10 Tell-Tale Signs You’re a Grownup

  1. You take your coffee black. You actually have to hold back a chuckle when you hear, “Want room for cream?” Do I want room for cream? Ha. Sorry, Trix, but cream is for kids. I’m a grownup now. I’d like nothing more than a rich, steaming cup of French-pressed, battery-acid-blend-with-notes-of-mud joe without that cream and sugar swill YOU call a latte. Pssh.
  2. Things you called “burnt” as a child, you now call “crispy.” The looks of horror you gave your father as he scraped off the indistinguishable black bits off the baking sheet while murmuring, “Mmm, that’s where all the flavor is,” are the same looks your kids are giving you. The same goes for “crispy” toast. Like it? Congrats! You’re officially a grownup.
  3. You saw an eight-year-old driving a car with his mom. Seriously. You have uttered the words, “He can’t be fifteen. He looks so young!” Fifteen-year-olds have always looked like that, it’s just that now you are old.
  4. You use the words, “classic” and “timeless.” Classic and timeless are words that make you feel good about the fact that you like old things: leather-bound books, the smell of rich mahogany, little black dresses with pearls, iron skillets, expensive scotch, etc.
  5. You wear flat shoes. When you’re an adult, you start looking for support and quality, and then buy multiple pairs in classic colors like black, brown, and sometimes navy. Occasionally, you will venture out in heels, but only when you’re going to be out for a couple hours. Your old, tired dogs just can’t stand the heels anymore for a night out.
  6. You don’t stay out all night anymore. What is this going to bed at 3 a.m. nonsense? You have to wake up before 6 a.m. to get that roast in the crockpot, so that means going to bed at 10 at the latest.
  7. You try to Skype with your nephew/niece/child/grandkid and struggle because you can’t figure out how to use it, while he/she sits there staring at you in bewilderment.
  8. You turn off the GPS or Google maps because her voice is annoying and you look at the actual map instead. You gloat inside when you make it to your destination all by yourself.
  9. You buy things in bulk. You bought a chest freezer for the side of beef you split, and have an extra room in the house devoted to massive amounts of toilet paper, paper towels, and Swiffer refills.
  10. You start really loving people. You’ve experienced enough loss by now to appreciate your family and friends a little more. You call, send a card, and visit face to face. You connect.


Also known as, “I’m not so tough after all.”

I’m not sure about you, but it seems like my twenties have been like the old guy at the beach walking around with a metal detector, just hoping to find something valuable. I feel like I’ve been on a hunt to find out what makes me truly happy, and what makes me…me.


The latest piece of metal I dug up is not one I’d take home. It’s called a Mud Run. While digging, quite literally, I discovered just how not tough I really am. Consider the puny, yappy dog that greets you at your neighbor’s door. That small, five-pound sack of snarling teeth and fur doesn’t realize how tiny she is. How easily trampled she is. In my mind, I am this tough, strong, elegant, and graceful person who can accomplish anything. You already know I’m an optimist, and while I can’t think how that could be a bad thing, it definitely puts me in my place now and then. Yesterday opened my eyes to things I do not enjoy, and things I need to work on.

Thing I do not enjoy #1: Getting hurt. I will avoid it at all costs.

Our first “obstacle” was a 15-foot-high wooden structure made of horizontal boards that had large three-foot gaps between them. We had to climb up, over, and down it. As soon I as approached it and realized how far of a fall it would be, and how much it would hurt if I did fall, the fear took over. I suddenly wanted to just run back and wait for the others. It was hard, too. Being slippery from already running and swimming through mud, it was hard to find a good solid grip and then I had to reach my entire body length to find the next rail to continue. It was rocking back and forth from the weight of all these people climbing it and when I was sitting at the top straddling the boards, I froze. With the encouragement of my teammates, I finally made it down, safely, but I have a few bruises today from that one. As soon as I finished, I said aloud, “I hope we don’t have any more climbing obstacles.”

This rope obstacle wasn't as bad as the ones I wrote about.

This rope obstacle wasn’t as bad as the ones I wrote about. I wasn’t able to get a pic of those.

Thing I do not enjoy #2: Climbing obstacles.

We had about 10 more climbing obstacles. Tires, small one-inch boards nailed to a 10-foot wooden wall, rope mesh attached to walls with tracker jacker hives hidden underneath, etc. I would say the majority of the race was running and climbing high obstacles.

Thing I need to work on #1: Agility.

This is a big reason I’ve joined CrossFit, and this weekend made it exceptionally clear how awkward and clumsy I am. I need better control of my body. I need to learn more functional movements so I feel more comfortable in my own skin. I think if I knew everything my body could do, I would’ve been more prepared to handle the obstacles.


