Toads and Mobsters and Larvae, oh my

September 8, 2015

"Do you know what a monobster is?"
"A what?"
"A mobbbbster."
"Oh, yeah."
"Are they real?"
"Of course they're real!"
"What is a mob?"
"It's an angry group of men."
"Have you ever killed an angry group of men?"
"Yes. Every day."
"Really. I am the queen of the mob."
"You're actually pretty tough, Aunt Autumn. But you're pretty scared of touching frogs."


September 2, 2015

This, ladies and gentleman, is what you should NOT do when someone calls you back to set up a time to go on a first date. Keep in mind throughout this story, that I do not know this kid and have only spoken to him for all of 30 minutes in a bar.

ME: Oh hi, this is Autumn. Just calling you back from your voicemail 
about setting up a time for dinner. How's it going?
DUI GUY: Oh hey Autumn! Good to hear from you! *Insert deep sigh* It's goin'...
ME: Umm...
DUI GUY: Yeah, just a bad, bad, very bad day. 
ME: Oh, umm... I'm so sorry to hear that. What's wrong? 
DUI GUY: Well, you know how after your sister and you left the bar, 
I said I was going to go to another bar for a little bit? 
ME: Yes.
DUI GUY: Well, I did. And then when I went to leave that bar, 
a cop pulled out behind me and... it's just really stressful, ya know?
ME: Umm, yeah. That... sucks?
DUI GUY: Yeah, just super stressful. 
ME: So what happened?
DUI GUY: Well, obviously I went to jail. 

Alright. Let's hold the phone. OBVIOUSLY? What part of this story so far falls into "obviously"?!?! Am I supposed to now assume that every guy who asks me out is going to end up in jail first, obviously? Or that every time a cop follows someone it leads to jail, obviously? What about this is 'obviously'? 

ME: Oh... umm...
DUI GUY: So yeah, now I'm just like super stressed out, ya know. Like I don't know, ya know? 
Like I don't want to lose my job, or my house. 
ME: I don't think that's how it works...
DUI GUY: Has this ever happened to you? Or someone you know? 
Cuz if I could talk to someone who's been through this, that'd be great...

Hey, here's an opening line that's never, ever worked: "Can I talk to you about your DUI experience?" What the.... Charles Manson had a better first conversation than this kid. And again, I DON'T KNOW YOU (and no, I do not have DUI experience anyways). 

DUI GUY: Yeah, just so stressful. I just really don't need this right now.
Really, really don't need this right now.

I'm sorry, is there anyone who DOES need this right now? Find me the person running around the streets being like, "hey, you know what would help me right now? A DUI!" NOBODY NEEDS A DUI. Also, "not right now" implies that if you did have to get one, there would be a more optimal time to get one. When is the more optimal time to get a DUI? Please, riddle me that one, DUI Guy. 

So, kids, let this be a lesson: Don't drink and drive. And if you do, don't drink, drive and discuss a first date. Just chalk that one off as a loss and go to your court hearing. 

(No but seriously, when is the optimal time to get a DUI?)

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Universal Rules of a Good Break Up

August 31, 2015

To me, there are two of the most uncomfortable feelings in the world: getting a call about a job you didn't get, and break ups. Or in other words, rejection makes me all sorts of uncomfortable. Like "Oh no I'm going to the dentist in the middle of the day and forgot to brush my teeth after lunch" uncomfortable. Like "Oh man I'm stuck in a room alone with a creepy high school teacher who gives lingering shoulder pats" uncomfortable. Like "Oh God they're playing that girl's interview on The Bachelor about how in love she is but I already read the spoilers and know she's going home in 2 minutes and is really, really going to regret saying this" uncomfortable. Like "Oh shit, my boss just got back from a meeting with the director of a corporation I applied to last night and I hope she hasn't seen my resume or recognized my name yet" uncomfortable. 

Got it?

Break ups are uncomfortable. 

However, I think that if the following rules (suggestions) were followed, we could eliminate much awkward feelings! Let us explore the universal rules of a good break up (to be read in the voice of Jane Austen or Helen Mirren for ultimate effect). 


"It is a universal rule of a good break up much acknowledged and accepted world-wide, that the following suggestions and regulations shall be observed in good faith by the two parties involved in a break up:

ONE: THOU SHALT GIVE A REASON FOR CALLING. Thoust shall not feel any shame for occassionally breaking into the temptation of a phone call, but THOUST SHALL GIVE A REASON. The reason may be as complex as "we need to talk" or as simple as "fuck I'm drunk," but thoust shall give a reason. Thoust shall not cause unnecessary anxiety to the other party by refusing to give a reason, and leaving them wondering whether you are between the parallels of 'thinking about getting back together' or 'drunk' or 'dead, see me in morgue.' 

TWO: THOU SHALT HAVE ONE HUMAN MOMENT OF CONFESSION. Thoust shall have one moment in said break up where both parties have a mutual human moment of confession, saying "This is hard" (or similar feelings as per the parties involved). Thoust shall recognize this does not mean thy are reuniting, but merely acknowledging the biggest, smallest thing of all -- thine parties are both humans with feelings. Thoust are not robots engaged in a system reset, thoust arst humans. 

THREE: THOU SHALT MAINTAIN BREAK UP ROLES. The instigator shall maintain the instigator role and the other the 'not so sure/bereaved' role, with the reversal of roles allowed at least once but no more than three times during the course of the break up. Otherwise, you will probably not end up actually breaking up. 

