Remember?


Remember when I used to blog? Yeah, I barely remember either….

I’m watching Julie & Julia, the movie that started this whole blog off in the first place. I figured if Julie Powell could utilize her writing and cooking skills through a blog, that maybe I could try my hand at it too. At first, I wrote a lot about how much I loved Julia Child — her spirit, her television persona, her life. Then, I wrote complete and utter silly nonsense. All the time. I’d write a post almost every day, about the books I’d read, the things I noticed about people.I wrote sarcastic posts about boys who had rejected me. I wrote about my declining mental health. I wrote about writing. About college. The Bachelor. Rabbits. Dancing. Barney…

So when I started writing almost 7 years ago on this very site, I didn’t really expect my life to go this way. I thought I’d be a writer by now. Then I thought maybe I’d be a psychologist. Now I’m in cosmetology school, which I wouldn’t have predicted but definitely won’t complain about. Clearly this path hasn’t exactly been linear. I just…thought I’d have it all figured out by now. I’m 23, after all, and when I was 17, I trusted my future self to take care of everything.

This blog was my everything. I had a solid following, an actual subscriber base that cared about my wellbeing and loved my humor. It used to be called Writer’s Block. “You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll run kicking and screaming,” the caption at the top warned. A picture of typewriter keys occupied the banner. The web address? bymyink.wordpress.com. Now? Cappy Writes. A web address that matches the blog’s name. A picture of a packet of letters I bought at an antique shop. No tagline. A lot of sadness. Anger.

I’m not lamenting what used to be, really, so much as finally remembering. Realizing.

Obviously, I haven’t put the time and effort into blogging that I used to. At its peak, blogging was a tool to help me learn about and expand the world that I occupied. It was a way to gain support, to express myself, to hone a craft. It was pure. It meant everything to me. It was how I showed the world who I was, at a time when I thought I knew.

But the past few years haven’t been easy on me. My “mood disorder not otherwise specified” developed into generalized anxiety, a panic disorder, and depression. I was suicidal for a while when I was 18. I went through a surprisingly complicated breakup. I found Hinduism. It helped. New obstacles popped up. I got through them. I went to India. I got E. coli. I came out as bisexual. I graduated college, moved to a new city. I started cosmetology school. And through that all, the anxiety ebbed and flowed, but stayed mostly beneath the surface.

So now? I don’t know. I’m not okay, honestly. Something new is happening inside me, and I can’t understand it. I dealt with some serious depression over the summer, which is unusual for me, as it tends to stay contained within the “fall and winter seasonal affective” bubble. The panic disorder seems to have stayed away, which is one of the only things I find myself grateful for these days. The world doesn’t seem real lately, and neither do I. I’m going through the standard identity crisis that most people in their early 20s seem to experience, sure. But on top of that, some weird depersonalization/dissociation issues are cropping up. Therapy is happening. It’s rough, trying to stay afloat, stay alive, when you’re not even sure what’s going on anymore. I know all of that is vague, and I wish it could make more sense to me too. Just know that I’m dealing with it. I always do. I just don’t always know what to do anymore.

What does this all mean? In terms of this post, this blog, me, my life? I don’t know. All I know is, I got 15 minutes into watching Julie & Julia and I just got this itch to write. I’ve been cooking a lot lately, too. I’ve noticed that the worse I feel mentally, the more I cling to activities and people that used to make me feel calm and human and happy. This blog, more than anything, steadied my life when everything felt like it was going up in flames. So maybe it’s time to jump back in, ya know? To see a little humor in all the bullshit around me. To tell the world what I’m thinking, how I’m feeling. To share my story again with anyone willing to listen (and some who are very unwilling but are forced to because I’m a witch and I’ve hexed them).

So I’ll try, if you’ll help me. Your job is very simple: to show up and to read. I don’t even know how many of you are still out there, how many are new to my blog today, how many of you aren’t spam robots trolling through wordpress………

But yeah. I’ll try. No guarantees I’ll be funny, because half the time I just want to cry. But I’ll be here, writing into the abyss, for as long as you’ll have me.

