The Random Writings of Rachel: January 2013

How to Survive Moving "Home"

video

While we're on the subject of Malaysia, I thought I'd do a vlog for you. And just so you know, I say it "V" log not vlog. Because I want to.

I also film vlogs while wearing a fedora and a blanket. Anything to be out of the ordinary, you know.

Also, Third Culture Kid refers to a kid who was raised in a culture other than their parents' culture. And there's all sorts of books written about us and everything. There are more and more of us in this increasingly international world, which I think is a good thing. TCKs for the win!!!

I've Been Keeping a Secret...

I've been hiding something from you all, and it's time to come clean.

No, it's not the fact that I'm secretly a genius. I always try, but I'm never able to hide that for very long.

It's about my home. Not where I live now, but where I once lived. I used to live in Malaysia. On the other side of the world from where I am at the moment. If you're not sure of the location, it's just south of Thailand--near Indonesia.

I haven't mentioned this before because I do believe in keeping some things private from the general world of the internet: such as my address and my last name. But refraining from mentioning Malaysia was killing me.

I've lived in a bunch of places--but Malaysia's still the only one I call home. And it really explains so much about me. Malaysia explains why I majored in Mandarin Chinese, why my parents weren't at my wedding (plane tickets aren't cheap!), why I know little of American pop culture from the early 2000s, and why I strongly believe that they serve butter chicken masala and naan bread in heaven. It explains why Angel and I lived in different countries for several months of our engagement, why I'm so passionate about multilingual education, and why, if you heard me speak, you would probably ask about my accent.

 Now you know why I sometimes dress like this.

You know those people who get really attached to their hometown? They just think it's so perfect that nowhere else in the world can compare to it? Yeah, that's me, and my Malaysia. I miss my home everyday, and I don't think I'll ever not miss it.

It's like a relationship that ended in an unwanted breakup. No matter how many homes I have afterwards, the memory of my one home remains. I'm content where I am now, but there's some days when my heart longs to be home again.

I miss the stop signs.

I miss friends like this.

I miss little girls like this--my sisters who I haven't seen in over two years. They're a bit bigger now.

I miss food like this--served on nature's own disposable plates.

One of these days I'll tell you a funny story or two from my life there. It's nothing like life in America, I can tell you that. Oh, the tales I could tell of cockroaches and rats and fish and squat toilets and fried rice. I'll tell you one thing right now: the reason I'm skinny probably has just a little to do with the fact that American food just isn't tempting at all after you've eaten in Malaysia. I also have an honest appreciation for the cleanliness of and the amenities provided by the typical gas station bathroom here.

Well, I just wanted you to know my secret. Now it'll make more sense when someday I write about being really excited to take a trip and visit Malaysia again.

WBBE: Makeup Brushes Edition

 This is the 2nd installment in my series Worst Beauty Blogger Ever. If you missed the beginning, check out my favorite beauty products.

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I've read on blogs, and even in my textbooks, that makeup brushes are supposed to be washed regularly. Supposedly, stuff like germs and dead skin and bits of makeup gets stuck inside the brushes, but a good cleansing will make them fresh and new and not gross again.

But I have a shameful secret to share. I've never, in my 21 years, washed my makeup brushes.

You may scold me now, but it's really not that bad when you think about it, because,  you see, I don't own any makeup brushes.

Actually, I lied. I own this one.


I found it somewhere in the deep recesses of the drawers of my vanity. I don't know where it came from. I think it may have been my mom's at one point. And I've never washed it. But I really can't even remember the last time I've used it, either. I think it's a blush brush, but the real beauty bloggers can correct me if I'm wrong.

So, I guess what I wanted to say here is that washing your makeup brushes seems like a reasonable idea. Germs, dead skin--those are not nice things. But makeup brushes are highly unnecessary in the first place, so if you want to get out of cleaning yet ONE MORE THING....just don't use them. If you want rosy cheeks at this time of year, just run around outside in the snow for a little while, and you'll get the effect you desire. If you want a bronzed look in the summertime--try mowing the lawn and see what happens. Personally, I'm totally fine with the pale look all year round.

Unique Home Decor

Did I say "unique"? That's probably a good word for it. My idea of home decor is to paint every room whatever color I randomly pick out at the paint store and throw whatever furniture people happen to give me for free into various corners of each room. It works.

