Dear Little Autumn

February 26, 2014

Dear Little Autumn,

I thought we should take some time to reconnect. I see you eating that tub full of butter on the kitchen counter, and I just want to pinch your cheeks. You should also know that in about 5 minutes you'll turn into a total narcoleptic, take off all your clothes and fall asleep on the counter. But it's ok. You're only four and still cute. Anyways. I thought we should take a little time. To tell you some things. About what life will be. 

You're going to go through some hard things, and you're going to go through them alone. And that's okay. Because you will make it through them. You're going to grow up really quickly because of certain situations, and then in college you'll get to breath a little easier and sink back into a spirit of fun. It seems a little backwards, growing up hard and then having childlike, care-free times, but that's the way it is for you. Then more hard things will come, and every time they do you'll forget how strong you were the last time. Don't forget.

Remember that the good Lord gives you the strength to bear what you need, when you need it. Not before, not after. His strength will come in so swift and strong and overbearing that it will not be for weeks after you've survived the storm that you can even identify how you made it through. It is through this strength that you're able to keep going, no matter how much life throws at you. So be grateful. 
You're going to be the only Catholic in your family, but this will not surprise you. You always thought for yourself and did you own thing, regardless. You still won't understand makeup, and you'll only start trying to blend eyeshadows when you're 22. You'll be the only one to go away for college and the only one to move out of the state, but again -- this will not surprise you.

Little Autumn, you're going to date some really bad people. Really bad. I wish I could hold your hand through it all, but I can't. And in these times -- in all times -- remember that you are the strongest, most resilient, bendy person I know. You flex when it's necessary, you adapt to your surroundings and you always come out the other side. No matter how many people cause you anguish, I know in the end that you have an unwavering capacity to forgive and love. You always try again. So hold on to that. 
I laugh now when I think of our response when interviewers ask us why we want to work with children, what is our favorite part about them. And we've always responded, "because they're the most resilient little things. No matter what life throws at them, they pop right back up with the capacity to love and trust again. They're always willing to try again for that human connection." Don't you see? That's what I like best about you. 

Well little Autumn, I think it's time for us to part. I love you to the moon and back and I hope you know that while you're busy growing up I'm here in the future fighting to become the woman we'll be proud of. Tooth and nail, just for you. I promise to try a little better and a little harder. 

If you could write a letter to yourself, past, present or future--what would you say?
Write a letter to yourself and link up below!

The Unreal Life

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Cheers to You

February 24, 2014

Here's the thing. A long time ago, I wrote how I wanted to be more honest on this blog. Because when I'm not honest, I tend to just not write at all and that's unfortunate because I do love writing. Because when I'm not honest, I tend to write...6 posts per month? Wowza. 

A few weeks ago, I asked readers what they wanted to hear about on The Unreal Life. And a few of you commented, "just more about what's going on in your life. What have you been doing?" And I just really genuinely could not answer that. Looking back, the past two-ish months have been filled with some of the most ridiculous highs and lowest lows I can remember in my life. Not the hardest, and not the happiest. I'm merely commenting on the frequency of these two extremes. It just seems that for the longest time now, it's been back and forth and back and forth and back and forth. 

Last night, I had to email a professor back about how I hadn't been able to turn around a conference attendance application quick enough. And I stumbled over the words. Because the truth was, I couldn't do it because I just had too much personal shit going on then to do anything but the bare minimum academic wise. But there's not a good way to type that. There's not a good way to type, I was busy holding my shit together.

But sometimes isn't that all you want to type? And sometimes isn't that the only justification you need? Life happens. Shit happens. And sometimes, holding yourself together and getting through it all without losing your ever loving mind is all the accomplishment you need. 