Thing I need to work on #2: Balance.

I thought I had pretty good balance, but watching all of my teammates gracefully clear the log over water, while I made it halfway then fell in, made me aware of how inferior my balance skills are. If only I had a slackline like Mark Sisson! (Btw, he is so cool. I would love to meet him and Anthony Bourdain someday.)

The Mud Run was 80s themed, so obviously it was totally rad seeing all the neon-inspired costumes. I did enjoy the run, and I loved crawling all lizard-like through the mud. I was hoping for more of that. There was a decent amount of swimming and I enjoyed that part, too.

So, it wasn’t all a kick in the butt…just most of it.

Pre-race, obviously

Pre-race, obviously


Look on the Bright Side

Everyone copes with life in some way or another. Some embrace the grisly details with spine-tingling excitement like Harry. Others, like Sally, blithely turn their heads to see a more chipper scenario. I’m a lot like Sally. I call myself an optimist.

My idealist switch flipped on sometime when I was a child and I’m really unsure how to turn it off. This Walter Mittyish tendency of mine often leaves me stuck at the corner of Surprised and Disenchanted. When it comes to My List, I frequently imagine grander-than-life adventures complete with Instagram filters and super cool slow motion effects. (My favorite is Brooklyn, but that’s an entirely different post.) Maybe it’s because I’m a Generation Y Yuppy, but regardless of the cause of my perky imagination, I’m grateful for it. The List, and ensuing fantasies, keep me moving, expecting, discovering, and propelling me into new excursions. It opens my mind, my palate, and my heart, and however picture-perfect—albeit imaginary—my expectations can be, I feel like a better person for it.

For laughs, because, after all, laughing is good for you, I’ve compiled a group of some events I dreamed would go one way, but actually turned out less wondrous. Enjoy.

I imagined kayaking like this:


But in Florida, sans rapids, it looks more like this:


In my head, meeting the President would be like this:


But sometimes you have to settle in life.


Paddleboarding? You probably already read my post about it, but in my perfect world:




Do you have any experiences that you imagined to be spectacular, but they fell a little short of that dream? Were you able to enjoy it anyway?

The Primal Blueprint 21-Day Challenge

First of all, thank you for supporting my sister’s Strong Body Whole Heart campaign. Kelly and Maggie met their goal of $2000 last night! Yay! They are super excited to start recording their podcast and I’m dying to listen. I’ll post the link here as soon as it’s available.

The next thing I’d like to mention is The Primal Blueprint 21-Day Challenge. I made a post last year about how switching to this way of eating and living has changed my life. Now is your chance to try it out! Take the challenge; I’m certain you will never look back. 🙂

The Primal Blueprint 21-Day Challenge
Learn more at Mark’s Daily Apple.

Strong Body Whole Heart


My exceptional, beautiful, AMAZING sister is starting a podcast with her good friend, Maggie. They are doing an Indiegogo campaign to raise money for all the startup costs: things like a microphone, sound equipment, and sound editing software. There are just four days left, and if they don’t reach their goal of $2000, they don’t get anything and have to start back at 0. I wanted to put this out there for all you active folks who would probably enjoy listening to the podcast once it’s up and running.

Take a look at their video that explains what Kelly and Maggie are about, and how you can get involved!

Strong Body Whole Heart campaign video


I Paddleboard! I’m A Paddleboarder!

If you’ve never seen the movie What About Bob? you are seriously missing out. It was my favorite movie growing up. While my peers were sitting around watching Disney movies, I was watching Richard Dreyfuss beat up Bill Murray at Lake Winnipesaukee. It doesn’t get much better than that. In fact, I just watched it a few weeks ago, around the time I crossed paddleboarding off my list. Here is a short clip of when Bob goes sailing for the first time.


So, as you can imagine, my paddleboarding experience was pretty much identical.


There I am!


Oops. I mean,…this.

I'm on the left.

I’m on the left. I know you’re jealous of my awesome shorts tan lines.

I’ll be really, really honest. It was just ok. I wanted to love it, but there were a few things I would change. I will call these my Rules for Paddleboarding.

First of all, it was too easy! I was hoping paddleboarding would be something I couldn’t talk and do at the same time, let alone smile for a camera! The boards we had were, as you can see from the photo, basically kayaks. There were grooves for our feet. I guess this is great for beginners and all, but…is it weird that I sort of wanted to fall in?

Rule #1: Just say “No” to wimpy, kayak-y paddleboards and be a big girl. Use one that’s like a surfboard.

