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By Cazey Williams and Sara Woznicki

It’s been almost six months since we debuted As Told Over Brunch. In that time, we’ve been thrilled by new followers, frequent guest posts, and where this blog is heading.

We recently approached our talented friend, Christine Pomatto, to redesign our site to add some personality (and coffee beans and orange rinds, hint hint . . . ). In the next several days, ATOB will go off the grid (gasp! SOS!) while Christine switches over the current site to the new one.

We hope you stay tuned and drop by for a “blog-warming” party when we’re back! Meanwhile, Sara will be in Punta Cana . . . .

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Does Roller Lash from Benefit Live Up to its Solid Marketing?

By Sara Woznicki

I was given a free sample because I'm a Klout influencer. I am under no obligation to receive the sample or talk about this company. I get no additional benefits for talking about the product or company.

benefit cosmetic roller lashI recently got a free sample of Benefit’s Roller Lash mascara in the mail, and was pretty excited from the moment I opened it. They sent along two small free samples (for friends) and one big tube of mascara (for me), plus a photo frame that I will not be using. The packaging was pretty trendy, mixing light green and pink with a cute puppy getting its hair done. Overall, the entire package set me up to believe this was going to be a successful free sampling.

The first time I tried the mascara was last Saturday before my roommates’ and my reunion rave. When I opened the packaging and went to use the mascara, I was concerned initially about the thinness of the mascara liquid. It looked like black water, and not the thick mascara liquid I’m used to seeing. However, that proved to be a non-issue down the line, and maybe even a positive attribute.

The first benefit of Benefit’s Roller Lash (see what I did there) is the brush itself. It’s got quite the hook to it, which made getting a bit of additional volume to my lashes easy. I think part of my success was the fact that I actually tried too, because I usually just do a quick once-over with my normal brush. The brush definitely maximized my additional efforts too though.

Once the mascara was on, it was unlike my normal mascara because it wasn’t clumpy. I couldn’t initially decide if I liked it or not, because clumpy mascara adds thickness to my lashes, but may not necessarily be in a good way. Roller lash didn’t give me any thickness, but was able to lift and separate my lashes (am I now talking about a bra?) really well.

Since talking about mascara doesn’t do much good, here’s a before and after montage that sort of shows what I’m talking about. Don’t mind the awkward bulging eye shots; it’s the best I could do.

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Overall, I would say that Benefit Roller Lash lived up to its name. My lashes look longer and less clunky. The mascara seemed to dry quickly, and stayed on all day (well, in the first case, night). Given the option at a store, my hand would probably reach its way over to Benefit Cosmetic’s Roller Lash.

benefit roller lash reviewAnother thing I liked about Benefit’s package was their social media integration (this obviously stems from my job in social media). I like when a company lets its users take ownership over a tiny portion of it. And yeah, I took advantage of that and threw up an Instagram with their hashtag #curlfriends (see left).

My takeaway here is: I’ve gotten a few free samples lately (one of which was cat food, because that makes sense for my invisible cat) and this is far and away the only product that compelled me to write a review. This Instagram of myself also compels me to keep my nail polish game more on point if I’m going to cave into the selfie-culture, even though I’m pretty against it.

When You Can’t Hang Up on Being Hung Up

By Cazey Williams

Unless you’re the rare asexual, we’ve all at some point felt something for someone. And sometimes it works out, but when it doesn’t, those feelings don’t just evaporate. The first law of thermodynamics (conservation of energy) applies even in love.

Well, sometimes. Sometimes it’s easy to get over someone. I can list my middle school crushes without any twinges (though I did date the most popular girl in my middle school for eight hours; why didn’t that work out?).

I also still remember my first crush’s birthday (who I asked out three times – what were you thinking, Cazey?). We’re friends now, and I text her happy birthday every March 24. But if she hadn’t been my first crush, would I remember the date without Facebook’s prompting?

Some flames can’t be put out. They glow six months later, through the seasons, and continue to burn even when you get their wedding invitation and you’re not the groom (just kidding on the last one – hopefully).

You tell yourself you’ll get over them – soon, too. It has to happen by next Christmas, right? You recount the last time you were hung up on someone, and you were really hung up on them. How long was it – two years? And that’s including the year and a half you two were talking (you never dated; of course you didn’t). But for the next twelve months, every Facebook status, comment, and picture had some manipulative angle where you prayed they would see it and think of you.