FOUR: THOU SHALT ACKNOWLEDGE THERE IS ONLY ONE SOURCE OF HEALING. And that is time. So do not excessively drink, eat ice cream, flirt, party, kiss a unicorn, etc etc etc in search of other options. Thou shalt not cause more emotional and physical harm to thineself in search of getting over the other party by excess of other activities. Thou shalt wait for time to do it's thang. 

FIVE: TO THINE OWN SELF GIVE GRACE. See above, rule 4. As time ist not thy quickest friend, thoust shall to thine own self give grace. Thy may see progress, and then end up breaking down in the cheese aisle of the grocery store or a park with a skunk or something. Give yourself grace. 


What break up rules would you add
to Dame Helen's list?

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CURRENTLY // 8.26.15

August 26, 2015

A little mindless typing seems like just the thing I need to wake up those ol' Hump Day bones. Or something. That got weird.

BEMOANING // The lack of a Starbucks on my way to work, and what this means for long, cold winter drives sans Peppermint Mochas. It's tough out here for a white girl like me.

DELIGHTING IN // The loads of leftovers from my two (TWO!) birthday dinners last night. Indulging in friends and good food is just heaven... and reliving that with leftovers is heaven, too.

(Just Finished) READING // "My Grandmother Told Me To Tell You She's Sorry" by Franklin Backman and holy shit I am obsessed. I want to start over from page 1. A grandmother tells her granddaughter a series of wild fairy tales, and then upon her death leaves the granddaughter letters which will take her on 'the last big adventure.' Along the way, the girl finds out that the fairy tales were more truth than fiction, and all reveal something about her grandma. Holy shit PRECIOUS. PRECIOUS. It's just everything you could want in a book: cozy, endearing, entertaining, fun and PRECIOUS. I want everyone to read this.

(Currently) READING // "The Truth and Other Lies" about a man who kills his side chick when he finds out she's pregnant, and spends the rest of the book running. Something about owning up to the truth blah blah. (And yes, upon re-reading this summary, I too am wondering why I'm reading such a depressing book....)

WATCHING // "Being Mary Jane" with Gabrielle Union on BET. Why? Umm. Good question. I just have a penchant for strong female leads with hot mess love lives who have all the career and none of the lurv. It makes me feel like maybe e'rything will work out (sans the small detail that my life is not a BET drama....).

LISTENING TO // The Hills by The Weekend. Can we stop playing that dumb ass face song of his on repeat, Radio Stations? Try this one on for size instead. Thanks.

THINKING ABOUT // A side hustle. And you. Always, you.

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How to Recycle Your Old Love Letters // #CuratedLove

August 23, 2015

Recently, I was gathering up old love letters for my friend Alaina to use in her Art Prize piece #CuratedLove. Similar to last year, she is gathering up old love letters from hundreds of people and going to make a sweet ass art piece out of it and cover a bridge in love letters.
While gathering these letters, I couldn't help but reminisce... and laugh (a lot), and smile, and then laugh even more. There are some good memories attached to these letters. While I was sorting through them, it came to me how each letter reflected the tone or characteristic of the relationship. Which was weird (hindsight, and reminiscing with wine, is 20/20). And I mean, the very physicality of the letters directly correlates to how the relationship was -- the letter's length, handwriting, frequency, ery'thing. Not just their content, but the literal, physical, tangible letter.

The Steady Ones

The year before I went to college (so the year after I graduated high school, gap year, kgotitmovingon), I had a long-distance relationship that was pretty much solely based on letter-writing. We rarely talked on the phone, and instead I was left with a collection of 20+ multi-page letters that tracked our relationship's progression. You can see how they changed, because as we grew more comfortable with each other, they got a little less formal. You start seeing doodles in the margins, and multiple dates in one letter as we wrote, fell asleep, and picked it up the next day. 

It's safe to say that for the first few months after this relationship ended, I had a permanent lump in my throat every time I went to the mailbox. However, these letters very, very much reflect the relationship: measured, slow, tight (he had very tight handwriting, and he also very closely 'guarded his heart' as those Kids call it). 

These letters reflect our relationship. Intentional, steady, slow. 

The Bright Burst

I only have one love letter from this relationship, which was the longest official one. But even this, to me, reflects the relationship overall: so many times where it was a bright burst of right, against a multitude of 'just not hitting the spot.' There was a lot of love, but we never were very good at communicating it the right way for the other person. 

The letter itself is so endearing, and the person who wrote it was endearing too. So to me, this letter and our relationship match by being: a bright burst, so much trying, and a lot of comic relief (shoutout to the Triple R's who plan romantic getaways to Toledo, am I right?). 


The Chaotic One

This one is written in the margins of a piece of paper you found on my desk, and I didn't even find it until a week later. It's messy and jumbled and chaotic, written with a rushed hand. I am confident there is no one else in the world who could read your handwriting. It's a letter that was meant for my eyes and my eyes only, written on your way out the door while I lay warm and ambivalent and half awake in bed.

This letter mirrors our relationship: Hidden. Combustible. Chaotic. Incomprehensible. Rushed. Passionate. 

The Forgotten One

Aaaaand then I found a pack of 20 letters from someone I didn't even remember dating soooooo..... bitch moment, right there. Oops. From his letters, he sounds like a good guy, just not for me. I can only handle someone calling me a "daughter of God which was given to them to protect" so many times before I lose my shit. Lose. My. Shit. 
These letters were: drawn out, old school (old school handwriting, old school language, old school emotions) aaaaand.... unappreciated. I didn't appreciate the letters and I didn't appreciate him. Ya win some ya lose some and even better -- ya let some go. 

