Archives for December 2010

Goodbye 2010, Hello 2011

While nothing bad happened in 2010, I’m happy to see it go because 2011 brings a lot of new things for me. Getting married. Going out of the country for the first time. And fingers crossed, going on a two-week long road trip. On top of that, I’ve convinced myself I would actually scrapbook the whole year.

Don’t forget – 31 days of awesomeness starts tomorrow with a pretty bad-ass giveaway! But until then . . .

Happy New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day!

The Anti New Year’s Anti-Resolutions

AKA: Changing my life and it just so happens to be at the beginning of the year.

It started by setting impossible goals and slapping a “New Year Resolution” label on them in order to feel like your life was going somewhere. As I aged, I turned it around to set goals behind the “anti-resolutions” that absolved me of the guilt from not completing them. That is, if I set anything at all.

And here I am, drawing more attention to the whole dastardly process for no real reason at all.

Other than the fact that I turn 24 in January and am celebrating on my blog for the entire month. You may wonder why, or how, or what exactly is so important about 24. And I will tell you with a simple sentence: I like to be a bit self-indulgent. But I’m pretty sure that was a prerequisite to creating a blog, right?

If you read my last post, you caught a glimpse of the new crazy that is me. And luckily for you, that crazy is going to come at you every day of January. I’m not setting New Year’s Resolutions, or New Year’s Anti-Resolutions for that matter, but more so spending a month opening up and being the real me in an attempt to get myself to accept myself fully.

So After Nine To Five will be filled with total awesomeness (more than usual, mind you) for a whopping 31 days. Every day for the month of January, I’ll bring to a piece of me to your lovely internet doorstep. You can expect:

  • Pictures of: me, my family, my home, and the glorious city I live in
  • My favorite: recipes, movies, creations, music, and blogs
  • My biggest, deepest, darkest secrets
  • At least one vlog AKA: my first vlog ever
  • My thoughts on: who I used to be, getting married in approximately three months, and being unemployed

And probably the most important:

  • A giveaway that will consist of 24 of my favorite things starting January 1st

I am super excited to challenge myself this way, as I usually have a hard enough time posting five days a week. But until January, I’ll be a bit scarce around here. With Christmas just a couple of days away and some quality eating family time being necessary, followed by wrapping some wedding plans up, enjoying a break from school, and my nieces coming into town, I’ll be swamped. So I’m going to admit it: I’m going to be a sucky blog friend for a bit. But I’ll make it worth sticking around for in about a week and a half. Promise!

Changing Faces: My Never-Ending Story

If you read my last post, you know this past week has been a tough one. But that wasn’t the full story.

A week ago today, I had a full-fledged bawl fest in the middle of our living room over something ridiculous that had nothing to do with what I was upset about. And it wasn’t the pretty cry like in the movies. It was the snot-dripping out of your nose, puffy red-faced, cry that makes it impossible to breathe without sounding like Darth Vader.

When I quit my job a little over a month ago, I did it with the intent to start a business for home contractor referrals immediately. And each day that passed that I was deemed unemployed or self-employed, depending on who you asked, my heart grew farther and farther from it. So I lugged around an ever-growing lump of guilt that exploded on Monday in my fit of unhappy rage that I had no control over.

I’ve never truly followed my heart when it comes to career choices. Always did the “right” thing, which meant totally wrong for me. I tried choosing logic over sanity. Money over happiness. And it never worked. Big surprise, huh? The discussion ended with us deciding I needed to take a break from the mess I called “attempting to work” and focus on cards and wedding stuff for a few weeks or so. And that’s exactly what I did.

I threw myself into making our wedding invitations to take some time away from “work.” And ended up changing my life entirely. I had spent months crafting the perfect invitation, the perfect reflection of us, and the perfect wedding. And in an hour into trying to pull it from thoughts to creation, I threw it away.

I relished in the imperfections. I took off the business face I had grown into so comfortably and let myself go. And found myself. I found the me I had been searching for. It was there all along, waiting for me to dust it off. I was creative and project oriented. I had found myself in design. Something I knew long ago, but never found the right answer to.

So this was my defining moment in life. The one moment where everything falls out of place, but is right where it belongs. The one moment where I get to let go of my securities and say “This? This is me. All of this jumbled mess that is so incredibly lost is me. And I love it. So take me. Or leave me. But just let me be me.”  Fortunately for me, Nathan had done that a long time ago. But I never had.

And with some pushes from Nathan and watching Eat Pray Love over the weekend, I’m changing it all. I’m changing my degree from Environmental Management to Marketing. I’m trading in the home referrals and contractors for cardstock and ink. I’m finally pursuing my love for design with the right amount of passion and triumph behind it.

So here goes nothing. And yet everything at the same time.

When Everything Hits The Fan

I’ve been pretty scarce around the blogosphere this week because quite frankly, it’s been a rough week.

My body has been a bit off since Sunday. At first I thought it was the flu, then stress, then hormones, then a cold. And now, I’m pretty sure it’s all four rolled up into a nice ball of “you’re not dying, but you’re going to feel like it anyway.” It sounds just about as awesome as it feels.

