Top 10 Posts of 2013

December 31, 2013

What a year! Thank you all, so much, for being part of The Unreal Life! I hope you'll stick around and continue to sass and school me through your comments. Happy New Year to each and every one of you!!

The 5 Assholes You'll Date in College: Part 2
Not sure why most of you just skipped to the end without reading the beginning but...the votes are in and you all liked Part 2 the best. I do too.

The 5 Assholes You'll Date in College: Part 1
The post that started it all. Literally.
The first post I ever published.

Dating Disasters: Cuddling
This was literally the biggest dating disaster. It still takes the cake. 
No, stranger--you cannot fondle me in the arm.

9 Stages of a Skype Date
Most epic dancing lizard GIF ever, no wonder it was popular.

Bow Wow, Bling Wow
Wait...people actually read weekend update posts? 

Because we picked a weird ass hobby, yo.

Dating Disasters
Like an appetizer sampler of all my worst dating disaster stories. 
Because nothing says romance like Bass Pro Shops.

Customer of the Week: Dating Advice
On how my customers found my blog, and taught me to find love.

Dear Crazy Bitch
Angst (and great gifs).

Thief is the Comparison of Joy...or something like that
My personal pick for 2013. 

What were some of your favorite posts of 2013?
What are you looking forward to in 2014?

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State of: Blogging 2014

December 30, 2013

Who knows what this post will turn out to be. Partial weekend update. Partial Freud analysis. Partial broad, sweeping generalizations without saying anything. Absolute, crazy ramblings? Yes. That I can guarantee. 

Here's the thing. I haven't been blogging as much of late. As I mentioned earlier, part of that is because I am being insanely harsh on myself with where I am in life right now and that's not really something pretty to blog about. I've started and stopped more posts than I can count. When I started looking back through my posts to do a year in review summary, I became positively fed up with how cheerful they were. Five posts a week of absolute. bullshit. Not that I want this space to become depressing, or grim or even my personal journal. But. I do want it to be an accurate reflection of my life. And life is not all sassy moments and giggles. Mostly. But not always. 

It's hard to balance how much truth to let out on this little space. Because of course in any of our lives, we are not the sole characters. And so not only do I struggle with how much "real," I struggle with respecting the privacy of the other main actors in my life. Blogging is a very solo act. And sometimes that's great, but that's also not very real.

Back and forth back and forth. 

I think the second straw that broke the proverbial back was the latest link-up that went around about "If I were telling the truth...." Did I absolutely love the idea? Yes. Did I love how purely honest women got about hating blogging, doubting themselves and getting jealous? Yes. Did I hate that it took a one-time-only link-up to make people feel it was acceptable to voice the negative for once in their life? YES. Why do we only share our struggles and messy parts when someone decides it's okay for a 10 day link up? Yes, I want to be uplifted when I come to Bloglandia. Yes, I want to giggle. But I also don't want to feel like shit because I'm being painted a fake picture that all these talented, well-rounded women have their lives together 24/7/365 with plenty of time for DIY, nail painting and wine sipping. Because that's not real. And it should be okay to talk about what we're struggling with more than once a year when a link-up goes big. (Though it was a great link-up, don't get me wrong.)

Basically, I've found two things in looking back at an almost-year's worth of blogging. 
1) My posts are not fully reflective of the wide spectrum of life. I describe my blog as Unreal--both the "hysterically how do you get yourself in that situation" and the "this would only happen to you, how" situation. Mostly, I've been sticking to hysterical. I want to find a way to make it more reflective of the whole range of life, while still not making it a personal journal (though isn't that in actuality what they are?). 
2) If I can't write about everything, I tend to write about nothing. And I'd rather write than not write. So I'm sorry if you come here for the sass and are disappointed that there will be a broader spectrum of posts. The sass will still be there, frequently--that I can promise. But, I can't be sassy without everything else too. 

In the end, the struggle is this. I want the blog to be more honest, but I don't want to lose readers. I struggle with the idea that people come to Bloglandia for honesty. I think they come for a distraction. For entertainment. And sometimes honesty, but not too much. I've seen completely honest blogs fail while blogs with top-ten lists and sassy gifs who never publish "content" soar.  So, personal jury is still out on the priority of "honesty" in blogs.

And as for the weekend update, I've come to the end and realized that I'm not really ready to blog about that yet. Which seems unfair, to request prayers and yet say "but I can't tell you why." It makes me feel like I'm in 6th grade bargaining secrets for best friends. I don't know.

Sorry for the semi-shitty post. 

But in actuality, not sorry. 