But now look at you: You never think of them and you’re even disgusted you fell for them!

So when do I get over the current one?

Time heals all wounds, they say, and it’s always worked before, so it has to work again. But then you recall tales of unrequited love that last through the ages, e.g. Severus Snape, Great Expectations,  Atonement, etc. There is something sexy about two lovers awakening to the fact they have wanted one another for decades (“Why didn’t you say something sooner?”) – or is that just me?

Why can’t we get over some people? Even as we loathe ourselves, we are consumed by them. Not every hour or every day, but when their ghost passes by, God help us.

It doesn’t help when we hear stories where it works. Well, sorta works. A friend crushed on this guy all through college. They eventually went on a date that ended with injured psyches and embarrassed morals. (Quick lesson: Don’t full-on hookup on a first date if you really, really like them – and especially don’t question their virtue aloud afterward.)

Except she still liked him afterward.

Fast forward two years: He messages that he still thinks about her. And, cliffhanger, she isn’t creeped out. She feels the same way. *Audiences aws.*

Of course, it still doesn’t work, love is a biased coin’s flip, but the confession didn’t land him in psycho stalker territory. *Audience claps.*

Fear of reaction is why “love” stays a secret so often. And wax all you want about “What is there to lose?,” but some of us have pride and a rationality that rejects your Pinterest quote board approach to life. While I can’t control my heart and thoughts, I can control what I do because of those feelings.

So that’s why I grabbed dinner with a former entanglement recently. (Oops?) I won’t lie, I did it because I was curious. And it was all dandy until she dropped that she and her boyfriend might break up. And she thinks about me under various guises – like when she exercises, checks Twitter, and breathes.

You’re not allowed to say that, I wanted to say.

Worse than seeing her, I did a thing you should never do if you’re trying to extinguish a fire (bad child!): I revisited our Facebook chat history. Aka I relived every moment she asked me to hang out three years ago and every bad joke I made and every excuse I offered for why I wasn’t available to see her at the proposed time.

SERENITY NOW.

Personally, time may soothe, but distance exacerbates. It is far easier to be hung up on someone we don’t see, who is unattainable if not simply unavailable – because then we have rationales for why it won’t work: “They live too far away,” “They’re in a relationship,” etc. We ignore the “it won’t work” part of that thought. We live off sparks from prehistoric encounters. Since fire was found, it has never gone out – and so it is for romance.

You remember the moment you fell for them and the sleepless nights where you awoke with as much energy as your stomach’s somersaults. When not together, we can disregard the scenarios where they would choose someone else over us and/or our passion fizzles out (as every fire is bound to do).

Instead, we fixate on the Wednesday in spring where she sat too close and you realized you wanted her just as bad. In 36 hours you confess mutual feelings. And within the week, she’s a memory that drove away only to be resurrected by texts that go nowhere and reunions that are amicable, restrained, futile, for the next three years.

Why am I still standing here? you wonder. They shouldn’t call it a hang-up if you’re still on the line.

What put it all in perspective is when my roommate asked pointblank if I would date my former entanglement if she declared similar feelings. I paused, but the answer was no. The thing with being hung up is, you don’t actually like them. You like their memory. And that’s why you’re hung up; memories never go away.

When a Pet Passes On

Guinevere fog cabinBy Cazey Williams

Last week I turned 24. Three days later the dog my family adopted twelve years ago passed away. I don’t want to say my dog’s passing is fitting, but it is cruelly symmetrical.

I was the only one in the family who could spell her name: Guinevere, not Gwenevere or Guenevere, but yes, Gwenny. I remember I wanted a dog so bad at 12. Our golden retrievers passed away two years before, but I was born into their family; I had never raised a dog.

I didn’t hold Guinevere when I first saw her. It was our second visit to the pound, and we had our eyes set on another dog – a Beagle. We were first on the list for that Beagle. Guinevere was just a 10-week-old puppy knocked out in her kennel, tired out from all the handling people do when they see a pup. My parents agreed we could sign up for her. We weren’t going to get her; we were sixth on the list.

