Putting Your Breakup in Perspective

January 30, 2014

First of all, thank you to everyone for your generous and supportive comments on Tuesday's post. I will dig my way through those glorious emails momentarily and shower you again with individual appreciation. So really...thank you. And now on to today's post. Because if there's anything I learned from your reaction to Tuesday...you can't keep a sassy blogger down. 

The thing is, I really genuinely suck at break ups. I am, self-admittedly the biggest pansy ever when it comes to these gross jumbles of emotionz. For all the ones I've been through, they never seem to get any better (kind of like waking up each morning--how do I still not have a morning routine?). I know that it will get better, I have experience after experience to prove that. But regardless, each time, a little voice sneaks in that asks me whether maybe this time was my last chance, and maybe this time it really won't get better because maybe I really did do something bad. And I've noticed over this past week, that the break up experience is the same regardless of how long we were actually dating. Which seems slightly unfair to me, and I'm sure a psychologist would jump all over about how unhealthy that is. 
So now that I've jumbled my words and probably made all of you think I'm going slightly crazy, here are some lists. To help put your (my) breakup into perspective. Of the awful things I'd rather go through. And of the awful things that in the end, still remain worse than this. 
 *When my sisters and I were little, this was the ultimate idea of torture. Whenever we played M*A*S*H, we would pick this as the dear-God-please-no Career option to make the other squirm. 
I don't know where we got this idea, but it was always there. So yes, I would rather touch old men's wrinkly backs and rub them with sunscreen than go through a break up.

What's on your list?
What's something you'd rather go through than a breakup?
Or even a similar "I'd rather ____ than _____," 
because we all have those nail-on-chalkboard moments. 

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Why I'm Scared to Blog

January 28, 2014

This post makes me nauseous. 

And maybe it shouldn't. Maybe you'll get to the end and only want to barf that I am dramatic. Hell, maybe I will get to the end and only want to smack myself for being dramatic. That would be a relief. A huge one. 

A little over a week ago, I got a text message that made me want to absolutely hurl. And that nauseous feeling has stayed with me since then. It started with I found your blog and ended with a lot more awful things. And then that person, who I have to see on a weekly basis, took my blog and twisted and manipulated it and used it to set fire to my relationship. 

That is as dramatic as it sounds. 

And when it didn't work the first time, they tried it again. They poured through all my links and my posts and my pages until they found something they could use against me and they tried again. And again.

As bloggers, we always want more. More readers, more comments, more page views. You never imagine there could be a reader you don't want. And yes, we all know that sometimes readers are mean, or leave mean comments, or just don't comment at all (oh the tears). But before this, I never thought of the difference between an unwanted reader and a truly malicious reader. Someone who genuinely takes what you created and turns it into...slush. Turns it into something bad. It makes my skin creep and crawl to know that there are people out there who read your blog intentionally looking for information to use against you. And it makes my skin creep and crawl that they can turn right around and say "well you put it out there." Well, I didn't put it out there for that. I never imagined it might be used that way. For those of you looking for a different (granted, more dramatic) example, I wonder if this is how J.D. Salinger felt when the serial killer used Catcher in the Rye as his justification and inspiration for his terrible acts. I never meant it to be used like that. 

When someone takes something you created, and manipulates it...it makes you sick. 

And it's hard to come here and it's hard to write this because now I know. That there are truly malicious, creepy people out there. Who I would prefer knew nothing about my life or feelings or opinions. But I can't stop them, unless I stop this. And do I really want them to "win" in that sense? 

How do you deal with malicious people?
Is blogging still worth it?

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January 23, 2014

We know that if there's anything that could pull me away from over-thinking shambles of this past week, it's marketing. Two places I turn to in times of intense stress or internal chaos are...drum roll please...movie trailers and commercials. 
I remember so many times when my Big Sister in my sorority and I would just reach our limit. We would curl up on a bed, turn on my Mac* and just watch movie trailer after movie trailer after movie trailer. And as soon as we were done, we felt instantly better. Refreshed. Ready to take on the world. 
*If you have a Mac and do not have the Front Row application downloaded, you are missing out! They pool all the current trailers for you--it's my favorite!
Here are my current faves. 
Top Commercial

Top Movie Preview

In case you're wondering, the beautiful song in the background is "Wings" by Birdy.

What do you turn to when you're stressed?
If you have any commercials or trailers you love, 
please share them below! I'd love to take a look.

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What You Deserve

January 21, 2014

"You deserve better."

