How To Dissect A Dream

I had this absolutely terrifying dream the other night. Okay, since it was scary I guess that classifies it as a nightmare.

In the nightmare, I’m out with a friend and we’re having so much fun dancing the night away. When suddenly, she somehow gets hurt and we have to find her help. Next thing you know, there is some kind of shooter that shows up to this location, and bullets are flying everywhere. Someone pulls my friend from me and assures me they will find her help and I should gtfo asap, but before I can respond, this rando is running away with my friend. I’m petrified and attempt to take off after them, when I notice one of the gunmen pausing from his shooting escapade and taking some moments to look around – as if he’s looking for something specific. I quickly dash between some vehicles to hide (this location was a large indoor/outdoor open space with parking lot right there) and then the paused gunman ends up running just past me unleashing a spray of bullets in his path. I was certain I would get shot, but somehow I didn’t. After waiting a few moments, determining it was safe, I then take off on this journey to find my friend.

By the end of my dream, I had potentially found her? But the folks taking care of her wouldn’t let me in and were super rude (from what I remember) and then I woke up. With no resolution. I was pissed, confused, worried, and still terrified, to be honest. I hadn’t had a dream that intense in a while.

What could the dream mean? It had to mean something of significance. So, I begin breaking the dream up by asking myself the following questions:

1. Was I reading/watching anything just before going to sleep that echoed any part of the dream?

What you consume really does have effect on your psyche. I had finished reading an intense book that day, but nothing quite that level of intense. So I quickly ruled out literature as playing a part in my dream, and as for TV – I had been watching the BBC four-part rendition of Jane Austen’s Emma, so I knew that certainly had no play in my dream!

I also tried to remember if I ate anything weird before falling asleep, I had a friend growing up where whenever she ate a pop-tart before going to sleep, it almost locked in that she would have some weird dreams to chat about the next day. But I hadn’t eaten anything a couple of hours prior to sleeping, so I ruled out consumption of food as being a key player in this dream.

2. Who was in the dream?

With this dream, even though “my friend” was there – I never saw her face, it was always swirled, blurred, or distorted. And same goes for all of the other characters of the dream. Which means, this doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with a specific person/people in my life. I don’t need to psychoanalyze any relationships with people.

3. What was the most prominent feature of the dream?

The shooting – there were bullets flying everywhere, just being sprayed. I’ve only had one active shooter nightmare in my entire life, and I had been directly shot in the back during that one… but in this dream, I was somehow not hit with any of the flying bullets.

So now I need to look into the symbolism of shooting in dreams, if there is any.

I came across the Dream Bible’s shooting possible meanings, I won’t list them all, but the most relevant to my dream were: “To dream of seeing a shooting may reflect awareness of something in your life being cancelled, stopped, or purposely failed. A fight or conflict of interests in waking life. Feeling that people or life are working against you in some way. Feeling intentionally antagonized, attacked, or embarrassed. Feeling shocked by a sudden loss or setback. To dream of being shot at, but missed symbolizes people or situations that are attempting to control your decisions.

To further break this down, the prominent object in the dream was a gun, which according to a must-have dream interpretation book, “I Had The Strangest Dream…: The Dreamer’s Dictionary for the 21st Century” by Kelly Sullivan Walden, a gun in a dream symbolizes, “a desire for power over life and death, and that you are desperate about asserting boundaries to get what you need or want.

4. What were the most prominent feelings I experienced in my dream?

I was clearly terrified of being attacked, but I also felt territorial over my friend (I thought it was protective at first, but it was actually more territorial that I had felt), and I felt anxious.

5. Is there any correlation between those feelings/people from the dream into my waking life?

Right after I laid out my feelings, it clicked – just before bed that night I had an intense moment of fear. It was this past Sunday, we had an early morning call scheduled for work the next morning, and just as I was setting my alarm before bed, I instantly became worried that I needed to physically be in the office for the call, that we weren’t working from home and were expected to commute into the office. This was a totally bizarre anxiety flare up, I rationalized that if I were meant to go to the office, that it wouldn’t be a question and I would know for a fact… but either way, I went to bed anxious that I was meant to go in the next day, and terrified of being attacked for not being in the office for that early meeting.

Ultimately, the dream was a reflection of my just-before-bed work anxieties, Sunday Scaries literally trying to terrify me into a restless night’s sleep.

. . .

So, I solved the dream, right? It ended up being waking life anxieties that trickled into my dreams, I can disregard all of that abstract “gun and shooting” dream symbolism, right? Not necessarily, dreams aren’t math equations that are to be solved with only one answer. Dreams can have multiple meanings, it was by asking myself all of those questions above, that I was able to interpret my dream fully. I identified what triggered the dream, but I’m also able to pull from it additional info, or hidden messages if you will – such as “there are people or situations attempting to control my decisions” so I’m going to keep an eye out for those instances and stick to my *guns* and create boundaries in order to maintain my path and end goals.

While some people could say, “Oh, dreams are just dreams! Don’t look too much into it.” I don’t really buy that. A person on average has 4-6 dreams per night, most of the time waking up to remember none of them. So the ones you do remember? Ask yourself – why do you remember that one? It must have some significance.