If you are interested in joining the #CuratedLove party,
you can!
Send your old love letters here
and Alaina will use them to cover an entire bridge. 
I'm so excited to see the final results I could pee myself. 

What's the best and worst love letter you've ever gotten?
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5 Questions Not To Ask on a First Date

August 10, 2015

It turns out that I'm a pretty big bitch on first dates (aka first weeks and first months of talking to anyone new). First Date Autumn is amuck with pet peeves, and pretty much everything is a pet peeve to First Date Autumn. The same thing that bugs First Date Autumn will not bug Fifth Date Autumn. In fact, Fifth Date Autumn will probably ask all five of these questions -- and 27 more -- that First Date Autumn felt were nails-on-chalkboard, jeopardizing-a-second-date questions. 

But. I'm starting to like First Date Autumn. Her constant annoyance at everything is a pretty good barrier for assholes and nice guys alike, so she's doing a pretty good job keeping me from getting into any future harmful (or beautiful) relationships. Here are 5 questions First Date Autumn hates, and thinks that you should hate too. In fact, First Date Autumn recommends removing these questions from your next first date.

Don't make your date throw this face,
avoid these 5 questions today!

1. What do you normally order here?
WTF. First of all, if I confess that I have a "usual" I look like someone who doesn't like being adventurous. Or, if I admit I don't have a "usual" I look like a commitment phobe. Cool. 

Also, this just rubs me the wrong way. Like when somebody suggests you like something, or your parents try to shove youth group or, later, Christian Mingle down your throat. You just automatically start resisting. So now, because you have implied that I have a "usual," I'm going to go third-grade-brat-style on you and order something completely opposite just to prove to myself that I can order whatever I damn well please. This will end in disaster because now I'm going to be a hangry bitch because I'll order something I never normally would eat just to prove a point. 

2. Are you close with your parents? 
That's where you wanna go with this first date, really?
Bite me.

3. When was your last relationship? 
This question is just a passive-aggressive, shielded way of saying "how mentally and emotionally fucked up are you, so that I can thereby judge whether you're emotionally stable enough to start a new relationship or whether this is just a rebound fling?" 

First of all, that question actually tells you something. "When was your last relationship" tells you nothing beyond a numerical answer which you will arbitrarily judge as either good enough or a flight risk. It doesn't matter how long ago my past relationship was, it matters how ready I am for a fresh start. It could have been two days ago, to a nice, but just-not-magical-enough-in-the-spark-department. If I tell you two days, you'll think I'm a serial dater (true story, this has happened to me). It could have been a year ago, to a total abusive dickwad fucker. If I tell you a year ago, you'll think something's wrong with me (true story, this also has happened to me). 

4. Do you have a list?
I have a list of things I'd rather be doing than be on this date, yeah. 

This question may also masquerade as "what is most important to you in a relationship" or "what do you look for in a relationship" or "what qualities really turn you off." I dare you to find one person who asks this question and then honestly replies "Oh shit, honesty is important to you? And monogamy? Good thing I asked -- I'm actually super into cheating! Let's just get the check and leave before this goes any further." Find me that person and I will date the fuck out of them give them a high-five for honesty.

5. Why are you still single?
Well, if I weren't still single we wouldn't be here on this date soooooo... 

Also, this question sounds like something my Grandma asks me every time I am dumb enough to answer the phone. So now, I'm thinking about my Grandma. And no man wants the girl they're on a date with to be picturing dinner with their Grandma. 

Here's a good rule of thumb --
If it's a question your Grandma would ask you on the phone,
don't ask it on a first date.

Are there any questions that just rub you the wrong way?
I'd love to hear them, and mock them.

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How to Win at Tinder

July 23, 2015

Once upon a time, Breakfast Lover and I were in the worst class possible. The. Worst. And every week for 3 hours, he would have nothing to do but try to find ways to entertain me so I would stop bugging him to entertain me (don't you all want to be my friend now?). After a few months of this, we found something that was good for at least 30-40 minutes of entertainment: watching each other (don't get pervy) go through Tinder. We wanted to see how a guy approached it vs. how a girl approached it. It was actually quite interesting (or at least, more interesting than the professor #luvyouPricilla).

Quickly, I'd lose interest and set my phone down. And then it would start lighting up. New match. New match. New Match. Blah. Blah. Blah.

"What the fuck?!" Breakfast Lover would say. "How are you already getting matches?"

"This is not rocket science, this is Tinder."

"You literally just got more matches in 5 minutes than I've gotten in the past 5 months. HOW DO YOU DO THIS?!"

First of all, if a guy friend is ever desperate enough to ask you for advice on how to use Tinder more effectively, that's probably not the advice he really needs. He probably needs a pep talk and some workbooks on increasing self-esteem and not-putting-validation-in-things-that-dont-matter and finally, how-to-date-in-person-with-real-live-people-and-not-in-an-app-designed-for-hookups. But, after giving BL all these lectures and more (sorry for interupting class, #luvyouPricilla), he still wanted to know how he could be better at Tinder.

And this is what I told him. Which I will now share with you all. You're welcome.

Celebrities are a common way we can relate. "Oh he looks like Bradley Cooper" (swipe right). "Oh he's funny like Aziz" (swipe right). "Oh he looks like that Park and Recs guy who does Nascar commercials" (swipe left).

If you put your celebrity spirit animal in your profile, it allows you to say more without saying more -- ya dig? For example, I put Mindy Kaling because she is most like me and also someone I admire. She is a #girlboss who makes no apologies for her hot mess dating life, smart as fuck, and the Queen of Sass. As the Official Queen of Sass, I appreciate this.