"One day you'll get what you deserve....someone who treats you like a princess. That's what you deserve." 

But what I deserve is not what I want. And I wonder where this phrase came from--what you "deserve." This phrase has followed me around for as long as I can remember. I even remember it from middle school youth groups, learning what I deserved as a 'daughter of God.' And it's followed me since then, prominently in opportunities missed. Ended relationships usher in a "you deserve better." I've even found it in my fair share of those awkward no-thank-you-not-hiring-you phone calls, "someone with your skill will definitely find a position, something you really truly deserve because you've worked so hard."

But what about what I want? 

Because the two are not necessarily the same. Rarely, in fact have I found them to be the same. In my life, or those of others. Because we can all point to someone we say through gritted teeth, "I wish he'd get what he deserves," and yet justice/fate/karma/whatever seemingly passes them by and they never seem to get what they deserve.

I've also heard it said that "we accept the love we think we deserve." This is also, in my mind, not true. To me it rings of victim-think and all too much self-pity and lack of self-esteem. It rings so very much of self, and in the end love is really supposed to be an absence of self. I accept the love I want (which is also about the self, I realize...but at least a self that acknowledges it's selfishness, rather than hiding behind it's past or psychology). I could know straight up it's not right or real or best or the highest or the most compatible or the most realistic for longevity or any other number of things, and yet I accept it because I want it. I know better. I know he's not for me. I am under no false pretense of pitying illusion that this is something I deserve. I'm mature enough and self-aware enough to know, no this is not the best. But I pick it. The same way I pick ice cream over vegetables. 

I don't understand why people use this phrase as consolation. Because the gut reaction is always the same. But it's what I want. 

Which led me to think--
Is being mature or "grown up" when what you deserve matches what you want? 
If I only wanted what I deserved, would I lived financially within my means?
Because I wouldn't want that $50 shirt because I know I have not yet earned it, have not yet reached that point where I deserve it due to the financial means I've achieved through hard work.
If I only wanted what I deserved, would I be happy with my current work or educational situation? 
If I only wanted what I deserved, would I have realistic expectations about my capabilities? 
Do I want realistic expectations about this, at the risk of sacrificing dreams?
What happens when what you want matches what you deserve
Does that place really exist?
Do we want it to?
What's better--what you want or what you deserve?

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Blogging Bites

January 20, 2014

I guess it's Monday, and on Mondays we blog. My blog has gotten me into a bit of hot water in it's itty bitty existence. So you should learn from my mistakes (maybe even giggle, I don't care) and then we'll have some reflection at the end (apparently I'm a teacher now, and I'm going to map out our day post). 

Here are some epic moments my blog bit me in the ass. Learn from them, or giggle:

1. That time I vented about all the stupid things I overheard in the lunchroom. Cuz, you know, employers don't like when you disclose that their employees tend to stick to three main lunchtime topics: overly-descriptive diet details that make other employees feel uncomfortable with their ravioli, sex and more sex. Oh shoot, I just vented about it all over again. 

2. That time I lied and said I was going on vacation, but really I actually moved. I mean really kids, this takes the cake. And the Lumberjack and I can still laugh about it because guess what--IT'S FUNNY. There's nothing like meeting someone you really like 24 hours before your life-altering move and trying to disguise it by saying you're really just on vacation. Because guess what, they will Google you and they will find you. Even if you deleted all your moving pictures and tweets from Instagram and Twitter to try and hide it.

3. That time an ex (who wasn't mine) read my blog. I write a lot about dating disasters. Duh, it is the "niche" of my blog we might say. And I've always had this little hidden fear that one day one of my exes new wives or girlfriends would read it and be like HE DID WHAAAAAT. Because to be fair, I do genuinely believe everyone deserves a second chance. There are many, many young 20-something assholes who will soon shed their post-frat hangover and become very loving, caring husbands. I'm very sure of it. So anyways....well, now this fear has been faced (ish) so now I know what to expect should it happen again.

what's a blogger to do when they want to stay "real," 
but also have to protect those around them who still want their peaceful annonymity/respect? 
You can't write about your coworkers, work, family (le dramz), friends, ex-boyfriends (they're someone's current now), or current boyfriends (too much risk)
So what can you write about?
Well kids...you'll just have to stay tuned later on this week for my full-guide to Safety Blogging*, the new lifestyle-spin off blogging category safe for unmarried 20somethings who aren't paleo. 