But then they called. My mom says she knew we were getting her when we took a wastebasket with us – to hold her in the car ride home. She only filled half the wastebasket on that ride. That didn’t last long.

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She was supposed to be my dog, my puppy, my shadow, but she truly was my dad’s dog. He fed her, he walked her for miles, and it was he who she waited for at the end of the day. This was destined when I look back: My dad grew up around dogs, but he never really had his own. Like me, his father was the primary caretaker for the dogs.

But Guinevere and I had an understanding that I was her brother. She slept in my room when she was being housebroken. I chased her in circles around the house. I named her.

When our church had a photo session for a new directory, we brought Guinevere to the photo shoot. Our most recent family photo (which is, admittedly, from my senior year of high school) has Guinevere in my dad’s lap. We said we wanted that picture in the directory. Some priss decided a different photo – one without a dog – would go in. Oh well. It’s the photo with Guinevere in it that sits atop my dresser.

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You can’t tell a dog when you’re going to college, why you’re leaving her, when you’ll be back, that you tell your friends about her. My friends all knew about the queen, a queen because of her namesake, not because of her temperament. You’re more excited for free food when you first come home from college, and all she wants to do is sniff you, but at night you cuddle with her and roll the ball and she knows you always missed her. And when you leave again, you’re trying to make time. You hurriedly hug her, maybe peck her between the eyes, but then you’re gone. You’ll see her again.

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I always knew she would go, the same way I know everyone will go. I just didn’t think it would be yesterday. With each recent visit home, she was stiffer, and there were bumps beneath her fur. I expressed concern, but everyone else shrugged; that’s what happens to old dogs. But she could also so easily revert to her puppy self. She would play-growl and hop about. She would cock her head when I didn’t chase her. And I would lay on the floor and Instagram her once I got tired of circles. I sometimes wonder if dogs can develop dementia – and, in a wonderful way, relive their puppyhood.

Guinevere on back

Still, I thought she had time. In my mind, she was 12, but a smaller dog, so that meant two more years, at least one more summer. My kiss goodbye on Easter was a “see you later” – which maybe it still is, but it’s a little longer “see you later” than I meant.

My dad left me a voicemail on Saturday morning. There was nothing urgent in his call, but then he called again an hour later. I stupidly answered while doing yoga stretches at the gym. Thirty seconds of casual chatter, and then some words I don’t recall verbatim, but the shadow moved swift: He was about to tell me Guinevere was gone. “Guinevere was getting older,” “it was peaceful,” “Thursday night was rough,” “we thought about waiting for you to come home,” “it was the right thing to do,” “we love you,” “are you okay?”

“Yeah. Yeah, I’m fine.”

But suddenly you can’t be inside. I think what did it was trying to post a photo of my beloved with “My princess passed on yesterday” with a crown emoji. But then I couldn’t stare at her brown eyes, her solemn face with hints of puppyhood beaming through, and remembering her in that wastebasket, on my bed, beside me on family vacations, and my throat stretched dry. I deleted the photo, and I went outside. I had intended to go for a run, and so I did that. I did not intend to cry on the run. What a pathetic mess.

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Blame the ENTJ in me, but I always question what is the point of tears. Crying gets you nowhere. I knew Guinevere would go; I knew she was old. But that doesn’t change the memory slideshow playing through your head or the hindsight bias that I should have played with her one more time before I left on Easter or gone home spur-of-the-moment to be with her at the end. My guiltiest moment from childhood is when my parents put down one of our golden retrievers while I was at school, and I didn’t notice she was missing until my parents informed me. What a ignorant, self-absorbed, horrible sibling I was.

And writing this now, I think of one time I was inconsolably upset, irrevocably pissed at the world.  So I clung to Guinevere and sobbed into her fur. (This memory sounds melodramatic.) I didn’t need her to talk back or lick my face, just be there. And that’s what dogs are good for.

But now she’s gone. Even when you know it’s coming, nothing softens the reality. So, chase your dog around the house one more time today. For Guinevere.

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The New Mumford & Sons: Hopeless Wanderer or Little Lion Man?

By Amanda Gentry*

Amanda is today’s guest blogger and an eternal graduate student and mother of one 80-lb lap dog. When not banging her head against her desk, she may be found drinking unhealthy amounts of coffee, modge-podging magazines pictures like a 5-year old, and sneaking kale into meals she cooks for her husband. She tweets at @AmandaEGentry. If you’re interested in writing for ATOB, contact us at AsToldOverBrunch@gmail.com.