The point is, someone can read "I like Mindy Kaling" in my profile, and they know all these things that I like: #girlboss(es), sass, comedy, smart people. And if they don't know who she is... then they swipe left. Good riddance!

Too many people are using Tinder for too many things. From hook ups to actual relationships, there's just something for everyone on the magical land of Tinder (see 'Queen of Sass,' above).

I used a two-prong approach: sometimes I would take it seriously, and sometimes I would use it exactly the way it was intended -- flipping through photos with absolutely no care for their profile description and solely judging them based on looks. Now BL, he would read every profile. Every. Damn. Profile. And flip through every photo. No. Ain't nobody got time for that shit. He refused the Tinder method of judging based on looks because he "wanted something serious" and thought that was "vain."

Here's the deal. If you do not occasionally play Tinder the way Tinder was designed to be played, the Tinder Gods will not reward you with matches. That's all.

I had a 100% first-date success rate with matches who I spoke to about my love of hardboiled eggs. Truth.

Embrace that challenge! Guys, I promise you -- if they didn't write anything in their profile, it's not because they're married or hiding something... they just didn't have time or don't take it too seriously. It's totally safe to meet up with them! 

If you compiled Tinder profile descriptions and analyzed them, Americans would look like the most adventurous, outdoors-y people ever who spend all their time hiking and traveling*. Take this to heart! This is true! Everything they put in their profile should be read as absolute truth.You should then feel immense guilt about not being more of a hiker or world-traveler, and try to get them to meet up with you so they can spread their hiking and traveling knowledge. Because if anything, Tinder proved that you don't get outside enough and your life is a failure.


In summary: talk about eggs, take every profile legit dead serious and swipe left for dog photos.

No but seriously, the only way to win on Tinder is to get off Tinder. OFF.

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*I guarantee that photo is the only time they've ever gone hiking or snorkeling with sharks. Give me a break.

The Last Lesson From Your Lover

July 17, 2015

Write about us. Write about us. When the voices won't stop echoing through my head, I know it is time to do the only thing I know how to do to make them shut up: write. Write about us. 

This should probably be handwritten on paper, and not typed for the world to see on the internet. But paper is slow and typing is fast and you like this and I like pleasing you too much. So here we are.
The last lesson. A moratorium of sorts, and the only way I know how to "end things well" -- with words. I always did need to say a thing too many times in too many ways before finally getting to the end. Go Shakespeare on me, one last time.


Lesson One: Find a Cheerleader

Find a lover who is more vocally proud (publicly, privately, whatever floats your boat) of your greatest achievement than even you are. Find a champion, not a savior -- this, this is the thing. Someone who will never let you forget how far you came -- because you worked really hard. They want to celebrate what you accomplished -- and there is such beauty in that celebration of the individual spirit, that combined makes a stronger whole. So pick a cheerleader. Not a doting fool, not a self-centered, faux-selfless savior. 
Find someone who is so proud of what you did, and who will remind you when you forget or are down or discouraged (or feeling too proud) so that you are always ready to take that next step for yourself.

Lesson Two: The Beauty's in the Want

When I first met you, I think it's safe to say I was obsessed with marriage. Several friends and family members could testify to my willingness to give up several limbs in any combination if only I could be married. Oh the hours I wasted in anxious worry and self-induced guilt. And then I met you. And I fell. And you were always so damn busy*. 

You asked me once to write about (God I'll miss that) how it was to date someone who was always busy**. And I said I couldn't, because I didn't know how yet. But somewhere along the way, while not necessarily figuring out "how," I think I figured out at least why.

Dating someone who was constantly busy*** reaffirmed my own independent strength in a way relationships never had before.

I have always been a strong individual. This is not something I question. And yet, whenever I entered relationships all the strength I carried in my other interactions just melted out the door.

I'm pretty used to getting my way in relationships and having someone who dotes on my every move and is constantly available to me. And the thing about dating someone who is busy****/unavailable, isn't that they don't care any less than someone who isn't as busy/unavailable, they're just busy. And after a while, I started to filter things through the mindset of 'given that I know they only have limited X amount of time to text/call/speak through the day, what is actually the most important thing I want to get across in that limited time?'

Let's give an example.

When I start dating someone, I am the type of person who tells them everything. Car made a weird noise? Tell them. Coffee was cold? Tell them. Weird student loan bill? Tell them. Spent hours walking through a graveyard? Tell them. That was always my instinct -- tell them, tell them, tell them. And then I would get reaffirmed when they texted back.

Here's the thing. Dating a busy person forced me to get better at identifying what I really needed at that moment. Car made a weird noise? Call a mechanic. Unexplainable jump in student loan bill? WTF. He didn't even have student loans, call your loan officer. I slowly got better at thinking what do I really need at this moment? Sometimes I needed a mechanic, sometimes I needed a loan officer... a best friend to talk things through or a niece to make me laugh. Now I'm not saying your partner shouldn't listen, comfort, console, make you laugh, talk, etc. But, that's a lot of expectations to put on one person. And, I am perfectly capable of calling a mechanic. And, just because I am not sharing the experience (by talking about it, doing it, blah blah) with the Man Friend does not negate the goodness/badness/validity of the experience. I think that was what was most key for me to learn. I used to think, everything will be better when I have a husband. Bad days will be better and grocery shopping will be better and laughing will be louder and blah blah blah. 

But that's not true. I still had a good time -- or a bad time -- whether I texted him 24/7 or saw him 24/7 either way. The experience was still the experience because it was mine. And somewhere in there I realized... the beauty's in the want. In the wanting to share that.