We do have one piece of furniture, however, that Angel and I put a lot of our personalities into, and I thought I'd share that with you today. Introducing, our china cabinet:


This china cabinet belongs to my mom, but we're putting it to good use for the time being. She bought it at an auction when I was little, and from my youth, I remember it being filled with her collection of china teacups and crystal dishes that only came out on special occasions. Now, it's chock-full of random stuff that Angel and I consider important enough to display in our home. Some of the contents will be highlighted below.


First, we have the magic disappearing chocolate bar that Angel fell in love with at a candy store. Standing behind it are a pair of dolls from Korea. I know some people don't like dolls, so I'll warn you now, there are many more coming.


We honeymooned at Mammoth Cave National Park. If you know the area, you'll remember that the park is surrounded by stores selling cool rocks. We brought home these two as mementos of our trip. The amethyst is Angel's, mine is the colorful one, but I don't know what it's called. Any geologists who can identify it for me?


A coffee pot, the bottle of rum Angel gave me on our 2nd Christmas together (I don't drink), and a doll from England.


The heart-shaped box is from Israel, the blue china doll from Germany. The vase was an engagement present and the pewter plate is Angel's. He loves anything made of pewter. My little Bavarian doll in the background was a gift from one of my sisters for Christmas some years ago.


I love this tea set that I received at one of my bridal showers. And yes, there's a rock with a fossilized shell on the tray. 


Yes, I had an American Girl doll, too. Did any of you have one? Someday I'm going to save a lot of Christmas present money by giving her and all of her clothes to my daughters.

Cambodian doll, Japanese doll, Boyds doll who appears to be dropping her teddy bear. And an empty bottle from a Korean Aloe Vera drink.

Knowing me, you should have known it was going to be random. And international. But I suppose now you've learned a few more things: I like dolls and rocks. And Angel likes chocolate, pewter, and unopened bottles of rum. Who would have thought?

My Trick for Staying Warm


So, once in a while we go to the grocery store, and I say, "Hey Angel, take pictures of me, because the lighting here is so much better than the lighting at home!"

And Angel says, "Yes! Let's take pictures in front of the fish!"

So I bring you, outfit pictures in front of fish. I bet all of those people wandering the produce section had no idea that they had the honor of witnessing a blogger's photoshoot.

Anyways. My outfit on that day was designed solely for maximum warmth. I don't actually like layering very much, but I'll do it if necessary. I also don't like scarves very much, but I have to admit that they do help with warmth. But here's my real secret to staying warm: I'm wearing leggings under my jeans.

You see, Angel was shopping for some pants recently and we came across flannel-lined pants for men. I talked him out of buying them because Angel doesn't actually like to be warm. But then I looked online to see if such lined jeans exist for women. And I came across jeans like this. They don't look good at all. And they're over $50. So, I wear leggings under my jeans and under the slacks I wear to work, and I get the benefit of flannel-lined jeans without the ugliness and the cost. Hurray!

On another note:


I had to show off my sweater a little more because of a discovery I made. The children's clearance section of Old Navy. I've never been a fan of Old Navy, because they don't carry much clothing to fit people like me. But I wandered into the kid's clearance section and found this awesome sweater for $6, and now I will be frequenting that section of the store regularly. What's more--they offered this sweater in 2 sizes bigger than the one that fit me! Kids must be growing a lot these days. Well, I am destined to be in the bottom 3 shortest of my siblings so that could have something to do with it...

 
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In other news, if you're in college, check out my article in Quite magazine about How to pull off straight A's!

Dating and Big News!!

A few days ago, I was listening to the radio on the way to school, and the topic of discussion was about how people sit when they go out for dinner. Specifically, the argument was over whether couples should sit on opposite sides of the table or whether they should sit on the same side of the table.

It seemed that it was almost a unanimous decision among the radio hosts and the people who called in that those who sit on the same side of the table when on a date are weird. One lady who called in to the show said that she was a waitress, and that she and her coworkers had a habit of making fun of the couples who chose to sit next to each other when they came into the restaurant.

Of course, I choose this as the time to confess: Angel and I always sit next to each other when we eat out, not across from each other. And he always sits on my right side, so that we don't bump elbows when eating, either. We have a system. And I like it. The waitresses can snicker all they want, but I'll just keep sitting next to my man.


Do you sit next to or opposite from your guy on dates? I have nothing against sitting on opposite sides of the table--we just started sitting on the same side from the very beginning and we've never seen a reason to change it up!