 

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Healthy Living, or I Sexy-Danced for My Cat


I hate New Years Resolutions because I think that every day, not just January 1, presents an opportunity for change, but I think I’ve accidentally made one…

I’m going to lose weight. How much is my own business, and I share enough of my life on here as it is, but it’s really important to me that I lose it. I want to be healthy, feel better, get active, eat well. And…judging by how much pizza I ate last semester alone, this change is a little overdue. But better late than never, I guess! Plus…as much as I’m always yelling “love your body no matter what!” I want to feel sexy again, and it’s hard to do that when most of your clothes don’t fit. I suppose I could go all Lady Godiva on everyone, but I don’t particularly feel like getting arrested.

I’ve been back in my apartment for the last two days, and since then have been cooking for every meal, juicing, and exercising. Plus, I’ve had so much water that half of my life seems to be spent in the bathroom. Again, I share too much of my life on this blog. But I feel really good! A little more energetic and excited for the future. Y’all know how much I love to cook — the more complicated the recipe, the better — so this is fun for me.

The weather was gorgeous yesterday, so I went on a run around my neighborhood, past my old apartment. I bumped into an old friend — the little tiny kitty cat that lived upstairs — and she ran up to me for a cuddle. If every run involves snuggling tiny cats, I’ll lose this weight in no time.

But the weather changed today. It’s been so cold in my apartment that I checked at least 5 times to make sure the heater was actually working. There’s fog outside my window — so much that I can’t see outside. And so, with no other option but to stay inside and die slowly, I decided to work out and generate some body heat…and my sister had just given me a Zumba DVD.

Zumba is ridiculous. I probably burned more calories laughing at the instructors and myself than I burned from the actual workout. I kept yelling, “I CAN’T SALSA WHAT IS HAPPENING” while my cat stood under my feet and only just escaped being trampled at least three times. He retreated to his cat castle while I did this weird dance move that involved more shimmying than was really appropriate and I’m pretty sure I learned to booty-pop.

So I guess today’s lesson is…if you want to lose weight and you need to keep warm, you can always sexily dance for your cat.

xo

Props to Edward the Groceryman


I got groceries today. This is not a particularly novel activity, as I have seen groceries before. Heck, I’ve even purchased them for my mother. But today, I took a bus to get them. This is also not very exciting. I’ve looked at busses, stood in the rain and been splashed by busses, and even ridden a few in my time. So today, I hopped on that bus, ID card in hand, and smiled at the incredibly grumpy bus driver before sitting down and getting bus-sick. Note to self: don’t sit in the sideways seats anymore. You knew this. This has happened before, Cappy. Don’t be stupid. Also, I got off at a stop by McDonald’s and the automated bus voice (I’m pretty sure her name is Nadine) pronounced it MAC-Donald’s, so I’ve concluded that busses are super sassy and I love them.

Anyway, today I rode that bus to dreamville (the weird, sort of creepy local grocery store with huge confetti-like shapes on the building…the 80s called, but they definitely don’t want your decor back) and it was magical. It’s not actually called dreamville, by the way.

Aisle after cramped aisle of overpriced pre-sliced lunch meat. So many products on sale (previously incredibly expensive but now semi-reasonably priced) for purchase by poor college students who prefer to shop local instead of going to Walmart. So many croutons. So many donuts, which I narrowly avoided by focusing on carrots instead. Such expensive bell peppers (seriously, why are they always so expensive?). Milk…milk for 4 dollars. Little tiny 4 dollar milk. I bought holiday-themed tupperware because it was on sale and I have nothing to put leftovers in. I didn’t know anyone wanted holiday themed tupperware.

I had coupons, yo, and I saved 5 cents for bringing my own reusable bags, holla! Bought most of the stuff on sale, except for prunes. Those are expensive forever. But they’re really good on baked chicken (who would’ve thought? Me, that’s who).