(THIS IS WHERE I GET TO THE POINT) === Essentially, what I'm saying is this. Person A texts you and asks you what you had for lunch. You answer. Person B texts you and asks you what you had for lunch. You scream, throw the phone into the passenger seat, and wonder 1) Who the fuck cares what you ate? and 2) Why does it matter.

The difference is in the want. 

And there is beauty in the want. And there is contentment in waiting for the right person who you want to share things with. Lunch was fine, with or without Person A or B. Lunch was mine. Lunch will happen either way. And one day, you'll find someone who doesn't make you scream when they ask you what's for lunch.

Does anybody get what I'm saying? That was a long ass paragraph. The point is... dating someone who was busy***** made me get better at maintaining my own independence while looking forward to sharing the little things.
And for now that's all I'm saying. 
For now.

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*Busy: Not to be confused with married. 
**Busy: Not to be confused with married.  
***Busy: Not to be confused with married.   
****Busy: Not to be confused with married.  
*****Busy: Not to be confused with married.  

How To: Determine Fight-Worthiness With Your Man Friend

June 18, 2015

As we all know, I am quite the feisty individual. If there was a profession which involved picking fights, I would be a billionaire (Is there a profession that needs this skill? Please, tell me. So I can start my accession to the top of the career ladder.). 

But how do you know when it is worth it to pick a fight with your Man Friend, and when it is not worth it? Because we all know, those who pick 'em, must apologize for 'em first. And nothing is worse than having to apologize for a fight you didn't even need to have -- so make sure it's a valid fight (and then, after confirming validity, WIN!).

Before picking a fight, I encourage everyone to apply The Toddler Rule:
  1. Have you taken a nap within the last two hours?
  1. Have you had a snack within the last two hours?

If you answer no to either of these questions, then take a nap and a snack and then check in on your emotions afterwards. If you can answer yes to BOTH of these questions, then proceed to evaluate the fight-worthiness level using this handy dandy chart which I created for you. You're welcome.

*Sarcasm included, The Unreal Life is not responsible for any and all fights picked up or left behind as a result of this chart. Use in consultation with your favorite glass of wine. If your fight lasts more than four hours, consult a friend.

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Macking Out

June 17, 2015

Do you ever get really excited when someone else uses a word that secretly this whole time you've been wondering if it's a word? For example, one time I tried to tell my friend Chris that so and so was a total sexpot and he just stared at me like a Martian was waving out of my eyeball. It was a disappointing moment to realize that sexpot was not an actual word, and just something that my sisters had made up at some point and I had just permanently believed this was a real word. So, imagine my pure joy when SOTR (Sister of the Roomsicle) used the word MACKING. As in, "we were macking all the time."

I giggled in delight. My mother used to use that word! She would use it interchangeably with the wordless version (because in our household, macking was super dirty and couldn't be said), which was to spread her hand out, fingers splayed all over the place, and wave it gently back and forth. Like a really over-eager hello, except slower. That motion never really screamed "macking" to me, but whatever. I was in enough trouble over macking, I didn't want to get in more trouble pointing out that she was just waving hi, slowly.

So, let's talk about the first time Autumn got in trouble for macking. 

Let's set the scene. First grade. Walker Elementary. Heart of the Michigan Midwest, a small population grows up in the dust bowl of.... oh shit, wrong story. First grade. Pleasant Michigan town, if not a little run down. Kids with nothing to do, future full of life (or jail) ahead of them. Man, this is getting dramatic...

So in first grade, I had a super big crush on this little black boy. We would flirt all the time. All. The. Time. It's a wonder I learned how to read, I was so distracted flirting with him. And touching his little afro. A girl never forgets her first afro. 

One day, Little Boy and I decided that we wanted to take our relationship to the next step. Clearly, we should have a play date outside of school hours. I asked him to give me his address, so I could give it to my mom. And what did that little fucker do? 

He came back with his address, written in PENCIL on dark PURPLE construction paper. 

He might as well have written with sharpie on black construction paper. It was impossible to read. 

And I remember him handing it to me, and I stared down with total disgust and the only thought was, "What a dumb little shit. Doesn't he know you can't read pencil on purple?" And I was instantly disgusted by him, and no longer wanted to flirt with him. Because he was dumb, clearly. 

But, I still macked in the sandbox with him at recess even though I knew he was dumb as a rock. If that wasn't a foreshadowing for the rest of my life, I don't know what is... #SOML #SMH

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Simplicity. And Morning Light.

June 8, 2015

I fall in love with things in the morning. 

Which is funny, because by all means I would never describe myself as a morning person. I do not rise early. I do not look forward to jumping out of bed. I am someone who loathes the torturous process of waking up. 

And yet, I fall in love in the morning. 

This is what I realized this morning, while thinking about that morning. 

I think it's the morning light. That evasive, elusive, poetic thing. In that raw morning light, where there is just... being. The day has yet to start, words have yet to be spoken. No one is reading into anything or analyzing. People are just being. Breathing. Resting. There is raw hope and honesty and promise in these morning rays, and I think that is why it reaches into my very heart and makes me fall in love. 