And if you made it to the end of that long ass post, thank you! You win a puppy. Just kidding I don't have puppies.

How will your blog change in 2014? 
Why do you come to Bloglandia?

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Move Over, Carrie: You and Me and Her

December 21, 2013

Move Over, Carrie is a witty, whenever-I-feel-like-it series of The Unreal Life
where I talk about the sociology behind relationships, 
and all the trials of modern relationships that SATC missed.
No pictures, no GIFs--just writing. 
If you're new, you can check out the first Move Over, Carrie here

Today's topic: you, me and her. Or: bringing your ex to the dinner table (metaphorically speaking). 

This post has been bumping around in the ol' cranium for a while, but it came pounding and begging to be let out this week and so...I obliged. While not turning this into TMZ, let me try to give you a little back story. I offered to copy some pictures for M onto my computer. He doesn't own a computer, and E's mom wanted to take the camera card to Mexico next week to show her parents. Better safe than sorry, I said. Let me at least copy them so if crazy bitch spill tequila all over your camera card or still have them. He's shown me the pictures on the camera before. Essentially, I got a ten minute slideshow of baby E's entire life to date. So I wasn't thinking when I offered to copy them. I thought I'd seen them all. But I hadn't. Key words: they don't own a computer. Hence, every single photo since the time the camera got there has been on it. Every, single. Picture of their relationship.

And in true girl form, I freaked out. 

I promised him I'd copy them, keep them safe just in case she comes back sans camera card. But now there are pictures...of Her...on My computer. My first instinct was to delete them. Keep only the baby ones. But in all honesty....I'd be pissed if the situation were reversed and M deleted photos of my past relationships. I know that sounds weird. But it's my past, and I don't believe in erasing your past. What happened happened. Do I look at my ex boyfriends constantly? No. Do I want to never be able to remember those times ever again? No. It's my life, and my life is not something with deletable sections. It comes as is, good and bad and ugly and messy and sassy. What it came down to, is that I wanted to erase his past but would preciously defend my own if the situation was reversed.
Which got me thinking. To the point of this Move Over, Carrie: Why are we so defensive and protective of our own past, but want our significant other to come with no past at all? Why is it that we don't ever want to acknowledge the idea that they've wanted others before us, but have no problem acknowledging that we've wanted others before them? 

My little pro-bono therapist, blogger friend and all-around wonderful woman, Brooks, said this in response: "I think it's because we want to know we're the sole one they want and when we see the past "wanteds" we realize we weren't the only wants." I deeply resonate with this. I want to not only be the most wanted, I want to be so wanted it obliterates anyone else. 

And of course, my brain kept turning. The truth is, I've had a weird fascination with Her long before these photos. I have so many questions about Her. So many, that M has had to put an official "foot down" to more questions more than once. Because it's true, they eat me up. One question leads to more questions leads to more questions. And I can't quite put my finger on why. Is it because her presence is with us every Sunday when we take his daughter to brunch? Or with us every dinner when he starts absent-mindedly mumbling about child support payments, gas and grocery bills? Either way, She is there. And sometimes I think I'm so obsessed with Her....because none of my previous Hims are there.
Let me explain. M has never, not once, asked me about a previous boyfriend. He has zero interest, and has told me as such. I am his today and his future, and that was his past and my past (trust me, it's much more romantic with a cute little accent thrown in there). Which is completely different than previous relationships I've had. Let's admit it. How many times have you had that awkward "So, why did you end things with your ex?" or "How many people have you dated?" or any other various relationship-resume questions. Basically....sometimes I wonder if I don't feel intimidated by Her simply because there's no Him. She is, figuratively, always at the dinner table. But none of my past ever is, because it's never been brought up and never will be brought up by M. While this should make me feel free and adult and at ease, I'm realizing that it just makes me feel competitive. Competitive in the sense that I want to be able to say yes, others have wanted me before too. You're not the only one. 

Maybe it's easier to do it relationship-resume style where you get it all on the table, all the Ghosts of boyfriends and girlfriends past come to dinner and they distract each other with ghostly conversation while you two forge your future (go with me here). Because the truth is, without them there's no you. Without RRR and MMM and a slew of others, there's no me. Not in the sense of the me I am today. Because for better or worse, they taught me things. So am I pissed that their effect on my life is being denied/ignored? Am I pissed that my "want" as a woman is not being validated? I don't know. All I know, is that I'm pissed.

So. I toss it to you, faithful readers. I love your MOC comments the mostest, mostest. 