It’s late Monday afternoon,and I’m Gchatting classmates as my graduate course trundles into its second hour. Our instructor speaks in a monotone that could cure insomnia and the subject matter – plots of differences of log baselines hazard ratios – isn’t exactly blowing my skirt up. Our banter typically includes URLs for the shoes we’re thinking about buying or the latest funny Elite Daily article we read. Amidst this, a classmate drops the link with a comment about my favorite band, Mumford & Sons.

I read, but cannot keep my nose from turning up as the article describes “the band moving into more traditional rock territory and not using the banjo” in their new album, Wilder Mind.

This announcement is interesting and a little disheartening, but I am flabbergasted when I read the self-condemnation coming from Mumford and the Sons themselves. As it happens, not only are they steering away from their folk vibes, they never cared for their image and have even pronounced regret over their name.

Crushed as I am (everything about Mumford has always been perfect! How can they not see this?), I do not boil with righteous indignation until I read that the formerly-banjo-strumming Marshall stated, “I have a fucking banjo tattooed to my arm. It’s a disaster. I have to think of something to put over it.”

No one is allowed to hate Mumford. Not even Mumford. That banjo made you.

Full personal disclosure: I don’t follow Mumford & Sons religiously. I couldn’t even tell you their full names or match them with their respective instruments (or pictures, for that matter). I heard they’d gone on a break two years ago, a “hiatus” as the music industry labeled it, but I didn’t know until Monday afternoon that they’d even started working on a new album, let alone will be releasing it in May.

However, Mumford & Sons is weaved into my most formative year of life (which was also my senior year of college), 2010-2011. If there were ever a truly organic and honest video montage made of the life of Amanda during those critical months, Sigh No More would be the soundtrack. Without romanticizing, I will just say that that was the year I grew into my independence and began to embrace the adventure of life with forward-looking eyes. Before that time, I was quiet and shy, but not in an endearing way. In a more self-obsessed, rule-follower, puritanical way (no offense to the Puritans, but they really should have lightened up…).


Again sparing the nostalgic details, that was the year I met and got engaged to my husband. As the most inspiring human on whom I’ve ever laid eyes, it’s like he’s on a mission to squeeze every last ounce of life from each waking moment. Our wedding bands are engraved with three words: Awake my Soul. These words mean more to me, I think, than they do to my husband. I am neither a writer nor an artist, so I am forever grateful to Mumford & Sons for the expression of something in my heart for which I could not ascribe words or pictures:

Lend me your hand, and we’ll conquer them all
But lend me your heart, and I’ll just let you fall
Lend me your eyes, I can change what you see
But your soul you must keep totally free

That most formative year was the one in which I learned something about having open eyes and a free soul. I’d tell you more about it, but it doesn’t mean much unless you’re conquering it with your own two feet.

The end of this story is anticlimactic. I laid down my arms long enough to actually read the commentaries and I realize that Mumford may have committed no damning offense. They aren’t actually trashing their former selves or their former sounds and neither are they slacking on “storytelling in music.” Without putting artificial distance between themselves and their previous work, they’re just artistically evolving.

So I apologize, Mumford, for jumping to conclusions.

And you have your choices
And these are what make man great
.

But, Marshall, don’t you dare cover up that banjo tattoo. It tells a story.

Brunch Review: Richard Walker’s Pancake House

By Sara Woznicki

Week two of my San Diego brunch reviews! If you missed last week, I was at Queenstown Public House for one meal. For my other brunch, I went to Richard Walker’s Pancake House. My grandparents used to live in San Diego, and my mom recommended Richard Walker’s to me. She even gave the the inside scoop: go Friday because it’ll be too busy Saturday. Good thing I actually listened to her this one time, because I went around 9:45am on Friday, and it was still busy.

They are so busy in fact that it’s totally normal to queue up a line outside, hand out menus and have people wait their turn to dine. Why? Because Richard Walker’s is delicious and totally worth it.

While I was standing outside, I was going through their extensive menu and was totally overwhelmed. There are so. many. options. And they all sound delicious. Then I looked up and saw their awning, and it said, “Home of the World Famous Baked Apple Pancake.” So then I decided that if it was that famous, I needed to order it.