I am a lover of the simple things. The simple moments. I don't fall in love with grand gestures. I fall in love with seemingly unimportant moments that pass in the blink of an eye. It happened twice this weekend. 
I fell in love in the raw morning light, in the way you kissed the back of my neck while I stood methodically pressing the espresso machine buttons for your cup of coffee. The fullness of affection was overwhelming to me. If you had asked, I would have handed you my heart right then and there  with your morning coffee like a scone on a paper napkin. I froze, and I think it might have scared you. But I froze, foolishly thinking if my body froze the moment could freeze too. 
I fell in love on itchy carpet, a half child - half spider crawling on top of me, torturing me with tickles and child threats of eating my face off. Her hand was crawling across the carpet and suddenly it was like I had never seen it before -- those itty-bitty fingers, those itty-bitty nails! They were so thin in that light, they could have been translucent. I caught her hand crawling across the carpet. "Mari, your hand is so tiny!" She stared at me like I was crazy, her full-grown eyes bugging out of her tiny child head. "You've seen them before!" she squealed before running off to attack my feet. 
I fell in love in the hazy light of midnight lamps against ink black skies, as she weaved her thin little arm like needle and thread behind my head and asked me half-whisper if I could stay just a little longer. In the way she pulled my head closer when it wasn't close enough, and methodically fed me pretzel rods so that I wouldn't move from my position. 
All of my friends are having goodbye parties lately, it seems. 
Their hearts fall out of their sockets for the call of a new adventure, new city, new land, new taste, new experience. They crave change. They crave being wild and free. They go weak in the knees for a new view. 
My heart falls out of my socket for morning coffee in morning light, and spider arms feeding me pretzel rods in front of the glowing screen of Octonauts. I crave simplicity. I crave a monotonous routine of incomprehensible beauty. I go weak in the knees for coffee cups and spider arms. 
My friends laugh at me now, at the easy way I've tapped out of the bar scene and crowded, rowdy nights of too many people at one table with sticky cups and cans. They laugh at me, knowing that I crave these simple things that make me sound more like a 40 year old, and less like a 24 year old. They ask me how I can survive so many dating disasters, how I can keep going and going. 
It is the magic of the morning light, of the simple gesture of a coffee cup, and the light brush of spider arms. It is this, that keeps me going. 
Because this. Because at the end of this all, is waking up to the same person every morning for the rest of my life and falling in love all over again in the morning light. It is coffee cups and spider arms and simplicity and routine and love. 

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5 Apologies You Should Make in a Break Up

June 3, 2015

Break ups are hard. We get it. But there's a way to ease that pain, sugar, with five simple apologies you should be making in a break up. 
Have you stopped to pinpoint where the source of post-breakup discomfort is coming from? In the midst of apologizing to former loved ones, have you taken the time to apologize to former loved things? That's right kids, both inanimate and animate objects deserve your apologies during this time!
So if you're still feeling an overwhelming source of angst and anxiety, check in with those inanimate objects around you. Their angst over not being apologized to could be leading to a negatively-charged environment. Would Jesus want your Catholic guilt limited to just human relationships? No! Spread that love with the world of inanimate objects too! 
With just five simple apologies, you could be well on the way to emotional rejuvenation -- thanks, things!

Dear Phone:
Soon, we will return to the easy companionship we used to know -- late night scroll-fests through Twitter. Laughing together at the latest ugly baby photos on IG. My hand misses the soft warmth of your constant weight as well, so I will send it your condolences. But for now... it's back on silent and into the drawer you go. Lo siento, baby. 

Dear Running Shoes:
I know you must think I'm overworking you, but think how I feel... I know you were enjoying your life of leisure, but every vacation must come to an end. Time to get to work. 

Dear Bed:
In. Out. In. Out. I know, you are frustrated by my inability to make up my mind! I am too. I'm sorry for the confusion I have caused you with my indecision. I look forward to resuming normal sleeping/napping patterns soon. I'm sorry. 

Dear Downstairs Neighbor:
I apologize for the amount of late-night redecorating and furniture moving I've been doing lately. All my furniture will stay in one spot now, I solemnly promise. 

Dear Snapchat:
I apologize for abusing your Story feature lately. I know, I know. I should have never put you in the middle of this. You're right. You are far superior to a Tony told Abby to tell Sarah -- but not tell Sarah Tony told Abby tell Sarah -- that he said but didn't say situation. I love you, Sally Snapchat Story. 

Who else should you be apologizing to in a break up?

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May: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

June 1, 2015

I kind of like these monthly recap posts people do. Sue me. I also kind of like writing a post to get my brain going before writing copy after copy of endlessly boring cover letters. So -- here we go! 


Soaking up precious moments of time with friends and family. Since school and work ended, I've been going through people withdrawal. I definitely took it for granted getting to be surrounded by those I care about on a daily basis. Now, I appreciate them even more when I see them and find myself happy to soak up the minutes in their company. 

Michigan State Capital
Wagner Falls in the Upper Peninsula

Other goods: getting to help my sister surprise my niece with her first puppy. Date nights. A salmon risotto that I am still dreaming about (yes, one meal can be the highlight of a whole month). Road trips that allowed me to see some beautiful things -- like the state capital and gorgeous waterfalls. The return of paddleboarding season (and the return of blogging!)! 

Shameless blogger plug: you can follow along with more of my road trip/daily adventures on instagram blah blah blah.


Being unemployed sucks, there's just really no way around that. A lot of the time I am immensely bored and feel like I could run up the wall at any given point. It's hard to motivate yourself to fill out application after applications when you know the majority will go unacknowledged. 

"You can't turn a hoe into a housewife." We'll just leave that one there.


When selfies go so, so wrong.
(Also, an art student took this.... shouldn't they take the best selfies?!?!)

What was the good and bad of your May month?
Share below!

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Move Over, Carrie: On Second Chances

May 31, 2015

I remember the day he said it. The light thumb finger pressing against my chin, both pushing me away and pulling me closer at the same time. That familiar movement used for too wide an array of scenarios -- for gently scolding children and puppies, for encouraging loved ones, for inspiring perseverance. That. 