Second, we paddleboarded in a marina, which, you know, has a lot of boats. The water was dark. Did I mention there were lots of old fishing boats? There was visible oil in the water, which was a little depressing. There were a few birds, but little wildlife to look at. There were a few pretty houses, but I was left wanting a lot more. It was in Tarpon Springs, so walking around afterward was super cool and well…Greek food. I mean, you don’t need much more explanation beyond that. But still. I wanted pretty fish, birds, waves, and clear-down-to-the-bottom water you expect in Florida.

Rule #2: Paddleboard in the actual ocean. Stay away from boats and oil.

Last, I really wanted to get in the water. On a hot day, nothing feels quite so nice as splashing around in some water. This goes along with Rule #2; paddleboarding in water you actually want to jump into is key. I wanted to take my time and sit down for a bit to rest my feet. I wanted to kick a little in the water and splash my friends. I wanted to bring a snorkel and dive down when I saw something cool.

Rule #3: Jump in.


Rule #4: If someone is checking out your butt, make the most of it.

Duck, Duck,…Foie Gras!

By the beard of Zeus! It has been a while since I’ve posted. Well, when in Rome…or Ireland…

Actually, this summer has been so entirely wonderful and stressful that blogging has taken the backseat while my awesome life called shotgun.  Here’s a quick summary: I traveled to Milwaukee, Chicago, and Ireland; this cool guy Tony spent the past eight weeks here with me (which included adventures every weekend); I’m applying to grad school so I studied for the GRE every waking moment; and well,…hey. I can see you shaking your head. I realize that condensed version doesn’t seem like much. Ok, fine. I’m behind. Here goes. Let’s review THE LIST. My exciting life list! Yay!

  • white water rafting
  • zip lining
  • paddle boarding
  • be a model for a day
  • take a bubble bath in a clawfoot tub
  • eat caviar
  • eat foie gras
  • write a book
  • write my initials in wet cement
  • ride a gondola in Italy
  • ride in a hot air balloon
  • stand underneath a waterfall
  • slow dance with someone I love

As you see, the “eat foie gras” line item has been crossed through. Sort of like my movie conquest earlier this year, each thing on MY LIST isn’t something I expect to enjoy. It’s just on there for the experience. It’s just there to know I’ve done it. But nine times out of 10 I end up loving it. So, I will describe what eating foie gras was like. By the way, it’s pronounced like this: fwah grah. It makes me feel fancy to just say it.

Imagine butter for a second. If I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter popped into your head, please, just stop. No. Country Crock doesn’t count either. C’mon, get real. BUTTER. Real-preferably pastured-butter is pretty much the most amazing food aside from bacon. If you say you don’t like butter, just stop trying to fake it because everyone knows you’re lying. It is impossible to not like butter.

Butter, softened, has the texture of pure magic. It is smooth, but not loose, and glides onto your tongue like the best kiss of your life. It can be romantic if you let it.

Ok, now that you’re considering going to the fridge and taking a little lick of your butter (butter-haters, I know you have some in there), let’s get back to foie gras. So, there you go; foie gras is just soft, spreadable chicken-flavored butter magic.

If it weren’t for the lucky bastards like Anthony Bourdain, Andrew Zimmern, and whoever else travels around the world like a total badass, eating all sorts of magical, buttery things, I probably wouldn’t have even thought about foie gras. I’m pretty sure there was an episode once where Anthony ate a hot dog topped with foie gras and his eyes rolled back like he was going to die right there-and die happy.

In all truth, I have a serious crush on Anthony Bourdain, so not to outdo him or anything, but my first time eating foie gras was in a castle in Ireland. That’s right, I stayed in a castle and ate fancy foods like a total traveling badass. Here’s a picture.


There it is, on the top left of the plate. Remember what I said about butter? Now, see the bread? Yep. That happened.

Foie gras. Check.



My sister, Kelly, has started an inspiring challenge to keep herself motivated and cheer on others as well.  In support, I’ve decided to come up with a few challenges of my own for #project30days.  If you’d like to read her original post, it’s here.

In April, I will strive to

  • call or text my mom every day
  • wake up at 6:30 a.m. each weekday
  • go an entire day without using the word, “like” and
  • give up Facebook (for 30 days).

The reasons behind these are pretty simple.  First, my mom wants me to talk to her more.  I often get busy and forget there are other people outside of my usual circle in town (coworkers and friends), who want to hear about my day and how I’m doing.  And sometimes, even if it feels like a bother, you should do things to make the people you love happy.