Anyway, props to Edward the Groceryman for fitting all my groceries into 2 bags! I’d bumped into him earlier in the freezer section (It’s dangerous for you to be here in the frozen food section…cuz you could melt all this stuff) and he joked that we could dance. It was a wide aisle, and I almost took him up on it, but he was a little elderly and might’ve strained his back. I’m a pretty wild dancer. Dance with me at your own risk, y’all. So then we reconnected in the checkout line, where I checked him out (no, I didn’t) and he was very helpful and very nice. Thumbs up, Edward.

Step two of adulthood complete! (I don’t know what step one was. Maybe not burning all my food?)

Start this at 0:42

Porches Are For Brownie


I’m all for smiling
but that woman is baring her teeth at me.
Why, Giada? Why? They…sparkle…
And Ina, I know that France
with its shops and street corners, berets and baguettes
is enchanting
but why must you tease me like that?
Hey, you. Sandra Lee
What’s in a name? You might as well be called
Sandra Dee, with your spiffy cooking ideas and
adorable cocktails.
Why does your outfit match your kitchen?
And who told you to put moss on that table?
As a “centerpiece”– more like
centipedes are gonna crawl outta that moss.
Paula! I love you, boo!
Needs more butter.
Rachael Ray, with your EVOO, you do realize that
fine dining establishments have
adopted that
on
their
menus
right?
Bobby Flay, I don’t wanna barbecue with you.
And Masaharu Morimoto, you iron chef you,
that’s some scary seafood, bro.
But I watch you all
and love you all
if only to pass beautiful afternoons
on the porch
playing cards with my grandmother
with sizzling steaks and — “I wish you could smell this”
existing quietly in the background.
Porches are for Brownie, my grandmother.
Porches and The Food Network.

 

So concludes part three of my childhood poetry series. Cheers, and all my love to my grandma, Brownie, whose delightful ring of “Cappy, darling!” brightens my day every time I call. xoxox.

My Life is Nothing Without Strawberries


Eat ALL the fruit!

Eat ALL the fruit!

I love strawberries. So. Much. I also like anything strawberry flavored, so keep that in mind around holidays and my birthday. 

So lately, as you know, I’ve been super into getting healthy, so I’ve been eating way more fruits and veggies. For breakfast, I’ve been eating toast with sunflower seed butter (it is from the gods, I swear – lighter than peanut butter, so much better) and sliced strawberries on top. Weird sounding, I know, but absolutely delicious and full of protein and awesome. Don’t go too crazy with the sunflower butter, cuz it’s pretty fatty, but it’s the same as peanut butter so I figure I might as well go for it.

Also, Morning Star Black Bean Chipotle burgers. AHHHHHHHH. They’re totally veggie, but I’m not vegetarian and even I like them better than a real burger. They’re a bit spicy and really surprisingly juicy.

Anyway, eat these things. Your life will improve, I swear.

Forget It, Cappy. It’s Just Chi-Town.


Chloe and me at the Bean. Yay Chicago skyline!

Chloe and me at the Bean. Yay Chicago skyline!

“Do you wanna stop viiiiiiiolence?” sang a man with long black hair on the street corner, waving a pamphlet in my face and doing a little leap/jig. That’s Chicago, now characterized in my mind by amazing food and crazy people. And train travel.

I took the train across the country and visited my family north of the city before heading to Lincoln Park to visit my girlfriend (okay, best friend, but we might as well get married) Chloe, where I embarked on a culinary tour of The Windy City. Bagels. Noodles. Waffles. Repeat. (Lather and rinse if you’d like.) I don’t think I’ve eaten so well in my life.

Day 1: Got on a train from Arlington Park to Chicago, where the conductor (whose name was surely Marshal, though I have no proof of that) grumped at me about my suitcase, then whistled while he walked away. Who yells at someone to move their suitcase while it’s being moved, then cheerily whistles three seconds later? Were you a prison warden in a past life?