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Okay, now, on a completely unrelated track--I'm thrilled to announce that I am joining the writing team for Quite Magazine, which will be officially launching as an online magazine the first week of February, and will be launched as a monthly print magazine in June!

So, in case you don't quite get enough of me here, you will soon be able to read more articles by me on their website. In honor of the launch, we're having a little giveaway to pique your interest. (did you notice I said pique, not peak? Just a little English 101 for ya). Love you guys!


we are growing like crazy as we get ready for our  L A U N C H  W E E K which begins on
february 3!

so here's your chance, my friend, to win some free stuff :)

enter the giveaway below and the winners will be announced next friday, february 1!
yes, that's right winners, meaning you have an even greater chance to win! :)

wishing you the best! 


A Snow Day

On Tuesday this week, there was a significant amount of snow at my house.


This would be perfectly fine if I could stay home all day, but I couldn't. I had to go to school. School opening was delayed a few hours, which was great, but the fact that the school remained open in spite of excessively snowy conditions was not great. I am a rule follower, so when I heard that school was open, I attempted to drive to school.


I made it that far from my house, got stuck, was unable to get unstuck, lost my car keys in a snow drift, found said car keys, attempted to dig my car out of the driveway with a snow shovel, realized there was at least a foot of snow in the driveway, and decided to wait for someone with either more muscles or a tractor or a snowblower to clear the driveway. Also, I could barely get my car to shift gears from park to drive to reverse. Can that even happen when a car is too cold?

So I sewed and blogged and did housewifely things, and my cousins walked over in the afternoon to go sledding in my backyard, so I joined them. For about 5 minutes. 10 degrees is too cold for me.

We matched. And yes, I do wear a hat under my ski mask.

Crazy kids.

When my uncle came over to pick  the kids up, he and the kids pushed while I attempted to reverse the car and together we got it unstuck. Then he shoveled enough of the driveway for Angel to make it in when he got home from work.

It has continued to snow since that time. However, Angel is driving me to school this morning, so there is no need for alarm. I guess I've had a few too many too-close calls when it comes to driving in snow, so nobody I know is confident in my winter driving skills.

Worst Beauty Blogger Ever

 So, ya'll, I'm going to start a series. Said series will be the "Worst Beauty Blogger Ever" series. I hope you are amused by it. My intention is not to mock real beauty bloggers but rather to have fun with the contrast between me and my bizarre profession in the beauty industry.  I thought I'd start the series off with a bang by talking about products. Because we all know it takes products to make us look good. Or at least that's what the commercials tell me. I really don't think I believe them.


So there's a picture of me. And here are the products I need to achieve my signature look:



I find it helpful to include washing my hair as part of my daily routine. And yes, I am aware that my shampoo and conditioner don't match. You see, my mother-in-law bought me the shampoo last March and the conditioner was something I had in my cabinet...actually, I'm quite convinced that those warnings: "For best results, use with matching conditioner" are really just because the company wants you to buy more of their product. I'm pretty sure that the magic formula for perfect hair comes from mismatched shampoo and conditioner.


After my hair air dries, I usually straighten my bangs with this, which is clearly the world's best straightener since I bought it 5 years ago for $20 and it still gets hot!


And I occasionally scrunch some product or another into my  hair too. I'm not entirely sure why I do it, but they usually claim to increase volume or enhance curl, and those sound like good things, do they not?


I usually do put on makeup when I know I'm going to get my pictures taken. I'm very scientific about it. Besides the products pictured, blue or purple liquid eyeliner usually makes its way into my routine. I have a very good reason for not using eyeliner pencils--I don't want my eyes to get poked out. If you don't want your eyes to get poked out either, I highly recommend liquid eyeliner.

So there you have it! My absolute most favorite products in the whole world (*due to change as soon as each bottle empties because then I'll just buy the next pretty thing I see on sale).

*For the record, I'm pretty sure the reason I look quite good in some pictures has a lot more to do with my little brother's fancy camera and the fact that Picasa exists than with my Herbal Essences conditioner.

:)

What do you think? Yay or Nay to a series featuring your favorite Rachel as the worst beauty blogger you've ever met?

An Act of Kindness

Once, I walked into the commuter students' lounge at my college, and burst into tears. It wasn't something I necessarily meant to do at the time, but I was overwhelmed and angry and generally didn't want to be where I was at the moment.

