I think that the older we get the harder the holidays get. Or the more meaningful they become, in turn making them harder, especially when it comes to gifts. For me, it’s twice as difficult because my birthday is exactly a week before Christmas. So I have people asking me “what do you want for your birthday? What do you want for Christmas?” And year after year it gets harder and harder for me to answer that question. Because what I really want is not something you can buy in a store and wrap in a bow.
My birthday falls in this really awkward time period. Back in grade school, while most students got to celebrate their birthday at school with their friends and hand out treats to their classmates and teachers, I never got to do that because my birthday always fell during Christmas break. The same thing happened when I went to college, I never really celebrated my birthday with my friends because we were all on break and in different places.
So finally, not in school, when someone asks me what I want for my birthday I always think to myself “people to spend it with”. Of course my family. And I do have some amazing friends who will go out of their way to make that happen for me. It is hard not to be around the people I love who love me back but I have my best friends who live hours and states away who may not be around but will think about me and do whatever they can to make that day special to me.
Sure, unwrapping presents is fun. I think that parents, no matter how old their kids are, still get a thrill watching them walk down the stairs Christmas morning, or walk in the house, towards the tree and unwrap a gift. But all I really want for Christmas is to not be afraid to walk outside after dark, I want the wars to be over, I want there to be a cure for cancer, I want friends to stop dying young, and to stop seeing people I care about heartbroken, I want unconditional love and commitment, I want people to stop tearing each other apart and see them come together again, I want women to stop hating men and to somehow stop feeling victimized, I want more experiences, and I want to find that place in my life where I can be truly happy.
So if you’re like me, on Christmas [or your birthday] you’ll probably unwrap the material gift that you wanted the most and you’ll feel so grateful for it and you’ll be happy. But part of you will still feel empty inside because that material thing can’t take the place of some of the things that you want the most.
Something I’m really quite sick of is when people make assumptions about what I do or don’t eat. I really don’t get offended easily but MY BODY IS NOT YOUR BUSINESS. For every time I say “oh, I have a headache” or “I don’t feel so great” the automatic response to that is “well, it’s probably because you haven’t eaten today”.
First of all, you have no right to assume if I have or have not eaten. And second, you can feel unwell for multiple different reasons and it does not always stem from your diet. Which, again, I remind you that you know nothing about.
If you feel the need to concern yourself so much with what I do or don’t do with food and my body then maybe you should take up another hobby.
While I have your attention, saying “you look so skinny” is NOT a compliment! Stop commenting on people’s body size.
Here is a recommendation - Any time you want to say “you look so thin!” or “your curves look great!” try changing the way you think and saying something like “Wow, those jeans look great on you!” or “that shirt is an incredible fit!” Expand your thoughts.
I’m literally so sick of feeling bad about myself and my body. I’m finished pretending that I enjoy a meal more than I do just to make other people feel comfortable. And you should be finished commenting on people's body size as if that doesn't make them feel UNcomfortable.
MY BODY IS NOT YOUR BUSINESS!!!!
Thanks for coming to my TED talk.
Anytime someone asks me what my hobbies are, I always give them the typical answer: I like to hike, travel, collect local art, I coach volleyball, Twitter, I write, and I keep a blog.
But lately, I've realized I have a new hobby. And I like to call it "hobby supporting". I spend a lot of time supporting my friends and their hobbies. You can literally do anything and be anything and as long as you aren’t harming yourself or anyone else and as long as you are happy, I will do whatever it takes and whatever you ask of me, to support you.
It can be a hobby as big as photography and wanting to turn that into a career. I will model for you whenever you need a model, I will recommend you to others, and I will even suggest places and things for you to take photos of.
It can be a hobby like reading. I will read the books you suggest, I will talk about the characters with you like they're my best friends, I'll connect with you on Good Reads, I'll buy you books and I'll follow your book blog. Maybe you don't like reading but you're a TV fanatic. You bet I will start watching that TV show you love just so you have someone to talk about it with.
Maybe your hobby is something small, like just loving Instagram. I will come up with captions for you, I will tell you when the best time to post is, and you know you will always have a like and a comment from me.
I’d like to thank all of my supporters for supporting this blog. Sometimes you keep it going better than I do. Life gets hectic and it’s so easy to ignore what I’ve already created, but when I receive encouraging messages from strangers, or people I don’t usually talk to, that kind of support is what keeps me going. It brings me back to reality and gives me a reminder that writing is my escape from this hectic life.