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Dear Dorota, Part 2

January 16, 2014

Dear Dorota,
It's been a while since I last wrote, and I'm curious as to why you're still never here when I call for you. I'd like to remind you that unlike any of the Gossip Girl characters, I actually have a college degree. Don't you want to come work for someone who can provide the safety net of education? Hush Dorota, don't mention the real world or 20somethings. Just look at that shiny, shiny diploma representing the thousands of dollars I have yet to earn. It's about potential, le duh. 

Anyways. The point is. I need you. The thing is, I'm hungry. And waking up is still no easier than it was when I was a baby. You know why babies scream immediately upon opening their eyes? Because waking up is MISERABLE. You go from a warm cocoon of bliss to bright lights and noise and COLD. And my adult equivalent of being immediately picked up and soothed would be immediately opening my eyes to hot Starbucks and your beautiful, soothing face Dorota. Have I mentioned how beautiful you are lately?

And I really, really need you. See, last time I had you calling in concert-ticket-radio-contests and fetching library books. I can only assume you didn't reply to my advertisement because you found these tasks too menial for you. So I have a new one to propose. 

Learn Spanish. 

That's right Dorota. M is horrible. Terrible, really. He slips into Spanish at the dinner table in the blink of an eye and suddenly he's off talking with his friend or brother or gangster or pimp daddy or....who knows?! I'll never know because the only phrase I can distinguish as I see them turn their heads to stare at me and one whispers "No habla espagnol?" and M smiles mischievously (do I detect a smug happiness?) and answers "No, no habla espagnol."And then they continue on their merry little conversation talking about God only knows what. My bride price, obviously. 

So. Learn Spanish. Because a) I need you to spy and b) it will improve your own self-worth and you can add it to your resume (not that you'd ever leave me, obviously). 

I hope this more difficult task provides ample challenge. I'll be waiting for you here with our pint of ice cream (though I'm sure you'll make a to die for dessert when you're here) to share while you braid my hair and translate their spanish conversations for me. 

Until next time, darling Dorota.
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What's [unreal]

January 15, 2014

Welcome, boo thangs. Today I'm over at Lost In Travels guest posting about one of my favorite things ever...adult field trips. Because there's nothing better than being a little kid and going somewhere brand spanking new with your little disposable camera. Ah, youth is wasted on the young....or is it? Head on over and check out more on how field trips don't have to end with middle school. In fact, they just get more fun. 

Since we have some new readers (thank you!) I thought I would share where the name of my blog comes from. It's popped up in different Saturday takeovers and features, but it's always nice to have these things documented on your own blog as well. 

My blog's name comes entirely from one of the most inspiring, hysterical, vibrant woman I know. My friend Ellen and I met when she hard core rushed me for Pi Phi my freshman year, and it was an adventurous love in pizza rolls, air hockey and party fouls from that moment on. (Wait, maybe this will just turn into a post about Ellen....) The point is, I told my friend Ellen everything. And after every story she would let out either a long, drawn out "unrealllllll" for dramatic, this-would-only-happen-to-you, serious-er stories or a short, laughter punctuated "unreal, this shit is unreal" for my hysterical, how-did-you-get-yourself-here stories. So. That's why I picked The Unreal Life. Because life is always a little bit of both--the good, the bad, the ugly, the unreal. 

So if you're new here, thank you. Kick off your shoes, visit my Best Of page and find out what The Unreal Life is really about. It's about stranger's telling you their life story in three minutes flat and inviting you over for hamburgers in five. It's about laughing at the 5 Assholes You'll Date in College. And oh so much more. 

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A Young Man's First Time

January 13, 2014

There comes a time in every young man's life when he has to choose who to drunk text confide in about his hopes and fears for life for the evening. And if you choose me, young man....I'm going to blog about it (but that's ok, because blog posts about him are his favorite).

The text we all dream of receiving rolled in at about midnight-thirty am. 

"I think I might have a threesome." 


And after choking for a little bit, I have to admit that my reaction surprised me. Because it was very...motherly. 

Was the bed big enough? Was the bed strong enough? Overall, had they check the bed for safety first? How often would he have to see these people afterwards? Had they discussed the rules beforehand?
Who would end up feeling most excluded? Would they appreciate him enough? Was there a "before your first time: for threesomes" parent talk that I should look up?
Which came first, the bromance or the threesome?


What do you say guys? 

Well, I for one proceeded to get even more motherly and send loud capitalized text messages that 
At one point, I did indeed consider making a tricycle training-wheel reference and that he was ready to take those wheels off and fly solo, but I erased that because I didn't think that would go over to well. 