There was only one person in the lounge at the moment, and instead of just continuing to work on her computer and ignore the sobbing girl on the other side of the room, she ran to me and gave me a hug, asked what was wrong, and strongly suggested that I eat her doughnut, saying "Sugar helps everything."

She sat down with me, and I told her what was going on while I ate the doughnut that was probably her breakfast. As far as I can remember, her words of encouragement for me about the situation were something to the effect of  "Just forget about all the annoying people, they aren't worth your tears."

 Posing with the locker I had for four years. Clearly this was not taken on the same day as the crying episode

I didn't know the girl beforehand. I just knew her by name and by sight because our lockers were in the same spot. I didn't really know the girl afterwards. We didn't run in the same circles at college or take similar classes. But four and a half years later, I still remember that day, when at the time I was feeling most alone and unloved, she showed me love.

And then I wonder...have I ever been that person? The stranger or even the friend who stepped in and helped someone when they needed  help--have I ever done something that someone remembers years later because of the blessing it was to them? I hope so, but I doubt it.

Honestly, if I were working on my computer and a girl that I didn't know walked in the room crying...my first instinct would probably be to leave and give her some privacy. But I'm so glad that that girl at my college didn't choose to do that on the day when I was crying.

My hope and prayer is that I won't miss any opportunities that come my way to show someone love when they need it most.

What about you? Have you ever experienced kindness when you least expected it?

Shopping with Grandpa: Denim Shirt Edition



In December 2009, my grandpa took me to the mall for the purpose of shopping for my Christmas present together. I told him that I was in the market for a denim shirt to add to my wardrobe, so that was what we were looking for. It didn't take me long to find the perfect shirt: it was stonewashed denim, with pearlized snap buttons. It looked just like the cowgirl shirt I was envisioning.

But when I showed it to Grandpa, he completely rejected my pick. "I'm not paying good money for a brand-new shirt that already looks like it's old and worn out!" he said. The denim shirt that I'm wearing in the pictures was his pick.

It's much more of a loose and baggy style than I normally wear. Actually, the style of the shirt reminds me of a maternity top.


Hence the imaginary belly pose.

Sometimes I crack myself up more than I should.

And, for the record, I went out again after Christmas and bought the stonewashed cowgirl shirt. So hey, in the end, I got the shirt that I wanted, plus a shirt that will come in handy when there's a baby on the way, so I think I got a pretty good deal out of the whole adventure, don't you?

Do you have good memories and stories about the origins of all of your clothes, too? Oh good. For a minute there, I thought it was just me.

The 7 Stages of Hairstyles

As a budding hairstylist, I thought might introduce you to some of the hair stages I've gone through in my life.

(AKA, a good excuse to use old pictures.)

 Stage 1: Cute No Matter What. Why couldn't the baby stage where you look cute no matter how messy your hair is or how little of it you have last forever? Why???


Stage 2: Straight. I had pin-straight hair till I was about 14.


Stage 3: Boy Haircut. Then I chopped it all off and it suddenly turned curly.


Stage 4: Headscarves. I wore bandanas all the time for a while there...


Stage 5: I don't know how to use a straightener. Either that, or I just can't figure out that my bangs really need to be straightened out.


Stage 6: Big Hair. They told me to grow out my hair for my wedding, and by golly, I did.


Stage 7: Spunky. Well, that's what Angel calls it, but he's pretty much paid to compliment me, so I don't know how well he can be trusted. This was probably my favorite short haircut since we got married:


And no, that was not a self-taken picture, by my expression you can tell that Angel was sticking the camera in my face and taking my picture, as he is wont to do far too often.

Currently, I tend to bounce between my short and spunky hairstyle and my big hairstyle, because I don't like getting my hair cut. Right now we're about at the point where if I want to keep the style of the short haircut I got in December, I should cut it again. Do ya'll have any opinions? Should I keep it short for a while yet, or just let it grow out till I can't take the hugeness of it anymore?

But my most important question for you is...do any of you share any of the same hair stages with me, besides, of course, the first stage? I'd really like some solidarity here, especially with the boy haircut stage.

An Unpopular Complaint

I've noticed something recently.

Complaining is cool.

Pet peeves are popular.

(heehee, alliteration)

So if I complained about the fact that I don't have any light sabers (the ones pictured belong to my siblings), would I become cool?