I do believe that sometimes a butterfly is just a butterfly, but if you have some type of pull to that butterfly and suddenly it lands on your shoulder… that means something. That butterfly is just a pretty thing to me, but to you… that’s the message, or sign, that you’ve been waiting for. Listen to it, listen to the butterfly, and don’t let that message go unread.

. . .

I Made a Vision Board for 2021: Part One

Let me be the first to say that I am a natural pessimist, an anxiety-ridden, serial depressive who is an enneagram 6. I’m not one for religion, overly positive mantras or crystals, but I’m willing to try just about anything at least once if it’ll improve my mental health and life. Like many others, 2020 was a rough year mentally, physically and emotionally. Fresh off the hell that was Q4 2019 (see How to Heal a Broken Millennial Heart for further understanding), 2020 was doomed from the start. It was to be a year of transition, a metamorphosis if you will. 

When 2020 started, I was at my heaviest – emotionally, physically and mentally – and the most uncomfortable in my own skin. Each day was a trial, presenting countless obstacles for my personal and professional life. However, through all of the changes and adjustments, one thing prevailed: I suddenly had time. More time than I knew what to do with. 

I began having to confront things that I’d been able to push away thanks to being busy at work or by spending time with friends. I discovered pieces of myself that I wasn’t a huge fan of and wanted to change that. Serendipitously, 2020 became the year of realization and inner growth. Now, I won’t be one of those bloggers or influencers that vomit positivity and about how great 2020 was. Don’t get me wrong, 2020 SUCKED. But through the darkness, we can find light. That’s why I wanted to make a vision board for 2021.


What is a vision board?

A vision board, sometimes referred to as a dream board, is a physical way to manifest what you want. It’s a visualization tool used to manifest or ‘visualize’ what dreams or ideas you want to project into the universe. Personally, I’m not into all that touchy-feely stuff, but again, anything is worth a try at least once. This year, I’ve learned that there is no bigger obstacle than myself. I am what creates (and thus destroys) my own happiness. I am the only one who controls that. 

What is included in a vision board?

It can be anything you want. There are a few different ways to go about building a vision board, so truly there is no wrong answer. I made two – one for general ideation (completed) and one for specific goals (in progress). I included quotes, reminders, photos, souvenirs, small tokens/gifts and stickers. Besides the cork board itself, I only purchased one magazine to cut up – otherwise everything else was just stuff I had lying around my house. This does not have to be an expensive project – but it will require some time and thought. 

How does it work?

Vision boards serve as a physical reminder for what you’re wanting to achieve. Seeing it everyday will help keep your goals or ideas at the forefront of your mind as you progress through the weeks and months. It can help to motivate you in a passive way. Rather than an obnoxious alarm on your phone or a calendar reminder, you can be met with a peaceful, self-created image that hangs on your wall as a friendly notice.


Here’s my vision board, broken into four segments: travel, healing, growth, reminders.

Top Left  – Travel 

Each year, except 2020, I plan a trip abroad. I love to travel and to help visualize that, I’ve included a photo of the airplane when I visited Scotland, a luggage tag from France in 2011, a polaroid from the condo in Marco Island and a few travel themed stickers. I hope to travel, whether a big or small trip, and remember how lucky I am to be able to do that.

Top Right – Growth

Midway through 2020, I was invited to join a personal and professional growth program through my company. I was hesitant at first, feeling that I was already at a transitional point in my life, but decided, ‘why not?’. I had nothing to lose, but so much to gain. I’ve included two acronyms to remember daily: one from the work program (S.N.A.P.) and one from the Emotional Detox book by Sherianna Boyle, MED, CAGS (C.L.E.A.N.S.E.)

Bottom Left – Healing

As mentioned in How to Heal a Broken Millennial Heart, 2019 was a shitstorm before 2020 dreamed of it. I’ve included a dream catcher from a Lakota reservation that my grandmother gifted to me, a postcard from Annecy, a fortune cookie and quotes. This section will serve as a reminder that healing is a priority throughout this year – even when it doesn’t always feel good.

Bottom Right: Reminders

The bottom right has no true theme, but just gentle reminders. The moon cycle is a reminder that everything will pass and change. The polaroid is a reminder to get out every once in a while, embrace nature and the relationships that I’ve cultivated over the last year. Lastly, the patch, simple and straightforward –  have a nice day. 

Stay tuned for part two: goals!

It Bothers You More Than It Bothers Me

“Your bra strap is showing.”

“I can see your panty-lines.”

“Woah, is that a gray hair?”

Bra straps, panty-lines, and gray hair – oh, my!

How many times has someone made one of the above offhanded comments to you and suddenly you’re sent through an anxiety spiral? You’re now frantically rushing to the bathroom to pluck that stray gray hair you shouldn’t even have because you’re only 25 and what 25 year old has gray hair? You’re also trying to figure out if there’s a way to hide your bra strap and panty-lines… you’re only one “no f*cks given” away from freeing the titty and going commando to hide the lines and straps that society has forced you to wear but is somehow mortified to actually see evidence of on your body.

As your anxiety spiral continues at full force, all you want is to go back to your calm, cool, and collected vibe you had moments before that comment about your appearance was made. Now you’re in a position where you’re uncomfortable with your own body, wondering how you can fix it, or if it can even be fixed right in this moment.

Pro-Tip: If you want to say something about someone’s appearance in order to “help them out” – make sure it’s something they can fix immediately. If they can’t fix it immediately, don’t comment on it.