Would you rather have it all on the table? 
How do you treat your ghosts of girlfriends and boyfriends past?
And, most importantly, why do we want partners with a clean slate but cling to the beauty of our own messy past for leading us where we are today?

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A Flip in Perspective

December 17, 2013

Raise your hand if you've heard the question, or even asked it yourself, "Why do bad things happen to good people?" Lately, I've seen this question playing out before my eyes in multiple scenarios. I certainly didn't go looking for the answer. And I certainly can't say that this is the answer. But, with those caveats, here is my jumble of thoughts. 

Who's on the other side of the "missed" blessing?

Two women I work with have experienced significant hardships in the past two months. One had a husband with a near-fatal heart attack, who is still not recovering well. The other tripped on some stairs and ended up having to get 100+ stitches all over her face. In both scenarios, they were out of work for over a month. No income, significant medical looks like the perfect scene for everyone to shake their heads and say "why do bad things happen to good people?" So why did these bad things happen? Because Autumn needed to make her car payment. Nicolette needed to pay for school. And Taylor needed rent money. That's right. Three, stereotypical broke (and in my case, always starving) waitresses benefited from these seeming "bad things to good people." While it sounds awful, we were slightly thrilled at the bad news because we needed those hours. While they were gone, it gave three broke college students time to get a little extra money that doesn't normally make itself magically available. 

And another scenario happened this past weekend. I needed some M time. Like some hard core, love on Autumn time. M gets one day off per week, and his priority that day is spending time with his daughter. Understandably so. We usually spend the day all three of us together. But for some reason (and as I type this, I realize I sound so needy)...I just needed a Sunday where it was the two of us, and not the three of us. Unfortunately there is no good way to ask your boyfriend to not see his toddler daughter for a couple extra hours because you need some solo attention (because that makes you a bitch, ladies and gentleman). But, lo and behold, while I'm over here in my mind trying to figure out how to get a few hours of alone time, little E got sick. And I got a whole day. A whole, blessed day of alone time. And it made me sigh a sigh of relief. Nobody wishes for a little girl to get sick. But I did wish for alone time. And trust me, I totally indulged. 

I guess what I'm thinking here in this little ol' head o' mine is that maybe there's always someone on the other side of the blessing. Or maybe, if you believe in karma, there's only so much good that can go around at once. Ying and yang and all that shit. It's not about the universe intentionally having it out for you. What I wish is that when I'm down and depressed and crying about "why me" someday, I can remember this post and maybe turning my thinking upside down for 30 seconds will help me remember that in my time of trial, someone is getting a much needed break. Maybe. And I can't say that this post explains why bad things are happening in Syria or why there are still school shootings. Maybe there's a difference between our perception of bad and true evil. But maybe the little blocks help build the bigger picture. And if we practice our understanding of how God is present in the little, every day things of our own life we might one day see Him in the bigger picture.

Why do bad things happen to good people?
On a scale of one to ten, how needy does this post make me sound?

Basically, what I'm saying and noticing lately is summed up by this song lyric:
"To realize that your future is somebody else's past."
-my main man, Lupe Fiasco

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Blogmopolitan Quiz

December 16, 2013

Because we all love a good quiz and (at least for myself) dreaming up what we would say should we end up on Ellen as a huge star, I wanted to participate in this great Blogmopolitan Quiz floating around. And also because my weekend update consists of three things: snow, work, Hallmark Christmas movies. Repeat.

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This is also a good answer to "style." In Michigan, style is whatever is warmest. 
And reppin' those sorority letters. Because they never go out of style. 

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Christmas Around the World

December 12, 2013

One of my absolute favorite things to look forward to every Christmas season is the Frederick Meijer Garden's Christmas Around the World event. They have around 40 trees, and decorate each tree as a different country. It's so much fun to read the signs, learn about the traditions and see all the detail they put in. I gotta hand it to them, they spare no expense in this event. And now enjoy this photo dump of some of my favorite trees!
Ukranian Christmas
Spider webs? Tradition has it that once upon a time, a pinecone dropped from a tree outside a family's home and started taking root. The children of the house were thrilled and couldn't wait to decorate it, but the parents were extremely worried because they knew they were too poor to ever afford decorations. The spiders within the house heard them, and during the night decorated the tree in beautiful webs that shone like silver. In Ukranian culture, spiders and webs are seen as a symbol of good fortune and good luck.

Mexico Christmas
 M would like to confirm that this is NOT how Mexcians decorate their trees, and never has he ever seen a pinata on a Christmas tree. He refused to take a picture next to it because it was so culturally inaccurate. what a shame, I kinda like the crazy pinatas.