But for real, people. It seems that getting annoyed easily is the thing to do. Other people can relate to your situation when you complain, so you should complain, or else people won't like you. They'll think you're fake if you never whine.

Just think about it. How many times have you heard "What are you biggest pet peeves?" asked as an icebreaker question at a gathering or posted on a blog? We like talking about the things that annoy us. It creates camaraderie when we find someone else who shares our grievances.

But should this be so? Speaking as a Christian--does it seem Biblical to be a person known for being easily annoyed?

All the verses I read about thankfulness and grace and putting others first and turning the other cheek and love is not easily angered seem to indicate that no--being easily annoyed is one of those things that should not be part of the Christian life.

I was raised in a climate where it was 80s and 90s all year round. I was also raised with a family rule that no one was allowed to complain about the heat. Because, yes, we were all hot, and that was not always fun, but complaining did nothing to ease the situation and it didn't inspire a good attitude in either the complainant or those forced to listen to complaints--so complaining was made illegal.

I have sought to carry that rule on into my adult life. You know what? I do not like going to cosmetology school. I could complain to Angel about it every morning and come home every day with a list of things that pissed me off at school to tell him about. But I choose not to. I choose to not, as far as it lies with me, be easily annoyed by situations at school or to waste mine or Angel's mental energy on it. I'm not being dishonest. Trust me, Angel know I don't like it there. But there's no need for me to continually harp on the subject, or post facebook statuses or tweets complaining about it five days a week.

I've recently discovered that people are annoyed by people who ask questions about them. I find this odd, myself. I mean, as a newlywed, I've been asked, "When will there be a baby?" countless times, just like every other newlywed on the planet, I expect, but I don't see the need to be annoyed by that. No matter how many times they ask, they aren't forcing me to have a baby. I can always respond with the truth: "Not today!"--what's so annoying about that?

One of the most common get-to-know you questions, "Where are you from?" is the most difficult one for me to answer truthfully. Honestly, I cringe internally when someone asks me that. But that doesn't mean I need to get annoyed at people who ask it of me! Rather than choosing to think, "Man, they're asking where I'm from just because they're dumb, or because they want to annoy me on purpose." I can choose to assume better intentions for them--maybe they genuinely want to get to know more about me.

One of my professors once told me that in a marriage relationship--if you're always getting annoyed by the things your spouse does, something needs to change about you, not them. You can choose to not be annoyed by the one you love most--and I believe that this advice applies not only to marriage but to relationships in general.

What do ya say, folks, what if we teamed up and decided that we'd make complaining--about the weather, about  your spouse, about Mondays, about the fact that you don't have enough money for a iPhone, or about unpleasant people in your life--an unpopular hobby?

p.s. I'm no where near claiming that I never get annoyed. Angel has a nickname for me: "Angry Bird" for the times when I go off, rationally or irrationally, and the unfortunately Irish side of me shows. He thinks it's cute, but that's only because I'm small. It's not a good trait to be easily angered or irritated!

Alphabet Facts

A. Age: Approximately 21 and a half.

I'm in love with our bed. 

B. Bed size: Full--much to Angel's dismay, but I always tell him, no matter how big of a bed we have, he still won't be able to escape from me *insert evil laughter*...

C. Chore you hate: Vacuuming. Why, I don't know, but I never do it. (For the sake of our carpets, Angel does)


D. Dogs: No. I'm not a pet lover under any circumstances
.

E. Essential start to your day: Jump out of bed, eat immediately, and usually computer time.


F. Favorite color: Black, unless of course my school's dress code is forcing me to wear black, then I hate it.


G. Gold or Silver: Rose Gold
 
H. Height: 5'5"

I. Instruments you play:  Piano, not very well.

J. Job Title:  How about blogger? Stay at home wife? Oh yeah, I go to school 40 hours a week but I try to ignore that.

K. Kids: Obviously none.

L. Live: Midwest America. At the moment. Never know when that might change.

M. Married: Two years and counting!

N. Nicknames: Once upon a time "Rachy-baby" and "Spoonman"

O. Overnight hospital stays:  Never!!! Ever, Ever!!

P. Pet peeve: Pet peeves.

Q. Quote: “The world has yet to see what God will do with and for and through and in and by the man who is fully and wholly consecrated to him.” – Henry Varley

R. Righty or Lefty: Lefty. Which explains a lot.

 S. Siblings: Five little sisters, one little brother. Half of them are bigger than I am by now but whatever.

T. Time you wake up: On school days, 6 am.  Days Angel works, 5 am. Days where neither of us have to go anywhere, as late as 7 am. New Year's Day after staying up all night....8 am.