  • Tell someone:
    • They have something in their teeth
    • They have a visible booger or something on their face
    • They have toilet paper stuck to their shoe
    • Their makeup is smeared/lines are harsh (something they can quickly swipe and fix)
  • DON’T tell someone:
    • That you can see their gray hair, they probably know it’s there and are mildly self-conscious about it. What are you gaining in telling them you see it? They can’t dye their hair right this second…
    • That you can see panty-lines or bra straps – they’re just the visual constructs of society holding our shit together. Don’t hate the lady – HATE THE MAN!
    • That their lack of makeup makes them look tired/sick, “Are you ok?” not anymore homie…

Honestly, just don’t give unsolicited opinions about someone’s appearance – unless it’s something that will boost their self-esteem and make them smile. You’re not helping anyone by knocking down their physical appearance.

Even Regina George knew that…

. . .

The comments that get the most under my skin are about gray hair. Yes, yes – I am 25 years old with quite a few grays. I have rather dark brown hair, and I’ve been assured this is why it seems I have more than most of my friends, but it still makes me feel self-conscious. My lighter haired gal pals either get their hair dyed more frequently or their graying hair is maybe a lighter blonde?! We’ll never know 😉 (and that’s annoying)

Personally though, I’ve had several hairdressers assure me that I truly don’t have as much gray hair as I think and also that 25 isn’t super radical for grays to start showing face. Graying before you turn 20 is a bit early for grays, but after 20 is more in that “normal” sector. Whatever normal means anyway.

Through my frantic research of “is gray hair in your 20s normal?!” I found awesome terminology for the grays – some call them your “wisdoms” or “wisdom highlights” – and I’m obsessed with this. Gray hair confirming I am one of the wisest of them all? Yes, please.

“A little gray hair is a small price to pay for this much wisdom.”

. . .

As much as this article starts out by saying “DON’T RAIN ON SOMEONE’S PARADE BY MAKING UNSOLICITED REMARKS ON THEIR APPEARANCE!” People are still going to do it, they’re going to make a comment if you rapidly lose or gain weight, if they can see your gray hair, if your eyebrows need done, etc. People will always talk, always. You can’t control what they say, but you can control how you react. You have the power to decide if their opinion is of value and worthy of your stress, or if you completely disregard their remarks, maintain the headspace you had moments before the words left their mouths, and don’t let them live rent free in your head.

I think we can all agree the latter is the better option here.

Karen Smith Mean Girls Movie GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

. . .

Where is the Christ in Christmas?

Ahh, Christmas. The snow, the joy, the merriment, the massive orgy in the woods. If one of those things seems a little off, than I’d like to ask you how much you really know about the origins of Christmas.

“Well, Sarah, it all starts when Mary and Joseph had to travel to Jerusalem -“

That’s where I’m going to stop you, because you’re dead wrong. You have been brainwashed by the Catholic Church, even if you aren’t Catholic. As a former Catholic and current pagan, I have been invited by the lovely Peachy Keen editors to educate you all on the true meaning of Christmas: distracting ourselves from the fear of the cold, starvation, and darkness by throwing wild sex parties around massive bonfires.

I want to make this clear now. I have been pagan for about a year, focusing on the Celtic and Norse pantheon. I have read about the Romans and Greeks, because, who hasn’t? I don’t know a ton about the Egyptians, or any religions on the eastern side of the world, so I don’t claim to be an expert by any means. I also want to point out that I’m doing this Drunk History style. I’ve got a beer and I’m just gonna talk out of my ass for awhile about a subject I truly love, exposing the Catholic Churches hidden secrets.

So, first and foremost: Jesus was not born in December. Not even close. The mention of a shepherd out with his flock is your first indication that this is probably closer to July or August, because if we go back to 8th grade ecology, we’ll remember that deserts are freakishly hot in the day time and dangerously cold in the night time, and while I have lived my whole life in the temperate forest we know as the Midwest, I can take a decent guess that those dangerously cold nights are even colder in winter. And, something some of you may not know, sheep are usually brought much closer to home in the winter so that they can be easily accessed for their wool and watched more closely, as prey is scarce in the winter and the predators will be more likely to come up to a large flock in the middle of nowhere rather than up in a village or city. So, now that we’re done with our crash course in sheep husbandry, it makes much more sense that this account of angels and sheep and God’s chosen son was more closely tied in with bathing suit season than hot cocoa and snuggling weather.

“Ok, so if Jesus was born in the summer, then why do we celebrate his birthday in the middle of winter?”

Excellent question! Do you know what, aside from Christmas, is happening in mid December?

Most notably is the winter solstice, which is the shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. Imagine, you’re an ancient human from your area of choice in the northernmost Northern Hemisphere (that’s right, I’m not letting you get away with saying Jamaica so you can get out of this thought experiment). The days are getting shorter, colder, and hungrier. Your crops have all been harvested and stored, you’re collecting what food you can but your haul comes back smaller and smaller each time. I’m sure you’d start to get worried and sad, hoping you have enough to feed your family until the thaw. You begin to lose hope. So one of your neighbors comes up with an idea. “Hey, why don’t we light a huge fire on the shortest day to make it last longer. We can dance and sing and get drunk and… fool around. You know, to appease the gods.”