“Sara — party of one.”

Yup, I got in pretty quickly because I was a party of one, which was a little victory minus the embarrassment of someone yelling, “party of one,” and you having to respond to that. Then, once I sat down, the waitress came over and said, “Is it just you?” before swiping away my other silverware and napkin set. Yes — it’s just me, am I not enough?

baked apple pancakeAll at once, the waitress asks for my food and beverage order (to help rush the sad single out, I’m assuming). Then I go to the bathroom. There was one person in there, so I had to wait maybe 2 minutes (I promise this is relevant). Then I went to the bathroom and returned to my table. I texted my mom to told her I had a table, and then my food arrived. Clearly trying to get the lonely loner out quickly.

I got a coffee, a water, a baked apple pancake and an egg, as the waitress told me I’d need something not sweet to cut the sweetness of the pancake. Then I had the pleasure of enjoying everyone staring at me with my half a table of food. Despite that all, I had a great meal. The pancake was like a funnel cake and a pancake that had a baby. Then smothered that baby in thick cinnamon and apples. It was heavenly. And super sweet.

The egg helped to cut it a bit, as the waitress suggested, but so did my coffee. In hindsight, I wish I didn’t waste the few dollars on the egg, but I suppose the added protein was helpful to get me through the day. I even ended up with leftovers, which tasted pretty decent, but sufficiently spongier on the repeat.

If I were in San Diego again, I would be down to return, especially if my grandparents were with me. The food was great, and the super fast service is much appreciated. They deserve the line they have, but I also appreciate that they know how to manage the large crowd and get people in and out rapidly. Overall, Richard Walker’s is a great business with great food. Thumbs up all around, minus the judgmental handling of my fun little party of one.

Mirror, Mirror on the Web . . . How Old Am I?

By Cazey Williams

Overnight my Facebook has blown up with people’s selfies, which wouldn’t be anything new, except now they’re labeled with how old the person looks. Thanks to the #HowOldRobot, a website can now tell you how youthful/aged/non-human you look.

For kicks over breakfast, I decided to see how old I look since my birthday was this past week.

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Damn, grad school has done a number on me. Nine years to be exact.

I tried again:

Sbx 80Yes, ladies and gentlemen, the Coffee Siren is eight decades old. Who would’ve known? All that caffeine keeps her youthful.

And so it went:

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Not much to say here.

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This is like an average of Mrs. Euphegenia Doubtfire and Robin Williams’ age in 1993.

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Aunt Jemima, where do you get your genes?

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Another lie told by Brian Williams (actual age: 55).

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See, we need to stop doubting Hillary is too old to run for president.

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The presidency hasn’t aged him once yet.

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Okay, cool. At least I’m not in my thirties this time.

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Surprisingly, this is Sister Jude’s actual age (Jessica Lange was ~64-years-old when American Horror Story: Asylum filmed.)

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OMG. Spot-on for age and sex!

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Sorry, Bill; it added twelve years (Bill Murray, actual age: 64).

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Meet Alyssa. She’s a second year dental student. Real age: 24. My, how grad school sucks your soul dry.

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This is Constance Langdon from American Horror Story: Murder House. I don’t think she’s supposed to be this young, hence “Rejoice!”

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Why is Sara deemed younger-looking than me? We’re going to blame the makeup.

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Phew. It sees the truth: Sara is older than most grandmothers.

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DA FUXX. I am not in my thirties!

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Sara: the mom-next-door.

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Betty White’s actual age is 93. Bill Murray might want to give her his twelve excess years plus one for old time’s sake.

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I was expecting to get a larger number, like, in the trillions. After all, Morgan Freeman is a synonym for “ageless wisdom.”

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I had to try again. Still got the sex right . . . .

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Next goal for the #HowOldRobot: Determining fetuses’ sex.

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I don’t know this man, but I love him. Maybe he’s 76.

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Aka “you dead.” (I found this man by Googling “oldest man alive.”)

FullSizeRender (11)“You get a facelift! I get a facelift! Everyone gets an age-lift!