U. University attended: A small but awesome private Christian college with a Mandarin Chinese major. Who would have thought?

V. Vegetables you dislike: Lima beans and asparagus

W. What makes you run late: Angel. He takes much longer to get dressed and "do his hair" than I do.

That wrist brace was a big part of my life for a good 3 years...

X. X-rays you've had: Chest, back, teeth, wrist, ankle...for someone who hates the doctor I think I get x-rayed excessively.

Y. Yummy food: Bok choy! Tandoori chicken! Carne asada tacos! Char Koay Teow!

Z. Zoo animal favorite: Remember? I'm a non-animal lover. But my favorite part of the zoo is usually the aquariums.

Top 10 Things that Make me Cry

Here's the thing. I cry. Excessively, in Angel's opinion. I cry about things that are worth crying about...but sometimes I also cry about things that maybe aren't so worth crying about. Like movies and country music videos. So I thought I'd share with you the top 10 articles of entertainment that might just get my tears flowing as soon as they start playing.

1. It's A Wonderful Life. If you don't cry at any point during this movie, your heart is probably made of stone. Angel has even teared up at some points. But the last time I watched this epic tale of the life of George Bailey...I cried from pretty much the moment the movie began until after it ended.

2. Prince Caspian. The version that came out in 2008 ends with a horrible goodbye scene set to "The Call" by Regina Spektor. My mom says that I cried for a good 15 minutes after we left the theater, saying, "Narnia is real! It is!" over and over again.


3. The Impossible. It's a movie about the December 26, 2004 tsunami. How could I not cry?

4. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest. This may seem like an odd movie to include in this collection, but the scene when Elizabeth betrays Captain Jack Sparrow and leaves him to die bravely and be eaten by the Kraken is one of the most poignant scenes in film history. Or maybe I'm just biased.

5. Shutting Detroit Down by John Rich


6. This Ain't Nothin' by Craig Morgan


7.  Home by Blake Shelton. (Obvious choice for me--how many times a day do I think about wanting to go home??)


8. Crying for Me by Toby Keith


9. I Miss my Friend by Darryl Worley


10. A Woman Like You by Lee Brice. This one is, hands down, my favorite song in all of country music. Basically, the most perfect love song ever.

Well I bet you didn't know I was such a crybaby...or such a country music fan.

What good movies or songs out there make you cry? I'd love to watch them!

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In other news, the giveaway is over, and Carolynn from Adventures of a Kitty Eared Girl won! For the rest of you, never fear, if you're interested, you can always buy my ebook through the "Buy the Book" button on my sidebar, and you can buy ads on my Sponsor page. Thank you for entering!

Man Clothes and Kissing Nurses

I was talking to my parents on Skype some time ago, when I noticed that Mom was wearing a shirt that I had given my dad! When I mentioned the fact, Dad said, "Yeah, sometimes she just steals my shirts and I never find them back in my closet again."

It got me thinking about the phenomenon of wearing one's husband's clothes. How common is this phenomenon, and for what reasons do wives wear their husband's clothes?

I thought about my own case. It's rare for me to wear something of Angel's. For one thing, I like pretty clothes, and thank goodness, he does not. At least for himself. So most of his clothes are not up to my girly standard of prettiness. And they are also too big for me. Although, as far as husband and wife couplings go--you may have noticed that we're really not too extremely different as far as general body sizes go. So it's not impossible for me to wear one of his shirts and look as if it sort of fits.

But, as yet, 2 years into marriage, I've only commandeered one of Angel's shirts, and that was a very special case. I actually commandeered this shirt when we were engaged. You'll understand why when you see it.
 Hmmm...I will be a self-sufficient woman and take my own outfit pictures! Okay, nope, not one of my talents...
 Much more 'normal' of a pose when someone else is holding the camera. By the way, I love matching blue shirts to my blue hair!!

See? Now, I didn't really think that Angel should be going around promoting the kissing of nurses, but I decided it was perfectly okay for me to. And I found it utterly hilarious when, every time I wore this shirt, people would ask, "Are you a nursing student?"