So the first guy to come up with this idea may have been a bit of a perv, much like the guy who figured out how to get milk, but it starts to catch on. In the midst of the darkness, you and your family and friends create your own light. You ask your gods to hurry up the winter (much like Groundhog’s Day), and you start giving offerings. A goose, some roasted chestnuts, whatever you can spare and emerge into the warmth of spring in a few months. And some of these gods preferred more… carnal offerings. And as people of faith tend to do, they delivered. They delivered to the point that when the Church sent missionaries out to the Celts and the Norse, they were appalled. These winter festivals of sex and merriment went against their whole schtick of “Suffer now be happy later.” So if they were going to get these people to accept Catholicism, they were going to have to rebrand these sex festivals. They let them live in tandem for a while, but eventually push came to shove and Yule and whatever Christmas was originally (I believe it was a day of fasting and penance much like Lent was meant to be) merged and the people decided to only keep the fun parts.

They kept a lot of the elements that we still know today, candles and fire and yule logs to burn through the long night instead of immense bonfires. A lot of people may already know this, but in Germanic and Norse regions, they would go and decorate the fir trees outside with trinkets and food to appease the forest spirits into helping them through. The excess of Christmas dinner and sweets comes from the principle of manifestation. If they were gluttonous and frivolous with their supplies on the darkest of nights, they must be prosperous next year. It was like a taunt to the gods I guess. “Look at us, we’re eating so much and it’s only the start of the cold, we must be so prosperous!”

Now for Santa. This is a one for one substitution. While there was a real Turkish man that would give money and trinkets to the poor, he is not the inspiration for Mr. Claus. No, that right is reserved for the All Father, Odin. That’s right, Thor’s gruff weird father who knows the secrets of the end of the world becomes jolly old saint Nick for Jól, the Norse word for the winter feast. Odin would go and reward his faithful servants with gifts. It may not have been the new PS5, but for Norse peoples it was a hope in a dark place. Hell, they didn’t even go that far from the source material. Odin’s eight legged horse equals Santa’s eight reindeer. Odin is even depicted frequently in a red suit and a wide brimmed hat. So I guess that makes Mrs. Clause Frigga, which I can get behind.

So, we’ve covered the Christmas tree, Santa Claus and his reindeer (which, by the way would be in rutting season at this time of year and the males would be extremely dangerous and also, have no horns due to shedding them. So just know that all of Santa’s reindeer have to be female), the yule log, the festive eating, and the fact that NONE OF IT CONTAINS JESUS. Not that Jesus wasn’t an amazing historical figure, but I feel like he may not be thrilled that we all celebrate his half birthday by giving gifts to each other while dressed as a Norse god and practicing ritualistic manifestation. So happy holidays, because while Christmas may seem like one holiday, it is the descendant of so many winter festivals and celebrations that there isn’t really a true “Christ” in Christmas. Celebrate the longest night of the year the way you want to, whether that’s honoring the Roman martyr, dressing like the All Father, or drinking the night away like the ancients.

. . .

The One Where She Went Skiing

Newsflash – Indiana is flat AF. Straight roads go on for miles and miles, the most exciting a road can get is if you hit a pothole that sends you flying.

Indiana is so flat you can watch your dog run away for two weeks.

Indiana is so flat

Okay, ok – done.

Indiana is flat, but something weird happens the farther south you go. The Earth begins to rise and these mounds of dirt begin to emerge. One of the more hilly towns of Indiana is that of Paoli – home of Paoli Peaks. Paoli Peaks is a ski resort in Orange County and built on a natural hill at a 900 ft. elevation with a vertical drop of 300 ft. For well traveled skiers, this may seem like a bunny hill of a feat, but for those who’d like to ski somewhere between Louisville and Indianapolis… I’d say Paoli is the Aspen of Indiana. If you want to get real fancy on this ski-escapade, you’d stay in the West Baden Springs Hotel and drink in that wealth before hopping over to the slopes – that hotel and its entire grounds are seriously impressive and sets the tone for a lush experience.

January 2014 is when I got my first taste of Paoli, and my one and only go at skiing – and my God, was that something to behold.

If I told you I excelled immediately and was a natural born skier, my pants would burst into flames because that would be one of the biggest lies of the century. The amount of times I fell, and cursed the children who were expertly skiing past me as I lie staring at the sky were insurmountable. The number of times I threatened the lives of others, both on purpose and accident, were shocking. But the amount of times I fell and got up either by myself, or with a helping hand… were impressive.

Clearly I learned some existential things during my time skiing in the Aspen of Indiana:

You can’t just waltz in somewhere and think you’ll be perfect right off the bat. Sometimes it happens, but a lot of the time… to be really good at something, it takes time. Not just several hours either, but days, weeks, months, years to be really good at something.

So don’t put too much pressure on yourself to be perfect at something new. In fact, go in with the mindset of “I might suck now, but I’ll get better.”

I can’t emphasize enough how enraged I was, each time I fell to the snowy ground and saw these children just expertly skiing past me. It was unfair, I was older and supposed to inherently be better – it’s how it works.

But it’s actually not, is it?

Those children have been skiing as long as they could walk, maybe. But also the way young minds absorb new things is completely unparalleled to an older/adult brain.