And that was my Saturday night. So. Thanks for choosing me for this special, special talk in your life Lumberjack. And thanks for letting me publicly tease you about it. You're a trooper. And you're better than a threesome! Never forget. 

Is there a talk you've had to have and wish there was a "how to" pamphlet for?
What was the highlight of your weekend?

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Winter Wins

January 10, 2014

While driving my most adorable, favoritest niece (yes I have favorites, she knows it, the family knows it, we all know it) around the other day, she let out a long sigh and said in her profound, 9-year-old way "I just can't decide if I like winter or summer more." And Emma...you're right. For all the bashing of the cold we've done in the past week, there are some excellent things winter gives us. Today, I'd like to pay tribute to those Wonderful Winter Wins. And if you don't live in a state where winter is an annual occurrence (and I mean real winter. Not "OMG I live in Florida and it's a high of 45 sob sob" winter.) then I feel bad for you son. I got 99 problems, but winter ain't one.

5. Automatic, socially-accepted excuse from attending social events.
"But the roads are bad. And they say it's going to snow more. I just want to stay in before it gets worse."

4. Automatic, socially-acceptable excuse to create any social event you want to at the spur of the moment.
We understand. We've been there. 

3. Hours saved picking outfits.
No one cares what you look like underneath your coat. 
It is a high of 11 degrees.
If you're stupid enough to be fashionable, you're stupid enough to freeze to death. 

2. Disney princesses ain't got shit on you, because you live in a perpetual snow globe. 

1. No rush to unload groceries. 
This is, far and away, my favorite Michigan Winter Win. 
Do you know how many times I've left my groceries in the car while I go to work or run other errands?
Your car is literally colder than your freezer at home. So no rush, that ice cream isn't going anywhere. 
And the wine? Yeah, that will be perfectly chilled and ready for you at the time when you so decide it's convenient to unload the groceries and then celebrate with a little toast to yourself.
What are your "Winter Wins"?
How will you celebrate surviving the polar vortex this weekend?

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What Non-Paleo Can Learn From Paleo

January 8, 2014

Cat's out of the bag. I am a closet marketing psycho. You know those people who like commercials better than actual TV shows? Yeah, that's me. Here's a little dose of my latest marketing musings. 

Sometimes I scroll through Instagram and catch myself thinking, is instagramming their workout/meal/grocery cart a requirement of being paleo? If they workout and don't Instagram it, does the workout still count? Chances are, if you're not a participant in the paleo lifestyle, you've had these thoughts too. But I gotta give it to them...they really have something. These people make social media their bitch, and they don't apologize. When I started thinking more, there's a lot of things bloggers can learn from paleo people. At the intersection of two seemingly unrelated things...innovation, creativity, and a few lessons on marketing were found. 

(*Don't sue me for the term paleo people. I know they're "regular people." And it's a "lifestyle." But, the alliteration made writing this quick and easy. I mean no offense by the term.)

1. INSTAGRAM THAT SHIT. Holy shit. Look at their IG feeds. Just look. Flattering, non flattering--they have pictures of EVERYTHING. They have pictures of workout moves and dinner--before, during, and after. Their IG feeds are a variable "how to" of getting started in the paleo lifestyle. 

What this means for bloggers: Take more action shots, less selfies. If you're doing something interesting, we want to see it. Don't show me the glass of wine you had for a homemade-dinner well done, show me the fricking dinner. 

2. USE HASHTAGS. I cannot emphasize this enough. When I heard a fellow 24-year-old graduate student ask our professor what a hashtag was, I about banged my brains out on the desk. Yes, sometimes paleo people use an obnoxious amount of hashtags. BUT...you know why it works? Their hashtags are SPECIFIC, CULTURAL (paleo could technically, according to sociology, be defined as a specific culture) and SHORT. Since they're short, they're easy to add. Since they're specific to that particular group...it's easy for them to jump around from one user to another and find new recipes, workouts, etc. 

What this means for bloggers: WE NEED HASHTAGS, PEOPLE. I LOVE following bloggers on IG. LOVE IT. But, I can only find you if I already happen to know you're a blogger. Every day, I find someone new. But imagine how many more new people I could find if we used hashtags. We don't need 20. We don't even have to use them every single picture. But even one, simple blogging-related hashtag used once a week would help start making those connections. Think #ootd. But something for all us non-fashion people. 