It is so important to support the people who make you happy when they do the things that make them happy. If you don't, you're probably just an asshole.
These photos were taken by my friend, Joe at Trilogy Photography. if you're ever looking for a photographer in the Cleveland area I would strongly suggest looking there. Not only because he is my friend but also because he has worked on everything from surprise engagements to first birthday parties. He knows how to make you feel comfortable in front of the camera and makes sure you're having fun the entire time.
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I haven’t written anything in a while but I constantly feel the pressure to since now I own this website. I haven’t even written about my recent trip to Spain yet, I could easily say that I’ve been uninspired or blame it on the jet lag, but the truth is, there are a million things I’d love to write about but I’m unable to. I even have to be careful about how I word this sentence because big brother is always watching (I don’t necessarily mean the government).
I’ve been listening to showtunes every morning. I find that nothing gets me going early in the morning quite like showtunes do. A song from Hamilton came on and one lyric stays ringing in my head “If you stand for nothing, Burr, what will you fall for?”
Current events have taught me a lot about myself. I know what I stand for and I know exactly what I would fall for. But those things are difficult to discuss on the internet, in writing, with my name all over it.
So, I’ll end this post on a lighter note. Speaking of needing inspiration, I had the once in a lifetime opportunity to visit Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirror Exhibition at the Cleveland Museum of Art. She’s a real weirdo, that lady. But the 7 month wait for the exhibit to open and the countless hours I spent waiting in line to buy tickets were all worth it.
You can check out the photo gallery below:
If you hate working out, don’t have any motivation to work out, or simply don’t have the time, CycleBar might be for you. I told myself that I would never be one of those “cycling girls” that this is just another trend that will pass. Yet, here I am.
I don’t really enjoy working out. I was an athlete my whole life and I ran track and cross country for 12 years. I ended up getting really sick and it is hard to bounce back to running 10 miles a day after suffering from mono for 6 months and being anemic. On top of that, going to college and discovering alcohol. All that being said, I was never able to bounce back.
Anyway, I still stay active. I like to go for long walks or hikes and if I’m feeling up to it I’ll go for a run, but I don’t like to push my body to do things that it isn’t up for doing. And I have to say, running and hiking are the best sports in the world because the people you meet along the way are the best kinds of people. We are all just out here doing our thing to better ourselves. And there is not a person I pass who doesn’t offer up a smile, wave, or even a “good job”.
My sister, on the other hand, loves to work out. Like, genuinely enjoys being sweaty and in pain. And I wish I could be more like that.
She is a member of the Beachwood CycleBar. Back when they were celebrating their 2 year anniversary and offering a week of free classes she dragged my mom and I, who usually go to Zumba classes, to CycleBar.
The last time I cycled (or went to a spinning class) was when I was in college. They offered free classes in the rec center and it was quite literally the worst thing to happen to me. You had to arrive 30 minutes early just to get a spot in the class, the bikes were impossible to adjust to your specific settings, and everyone was judgmental and far from helpful. So, when my sister told me I was coming to CycleBar with her, you can imagine how hesitant I was.
As soon as I stepped into that building, my entire idea of cycling changed. Everyone was smiling and friendly. The owner came right over and helped me sign in and got me the right size shoe. He showed me to my locker and was patient when I didn’t understand how to make a locker combo. And he said as soon as I was settled he would help me find my bike and adjust it to my needs.
We strapped on our shoes and then headed into the cycling room. It was dark, lit by candles and a few other spotlights in the back. There were rows upon rows of bikes. My sister and I purposely reserved our bikes next to each other (this is something CycleBar offers when you sign up for a class so that riders aren’t fighting to get a spot) and I watched as she adjusted her bike and I did the same to mine. Then she says “okay, get on and click your feet in”. I literally had no idea what this meant other than the fact that my shoes would then be attached to this bike. My sister had no problem getting her shoes to click in but I raised my hand for help and the class instructor came trotting over with a smile ready to assist. THE PEOPLE ARE SO AWESOME.
We got to class early, obviously to get adjusted and to ride for a few minutes in peace for ourselves. I was sitting there thinking “the workout hasn’t even started yet and I’m already loving it. Maybe I will even purchase a package.” Then the workout started and it was hard.