In all walks of life, it is highly likely you will come across a younger person who simply knows more, or does something better, than you. Don’t be bitter about it, be better and maybe even ask them for help. Don’t let pride and ego stop you from being better.

I’m really, really terrible at asking for help. I’m an incredibly determined person and fairly confident in the fact that I can do anything. There’s not much I can’t do on my own, and I quite like it this way.

But do you know how much quicker something can get done if you invest in an extra hand? It took me a couple hours into skiing to just finally ask anyone and everyone for help on that slope. And it’s so crazy – the more people I asked, the more friends I made, and the more enjoyable the day went on to be.

It’s so important to try new things, but sometimes trying a bunch of new things all at once is too much. It sends your body into a bit of shock and can ruin the vibe pretty quick.

By the time I got the skiing “down”, down as in not falling every few minutes, I was quickly convinced by a friend to try snowboarding. I should’ve drawn the line and said, “No, thanks – I still want to focus on skiing and get this solidified before the days done.”

But no, I of course agreed and created this new obstacle for myself. Within moments of trying to snowboard, my body, well my mind really, was just like “Girl, you’re maxed out for the day. You’re done. Also, you now hate everyone.”

Setting goals is just as important as setting limits. Respect yourself enough to do both, and communicate your boundaries to those around you.

It really is as simple as that – don’t let one mistake keep you from trying again.

Epic fails = epic character building.

. . .

Emily at Paoli Peaks in 2014

My First Car, Mumford

To date, one of the most pinnacle moments in my life is the moment I got my license. When I turned 16, I got my learners permit, and six months later on the dot I walked out of the DMV with my license in hand, ready to hit the road. One could easily say that getting your license is important to everyone, but you don’t understand – my having a license, being in control of my own transportation… this was big.

Being raised by a single mother who works full time, meant that I was often shuffled around relying not on just one or two people to transfer me where I needed, but multiple family members would help, along with numerous family friends throughout the years. It takes a village to raise a child after all, and it takes a village and a half to get one across town to various sporting games, social festivities, and other extra curriculars.

But having to rely on multiple people to get me where I needed never bothered me, why should it? All of these people cared about me so much they willingly hauled my butt around Madison County.

The main reason I was eager to get my own car? Driving myself to school in the mornings.

No, no – I never had to take the bus, but my sister and I fought like cats and dogs every single morning. Not just screaming matches, but nearly every morning there would be a WWE match taking place in the kitchen. Mainly these resulted from a toxic mix of night owls being forced from their dens before 8AM and my incessant need to be on time, or early rather, to school.

I was the kid who would scream throughout the house, “It’s 7:15! WE NEED TO LEAVE!” then the following minute would pass and I’d release an exasperated growl while pacing in the kitchen, “7:16, PEOPLE, I REPEAT IT IS NOW 7:16! WE NEED TO LEAVE!!”

Now what’s hysterical, is anyone who knows me today knows I struggle to be on time. But what can I say, as I age priorities change!

But anyway, the minute I had my license I had all the control I could possible need at the time – I could leave whenever I wanted.

. . .

The story of how I got my first car, is quite standard (maybe?!) I worked a comically dramatic summer for my dad in Kentucky. It was a particularly dry and hot summer with the temperatures hitting over 100 degrees each day, and my daily duties were a mix of helping my step-mom with some admin stuff, cleaning around the houses that were in construction, shuttling my siblings between various sports. As you can imagine, there were also several dramatic instances of me “quitting” because it was too hot to function. I earned a hundred or so dollars here and there, enough for gas and to funnel $25 a week over to my papa. He had offered me his 1997 Chrysler Sebring Convertible for $500 plus the condition that I kept a job while I had the car.

So by the end of the summer of 2012, I had sent my papa the $500, road tripped to his house in Pennsylvania to pick it up, and secured a job at the glorious Waffle House in Anderson, Indiana.

A 16 year old with a convertible and unlimited access to Waffle House hashbrowns? I was livin’ the Hoosier Dream!

I got attached to my Sebring fast. It was an older car, that had a decent amount of miles on it, 100k or so, but it was well maintained and ran great. This might sound crazy, but it always seemed to run the best whenever I played any Mumford and Sons song, so naming it Mumford was a no brainer there.

Good ole’ Mumford got me through my senior year of high school and only a few weeks shy of getting me all through college. I ran him bone dry, his life ending at somewhere between 326-346k miles, but to be fair towards the end he ran me (and my parent’s bank accounts) dry too.

Notable Mumford Moments:

There was a point in time when my driver side door just decided not to open. The lock would jam and that was that. It lasted a few months before it decided to work like a normal door again, but those several months were a freaky mix of me either awkwardly climbing through the window or stealthily sliding in through the passenger side. This also happened in the winter months, so having the top down to easily hop in wasn’t a thing…

Speaking of the weird lock thing, it also somehow triggered the door into never fully shutting all of the way? And during those few months when the door was mysteriously locked forever, my car alarm would randomly decide to go off throughout the night. My neighbors loved me 😉

This may or may not be news to you, but convertibles are the ultimate getaway car. Mumford helped carry out the greatest heist of all time – the stealing of a massive shark from some poor boy’s graduation party. (don’t worry the hostage was returned safe and sound later that evening..)