"And that is your problem Autumn. You always believe in someone's ability to become better. You're always giving second chances, unlimited hope in their potential."

And that analysis struck me. Deep. It hit a chord because it was... true. I give infinite second chances. For as long as I can remember, I have been the champion of second chances and endless encouragement. Friend, family, boyfriend, stranger... it doesn't matter who they are or what their relation is to me, I always believe in their ability to become the absolute best version of themselves. I am the girlfriend at the door after the second missed date, worrying about their day at work. I am the stranger on the street corner, worrying whether my donation to the homeless man who just chatted me up was enough. I am the daughter at the dinner table, reminding my mother after a long day of work with kids that there is such hope there, they'll get better.

What hit me most about what he said, about this supposed flaw of endless hope in individuals, was that this is precisely what made me really, really good in my chosen professional career. This belief in individuals to rise above, to make their own happiness no matter what they may have previously done, propelled me to nonprofit work. It propels me to not give up hope, no matter how many articles or books I read on the many, many problems within the word. It's the thing that keeps me from getting overwhelmed when so many others look around and say but where do you even start.

However, the thing that makes me strong within my profession is the very thing that makes me weak in my personal relationships.

For no matter how many times a person fails me, disappoints me, hurts me, or lies to me, there is always that voice in the back of my head that says they can be better, they can be better. Every time, I am convinced that person will be better -- that they will recognize their own flaws, and be moved to change them. Not for me. But for themselves, for their futures.

And they don't.

In fact, I don't think I can find a single example  of when these second chances actually resulted in change. 

And yet the voice in my head, the breath in my soul keeps speaking.... they can be better, they can be better, they can be better. Just believe. 

This things that makes me so strong at work, it kills me at home.

It's that old adage... your greatest strength is also your greatest weakness. How often have we been trained to spin that interview question into a strength until there are really no weaknesses, just humble strengths? What is your greatest weakness? No no we say... I'm working on it, and it's really just a strength in the making. I'll be stronger, because I had to work for it.

Is there a dichotomy between your work-self and personal-self?
Do you have something that makes you kill it at work,
but alternately kills you at home?
How many second chances do you give?

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Shit My Niece Says

May 28, 2015

Moving on to the topic of hand. I saw this adorable link-up by Amber of Mr. Thomas & Me about what is your place of peace? And it got me thinking... where do I feel most at peace? I was almost greedy to come to the answer. My mind raced, in the midst of all of this all of this, please! Where is the peace? Transitions have never been my strong suit, that's for sure. Homework and libraries and schools used to be my place of peace, but graduation put a stop to that. So where was my sweet, sweet escape? 

With my little darling loves, my niece and nephew (and technically, nephews, but the second one is just really too young to count). I just adore them. I adore their warm little snuggly bodies, the way they think I'm really good at throwing a football, their ability to make a game out of anything and even, I realized, their 92 daily questions. So in no particular order, here are 92 (just kidding, try like 10) questions my niece and nephew have asked me in the past 72 hours. 

What is a sorority?
What are the two most important things a citizen can do?
Is it ok to do the sign of the cross at my friend's house when they pray?
What is whiskey?
Why is this man singing about whiskey?
Why would kissing someone make you feel like whisky?
What does it mean to feel bubbly?
Why does kissing make you bubbly?
Are you going to get married?
Would you have a baby and not a husband?
Would you adopt your babies?
Why is the word penis only inappropriate when I say it? Look here, it's in my cat breeding book -- is this book inappropriate?
Do you know my gym teacher?
Do you like Taylor Swift?
What is the difference between Taylor Swift and Meghan Trainor?
Does every country song talk about whisky?
Would you rather read my Minecraft book, or The Bible?
What is uptown funk?

And my personal favorite...

[In response to a story he was telling...]
Is that why Trevor called me a rat-cist (he meant racist....) on the bus? 
Is that the same as a rapist?

If you have any answers, please do feel free to share. ;)

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P.S. As a matter of housekeeping... Man Friend would like me to confirm that not only does he have a hot mom, but he is also very hot himself. He felt a little left out that my dream was mostly about karaoke with his family, and very little about him. So... let it be known that Man Friend is attractive. 

5 Phases of Unemployed Emotionz

May 20, 2015

Well la di da, look who showed up to the blog TWICE this week. Considering the only place I technically "have" to be is yoga once a week, I'm gonna take this small accomplishment with a hefty dose of self-congratulations. Killin' it, Hebbs (why yes, I do refer to myself in the third person with a shortened version of my last name in a strong, strong Michigan accent). 
Today we're going to talk about something that almost everyone experiences (but if you're lucky, not for long) and makes everyone queasy, palm-sweating, heart-pounding: unemployment. But no, no I will not give you any tips or any pointers for either getting a job or getting through the inane boredom that comes. We're just going to have ourselves a nice little chat about the phases. 

1. The Kardashian Phase

You will watch every episode. You will begin to think that maybe Kim Kardashian really is a genius business woman, and maybe she's plotting something and we're all just distracted by her beauty. And then, at the moment that you start catching yourself rewatching an episode, you switch to Phase 2. 

2. The Cleaning Phase

It starts innocently enough, and then it just never, ever ends. I will say this... since finishing my contract at my last job, my apartment has been immaculate. Immaculate. Once, I went to open the blinds and greet the morning light. The next thing I know, I had spent over two hours -- TWO HOURS -- hand cleaning each and every little blind on every window shade with a wet towel. Once, I innocently went to the bathroom. Before I knew it, I was on my hands and knees scrubbing cracks and crevices in baseboards I didn't even know I had. Do you know how many times I've cleaned my baseboards in the past three weeks? SIX TIMES. 