So I made a list. A list of all the unexpected, unplanned, mental, physical and emotional events (both good and bad) that have categorized my month of extremes. 
Job interviews
Fellowship interviews
Job searching
Weighing choices
Doctor's appointments
Moving news
Start of a new fellowship
Breaking up
Dealing with a manic-depressive
Dealing with a psycho
Work issues
Coming back together
Coming maybe not back together

And on and on. All while attending graduate school full-time, completing all assignments, and working four nights per week. And general life maintenance--bills, showers, groceries.

Then I made a second list. A list of all the things I had dropped the ball on while dealing with these other things. Guess how many things made that list? Four. FOUR. And one of them was a freaking coffee date. So that only counts like half. Guys, I cut myself no slack during this time. I had a huge influx of things drawing my attention, and I just stepped up more. And when I looked at it that way, I felt good.

I held my shit together. 

To be truthful: sometimes during this past month my version of "cutting myself slack" was to give myself timed periods throughout the day to crawl back under the covers and just close my eyes. Not to sleep. I just wanted total blackness. I'd set my alarm for 5 minutes. And then I'd go back to facing everything. But this Sunday during one of my little mental health breaks in the total dark, I thought this isn't enough anymore. I felt my mojo coming back. I didn't just want to survive, I wanted to excel. I wanted to be productive and in charge and confident about pushing my life where I wanted it to go. 

All this to say, I hope I can maintain that feeling throughout the week. Because Lord knows this to-do list is not one that can be pushed back. 

And for you who made it through this whole post, cheers to you! And hopefully more than one of you is nodding her head and saying "Me too! Me too!" CHEERS TO YOU TOO. If you've been a ball of stress or going through crazy things, take that time to pat yourself on the back. Because holding yourself together IS an accomplishment, and it's okay to give ourselves credit for that. We're so busy always chasing for the next thing we can put on a resume and move on from, that sometimes we're scared to reduce it to the simple things. You made it. Cheers. Cheers to everyone.

Anyone else feel this?
What's something you'd like to give yourself a pat on the back 
for accomplishing in the past month?

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Move Over, Carrie: Work

February 22, 2014

Last week, there was a good ol' link up floating around called "Why We Work." I don't know about you, but I spent the better part of my Valentine's Day watching Frank Underwood and clicking every other submission on that link up. Does anybody else actually still read link ups? Or do they just use it as a convenient topic starter for the day? Moving on. Or should I say-Move Over, Autumn this is getting dull. Ha? Ha.

Here's the point. 

It seemed to me in perusing quite a few of these that there were two "camps": 
1. Genuine, deep-seeded "puppy love" (but beyond the puppy stage into mature, but still cute, grown dog stage?) of holy shit, they just make the most adorable pair and they complete all these individual quirks the other has. They truly are just the best of partners and friends.
2. "We work because we work."

Camp 2 was most fascinating. Maybe they were more honest than Camp 1. Maybe Camp 1 also has hard times they just didn't write about (I mean, everyone has hard times). If you clicked through any of the posts, you might have noticed this clear division too. And it seemed more significant than just "I don't want to write about the bad stuff, so I'm going to keep it light." It was a genuine sense of some people just blend so easily, and other people don't--but they still choose each other. 

But there were quite a few I read where they just genuinely said, on a regular basis, we just want to walk away. It's hard. It's not natural, blending two lives. It doesn't come easy. And I just found it so interesting, this clear division. This one group saying "I can't imagine a day without him." And another group saying "I can very clearly imagine a day without him, and that day might actually be better than a day with him. But we stick it out." 

What I'm really interested in today is your opinion. Normally, I share mine. But for now, I'm just not sure where it's at. 

How do you know when a relationship is too much work?
What's the difference between "everything good is worth working for,"
and "but it shouldn't be this hard"?
Would you describe your relationship more as "work"?
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el festival del amor

February 17, 2014

This weekend was all sorts of love, love, love which was fitting for the holiday that kicked it off. My brain is one big fuzz bucket right now, but I'm hoping that in attempting to string a bunch of words together for this post I'll be able to hit the ground running on all those projects I have due today (AKA I'm procrastinating). 