Arrived and was picked up by my ladylove, and we walked to the elevated train (kind of like the light rail, if you live in Seattle…we don’t have those where I come from). We jumped on and the train started moving before I was prepared, so I flew about a foot sideways and was thrown into a glass partition, yelling, “Blahhhhh!!” and then saying (awkwardly and loudly), “Welcome to Chicago!” because I’m a doofus. When we finally found a seat, I got mean mugged by a homeless woman for the entire ride. She wouldn’t even break her stare when I made eye contact with her, so I just sat (mostly) quietly for the rest of the ride while she murdered me in her mind.

Sat in the library while Chloe went to class and witnessed the most lovely foreign couple be in love and wished I went to DePaul, because library.
I can’t even remember what we did for the rest of the day, so that’s good.

Day 2: Woke at the crack of dawn (11) after Chloe got back from class and we took a train to some loop (the West Loop? Who knows. So many loops.) to eat at Little Goat Diner. We got on the wrong train, so we had to get off and walk through Sedgewick, which is super cute building-wise but super sketchy people-wise. Some scary man looked us up and down and said, “Mmm, I like that” or something. A guy sneezed on my face as he walked by. I’m not kidding. I honestly don’t how it happened because I have PTSD.

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Napkin holder at The Little Goat!

Finally got to the restaurant. First, it’s absolutely adorable and I love it and want it to be my personal restaurant. Second, GARLIC BREAD AND TOMATO SOUP. Third, Cinnamon roll, be my husband. That is all.
We moseyed back to her apartment before heading out once more to an amazing Italian restaurant that started with a Q (I’m so good at remembering this trip…I’ll bet it impresses you) where I tried veal for the first time (delicious) and fell in love with our waiter, who looked like Tony Parker.
Went home and watched an episode of Dance Moms because we’re awesome and Abby Lee Miller is scary.

Day 3: Ate at Jam & Honey. They have a jar of nutella on the table “just in case.” Needless to say, they are my kind of people. We ate waffles and bananas and yum. A little girl was eating with her mom next to us and she told me she was getting pancakes, and since I don’t know how to talk to children, I said, “Wow, you’re going crazy!” because that makes sense. I wanted to die a little, but she was preoccupied with her doll and children are weird anyway, so they don’t care when adults are. …I’m an adult.

Went to the Mac store because duh I love makeup and it was the professional store, so makeup artists go there to get their supplies. They have every pigment ever, so you can mix specific colors and…I died a little bit, I’m not going to lie. I could live in that store.
Then we went to Lush, which doesn’t exist where I live, and I bought soap that’s called Sexy Peel, because puns are the best. I also basically got high off one of their colognes because it smelled like man. Chloe and I were almost embarrassed, because we just wanted to get boyfriends and spray it on them. It smelled like a woodpile and man. Man man man. Also, it was called Breath of God, so that’s kind of amazing.

Ate noodles in curry sauce at Flat Top. Died inside because I was so happy.
It was raining, but all I’ve ever wanted to do was go to The Bean, so we trudged our way across the city (when I say trudged I mean walked and took a train, and when I say across the city I mean several blocks) to that cute little reflecting piece of awesome, and we took lots of pictures. We asked a couple sorority girls to take our picture with the city in the background, because I feel a strange connection to anyone wearing Greek letters. They cut The Bean out of one of the pictures…connection lost.
A homeless man asked us for change and when we kept walking, said, “You look wonderful today,” to me. I honestly couldn’t help but say, “Thank you” and laugh as I walked away. He chuckled heartily in the background. Very heartily. (Somehow that sounded foreboding…it wasn’t supposed to.)
Ate bagels for dinner because Barack Obama likes that bagel shop and it’s a few blocks from Chloe’s apartment. Besides, bagels are always acceptable, and they steam them there! Whaaaat?

I was so glazed and so infused.

I was so glazed and so infused.