And I would say "No," with no further explanation, leaving them completely confused.

So, I believe I had very good reason to steal, and to continue to steal, this special shirt of Angel's. Do any of you wear your husband's clothes for any particular reason?

My Kind of Valentine

Readers may or may not remember that Angel surprised me with a trip to Great Wolf Lodge for our anniversary in December. You know what that means? That means I'm in charge of planning Valentine's Day. In our family, we decided to take turns planning special events for each other.

Of course, in planning a special day for your spouse, you have to take into consideration what THEY would consider a special day, not only what you would like. Because, you see, my ideal Valentine's Day plan would probably involve some sort of kidnapping, scavenger hunt, international plane tickets, surprise vacation, diamonds, etc. That's me. Angel's ideal romantic day, on the other hand, would probably involve steak and me and that's it. So, while I haven't completely finished planning Valentine's Day yet, I will try to tone myself down and keep Angel's slightly more relaxed personality in mind. Try being the operative word. We'll see how things go.

To that end, I have a suggestion for a romantic gift for the easy-going guys in your lives. Kristin at Vignettes has created a gift set for your man that includes a chocolate bar, BBQ rub, massage oil, tea bags, a set to create a little dry-erase love note board, AND 5 of the cutest little envelopes with cards to write love notes on!


Kristin was kind enough to send me this gift set for free so that I could tell all of you about it--and now I just have to see if I can figure out how to keep Angel from reading this post! :)

My main love language is words of encouragement, and we all know that writing is my thing, so notes and letters are a big part of my relationship with Angel. Therefore, I'm most excited about the adorable little envelopes to put my notes in. If you've ever visited Kristin's shop, you'll know that she's very talented at working with paper, and it really shows in this kit.

However, while I'm in love with the love-note supplies, chocolate and BBQ chicken is most definitely Angel's type of thing, so all in all, I believe that this kit will work great as part of our Valentine's festivities! Thanks so much, Kristin! And for everyone else, you can buy your own kit here for $25, including shipping.

Fun Fact: My very first Valentine's Day that I had a 'special guy'--I was already married. Weird. It happened that way because we didn't start courting until March, and because we got married in December, by the time my first 'romantic' Valentine's Day came around, I had a couple months of marriage experience already.

Fun Fact Again: One time I gave my sister a secret admirer letter on Valentine's Day, and I'm still not sorry. And I think she's still slightly bitter about it. Just slightly.

Do You Have Friends?

In high school, I had friends. And then I moved away and went to college.

In college, I had friends. I married one of my college friends, so he ain't going nowhere, but upon graduation, everyone else moved away, and I stayed.

So now I'm a college graduate, and friends are hard to find.

See? Friends! And 19 year old, long-haired, pre-wedding me!

I don't think this applies to everyone, but I've gotten the general impression that many of us bloggers are in some life circumstance or another which means that we don't have many friends near us or available to hang out with us on any given day. I don't know if that is somehow connected to the fact that we blog or not.

Maybe we get old and we get picky. Or maybe kindred spirits really are harder to find when we get older. Maybe I'm still rebelling about the fact that I have to live where I do for now, and I'm consciously refusing to put down roots. I really, really hoped that in going to cosmetology school I would find good friends--but seeing as I have no interest in going to parties where illegal activities take place, my classmates and I share no interests outside of school.

I know what friendship looks like. I know what it is to cry from the time you board an airplane until the time you get off the airplane because you miss the people you're leaving so very much. I know what it's like to decide that no amount of sleep is worth the fun you are having in the middle of the night with friends, and therefore, to stay up all night with them. I know what it's like to love people in the best of times and the worst of times--to be separated for a year and to go right back to where you left off as soon as you're together again. I remember what it's like to hop on a bus and go shopping all day long...and then come up with another activity for the evening because you aren't tired of being with your friends yet.

It's easy to get a little hopeless about the situation sometimes. It's true that I don't have the magical friend-making ability that some extroverts just seem to have. At this point, I just want to meet an extrovert who decides that they love me and want to be my friend.

There's no real point to this post. I hate it when what I write doesn't have a punchline. I love punchlines. But I guess what I wanted to say is...if it seems like all your friends are either related to you and/or they live so far away that internet is the only way to keep in touch with them--you're not alone.

What's your theory as to why friends might be harder to find as adults?