Friday was just a wonderful night of working. We had 40+ reservations, and a wait time of 2 hours. It was joyous. It was crazy. Some waitresses stole tables. Some waitresses got fired. And this waitress ended up opening....and closing. So after six hours of craze, these, a big box of chocolate and a tall glass of lemonade were a welcome sight.

Though I'm already starting to get emotional about the fact that in a few days they'll be gone. #valentineshangover

And then after that we had some thrilling ENGAGEMENT NEWS. Little bastard gets her BBQ pizza for the rest of his life, dammit. But I have a standing dinner invite, so it's all good. And they'll still do #livedating with me. 

I remember being this warm once. 

And then there was a BABY! 

And then while I was holding said baby, I ran into one of my other sisters and we said "Hey, no-longer-pregnant sister, thanks for giving us this excuse to conveniently meet and ditch this baby shack in lieu of CHOCOLATY GOODNESS (and three cups of coffee)."

So there you have it. A weekend of love overload. Peluches. Friends. Babies. Sisters. Everything. We got it all covered. And yet I still don't want to go start my homework...

What was the highlight of your weekend?

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My Favorite Valentine: Craig

February 14, 2014

Helene in BetweenIt's not often the men in my life get actual names here on this blog, but today is an exception. With such love like this, who delivered my favorite Valentine's Day ever, I must acknowledge him name and all. 


Wise. Driven. Thrifty. All-encompassing. Craig. 

Founder of...Craig's List.

What does Valentine's Day have to do with Craig's List? EVERYTHING. 

Far and away, my favorite thing to do on Valentine's Day is to read the Missed Connections on Craig's List. Missed Connections is the most hysterical corner of the internet, where people write little love notes to those "missed connections" that fate just didn't quite bring around in time. Like, "I saw you walking out of the gym on 53rd and 3rd. You were wearing a purple tank top I knew it was meant to be." Except usually they're a lot creepier and more hysterical. 

My favorite was one I actually heard on the radio. A woman wrote it for the police man who picked her up for drunk and disorderly in an alley way. She fell in love when he held her hair back while she puked. 

Below is a sample of my faves from the day! Enjoy!

Amélie and Omegle - m4w - 28

We chatted on Omegle. Your favorite movie was Amèlie. I wrote your number down wrong, 
probably cause of the bourbon. Please contact me.

(Sounds promising)

You sold me the octopus - m4w (GR)

You seemed pretty cool. I think we should hang; so say high and we'll share a few hits.

(But why were they selling you an octopus? 
Shouldn't you have your octopus dealer's phone number?)

I seen u on leanard - m4w (NW )

I seen u walking down Leonard and noticed u have a sexy add but couldn't see what the rest of u look like but want too please send pic if u see this

(Hold're going to recognize her by her a**, and a** alone?)

Attention Fastninja The horse man - w4m (Hastings)

Greetings FastNinja
I saw your posting on equestrian singles and I am very interested to meet you. I have been unable to reach you. So even though this is a long shot I wanted to try. Please take a chance and contact me if you see this. Then I will send you my photo and tell you more about why I think we may have a lot in common. Thank you.

(There is literally a dating site for everyone.)


Have you ever had a "missed connection"?
How will you be spending this day of luv?
Happy Valentine's Day, all!

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10 Ways I'm A Toddler

February 11, 2014

1. I only like peach Greek yogurt. It is time to accept this, and move on. Every time I go to the grocery store, I stand for a good five minutes staring at all those 10 for $10 yogurt deals. I put 8 peach yogurts in my cart. And then I say Autumn, you should really branch out. Surely after 8 peach yogurts you won't want any more peach! 

But no. I always want more peach. Only peach. Hence why the cherry and pomegranate flavors I convinced myself to try are now expired and just sitting, forgotten, under 10 new peach yogurts. 