Soft top convertibles are glitz and glam, until that thing happens. Soft top owners, you know what it is… the rear glass separates from the top *face palm* I found the glass had separated in the worst way possible – after it had snowed A LOT, then the snow melted… and caked the inside of my car in mildew. The rest of my car’s life was a one of a duct taped exterior and a ‘heavy duty febreeze before driving’ interior. This smell only enhanced that summer when my AC didn’t work… LOL

Ironically, this photo is from a few weeks before the car’s passing, just after I found a local place that replaced the glass for around $100, but if you look close you can still see the duct tape battle scars :’)

. . .

This car, Mumford, he held all of the peak memories from my teenage years. Mumford played such a vital part of my friend group, he was the friend you could always count on to provide a good time. When you grow up in the Crossroads of America, all you and your friends can really do when bored is just hop in a car and fly down some back roads screaming the lyrics to your favorite songs – which made a convertible with a brand new stereo (courtesy of a Papa who loves to rock n’ roll) the perfect car for a bunch of teens to feel wild and free.

It doesn’t matter how new your car is, it doesn’t matter how fancy or sleek it is, it doesn’t even really matter if the car is a bit quirky – not when you’re 16. When you’re 16, all you need is a fast car with damn good stereo.

. . .

Share your first car stories in the comments below!

Emily’s car Mumford: 1997 Chrysler Sebring Convertible

Ice Queen Vibes

UNPOPULAR OPINION ALERT: Winter is better than Summer.

Actually, I’ll go even further. Winter is better than all other seasons! Winter could take on any other season in a fight, even with one hand tied behind her back. I said it.

Before you completely dismiss this article AND Winter, check out the list of reasons I give to support my argument below:

1. Colder Temperatures = Less Sweat

Look, I know that this sounds like a prissy, annoying and superficially “girly” reason to dislike summer. But be honest, who actually enjoys sweating, other than satan himself? Summer is great, until the temperature goes above 75 degrees. Once it’s 76 and over, it is GAME OVER for the armpits of your favorite shirts, your perfectly coiffed hairstyle, the shower that you just took that morning and the skin on the back of your legs as you rip yourself off the leather seats of your car. No thanks, I’ll pass.

2. No Flowering Trees in Bloom = No Incessant Allergies

“But what about indoor allerg–” SHUT UP LINDA, THAT’S NOT WHAT I’M TALKING ABOUT. Personally, I suffer from pollen allergies. Every childhood summer I had was spent avoiding my siblings pleas to play outside with them. I didn’t know why I hated it out there until high school when my doctor told me for the fourth year in a row that I wasn’t sick, I just had allergies. Finally it all made sense! I figured out that the sore throat, the runny nose and the itchy eyes (actually the itching all over) had a cause. That cause was warm weather. Therefore, God bless buttoned-up coats and bare-naked trees!

3. It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

HELLO WINTER HOLIDAYS! Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa, you know you’re going to have a killer family (or friend) celebration during the Winter months. Even if you don’t celebrate any religious holidays, there’s probably still a New Years Eve party to boogie with your friends at on December 31st. I can’t lie, I love getting fancy and festive! Oh, let’s not forget the fact that even as an adult, you normally get time off from stress for these celebrations. Sign me up!

4. Cold Weather Fashion is the “Coolest”

Dresses with tights, blazers, sweaters, beanies, boots and scarves…need I say more? Much cuter than a pair of sweaty jean shorts…just sayin’.

5. The Cozier, the Better

There’s really nothing better than being wrapped up in soft blankets on a cold night, hot tea or hot chocolate in hand. If you’re one of the lucky ones with a fireplace, cuddle up next to that bad boy and read a good book! Go get yourself a hot peppermint mocha latte and sip your cares away. In the summer, all you get is sweat-soaked sheets and an angry walk in the heat to the coffee shop. Which sounds better to you? I sure know what I’d prefer.

*-*-*-*-*-*

There are some good things about warm weather. I love bonfires and beaches as much as anyone! I also can see why one might dislike Winter, like driving on icy roads (but hey, snow days!) and having to carry your coat all around the bar. However, I’ve weighed the pros and cons of all four seasons and Winter always seems to come out on top. You can try to convince me otherwise, but meanwhile I’m content with being the ice queen I am.

Coming to a Podcast Near You

Alex here with some exciting news about “Whatcha Thinkin’?” Season Two! I’m going in a new direction with the show, things are going to get a bit more personal…

During my Introducing Me episode, I mentioned I’m on the autism spectrum (Aspergers Syndrome or Aspie for short) and I’ve decided that I want to do an episode about Aspergers. Not enough people know what Aspergers truly is, or how it impacts my daily life.

With this new season of “Whatcha Thinkin?“, I’m focusing on Aspergers and sharing how I’ve overcome obstacles such as college life, dating, being engaged, job hunting/job interviews, and the current global pandemic. I’m going to share some tips and tricks that I’ve learned over the years that help me thrive in everyday life.

Click the link below to check out the trailer for Season Two!

How My Mom Prepared Me for the Covid Era

Standing in line at CVS, I glance down to ensure I’m perfectly placed on the red dot – maintaining adequate social distance from the person in front of me. I don’t know them, I don’t know their story, most importantly I don’t know when they last sanitized their hands.