Day 4: Woke up, put on my new makeup (yes yes yes yes) and went to Argo Tea, where I drank the most delightful black tea with honey and lemon, before heading to Glazed and Infused Donuts. Three words: Crème brulee donut. Once again, I died of food-induced happiness.
Then, as if donuts for breakfast didn’t make us want to have heart attacks, we got deep dish pizza. It’s Chicago, y’all, and apparently that means you have to eat pizza that immediately puts you in a coma.
I got on a plane today and headed home. I miss Chloe, and I miss Chicago (which is surprising because I don’t particularly like cities…but Chicago is delightful if you ignore the dirt).

A few random quotes/situations:

Chloe: You can be my wife but I don’t know if I can share you with all the black, homeless Chicago men that find you attractive.
Me: You noticed that? It happens to me in Seattle, too.
Chloe: They were responding to whatever you were putting out. At least you’ve found your niche market in the romance department.
(I don’t wanna brag, but I do have a way with the homeless fellas. Meow.)

Me every 5 minutes: Something gross just hit me in the face.

Chloe: Oh, there’s the skyline!
Me: Cuuute! …Wait, did I just say that?

A couple Bob Marley lookalikes in Sedgewick: Man, we can rent scooters and ride the shit around that place. (Because that sentence makes sense in English).

A very-nearly toothless, scrawny white man walked onto our train, but another guy was trying to get off and they shuffled around for a second trying to get around each other before Toothless in Chicago mumbled loudly “Fuck you, outta my fuckin’ way,” then sat down across from and staring at us the rest of our ride. He answered his cell phone at one point and just yelled, “mumble mumble fucking mumble” before hanging up and getting out a packet of cigarettes. He kept slapping it against his hand and I was just praying he wouldn’t light up (if he had, I may have been forced to murder him because I was tired and I don’t like cancer)…and then we got off. More like fled, really.

Everyone was dressed in green and at least slightly drunk by about 11:30 a.m. because they all think they’re Irish and the St. Patrick’s Day Parade was today. Fun times ensued, but I am neither 21 nor still in Chicago.

Chloe sang a Mariah Carey song to me in a cupcake shop last night, so that memory will just have to stay in my mind until the next time I see her. I’ll miss you, boo!

Cheers, muffins, and Happy (almost) Saint Patrick’s Day to one and all! Apparently we’re all Irish at heart, or maybe everyone just likes to drink.

My Thought Process in Trader Joe’s


I love food, as some of you may have already noticed. So, as may be obvious, I really enjoy grocery shopping. I especially like shopping at Trader Joe’s, a “specialty retail grocery store” in a few states across the country. I went shopping there a few days ago for a couple random things, and I thought I’d share my (bizarre) TJ’s thought process with you here:

Oh, those are pretty flowers. I wish I could buy some, but I would definitely forget to water them, and that would sort of be like murdering them…oh my goodness that guy went to my high school, run away! Run away! PHEW. Close call.

Isn’t Barb cute?!

Alright. Apples, apples. I like Pink Ladies, because they remind me of the girls in the movie Grease. Ho hum, maybe I’ll pick up some Puffins cereal, oh look! Barb the Puffin is on the side of the box. What a cute puffin.

I should probably avoid the freezer aisle, because that’s where they keep the cookies too, but…oh no, my cart is spinning out of control! Must…resist…frozen…section…can’t…Here I am in the freezer section…

Their microwave chicken tikka masala is so good, I’ll get three boxes. And a lamb vindaloo. Mostly because I really enjoy the word vindaloo. And one more chicken masala for good measure…great. Moving along…HEY LADY GET OUT OF MY WAY.

Resist the cookies. Resist the cookies. Ahh, cookies resisted. Maybe to counter the fact that I was so drawn to the cookies, I should buy some tomato bisque. That’s healthy, right? Good. Aaaand continue.

Oh no. There are baked goods here. I have wandered into the cake section. They have whoopie pies. Oh. God. Carrot cake?! CINNAMON BREAD?!? RUN, CAPPY! RUN!