3. The Loner Phase

Who, me? I love being alone. Man, look at this adorable apartment I live in. Coffee date? No thanks, I like to make my lattes at home. Lunch date? No thanks, I just made pasta salad and quiche and hardboiled eggs. I cooked the entire contents of my fridge, and will never be able to eat this by myself. Look at this freedom! Look at this independence! 

4. The People Phase

You start getting really, really emotionally attached to people you don't even know. You may even give them nicknames, and create entire backstories about them. That man you see walking on the same sidewalk as you? You two are obviously best friends, he just doesn't know it yet! And that adorable old couple redoing their front lawn... well, they're obviously going to become lifelong adopted-grandparents who send you lavish wedding gifts when the time comes. It's like you're a really small gang, that only you know about. The real shame comes when you start texting your actual friends about them, "Hey! I saw knife man today! Oh and book man was back too, with a Pepsi!" They just don't understand. Book man always drinks Mountain Dew. 

5. The Comcast Phase

We might call this "Rock Bottom." This is when you start jumping up and down for joy because praise Jesus, your internet is down! Guess what? TIME TO CALL COMCAST! This could take hours! Who knows how many representatives you'll have to talk to in order to fix the problem! The options are endless! 
What's your favorite phase? 
How do you occupy yourself with never-ending amounts of time?

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What's That Mean, Dream?

May 18, 2015

WE'RE BACK. With one of my personal favorites... What's that mean, Dream? 

For you new (and returning long-time, thanks roomsicle and roomsicle's sister) readers, I have very elaborate, detailed, strange dreams. Sometimes they're just so weird that I like to take up my part-time hobby of dream interpretation and share them with you. So let's dive in, shall we?


Last night, I dreamt that I was staying with Man Friend's family (whom I haven't met yet, so this was a strange dream) in Detroit (not where they actually live. What can I say, dreams are nothing but accurate). To help me meet them for the first time, Man Friend sent me a blooper reel of wedding clips from each family member's wedding. A blooper reel. Let that settle in. 

Then, we spent some time introducing ourselves at the house. We decided it would be a good idea to go karaoke-ing as a group (I hate karaoke), except the family was very adamant that when karaoke-ing we must all wear sneakers. Fortunately, when we got to the karaoke spot I was too late signing up for a slot and couldn't go. 

The dream ended when I had to go perform in a play... as a wolf. And all I could think was "how embarrassing is it that Man Friend's super, super hot mom (that is accurate to real life, she is super hot) is watching me crawl on my hands and knees and howl like a wolf? In case you're a stickler for details, the play was Arthur Miller's The Crucible, except the opening scene naked dancing girls had been replaced with wolf creatures, of which I was one (fun fact: I actually had that role in high school... but we did not do the wolf version. Our nude, flesh-toned body suits caused quite the scandal.). 


**All symbols analyzed by, personal interpretation blah blah blah.

1. Blooper Reel of Wedding Clips
To see a wedding indicates you are preparing for a new beginning or transition in life. Shockingly, 'blooper reel' was not available on, so I went with 'comedy.' Because they were some pretty funny clips. Apparently, seeing something comedic in your dream indicates that you are taking something too seriously and need to lighten up. 
So, if we combine these two, we would see that the blooper reel of wedding clips is a symbol of my need to be less uptight about my upcoming new beginning/transition. 

2. Karaoke
To dream that you are not taking part in karaoke means that you are not utilizing your talents to the fullest (and vice versa).

3. Wolves
Per usual, has given us both a good and bad interpretation, and leaves it up to us worry-worts to fret. Here you go:
"A wolf symbolizes survival, beauty, solitude, mystery, self-confidence and pride. You are able to keep your composure in a variety of social circumstances and blend into any situation with ease and grace. You are also a loner by choice. Negatively, the wolf represents hostility, aggression, or sneakiness. It may reflect an uncontrollable situation or an all-consuming force in your life. This could point to an obsession, an addiction or something that is beyond your control."

So basically, I am either a super sexy goddess great at social situations.... or about to self-destruct due to my all-consuming nature. Thanks, Dreammoods.

What's That Mean, Dream?

I am preparing for a new transition in life, and need to calm the eff down and take things more lightly. If I do not loosen up, I risk turning from sexy wolf goddess to crazy self-desctructive wolf. 


All in all, a pretty good dream. And pretty accurate. I have been getting pretty tense about the job search lately, so I suppose I could use a good dream-reminder that the world will not end today. Thanks for joining this version of What's That Mean, Dream?. I am always available for personal dream interpretations (I just ask my roomsicle and roomsicle's sister, I provide excellent, timely assistance!). 

Laters, baby (PS let's talk about the epic failure which was the ending of that movie... laters).

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#byedust [Hello, Again]

April 27, 2015

I feel like there should be a ceremonial GIF of someone blowing dust off a keyboard, and little fingers nervously fluttering over keys again. 

So, here I am again. 

Valiant effort to get back into blogging, commence.

Why did I leave? I left for a boy. Which was dumb. And also because grad school was hard. And stressful. And when I ran out of time to get e'rything done, cuts had to be made. 

Coming back has been in the back of my mind for a while now. A little whisper, reminding me that I used to like this. So anyways, if I remember correctly, you're supposed to stick to one main topic per post. So I guess this post is up!

Cheers, kids. See you soon!
A photo posted by Autumn (@autumnlee816) on
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