The cool thing about CycleBar is that they dim the lights during the ride, so you are aware that you are surrounded by people but you can also focus on being there for yourself. There is of course an instructor leading the class, but the atmosphere is so free that you are encouraged to do the workout but modify it to meet the needs of you as an individual. You are encouraged to sit back in the saddle to regain strength, take a breath, get some water, and then rejoin the group in the ride. But never stop pedaling as you do this.
Yes, there were points in the class where I thought I might die and towards the end I thought I was actually dead. I was back in the saddle feeling like I couldn’t finish the class and then the instructor said “For some of us, this might be the only 45 minutes we get to ourselves during the day. This is for you.” And at that point, I pulled myself up back into third (out of the saddle, hands on the very front bars) and I pedaled it out for the last interval. Because this is for me, I deserve this. I deserve to show myself that I can rock my ride and finish as strong as I started. So I did.
I left the class on a total high, a high that I haven’t felt since my running days. I don’t like working out, but my ride at CycleBar was a great work out and I left feeling good and feeling good about myself. I will most definitely be back again.
I rocked my ride for myself and you can and should too!
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After my LeBron post went viral I went inactive for a little while, but I am back now and with big news!
When I was preparing to graduate college someone had asked me what my goals were. One goal I had for myself was to someday own the rights to my blog and own the official domain 140CharactersorMore.com (lose the .weebly). Two years later and I can finally say that I do, all thanks to a random stranger!
For his personal and professional privacy, although I’m not sure how much privacy he has in his profession, I will not reveal his identity. He knows exactly who he is.
All of my readers know that I downloaded Dating Apps and I have No Idea Why and I go on them for the entertainment. And of course, the main purpose of the dating apps is to increase traffic to my blog, a shameless plug but I’m telling you it works.
On Friday, I received a really long message from a user, and he mentions exactly why it was as long as it was- “I don’t expect a response. It wouldn’t make sense. Perhaps that’s why I wrote so much, to dictate the outcome.” It was such a long message that the preview was only “…” which intrigued me and of course I opened it. What was beyond the “…” was probably one of the best compliments I have ever received-
Your blog is telling – perhaps too much – for a dating site. However, I’m glad it is. Your writing has authentic voice, and shows your personality even if you ever wonder if you have a consistent personality. It reminded me of a quote, not even close to his more personal famous ones, but it seemed to fit perfectly: “Writers aren’t people exactly. Or, if they’re any good, they’re a whole lot of people trying so hard to be one person.” Maybe you know the author already… maybe not, but your writing reminds me of his (not the novel I’m sure you had to read in school). Thanks for the pleasant distraction, the little moment, the temporary escape. –A new blog fan (P.S. you’re overdue for a post. Don’t give up on it.”
From there, we shared a few messages back and forth. He opened up a bit, not something he does often due to his line of work and we chatted. What came next is something I never would have expected- he bought the domain name of my blog and handed it right over to me. He says himself, “borderline creepy, but I know what it’s like to be 23 and needing to save every dollar, and this is also a way to nudge you a bit to not give up on your blog. No tricks or hidden agenda.” He continues to explain the privacy information for the blog and reminds me to change my passwords to everything and he will no longer have access to any of it.
From the outside looking in, this could look quite strange. But to me, this was a “faith in humanity restored” moment. This has been a dream of mine for some time now, and a stranger, not even knowing that I had this dream, made it a reality for me. All because he tries to do one good deed a week and I was ever so lucky to be that good deed.
Pop the bubbly because for the next two years I am the proud owner of 140CharactersOrMore.com ! I lost the .weebly.
A million thanks to the kind stranger who wrote me many long notes. I am so glad that I responded. None of this would be at all possible without you.
Some might be skeptical of this story and think it’s disturbing and I should not be so trusting of people on dating apps. But there are reasons that I won’t reveal, as to why I trust this stranger and am not uncomfortable with why he did what he did. He was very open about providing information to me in case I was nervous and wanted to document anything, which I did just to be safe. But if you knew what I knew, you would not be skeptical.
They're saying that you're leaving and I can’t even think that thought without tearing up a little bit. I'm saying that they're underestimating your love for this city, you'd retire here in your home before you'd retire anywhere else, you'd ask for a better supporting cast before you just walked out on us and we would do whatever it takes to keep you before we let you go. But that's just me believing.
You have made my 23 years of life in Cleveland unique and exciting. Especially the recent years when I have been old enough to understand and appreciate your talents and even more than that, your love for this place and the way you have given back.