On top of that, I found out my Aunt has to get a hysterectomy due to a baseball sized lump being found and is also getting tested for breast cancer due to some odd-looking tissues. My Grandpa is being kept in the hospital at least temporarily because every time he goes back home, something goes wrong. And my Grandma of the same side can’t drive now and is using a walker (which, yes, I know isn’t that bad, but it’s far from the Grandma I remember.)

It’s been a really tough couple of years for my family health-wise so adding all of this in sucks. And it’s tough for me to even wrap my head around it anymore. I guess that calls for another post whenever I’m up to it.

But I’m still here, lurking in the shadows all creepy-like, posting random bits here and there on Twitter.

Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

We’re Breaking Up: Goodbye 400 Choices

Dear Cable,

Since I knew how to walk, I had you. No matter where I moved, no matter who I lived with, no matter what provider I switched to – you were always there for me. When I needed a friend to cheer me up, you usually came through. (Sometimes though? You failed miserably. I have to be honest.) When I needed to pretend I was busy to get out of talking to people though? You supplied an endless amount of excuses. Nice job!

You filled many sleepless nights. And many lazy days. You provided a great deal of  laughter, along with my fair share of tears. (Maybe you should cut down on the tears, though. I can only pretend my contacts are bothering me so many times. That didn’t work with my glasses on, by the way.) You consumed a healthy amount of my childhood, an obscene amount of my teenagedom, and we’re bordering on dangerously close to overdosing in my adult years.

So I’m cutting our ties.

You got me addicted to many things. Unhealthy addictions, Cable. Really unhealthy. Addictions to shows like True Blood and The Walking Dead. These made Monday mornings even worse after being forced to stay up to watch these shows live every Sunday, even with a DVR. Addictions to bad reality television shows that I loathed, but seemed to find myself unable to change the channel during. And it’s time I let these addictions go. (Or at least be postponed a bit.)

Also, Cable? You’re expensive. If someone offered me $840 a year to watch everything I’m watching now, using my laptop instead of the tiny box you cling to so dearly, I would be stupid not to take it, right? Right. So that’s exactly what I’m doing.You can take the DVR as part of the separation. Without you, there is truly no need for it. I’ve got something newer, with much more class than that box.

There is no need to worry about me, really. I’ve moved on. Netflix and I have an amazing relationship already. I know, I know. We haven’t even severed the ties yet. I hate to break it to you, but I’ve been cheating for years now. And things are GREAT! I can put it on hold, see new movies, watch old seasons, you name it! All for a tenth of the cost. The best part about it? It asks me what I want. My likes, my dislikes, my opinion, everything. It’s much more in tune with me than you ever were.

I know not all channels stream online shows, Cable. Like my beloved HBO and Showtime, but the outlook is good for these stations. HBO Go would be stupid not to cash-in on some of the action by offering itself to non-subscribers soon. And I’m sure Showtime will follow close behind. I can be patient. I was with you, after all.

There may be a future for us, Cable. But not any time soon. Ease up on the costs, and the contracts, and all of the limits, and well, just about everything. And then maybe, just maybe, we can talk.



First Snowstorm of the Season

This was how the weekend was spent:

Shovel. Warm-up. Shovel. Warm-up. Repeat.

I was waiting for snow. Saying “if it’s going to be cold, it might as well snow.”  And well, I got what I asked for. 50 mph winds and 11 inches of snow later, we are left with below zero wind-chills and enough snow to build an igloo around my house. Is it summer yet?

Did you get blasted with snow this weekend?

The Only Way Up Is By Jet-Pack

Remember the day I found vegetarian fish and made it my mission to rescue a mouse? Well, I was also serenaded that day. Many, many times.

After eating at a restaurant with my soon-to-be in-laws plus sister-in-law and family, Nathan took me and his nephews for a car ride down memory Candy Cane Lane. It’s a quaint little neighbor near where he grew up, where people decorate and take your money accept money for various charities. This should have been a sweet, romantic evening as I love looking at Christmas lights. But a two and a four-year old in tow ensured that is was far from true.

At all times, the radio was too loud and yet too soft. The song that was on was terrible and also amazing. Depending on which child you asked, it was always the opposite of another. Yet, no matter the response, they seemed to sing along, whether they knew the words or not.

I got to hear some lovely renditions of “Hey Hole Sister” AKA “Hey Soul Sister” by Train and “Dynamite” by Taoi Cruz. These were the songs that they knew at least one line to. Various other songs that filtered through the speakers were hummed along with or totally slaughtered with their limited vocabulary. But the best song? It was one that went like this:

Christmas bells, Christmas bells

This is what they say

Little baby Jesus

Was born on Christmas day

Why was this song, built around four lines, so great? Because it was repeated. A good twenty-two times, I believe. In various tones and volumes. I got to hear those four lines every way I thought to be possible and then some. I was privileged that night.

Along with the fancy sing-a-longs we had going on in our vehicle, we were luckily enough to witness a mini-meltdown over the time of night. I also learned that the only way to access anything tall is with a jet-pack, followed by a ladder, but beginning with an airplane. Obviously I missed this in school.