2. I love trying new restaurants but rarely new dishes. Once I have one thing at a restaurant  I will order that same exact dish every single time. I am 23 years old, and have never changed my order at Subway. Not once. 

3. I do not like traditions changing. If we watched a movie on Christmas Eve when I was 8, we better watch the same movie on Christmas Eve when I'm 28, damn it. 

4. I think car washes are the happiest place on Earth. Especially when it's Easter time and they switch to pastel colored soap! 

5. I just ate two donuts in a row because I have no self control. 

6. I will sleep as late as possible, every single day. 

7. I think mirrors are really scary at night, and would never use them as decorative pieces. I am 120% convinced every time that a face will pop out. 

8. I feel very strongly that previews for exorcism movies should not be shown on TV. If you want to watch that creepy shit, you little wierdo, you can go find the movie yourself. but I do not need that bad juju (mojo? vibe?) in my living room. Oh hell no. 

9. I ate two donuts, but now I really want Jimmy John's. 

10. I still wish I had Valentine's parties with little valentines you put in bags, even for kids you don't like. Because either way, those were the shit. 
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Reader's Choice

February 10, 2014

Things I regret: not starring more of those "What To Write When You Have Nothing To Write" posts. 

So...I'm leaving it up to you (slash hopefully you're still out there, because otherwise this post will be awkward sauce)...what do you want to see on The Unreal Life?

And while you're thinking, enjoy this Hottie McHotterson who I had the pleasure of seeing preform this Saturday night. To be honest, I am not one for concerts but HOLY MARY POPPINS DID HE BLOW ME AWAY. 

He wrote Kenny Chesney's hit "Come Over" and most recently Keith Urban's newest "Cop Car." And holy shit...I will come over anytime, Sam, anytime. 

What post do you want to see on The Unreal Life?
Leave a question or topic below,
and I will do my best to answer it in my traditionally sassy manner. 

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Dream Interpretation: The Wedding

February 5, 2014

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

The Dream
I am sitting with some of my family members, when suddenly a long line of people comes in and sits on their knees in two rows in front of me. It is all of M's family, come up from Mexico. 
M emerges carrying lots of presents, because apparently it is Christmas.
He hands me a present, which turns out to be a children's book.
He says he can't wait to read with our children, and won't I do him the honor of marrying him?
Of course I am ecstatic and thrilled to pieces, sobbing all over the place.
But then I see that the engagement ring will only fit halfway down my finger.
M apologizes and says that he couldn't afford to buy the extra gold to make the ring big enough because he needs to save the money to send his family back to Mexico after the wedding.
He then jumps up and down and says "We're getting married now!"
And I am like, le duh we are engaged that's what that means.
To which he promptly says "No, we're getting married now."
And pulls me three feet to the left where a priest just happens to be waiting to do the honors right now.
Throughout the ceremony more and more bridesmaids keep showing up and I am confused as to who picked them, considering I've only known I was engaged for all of two minutes. 
They are wearing puffy pink dresses circa 1981. 
Halfway through M's vows, I see my favorite niece, love of my life, is my flower girl. I decide that I absolutely must at that moment stop and tell her just how much I love her and what a wonderful little girl she is. 
To which M is like yo...can you focus on our vows please?

Then I wake up. 

What's that mean, dream?
To dream of a proposal suggests that an existing situation is about to take a turn for the worse. 

A wedding represents a change or transition in your current life, as well as your issues about independence and commitment. It also usually highlights feelings of bitterness, sorrow or death (I thought this was a happy occasion to look forward to...sheesh!)

To dream of a person from Mexico (I tell no lies, is an exhaustive list of all symbols!) represents the preservation of tradition, family, faith and culture. 

Analytical Summary:
But preserve all the good things Mexico represents, like family (even though your family won't be expanding since you're not getting married, bitter 23 year old.).


What's your analysis of my dream?
Had any good dreams lately?

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