Africa Christmas
Africa only got one tree because the whole continent is the same, le duh. 
This is supposed to be representative of life, as every single element of the tree they pick can be used for something different--leaves, trunk, roots, etc.

 Traditional Victorian Tree
Victorian Christmas

Russia Christmas
Big fan of the Faberge eggs, not a fan of the creepy dolls.
Side note: I am always surprised by how many countries decorate with DOLLS. WHY?!

 American Indian
Native American Christmas
Or as M likes to call it, "the real Americans' tree." Because even after 700+ years, we are still not real Americans. Womp womp culture.

 Apparently they like to decorate with shells and fish ornaments in celebration of the coral reefs that surround them. 

Denmark on the left, Sweeden on the right

Finland Christmas

Netherlands Christmas

Japan Christmas


Other Random Pretty Things

How do you decorate your tree? 
White lights, colored lights? Tinsel or no tinsel?
Do any of your decorations hold cultural significance for you?

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Female Periods, Male Perspective

December 10, 2013

Today we're going to talk about something that, surprisingly, for a community filled with women rarely comes up unless someone pays us $80+ to post a photo of a tampon. Periods. We're talking about periods today. (And no, someone didn't pay me to write on this topic and there won't be any pictures of products to buy. Lo Siento.)

I'm one of those women who has been blessed with mild periods. Super mild. Aside from the occasional headache and aching...body parts...they usually pass with just mild annoyance. But sometimes...the holy wrath of Female Woes comes down upon me and decides to make me pay for months of only mild discomfort. And when that happens, it is inevitable that I am scheduled to work at a job that requires smiling and standing and running around and smiling and standing some more. Meanwhile my insides are dying and I'm a hot mess of hormones and pain. And this is just a little insight into what that day looks like, from the eyes of the men I work with--poor souls. 

Jeff, the bartender
Autumn, normally very upbeat and happy, walks in looking like a ray of death. Normally she says hi. What does she say this time?
"Where the f**k is everyone?"
Like excuse me, who am I? Am I no one? So I just ignore her. 
Until I'm in the back and hear this atrocious banging sound. I come out front and Autumn is trying to clean the candle votives of useless wax by banging them on the counter. Physically banging them. 
She just looks up and flatly states, "this isn't working" and hands me the whole tray of dirty votives. 
Well of course that's not working. 
She never did say hi. 

Gabriel, the official bread-cutter and salad-maker
I put the bread on the shelf and say "Autumn, bread."
To which she promptly twists around and says 
"Oh really? Is that what that f***ing is? I had no idea that's what bread looks like."

"You look like you want to eat me with your eyes. 
Every month, this happen to the woman. 
You look like you want to choke me, to kick me. 
Oh, this is funny to you now?
Every month. Every month. 
I just say ok.
These things happen."

Shamari, the dishwasher
"Oh, you're not feeling well?
Tell you what you do girl, 
you get yourself a big bottle of Jack D and a few blunt--no?
Ok, well just get some whiskey and put some tea in it. You feel no pain no more baby girl."

And that my friends, is what the female period looks like according to the eyes of my male coworkers. Share your related funny stories below, or just general commiserations. 

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Anatomy of a Nativity Movie

December 9, 2013

It's become somewhat of a tradition (two years running strong...traditions gotta start somewhere!) that every year my niece and I make a video about the nativity story. You may remember last year's, where the epic narration included commentary that Mary "loved all the attention." I am nothing if not historically accurate. So, this weekend, we took time to make another one. In case you were wondering, here is the anatomy of our nativity shoot. 

Materials needed:
(3+) stuffed animals
1 christmas tree
1 chalk board
1 tent
3+ bundles of fake foliage
(3+) dog leashes 
(because nothing allows as much freedom building as a dog leash, duh)
1 baby doll
2 willing children
1 fully charged camera phone
3 cups of hot chocolate

3 attempts were made at this video.
It took 25 minutes to set up.
10 minutes to shoot (all 3 attempts).

The final product:
I think that besides the flying bed landing on baby Jesus' head, my favorite part of the video is when Emma goes "Everything we needed, we thought--points to cheeks--and we made." Because naturally, your brain is in your cheeks. That's why your cheeks are so big, right Aunt Autumn? Right. 
Of course I had a sheer moment of panic when the whole process only took a combined 30 minutes. HOW DO PARENTS DO A FULL DAY?!?! So I turned to the only thing I knew. McDonald's Happy Meals and two Christmas movies. Bada bing, bada boom. 

How was your weekend?
Do you have any holiday traditions you look forward to?