Did I mention I’m not ready for children yet?

{ Check back this week for posts on: setting myself on fire }

Of Mice and Men: My Guilty Conscience

Over the weekend, after returning from finding the vegetarian fish, we found an intruder in my soon to be in-laws home. A tiny intruder, furry and gray, seeking refuge from the cold. A mouse.

Unfortunately, I have a bad history with mice. Not the kind of history where I stand on chairs, waving a towel about as I scream for the help of a grown man. A guilty conscience history, you may say.

A couple of years back, a mouse found its way into my house and my cat happily killed it. I cried. Yep, I bawled like a baby because my cat did his supposed job. And then I did the only logical way to ease my mind: buy three mice from the pet store to have as pets. And when my cat killed one of them because it somehow escaped? I bought more. Luckily, this cycle did not continue – eventually they all died of natural causes and I stopped feeling guilty.

Until Saturday evening.

When we returned from grocery shopping, we found the mouse being attacked by one of their cats. I hurried in to pick it up, only for it to jump from my hands a couple of seconds later. Unfortunately, being attacked by the cat and the flying leap, one of its hind legs was injured. With the hungry eyes of a cat, a reassuring commitment to kill it from my soon-to-be father-in-law, and the nervous looks of the rest of them, I took the poor thing outside. I let it go in a bush and watched it slowly scamper away, urging it to find another warm shelter as this one was probably not a good move if he wanted to live.

That same guilt kicked in as I stepped in the house, wondering how long it had left and contemplating the idea of buying more mice. The idea quickly disappeared after I reminded myself I’ve been housing a mouse in my garage for the past couple of months. That means I’ve done my part…


{ Check back this week for posts on: jet-packs and ladders, what Christmas bells say, and serenades during a day long car trip. }

Finally: Eating Fish Without Killing One

When down in Milwaukee this past weekend, I found something absolutely amazing:

Vegetarian Fish Fillets from Pure Vegetarian

Vegetarian Fish Fillets from Pure Vegetarian

You may think that it’s ridiculous and truly not worth any amazement, much less absolute amazement. And when Saturday evening rolled around and we found ourselves staring at this box, I halfheartedly agreed. I’ve been a vegetarian for seven, almost eight years now. And in those seven, almost eight years, I never once saw a vegetarian fish product. I saw plenty of chicken and cow “meat.” Plenty of pig, too. But never fish.

I’m not sure why. And I’m not sure what impulse took over me when I bought them because quite frankly? I wasn’t a big fan of fish when I ate meat. So why on Earth would I think that an imitation of it would be good enough to purchase? I’m not 100% sure.

Nonetheless, I ate it. And I almost blew chunks all over the kitchen table. Not because it was bad, but because it resembled fish a bit more than expected and my gag reflex unhinges with those tastes and textures. As ridiculous as it sounds, me wanting to blow chunks when it comes to vegetarian food is generally a good thing.

So now, I’m anxiously waiting to go back to buy out the store’s entire stock.

{ Check back this week for posts on: jet-packs and ladders, what Christmas bells say, and serenades during a day long car trip. }

The Secret Behind Red Hair

Back on my about page, I discussed my plans after quitting:

  • Get a massage
  • Blog excessively
  • Truly study
  • Start my own business

I’ve at least started these tasks, if not completely finished them in the past three weeks. But there is one I left out. One that has stumped me since I tore open the first box and inhaled the sweet aroma of chemicals killing off every single strand of hair. One that has left me envious and jealous. One that has tarnished my head for all of eternity.

Dying my hair red.

Only once in my measly twenty-three, almost twenty-four years have any strands on my head been truly red. Fire engine red, if you will. Unfortunately for me, they were merely highlights that were professionally done. Which means they lasted a few months as I’m too cheap to continuously return to a salon and fork over the cash.

My solution? Buy the at home hair color boxes. The cheap, less than $3 boxes that make my head smell like bananas afterward. But that brand only had the color “burgundy.” And no matter how many times I tried it, it was never what I was looking for. So I switched on Wednesday. Tired of my dark brown hair (that I somewhat long for now), I tried the Garnier Fructis brand. I fund the perfect fit. A box that read “Intense auburn for darker  hair.” And I thought to myself: I can be pretty intense AND I have dark brown hair! It’s a match made in heaven, even if it’s twice the price!

So I hurried home, tearing the box apart as I entered the house and began immediately. In the process of saturating my hair in the hair color mixture, I notice that my skin and hair start to become a faint shade of orange. And that faint shade quickly became brighter and brighter as I added more to my delicate hair. I cringed, praying that I wouldn’t resemble a pumpkin head after this ordeal was done. This is the outcome:

Enchanting, I know.

After it rinsed out, it was nothing like the Halloween head I was dreading, but it was everything like the burgundy color that was half the price. It was a deep shade of red, nothing close to the picture of the lady with the long luscious hair on the box. Still pretty, but so not what I asked for. What a bunch of lying bastards.

So now, I’m left with a lovely shade of red-brown and nothing resembling the hair of a ginger, still unsure of the secret behind achieving that subtle red hair from the comfort of my bathroom.