What it Feels Like to Blog About Yourself

By Sara Woznicki

When I first started my original blog, Tweets and Mascara, I very narrowly focused on social media and selling makeup (hence the name). I didn’t tell anyone I knew about the fact that I had a blog. I blogged just for the few strangers that stumbled upon my site from time to time. That type of blogging was easy.

But then I started to write about myself. Transitioning out of college and into a new full-time job in a different city is really challenging, and I thought if I could just voice the struggle of making ends meet, maybe someone would read it and feel less alone. Maybe I could help someone through the transition because they would know that there’s really green pastures ahead.

Then I thought, maybe people I know would be interested about my life. If you know me in person, I’m sometimes not the open book of emotions I am on my blog. Maybe letting people read about my life would let people in without having to tell them about it directly. Maybe it’ll be easier.

So I started promoting my blog on my Facebook page. And my family and friends were really receptive to it. I got a lot of praise for being so open and honest with myself and everyone who reads it. But it’s actually a lot more challenging that I thought it would be. It’s like peeling back my skin and exposing my guts to everyone. It forces me to process events in my life in a deeper way than I usually would prefer. I really like to keep my emotions close to my cuff, and in my blog, it is mandatory for me to look at what was bothering me, reflect on what I learned and how I can take it and move forward. That’s really tough to do for someone who doesn’t deal with emotions. And then to let it sit out on the inter-webs for my friends and family to read. Here’s my heart, world. Be gentle?

So why blog about myself so candidly?

I should basically copy and paste that sentence back in here about forcing me to reflect on my life. And while sometimes I realize things that sort of suck about myself, more often than not, I reinforce the fact that I am really happy, that I just keep growing into a better and more successful person and it’s great to be able to talk about how the bumps in the road got me here. And when people read something that you really put your heart into, it’s speechlessly amazing to know that you can connect with someone on such a personal level and have an affect on them, despite often never actually knowing each other. It can take a big mushy and confusing terrain of a world and make it seem like we’re all connected.

Blogging about myself has taught me more about myself than I thought it could. It’s made me look at situations and consider: what do I believe? How do I react? What’s the future hold? And while I don’t always have the answer, the challenge is good for me. Being open and transparent is a constant battle, but one that has probably bettered myself both professionally and personally. Emotions aren’t a bad thing: it’s good to have feelings and let people see them. It’s good to have stories and share them. Talking about life makes living it easier. Blogging is a way for me to process what is happening, and articulate to myself how I should have handled it, what I could do next time, how this relates to that, and how I feel about it.

Blogging is personal. It’s scary. It’s weird. People know me without knowing me. But blogging lets me know me more personally, too.

Thank you for being an active member of this adventure with me. It’s nice to have you along for the ride.

Birthday Thoughts

By Cazey Williams

My birthday was Tuesday. If you forgot, I’m still accepting prepaid Visas and maybe even Facebook posts if you follow Facebook’s suggestion and get me a Target gift card – or does Facebook even do that anymore? Oh well. You can still do it; the suggestion is right here.

My birthday sparked several thoughts, including can I still claim to be in my early twenties at 24? Or is this my mid-twenties? Say it ain’t so!

Happy birthday. The whole phrase sets up this expectation that it’s supposed to be an exceptional day. But really, what is so exceptional about your birthday? All your coworkers sing you a song, but you still have deadlines. You go out to dinner, and you expect a friend to cover your tab, so you don’t want to be a gluttonous hog, so you stay within budget – and then they only cover your drink. Well, thank gosh you ordered cheap.* And you have to answer your grandmother’s phone call and endure a half hour discussion on what it means to be young.

*This didn’t happen to me this year. Shout-out to Sara and Christine!

“Are you doing anything special?” Everyone asks this. It’s like everyone is expected to take off work and forget they have life responsibilities, because you’ve revolved around the sun one more time. (And you only have those responsibilities because you keep revolving around the sun; won’t it stop?) Personally, I had a huge presentation due the day after my birthday, so I postponed celebrations. Everyone: “You poor thing; life is hard.” Then why do we keep celebrating every year more we endure? I should have put a spin on my response: “Actually, I am doing something special; I’m buying myself lunch instead of packing it today.”

The pressure to respond to the HBD’s. This is the one day where people you haven’t heard from in 365 days reach out again. Maybe I’m abnormal, but I feel a cloying need to answer each and every “Happy birthday!” with a “Thank you!” I suddenly can’t open a Snapchat and distractedly tap through it; now I need to remember to respond.