After they’ve received their bag with the receipt inside, I patiently wait for the cashier to sanitize the surface before calling me forward. I drop down my items, which are an array of nail polish and a cute first aid kit – super handy to slip into my purse – and I watch as each item is scanned and tossed in a bag. Once all of the items are accounted for, the cashier asks for a phone number – which I quickly recite by heart.

Nicole?” they ask.

I pause for a moment before it sets in, if there’s ever been any week in my entire life where I can confidently say I am my mother.. it is certainly this one. I smile, not that it can be seen beneath my thick mask, and respond, “Yep, that’s me.

. . .

Recently I was in California for work, and this is where I got to put my Covid Officer certification to use. I was onsite to primarily enforce proper sanitization and go the extra mile to ensure we were doing all we could onsite to prevent the spread.

It was almost startling how natural it felt to me to enforce all of those little preventative actions. You know, the ones that are seemingly hard for most of the population? The cough in your elbow or shoulder, wash your hands, stay away from buffets or shared food in general, always have hand sanitizer on you… wipe down high contact surfaces repeatedly…

But these small things, I’ve realized, are just the tip of the iceberg on the little hacks my moderately-germophobic mother raised my sister and I on. I’ve now had two productions I’ve been a Covid Officer on, and each time I asked the person in charge, “How high do you want me to turn up the volume, because I can turn it up real high or be more moderate…” but what I was really asking is “How much of my mother do you want to see come out?

Some of my favorite mom highlights and rules growing up:

MOM RULE ONE:

DON’T SHARE DRINKS OR FOOD

MOM RULE TWO:

DON’T TOUCH HIGH CONTACT SURFACES WITH YOUR BAREHANDS UNLESS GIVEN NO OTHER CHOICE…

MOM RULE THREE:

KEEP YOUR HANDS CLEAN ALWAYS

Honestly, what is most hysterical about my mom being such a germaphobe and coming off very… high strung up above, is that growing up she still maintained ‘cool mom’ status. My fave mom quote ever is, “What I cannot see, I cannot prevent…” and not to mention my mom always helped me throw the most fun and memorable parties growing up.

So this is to say – you can be fun, cool, and have all the party vibes in the world… but still practice being sanitized, being aware of how germs and sickness can so easily spread, and do your part to stop the spread of COVID-19.

. . .

Birdie’s Spooks: Am I Dreaming?

This paranormal experience was the one that took the cake. This is the one I remember very vividly that left me with a residual fear of sleeping alone, or even sleeping in general.

I was young, my sister was still in high school, and she’s five years older than me to give you an idea. It was probably just past 11pm. I was sleeping in my bedroom which was on the second floor. At the time, my sister lived in the second living room towards the front of the house and at the base of the stairs. As I’ve mentioned before, my room was placed in such a way I could hear TVs on or people talking in any room of the house. I also always slept with my door open if someone else was home with me.

While I was sleeping, I remember being woken up by something. Thinking back, I had to have been in a deep sleep because I was pretty groggy at first. The first thing I immediately recognize was the fact I could not move. My arms were planted at my side and I was on my back. My fingers were spread so far apart and my hand muscles were being flexed. I was able to move my head so when I looked to the left, I saw my pillows that were once at the head of my bed were now at the base of my bed and on the floor. I must have fallen asleep doing homework or writing because I saw a pencil stand on end next to my left flexed out hand.

I remember trying to scream, but I could not make a peep.

This episode lasted about one minute. It ended abruptly after I heard clear as day, a little girl laugh. It was almost like she was making fun of me or thought it was funny to do those things to me. I don’t even know if she was the one who did it. Regardless, I was scared out of my mind.

Once I was able to move, I ran out of my room, down the stairs, and stopped in front of my sister’s room. I asked her if she heard anything or saw anyone and she said no. I gathered myself and walked to our kitchen and got a glass of water and went back up to my room. During this time of reflection, I tried to rationalize what I experienced. I thought maybe I was dreaming. Maybe I had an episode of sleep paralysis. I was familiar with this because I had been diagnosed with sleep apnea, however, not sleep paralysis.

In order for me to know whether I was dreaming or not, I had to go back up to my room and see if what I truly thought happened, actually happened.

I get back to my room and I remember not wanting to look. But lo and behold, my pillows were on the floor in front my bed and remember that pencil I said I saw stand up in my bed?

It was on my bed still.

I was convince that what I encountered actually did happen and it was, in fact, not a dream, and not a case of classic sleep paralysis. You best believe I slept with the door open that night and my TV was on.

This was the first and last time anything like this happened to me. Still gives me chills reliving it.

How about you?

Birdie’s Spooks: A Familiar Voice

My childhood home has always been a bit creepy. There was really no reason for it to feel that way, really. The house was a new build on a large plot of land that would eventually grow into a small subdivision. My family built our home in the winter of 1995 in a tiny, but growing, town. The only thing we knew about the land was that there once used to be a glass factory there before it became an empty plot of land. The history goes there was an explosion inside the factory, but it happened in the middle of the night when no one was on shift. There were no reported deaths. This would explain why we would find chunks of glass EVERYWHERE in the neighborhood.

It could not explain, however, the reason behind all the paranormal experiences that have occurred in the house.