Basketball here without you will never be the same. The city wont be the same. I think the special thing about Cleveland is our sports teams bring so much love to this place. I remember when you announced your return to The Land I ran down the stairs like It was Christmas morning screaming “he’s coming home”. Because of you, we come together. I remember back in 2016 when you won the NBA championship for this place and we threw a parade. People were scared of the big crowds, they thought things could get violent. But i remember that day being squished into a crowd so large that you could barely breathe. I was surrounded by people of different ages, races, genders, but i was surrounded by nothing but love because we were all there to celebrate the same thing. You did that.
On and off the court you have touched people’s lives. What you’ve done is so much bigger than yourself and bigger than basketball. You have given back to the community that gave you so much. You’ve given the city of Cleveland hope again, something to believe in. You’ve even given Clevelander’s hope that their futures can be bright by paying for college, you believed in them so that they could believe in themselves. You did that. You are the greatest of all time.
They say if you truly love someone that means you want the best for them. So, LeBron, I know you have given all that you could, you have done whatever it takes, for this city, for your team and for your coach. Because we love you and want only what is best for you, we will let you go if that’s what we have to do. With heavy hearts but a lot of incredible memories and even more than that, love for you like you’ve loved this city. We do whatever it takes for you to continue your NBA career with a strong supporting cast because you deserve it and because you have done whatever it takes for us for so long. But because I've learned from you, I will believe that there is a chance that you will stay.
Thank you for giving me a reason to call this place Believeland. This city will never be the same without you but it will always be Home.
I am all about defending millennials because personally, I’m sick of being lumped with a group of people from my generation who are lazy, have no hopes to own a house someday, and eat avocado toast. I said it once and I’ll say it again, keep your avocados away from my toast. And keep me out of that group of millennials, because we aren’t all like that.
I was browsing LinkedIn one day, which is full of millennial haters, but this article popped up; “We Didn’t Give Ourselves the Trohpies”- Millennials.
The article makes the point that as millennials were growing up, we were receiving these trophies for participation from our parents, coaches, teachers, etc. We were given the trophies, we didn’t give them to ourselves. And I read it and thought to myself, “Finally, someone gets it!”
But then I get on Twitter, my favorite place in the world, and I see tweets saying things like “You got out of bed today! You’re awesome!” or “Maybe you laughed today, maybe you went to class, maybe you cried. Whatever you did today is awesome and so are you!”
Every time we congratulate ourselves or someone else on getting out of bed today or taking a good nap, we are giving ourselves a trophy. And maybe we have different definitions of awesome, but I’m pretty sure staying in bed all day and being a waste of space is not “awesome”.
Waking up every day around 6 a.m. to go to work is by no means easy. Half the time I don’t even want to leave my bed. But, I do it. And I don’t applaud myself for doing it. Just like I don’t applaud myself for brushing my teeth every day. It’s just something that you have to do so you do it. No questions asked, no congratulations given.
Awesome to me, is going the extra mile. It’s having the motivation to not only do the things that you are supposed to do, but also do the things that you don’t technically have to do. Like waking up early every day to go to the gym and work out. Or going in to work early to get that project started, or even staying late at work (and I don’t mean staying late because you got in late). Getting to work on time is awesome and getting your work finished on time is also awesome. Awesome isn’t staying in bed because you are too hungover to do anything, or just don’t feel like doing anything.
So, I’m done defending millennials who eat avocado toast and think it’s awesome to do nothing all day, because I feel like I’m just defending a bunch of dumbasses who glamorize being an unproductive waste of space. When you find some motivation to do something with your life, then maybe we can talk again. But until then, keep your avocados away from my toast and keep my name out of that group.
SPOILER ALERT: if you are reading this and you are not yet caught up on Riverdale, it is too late and things will be ruined for you.
Riverdale is the worst show on television, and I firmly believe this. Yet, every Wednesday night I I sit at the edge of my bed watching all of the drama go down.
Let me back up my opinion. We have a small little murder town called Riverdale. In Riverdale there are diners and cars that look like they came out of the 50’s, they even use typewriters, but the characters dress like they are from this century and they all have smart phones. Barb, from Stranger Things, is alive you guys, and she lives in Riverdale! Did I mention all of the dads are hot?