This rule does not apply to Facebook. One year I tried writing “Thank you” on every person’s individual wall: This was my phase where I thought it was selfish to comment on posts; you needed to reciprocate and post back. This year I haphazardly liked certain posts, commented on others, and ignored the rest. But thanks, friends, for taking the time to write fifteen characters in a textbox and tap “Enter.”

At the same time, I’m sentimental. Okay, I’m not as Scrooge-y as the above makes me sound. It genuinely warms the icicles of my soul that 132 people took the eight seconds to either write on my Facebook wall, compose a text laden with emojis, or send a selfie with some caption in regards to the auspicious nature of the day. Bonus points if you did all three! I suddenly recall all the friends I’ve collected through life, and it’s (almost) more vitalizing than that free Starbucks drink.

On the topic of Facebook posts: I am reminded how many people are illiterate. 1.) Why does everyone capitalize “Birthday” when writing “Happy birthday”? It’s actually more effort for you to hold down/tap the “Shift” button. And for those who take the time to personalize the message, i.e. “Happy birthday, Cazey!,” why do 9 out of 10 of you forget that comma? “Happy birthday Cazey”??? No.

I would forfeit my birthday for a decade if we could learn proper comma usage.

Remorse that I didn’t wish you a happy birthday. Cheryl, thank you so much for the HBD. I remember our gossip sessions senior year of high school. Why haven’t we stayed in touch? Shoot, I’m a bad friend. I forgot about you until now; I definitely didn’t wish you a happy birthday. Altruism must still exist.

Why are you wishing me a happy birthday? My internship sent out a company-wide email wishing me a happy birthday. Moya replied all to send me the exact same message from her own email account. Problem: I don’t know who Moya is. We have never spoken nor do I know what she looks like.

Me: “Thank you so much!” *Frank Underwood side-eye*

o-FRANK-570

This applies also to the kids on Facebook who you don’t even know who they are and/or their profile picture includes their raised middle finger and their most frequent status is an update on their parole and heroin rehabilitation. Please don’t post on my wall.

Why didn’t you say happy birthday? Three years ago, my crush texted me on my birthday. We weren’t at all on texting terms at this point, and so basically my day was f*cking made. I remember I was on cloud 9 from that 11:09 AM text to 11:59 PM. (I’m cringing now because I think I even invited her right away to my birthday dinner. Shocker: She didn’t come.) I would be lying, however, if there aren’t certain people who I hope will acknowledge my day of birth if only to affirm something. Then again, I purposefully didn’t send them a happy birthday on their birthday to prove there was nothing. Hmmmmm.

Why do I have a zit? Back to point one, this is supposed to a happy day. I should not have Vesuvius erupting on my forehead nor should I have a scab in my nose. Obviously, it can’t be my birthday if I’m not in peak physical condition. I need to look hot for all the non-existent birthday photos happening at my non-existent party because of that existent project due tomorrow morning.

On my 21st birthday this culminated in me having cockatoo hair in every photo taken. Why did no one tell me?! “I thought you styled it that way,” says my no-longer friend.

How do I thank my friends without selling out to being basic? “Thank you so much for all the birthday posts, texts, Snaps, calls, Skypes, FaceTimes, owls, etc.! I have the best friends in the world! [Current age – 1] was great; I can’t wait to see what [current age] has in store! [Optional: insert emojis.]” Every millennial, copy and paste this for the day after your birthday.

What I wish people would write: “Thank you for fulfilling the social obligation to greet me on my birthday in celebration of something I had no say in when my parents came together so many years ago. Let’s catch up again in twelve months.”

What I write: This blog post.

When You Have the Stomach Bug

By Cazey Williams

Disclaimer: Graphic bodily processes mentioned below.

On a recent Saturday I awoke in the middle of the night and realized something was wrong. I hadn’t felt this way since high school. Hours later, I vomited. So began a day of delirium.

7 AM. *throws up* Okay, three hours until yoga class. I can sleep this off until then. There is so much I need to accomplish today.

8:10 AM. *throws up again* We’re not joking around here. I think I’m sick.