This first story is the earliest memory of my paranormal encounters. My sister and mother always would tell stories, but this was my first personal account. In 2007, my mother and father separated and I was currently living with my mother in our house. I was upstairs playing with my neighbor in my bedroom, which was located above the garage and kitchen. All of our rooms were close together so it was easy to hear when people came and went, where they were in the house, and if someone was cooking in the kitchen or watching TV in the living room.

At the time, we were alone in the house.

It was after school, mother was at work, and my sister was at a friend’s house. We were playing with my hamster, Bob, in his running ball. Out of nowhere, I heard a very familiar voice say my name. Not JUST my name, but my nickname that only my close family would call me. The tone was also unsettling. It sounded like my father shouted my nickname up the stairs in a scolding manner. I turn my head to my friend and ask, “ Did you hear that too?” She reluctantly said yes.

A little back story on my father… As a child, my father and I did not have that idealized father-daughter relationship, per say, there was no favoritism, nor getting away with anything just because I was the baby of the family. Whenever he disciplined me, it was very harsh and stern. There would be times I’d be at the top of the stairs and he would lean over the railing at the base of the stairs and yell my nickname, ‘Renee’ for which I was probably in trouble for something when that happened. So there was no mistaking the voice we heard that day.

After my friend and I heard “Renee!!” being yelled up the stairs, we gathered ourselves together and I walked out my door, down the short hallway. My hair was standing on end, heart was racing, because I knew we were alone – but something in me was hoping my father was somehow standing at the bottom of the stairs, even with the knowledge I had not seen him, nor talked to him, in months. I peered around the corner that was to my left and looked down the stairwell.

Alas, no one was there.

I called out to see if someone was home, despite me knowing even if someone was home, it was only going to be my mother or my sister — not a man. With no response to me, I simply walked back to my bedroom and resumed playing with my friend.

I never told this story to my family until later. That’s when the stories from my mother and sister unraveled. They’ve been having paranormal experiences ever since they could remember. I guess it was about time my experiences began. And boy, did they.

My Water Journey: An Apology Letter

Dear water,

I’ve been working on not saying “sorry” as much, but I owe you the ultimate apology. I used to hate you, despise you, LOATE YOU, but my heart has changed. Now, I can’t live without you.

We love the drama, no?

A couple of my girlfriends and I took it upon ourselves to track our water intake about a month and a half ago. I knew it would be tough for me because, ashamedly…

I was that girl who used to drink soda for breakfast.

I know you audibly gasped, maybe even puked just then, but it’s true. I was a monster. Since I was a wee lad I would want soda as soon as I woke up. I’d even go as far as waking up in the middle of the night CRAVING the sweet, sweet carbonation of that caffeinated demon.

So we started the journey by downloading Plant Nanny and/or My Water, a couple cute ways to hold ourselves accountable. We even went as far as buying new water bottles for the occasion. After a little bit of research we found that for us, we’d need approximately 12 cups/96 fluid ounces of water a day — it’s different for everyone based on a variety of things.

I was intimidated to say the least. I was already a dehydrated vessel of a woman from my severe lack of water intake, but I don’t even think I was consuming 96 oz. of fluid a day at all. I got busy and forget to drink! Thank god we’re on that #SelfCare train now and are rolling straight into hydration station. *choo choo*

Now, I’m not going to say I am a perfect flower and hit my goal every day, nor have I rid myself of soda forever. If I know I’ll want soda later on in the day, I’ll make sure I hit my goal beforehand so I can indulge later. I’ve also cut my soda consumption down drastically to maybe three a week. And my skinnnnnnnnnnnn honey, omg she is POPPIN’!

But wait, there’s more! Clearer skin isn’t the only benefit water offers.

According to healthline.com:

  • It maximizes physical performance in a multitude of ways. Being dehydrated “can lead to altered body temperature control, reduced motivation, and increased fatigue. It can also make exercise feel much more difficult, both physically and mentally.” Um, no thanks.
  • Staying hydrated affects your energy levels and brain function! “Studies show that even mild dehydration, such as the loss of 1–3% of body weight, can impair many aspects of brain function.” That’s flat out scary, y’all. I know it’s spooky season, but damn. Dehydration also leads to poor mood and memory, and we already out here being hormonal AND dealing with ADHD, so I don’t need help in the negative mood/memory department.
  • It may help prevent and treat headaches — something I’ve noticed in myself. “For example, a study in 393 people found that 40% of the participants experienced a headache as a result of dehydration. What’s more, some studies have shown that drinking water can help relieve headaches in those who experience frequent headaches.” FYI, there’s still more research needed to confirm, but it makes a whole lot of sense to me! So the next time you’re experiencing a headache, consider your hydration levels before automatically popping an ibuprofen.
  • Hydration relieves constipation — another benefit I’ve gained LOL TMI (jk everybody poops and if you’re grossed out please remove yourself from this blog immediately). On a real note, this one shocked me because right after I started drinking more water, I couldn’t stop going to the bathroom and didn’t know why. Little did I know, my body was rejoicing!

I know these are widely known, but helping with hangovers, weight loss, and kidney stones are the last few benefits listed in the article if you’d like to learn more.

BOTTOM LINE: Drink more water. Drink enough water. Hell, maybe cut soda out of your diet altogether because I could write another novel on why it’s so bad for you.

At the end of the day, water, you have been nothing but a blessing to me and I’ll never stop singing your praises. You’re the kween that keeps me a kween.

With love and sexy skin,

Lindsey