Was it weird that I just ran out of that section? A few people looked at me strangely. Hmm pineapple juice would be nice. No! You’re on a budget! Just walk to the checkout counter. Closer. Closer. Good.

Oh no, they have chocolate bars here…

And so concludes my stream-of-consciousness blog about my struggles with sweets in grocery stores. 

Then Michael Kors Asked Me for a Cupcake


My sister and I were wandering around the city the other night when we spotted a woman staggering about in the mall. My sister, nursing student and good Samaritan that she is, went over to ask if the woman needed help, since she seemed completely normal other than the fact that she was having a hard time walking. After yelling at my sister to not touch her, she walked away and toward a store, where she leaned against the window. We stood there and watched, like typical dodos, and after a couple seconds someone came out of the store and started talking to the woman. And that was when I heard eleven words I never thought I’d hear:

“Hi, I’m Michael Kors, I’m the designer here. Are you okay?”

I laughed at first, because hello Mikey, I don’t think she cares who you are or what you do since she’s about to fall over. But then I kinda peed myself because…it was Michael Kors. Ten feet away from me. Talking to a woman who may or may not have had drugs in her system. Outside his store. Close to me. Breathing my air. Talking to a woman I had seen. Etc.

My sister and I walked away once we knew the woman would be okay, but once we were out of earshot I kind of tweaked out. “That was Michael Kors!! OH MY GOD.” Apparently my sister hadn’t heard him say his name, so she didn’t realize it was him, but I was pretty sure I recognized his face from the days when I was obsessed with Project Runway, so I Googled him on my phone (because I’m obviously not fashionable enough to recognize designers by their faces, but definitely fashionable enough to wear chinchila. Or wait, no, I meant clothes).

And then she said these fateful words: “Should we go back? I can tell him I can’t afford his stuff, but I do like his line Michael by Michael Kors.” And then I snorted, like the amazing fashionista I am not. Because hello, anyone who is anyone and knows anything knows that she was mistaking him for Marc Jacobs, as in Marc by Marc Jacobs. I am so much better than you. Listen to me, for I am amazing. (Edit: I later found out that there is a Michael by Michael Kors, further solidifying that I am not a fashionista and am just a giant blockhead.)

Needless to say, we went back. Back to his store, holding a box of cupcakes we’d just bought. Marched right in there, risking the safety of countless leather purses and shoes, because frosting can cause nasty spotting in leather…I think. Past watches more expensive than my kidneys, pretending to browse while all the while internally screeching “MICHAEL KORS!!”
He spotted our cupcakes and said, “Those are for me, right?” So basically, Michael Kors initiated a conversation with me. Or my sister. Or our box of cupcakes. Either way, I’m never washing this hand again…um…

Basically, all this tripe and writing and storytelling and ridiculousness and…anyway, its all led up to this: my sister and I had a ten minute (count ’em, ten) long conversation with Michael Kors in which he ogled our cupcakes (and I do mean cupcakes, you freaks), told us he’d had them before, and I insulted his weight. It was an accident. I swear. I don’t want to talk about it. But it did result in him saying, “Bless your heart” after I apologized profusely.

Also, he’s shorter than I imagined. And nicer.

So…real quick, can I have a total freak out? Okay. I MET MICHAEL KORS AND NOW THE DEGREE OF SEPARATION BETWEEN ME, HEIDI KLUM, NINA GARCIA, TIM GUNN, AND A WHOLE BUNCH OF SUPER SKINNY MODELS IS ONE. ONE DEGREE. ONE DEGREE OF SEPARATION.

Sorry about that. I guess the fame is getting to me. But don’t worry…someday…you’ll all be as famous as I am. It’s okay. Don’t feel bad about yourselves.

Moral of the story: help staggering women in the mall and you will automatically meet someone famous. God bless you, staggering woman. I don’t want y’all to think I forgot about her or her troubles, so I should mention that I saw her the next day at that very same mall and she was staggering less. So that’s good, right? Right.