Second, I need to get to work earlier, because I get more done if I do.  Also, it means I can leave earlier and there are usually lots of other things to do after work, such as exercising, socializing, eating, etc.

Third, I would say most people of my generation find themselves overusing “like.”  I’m not sure how this came about, but this word creeps into my everyday vocabulary, and I cringe every time I use it, but sometimes I feel as though I can’t control it.  I really think my biggest problem is speaking too quickly, and trying to fill up every breath with something audible.  If I just slowed down a little, and became used to a little dead air, I think more useful and colorful words would fill up my conversations.

Last, I’m not going check Facebook for the entire month of April.  I can’t really explain why I log on so often, but sometimes I feel so overwhelmed by it.  It’s similar to using “like.”  I really don’t enjoy it all that much, but I don’t know how to get rid of it, other than stopping cold turkey.  I also feel I would enjoy more the people I’m with and the things I do if I wasn’t so preoccupied with posting something about it on Facebook.  Maybe, just maybe, I would have more engaging conversations if I didn’t take the time to “check in” everywhere I go (and then check to see who liked what and what comments people made).  And perhaps I would have more genuine smiles and laughs if I wasn’t so concerned about how the pictures will look when I’m tagged in them.  I know this all sounds silly, but it’s actually pretty serious, and I don’t think I’m the only one who deals with issues like this.

If you want to join in on #project30days, don’t hesitate to use the banner and post your comments, blog posts, etc. on Twitter and Instagram with #project30days.  Tweet-it/Instagram-it to @trimommykelly and @emmylou522 too!


Pop Culture Awareness: Pulp Fiction


I’m glad I went into this movie with an open mind, instead of expecting to “enjoy” it or something along those lines. While I can’t say I actually “enjoyed” it, I did sort of like it. The content of the story was tough. It’s not the typical storyline that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy, and if you saw my current DVD collection (When Harry Met SallyShrekAnchormanThe Notebook, etc.) you would know I usually go for that sort of thing: funny and sweet. Despite the rough and tough shell of a powerful drug mogul and his flunkies, the movie reveals a delightful center of straight-up funny dialogue and incredibly normal characters.

One thing I did enjoy about the movie is that it’s different and breaks the mold of linear storytelling; it gives us a snapshot of a point in time and then tells a story in a circle so you end up completing the puzzle at the end. It goes against everything I was taught in my scriptwriting class in college. It doesn’t have a clear beginning, middle, and end. It doesn’t have a pinch. The characters don’t really grow or develop within themselves. But somehow, it works.

Another pro to the movie is the positive female/male relationships. There is a great deal of love among the pairs. I especially loved the French girl and Butch. They were sweet together, with just enough dysfunction (ok, a lot of dysfunction) to be realistic. Jules and Vincent’s relationship is another great aspect to the movie. I loved their conversations about miracles, Quarter Pounders, and filthy animals. That type of conversation is the kind you could catch me in with any of my friends.

I knew I had grasped the point of the movie when I laughed out loud as Vincent exclaimed, “Aww man! I just shot Marvin in the face!” I had made it past the harsh, gross aspects to comprehend what was under the surface.

So, there you go. Now I’ll get the joke whenever someone mentions how tasty that Kahuna burger is, and I’ll laugh if someone says, “Stay out of trouble, you crazy kids.”

Pulp Fiction: check.  Next up: Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Pop Culture Awareness: The Rolling Stones, etc.

Since starting my journey to acquaint myself with my own pop culture, I started with some music. Thanks to Pandora and a job where listening to music all day is an option, I tuned in to my coworker’s The Black Keys station and received a crash course into classic rock. I’ll give you my first impression on some bands that stand out as pretty exceptional.

rolling stones tickets

The Rolling Stones

The Rolling Stones’ foot-tapping playfulness is thinly-veiled by a few hard times and just enough eccentricity to make it interesting. This music feels true to life: there is a roughness to it that makes me feel accepted, but also cheerful melodies and good tempos to make me believe everything will be ok. The Rolling Stones are the friends I’d like to take with me to the beach on a sunny day, playing hooky, in a top-down convertible with the wind blowing through my hair.

Led Zeppelin

Listening to Led Zeppelin gives me a healthy dose of anger, determination, and soulful creativity. It’s mostly cool and collected, but you can feel the angst under the surface.

Jimi Hendrix

I listen to this guy and can’t help thinking, “Damn Jimi, you were stoned when you performed this, but damn, Jimi, you’re awesome.” Seriously. His quirky lyrics and singing guitar make me imagine riding a unicorn in Pleasuretown. And it makes me want to eat pizza.

Any other suggestions?

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