8:55 AM. Why don’t we have toilets where we can lay down while using them? I don’t have the energy to sit up.

8:56 AM. I would die if I had Ebola. I’ve always been fascinated with Ebola, and I have daydreamed occasionally about what I would do if I had Ebola. Currently realizing, Well, I would just give up. There is no hope.

8:57 AM. I have no energy to stand. I am literally too weak to pee while standing. You are never so helpless as when you end up on your knees clutching a toilet bowl.

9:10 AM. I need fluids in me. Let’s see, I don’t keep any soda in my house, not even diet soda. I have reduced sugar apple juice (30 calories) and Crystal Lite (5 calories).

9:45 AM. This apple juice isn’t cutting it. I really want blue Gatorade, but if I can’t stand up while peeing, then I certainly am not making it out of this house. And I previously learned that no one delivers Gatorade when a friend told me of their fruitless attempts to secure Gatorade during a New Year’s Day hangover.

10:15 AM. I text my friends. I downplay the whole vomit/diarrhea/I-can’t-move part. Just “I feel really bad asking, but if you’re home, do you have Gatorade?” I think I would have rather asked the girl I was messaging on OkCupid than admit, “I AM DYING, SOS.” I should work on this.

10:30 AM. No one has responded. Maybe I can boil sugar and salt in a pot of water on the stove? Would that amp up my electrolytes?

10:50 AM. I am going to die in this apartment. Drastic measures need to be taken.

10:51 AM. OMG, Jimmy John’s delivers! And they have sodas! From my bed, I online order two Sprites with a 50% tip.

10:53 AM. Saint Jimmy John’s calls: “Hi, we were just checking that all you wanted is Sprite…?” YES, PLEASE HURRY.

10:59 AM. Sprite arrives.

11:01 AM. I can feel the sugar in my blood. Is this what it feels like to be diabetic?

11:30 AM. My friend calls me to ask what’s up. She was running a half-marathon during my Gatorade crisis.

Noon. Why do we call it the flu? Growing up, I called any throwing up spell “the flu,” but this is a misleading name. People keep acting like I’m dying and asking if I want Tamiflu before I depart this world. No, this is not 1918, and where are the ginger ale offers?

1 PM. The flu is a very nostalgic experience. If you can call flashbacks to being nauseated on your parents’ couch in sixth grade nostalgia. But my parents would have made me soup. And my dad would have brought me ice cream while my mom argued that while I might want it, that is the last thing my stomach needs.

2 PM. I need to let my friend’s dog out. My friend is at a wine expo, so I can’t cancel this commitment I made pre-flu. The pooch has gotta pee, flu or no flu.

2:10 PM. I need to take a nap first.

3 PM. I drive the five blocks to my friend’s house.

3:20 PM. I am revitalized. I drive to 7-Eleven and get two blue Gatorades. I come home, pick up the clothes strewn across my room, and start doing laundry. I sit down to do homework.

4 PM. Laundry is done. Homework is not done. I can’t find the energy to walk to washer and put clothes in the dryer. A second wind doesn’t mean you’re sailing to Spain.

6 PM. How much weight have I lost? All I’ve consumed today is apple juice, a Sprite, half a Gatorade, and the tip of a banana. Are my muscles wasting away? Then again, I had a pooch last night when I went to bed.

6:10 PM. Will I ever want quesadillas again? That was the last thing I ate before I expelled everything. OMG, the thought of quesadillas makes me want to upchuck. What hath I wrought?!

7 PM. Hunger returns. What do I eat? Toast? Well, I don’t have a toaster, and I also only have extra fiber English Muffins in my possession. What I really want is cereal, but you aren’t supposed to have milk when you have the flu. But I want cereal, and I’m hungry. I include a banana to soothe the assault. “The stomach wants what it wants.” – Selena Gomez

7:30 PM. Why the hell did I eat cereal?

7:45 PM. Why is everything on social media about pizza?! Instagrams of greasy cheesy, Snapchats of pizza boxes, tweets about ordering pizza. I’m going to hurl.

8 PM. Can I get an extension on my project due Monday? Minus the fact I’ve had two weeks to work on the project. But I was planning on doing it today…. I am going to need coffee to finish that project tomorrow. But can my stomach handle that?

8:30 PM. Zzzzzzzzzz.