And that is the story of Michael and the Cupcakes. Sweet dreams, children.

Fortune Cookies Suck


This is an example of a useless cookie.

Stop being a vague cookie!

I don’t think Fortune Cookies are living up to society’s expectations of them. They are like the black sheep of the family, though which family that is I’m not quite sure. Basically, society (the parents) expected great things of fortune cookies but they just let us down. They didn’t go to college, they got pregnant at 17, and now they’re doing crack in an alleyway behind an Albertson’s just waiting to die.

Well, I say: DIE. Die, you useless piece of cookie.

I hate when they say stuff like “you have a great sense of humor.” Yes, yes, I know. Thanks. That wasn’t even an ego boost. Or “you will take a great trip.” Well, my next vacation isn’t for another EIGHT YEARS, so…basically you’re slacking off on your duties. Stop doing crack and tell me my fortune.

I want very specific fortunes. “You should totally stay with your boyfriend through college. It’s a wonderful idea, and my goodness your outfit looks wonderful today.”
Or “Today, you’ll want to flip someone off because they’re tailgating you. By all means, go for it; they will not have a gun.”
Or even “You might want to carry some pepper spray on your jog today, cuz someone’s gonna try to rape you.”

Those fortunes are helpful because they contain vital information for our everyday lives. Telling me I’m gonna go on a trip is not going to be helpful, because I either a) already know that or b) am not going on a trip.

How about specifics? Specifics! Names, dates, compliments on my hair, etc would be very much appreciated. And the stuff about my hair would totally be true, so… Even “Oy, miss, you have food in your teeth” would be appreciated.

But it’s hopeless. People have even made up games to make fortune cookies better. Adding “in bed” to the end of each fortune has become popular with the teenagers of the world (and my 25-year-old co-worker Scott). But even then, “you will have a wonderful trip in bed” isn’t a great fortune since it sounds a little violent, and “you have a great sense of humor in bed” is pretty insulting, to be honest.

I just wanted to write this post so you’d all know how disappointed I am in our child, the fortune cookie. Somebody get her some rehab. She’s all cracked out.

Pregnancy Cravings


I’ve been eating like a pregnant woman (I swear I’m not joking – I’ve got the food baby to prove it), and my friends are totally fuelling my bad habit.

Here’s the deal: We’re the Cheetah Girls, and nothing, not even a food baby, can stand in the way of our happiness. Katie, Shannon, Maddie and I will eat our way to joy…and I’ll eat the leftovers. I feel like most outings (and nights in) with these girls end with me laying on the floor groaning because I’ve eaten so much. I’m beginning to be okay with that.

I guess what this all comes down to (in a terribly round-about and not entirely sensical way) is that it’s really great to be able to be yourself. Some people can do it no matter who they’re with, while others have to find that niche group. So really, happiness and friendship + self-love = being able to watch the movie Prom in a theatre with three other strangers, snort loudly, make terrible jokes, and just not care.

I’ve learned a lot this year. I’ve learned (and promptly forgotten) how convex lenses work, what happened during the 100 Years War, and what metonymy is. But I think the most important thing that I learned is that friendship and love are essential to happiness. But you have to be your own friend first.

I know, I know. It’s so corny. “Cappy, you need to shut up and start listing something semi-funny about how to not pee your pants at the zoo,” you shout (though why you’re shouting at your computer I don’t know). I know! I tell myself that every day. But I recently had a birthday and grew up a little, and I feel like y’all should get some of my grown-up wisdom. Be your friend. Because if you wouldn’t take the time to be friends with you, why the hell should you expect anyone else to? You should love yourself and your food baby the way I do. Because I’ve named my food baby Charlie. Can’t give much more love than that.

But really, I think the most important lesson here is this: don’t eat Doritos, barbecue chips, Girl Scout Cookies, lemonade, and candy and expect to feel normal afterward…