We have gangs, the mafia, face-painted warriors, and even little red riding hood with her bow and arrow. There are names like Jughead, SweetPea, and Jellybean. There’s the black hood, the candy man, the red circle that became the dark circle, and some weird rivalry between bulldogs and serpents, both successfully lead by high school boys. And these high school relationships, where all of the main characters are dating each other, mature faster than any relationship I’ve had during my adult life.
Parents are buying cars for their kid’s S.O. Parents are even shooting their own kids in the head. And there is this thing called Jingle Jangle, that looks like a pixie stick but apparently it’s some sort of drug. Also, anyone and everyone can run for Mayor, apparently.
They lead us to believe that they have killed off one of the main characters, who is also the narrator and the only reason that I watch this show. Cheerleaders have specific uniforms for funerals and at one point or another, all of these plot lines have been dropped and then picked back up again. I’m not sure how people make a living writing this. I’m also not sure what kind of town Riverdale is, but I definitely wouldn’t want to live there.
There are a lot of things I don’t know. I don’t know how this show got renewed for a third season but I do know that if they ever kill off the narrator the show won't be around for another season. I don’t know how I let myself get so emotionally invested in a show that I have tried to convince myself that I hate. But I do know that season 3 is coming and I am here for it, and here I will stay, every Wednesday night at the edge of my seat.
During my freshman year of college I met Bob. Every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday I would see Bob in the dining hall. We would eat breakfast at the exact same time, at separate tables, and only say hi in passing. Little did I know, Bob would become my best friend.
As the years went on, Bob and I got smarter and began scheduling our classes together, we would walk to class together, walk home from class together, study together, go to class drunk together, and disrupt the class together. There was even a time when the professor asked if she needed to move our seats because we talked so much (Bob mostly did all the talking and I actually tried to pay attention to what the professor was attempting to teach).
When I graduated college, Bob was there sitting with my family and when Bob moved to D.C. my family and I went to visit him.
This weekend was nothing short of amazing. Spring has sprung in D.C. and it was picture perfect and breathtaking.
On day one we did all of the touristy things. We saw all of the monuments and memorials and we were even lucky enough to snag a tour of the Capitol Building and got to sit in Brad Wenstrup’s office chair in the House of Representatives. We had a late lunch at Barrel in Eastern Market that left us pushing off our dinner at Founding Farmers for as long as possible. We enjoyed Founding Farmer’s original cocktails and good conversation as we waited for hunger to strike us again. When it finally did, we ordered the Chicken and Waffles which was the most popular item on the menu and the perfect comfort food. Although it didn’t comfort the aches in my legs and blisters on my feet from walking all day.
On day two, we fueled up in the town of Old Alexandria at the Sugar Shack with gourmet donuts and some of the best coffee I have ever tasted. From there we walked the pastel streets of the town and checked out a few antique shops and then headed up to Arlington Cemetery. We got to see the changing of the guards at Arlington Cemetery. The ceremony was surrounded by Veterans. My dad, a Veteran of the US Navy, was in D.C. with us for the first time which made this trip and the whole experience even more special for all of us.
Day two was a little more solemn and relaxed because we weren’t rushing from appointment to reservation. Instead we could take our time and really enjoy the company of each other and the scenes and the feelings of the history that we encountered. I was quite for most of the day, I wasn’t tired, or upset, I was just so content and happy with where I was at that I didn’t feel the need to overpower those emotions with constant conversation.
From the cemetery, we went on a full blown Cherry Blossom hunt. We missed peak cherry blossom season by about a week or two but we were still able to snag a few shots of them, we just had to walk across the high way to get to them first.
For dinner that night we dined at The Palm, it was a beautiful restaurant with great services and even more beautiful dishes. If you are going to dine at The Palm arrive hungry and make sure to check out the wine list!
I can’t go anywhere without getting ice cream, especially when the weather is nice. So, for dessert we went to the famous Momofuku Milk Bar. We only had to wait about 20 minutes for our ice cream and it cost a small fortune of $30. But was it worth it? Definitely. Put it on your list of things to try! We had ice cream and a view when we walked over to the City Center at Penn Quarters where the walk ways were lined by cute kites and pretty lights.
I’m suffering from writers block which is why this is such a short recap of my trip. But nothing I could write or photograph would ever do the beauty I saw or the memories I made in D.C. justice.
It was a great weekend with family and friends and I would recommend a trip there to anyone. Just make sure that you pack comfy shoes.