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Five on Friday

December 6, 2013

I think all bloggers can relate to the fact that some days, you don't necessarily have the most pressing issues or funniest things in the world to write about...but you just want the theraputic typing to start the morning off right. So I present to you, in no certain order, The Unreal Life's Five on Friday. 

1. Dear Migraine: It was a good two days, and I'm sad to see you go. But not really. You really are the worst type of sickness because I can't watch TV or read without feeling like vomming halfway across the room. I'll miss you, until next month or the month after when you come again. And I can feel you watching me type for real, get gone biatch. Love, Autumn

2. Though of course I just found this little pinterest gem on curing migraines....gonna save that for a miserable day.

3. Sometimes I wonder as humans why we let doubt creep in and spoil so much of what we have. What is it about that little tiny voice that we just let it slip in? When I recognize doubt's presence, I feel like I've already set myself up for disaster. Are there mental exercises you do to keep doubt away? 

4. I've been filling out a lot of job applications, that are going nowhere. They never call back. But I try to remain optimistic and savor my coffee just a little bit more and burrow just a little bit deeper into the couch for my noontime splurge of Nashville. Because one day one of them will go somewhere, and then I won't have Nashville at noon. 

5. My little shirt from Miss Whitney came yesterday, so obvi I had to selfie so hard in front of the Christmas tree. It is legit the softest thing I've ever worn. Is it weird to hope it provides a little inspiration to get back into the bloggy swing of things? 

What are you looking forward to most this weekend?!
Happy Friday, friends!

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December 5, 2013

It's been busy. To say the least. The very least. It's the last week of the semester, and finals are looming just around the corner. All I want is a dark room, a Hallmark Christmas movie and some hot cocoa. But of course, life goes on outside of school as well. And in one of those pesky "I don't have time for this!" moments that dominate the end of the semester, I was attempting to regain some semblance of order in life by tidying up. Good intentions, trash bags. 

Which got me thinking. What I wouldn't give for a delivery service of trash bags. Because nothing is peskier than those certain items that you only need ONE of, and yet never seem to remember when you are actually at the store. And then when you DO need them, you're more likely to say "eh, eff that!" because there's just something about having to drive all the way to the corner for that ONE item that just really rocks your boat and says NO, NO MORE. How badly do my contacts need to be clean? NOT BAD ENOUGH. How badly do I really need to throw this crust of bread away? LIVE ANOTHER DAY, BREAD CRUST. 

Anyways, here's my list of those pesky items I refuse to drive to the store for when I need them, but would happily pay for someone to deliver: 

trash bags
cookie dough
contact solution
body wash

I hear there's a simple delivery solution: a personal Dorota. Or a husband. I'll hold out for Dorota. (But not for a grocery list. Dream a little bigger darlings, get your Dorota today!)

Do you have pesky items you never seem to remember to stock up on?
What would you pay to have delivered to your house?

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Dream Interpretation: Glass

December 3, 2013

It's time for another round of:
What's that mean, dream?

The dream:
I'm at lunch with some friends and I go to throw away my plate. 
As I throw it away, I start coughing and then feel something sharp in my mouth. 
I pull it out and it looks like a little white piece of tooth. 
I'm immediately terrified because I went to the dentist earlier in the day (in dreamland),
and I assume they must have chipped my tooth and now it is crumbling in my mouth. 
But then I start coughing...and coughing and coughing and coughing
and I spit all the sharp pieces out into my hand. 
They turn out to be a massive, massive, palm-size, two-inch-tall ball of GLASS SHARDS.
I run over to my boss (because in dreamland it's totally normal to have lunch with your boss)
and show her my palm full of glass. 
"Oh my gosh," she says, wrapping her hands around mine. "Do you remember when I asked you to go put that glass in the dishwasher?"
"Well did you?"

And then the slow dawn of realization....I ATE THE FREAKING GLASS. 
And THEN, to add insult to injury, my boss asks me if I'm still good to work that night.

And then I woke up because I was literally gagging in real life at my own dream. 
True story.'s Interpretation:
Glass "highlights your vulnerability, confusion and frailty. Alternatively, it may symbolize your hurtful and cutting comments. Perhaps you need to be careful in how you phrase and word things or run the risk of offending others."

Eating with others signifies harmony and intimacy.

To dream about your boss represents the bossy or authoritative side of your own personality.

So, according to I am a bossy, mean woman who struggles to communicate unabrasively, and yet...surprisingly intimate and harmonious. 

How would you interpret my dream?
Had any strange dreams lately?

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