3. OWN IT. No one brands like a paleo person. Seriously. Their lifestyle is embedded in everything they do: Facebook, IG, Twitter, etc. Everyone knows they're paleo. And they make no apologies for blowing up our feeds with their posts. 

What this means for bloggers: Stop apologizing for enjoying your hobby. If you want to see your blog get big, OWN IT. 

4. HONESTY. Shit people, they even have hashtags for when they slip up and have a non-paleo meal. I've never seen a fully perfect paleo IG feed. Once in a while, they do post pictures of alcoholic drinks or a good dessert and they call it out. They say--this isn't #paleo.

What this means for bloggers: Stop pretending your life is perfect. It's ok every once in a while to write a post about how your life isn't perfect, or maybe even own up to a mistake. 

5. INTERACT. You know what else makes their IG post long as all get out besides their excessive hashtags? THEIR COMMENTS. Paleo people are AWESOME at responding back to people who leave them comments. Yes, I am marketing-obsessed. Yes, this sounds slightly creepy. But I have watched paleo people build fans just from consistently responding. And not just "thanks!" They go all out. Two sentences. Or more. Whatever they want. And then, when you read an interesting comment and their response, you click to see who left it...and before you know it you've spent 20 minutes and discovered 12 new recipes, 3 workout tips and 9 inspirational quotes.

What this means for bloggers: Take the time to respond to comments, both email and IG. 

And that ends my soap box for today. I may give them a lot of shit for excessive hashtagging but in reality...paleo people brand like no one's business. If you're looking for lessons in marketing, branding and relationship building via social media, I highly suggest you find a few truly dedicated paleo people to follow on IG/Twitter and watch what they do. Because it will blow you away. 

What other lessons can you see learning from paleo people?
Where do you draw inspiration for blogging, besides from other bloggers?

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What She Wrote (Blogs I Luv)

January 3, 2014

I like the way she wrote that, no jiggity, gonna back it up. I like the way she wrote that....Oh. Hello. Please get that song stuck in your head now too so we can be friends? Earlier this week, I went on a straight-up tangent about the need for honesty in Bloglandia. Today, I thought I would back up my rant by spreading some love and highlighting some of my personal favorite Most Honest posts and blogs of 2013. I tried to pick an assortment of what represents honesty to me--because it's not always being honest about a struggle or a hard topic. Sometimes honesty is just purity--pure joy, pure gratitude, pure struggle or pure simplicity. 

And in true Unreal Life form, I didn't even make a shiny button for you to grab and post on your sidebar because who has time for that (lolz jk I do because I'm a waitress). 

Ladies, thanks for keeping it real. Your real is unreal. 

Honest Posts

Dear 16 Year Old Me, The Handey Way

Comments I Wish I Could Leave but Don't, Vodka and Soda

Thoughts, The Kinch Life

Words and what needs to be said, Meg Fee

Imperfection, Blair's Head Band

The Luckiest, Back East Blonde

Overall Honest Blogs
These girls just do their thing and write it out, every day. 
Good or bad...they document it. And I love it. So thanks, ladies.

Meg Fee


Simple Bliss

Little Fierce

What blogs do you turn to when you need a dose of "honesty"?
Give a shout-out to a blog you thought did a great job in 2013--whether they gave you a laugh, a me-too moment, whatever...send them some love!

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2014: Resolution

January 2, 2014

I love watching the way people organize their goals for the new year. It's been so different--some pick categories, others pick one word, or others use more traditional SMART goals. There were a few things I wanted to see in 2014. 
Be nicer to myself. 
Spend more time with my sister, nieces and nephews.
Eat better.
Workout more.
Be more proactive. 
Don't shy away from changing priorities.
Blog more.
As I started brainstorming, I realized that they all came together for me under one over-arching umbrella.

Whatever I do today, I want it to be good for me tomorrow. I think this quote encapsulates what I want from this year: forward progress, even if it's little. Solid foundations. Healthy practices--mentally, physically, emotionally. 

I will thank myself for spending time with my niece. 

I will thank myself for picking spinach once in a while over a cookie. 

I will thank myself for being proactive and emailing a professor, which could lead to networking, more knowledge, etc. 

I will thank myself for working out. 

I will thank myself for saying "yes."

I will thank myself for consciously choosing to spend time with friends and loved ones. 

I will thank myself for getting up out of bed and going to church. 

I will thank myself for investing in me. 

What's your resolution?
How do you organize your resolutions--"one word," SMART goals, or something else?
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