with killing a man? Because I'm pretty sure in real life, you can't just go cry and apologize and then return to your pent house.

2. Whatever happened to Dan's half-brother?

3. How does this guy in my apartment complex keep making seemingly endless loops...through the building? He must be running circuits up and down the steps and then around the building wait...this isn't about Gossip Girl. 

4. How did Lillian forgive William for lying to her and telling her she had cancer...only to marry him at the end of the season?

5. Did we ever figure out who Chuck's mother was?

6. How did Serena do all that coke and still have such great skin?

7. How did any of them get hired without a college degree? I have one and I can barely get a job as it is. 

8. I still don't understand why we suddenly had to throw a prostitution ring into it all. But, ok...

9. How did Nate become the character with the least amount of lines, but the most amount of women?

Apparently, I'm not the only one confused by this either. Nate is also confused. 


How to Survive Mouth Surgery

May 10, 2013

Here are some tips and tricks to get you through your latest mouth surgery. 

1. Embrace this time to avoid coworker interaction, because you literally can't talk. 

2. Don't laugh. No really. You don't realize how many muscles laughing uses until you can't use them. 

3. Embrace your liquid-only diet by repeating "This will jump start my bikini body. This will jump start my bikini body."

4. Delight in being returned to childhood for a few days by eating only spaghettios, apple sauce and tapioca pudding packs. 

5. Buy protein shakes with built-in compliments. 

6. Take advantage of your opportunity to send your loved ones really dramatic text messages. 

Hayley Larue Design