Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Confession: I'm Blushing

Last week I got a really delightful comment/email, and it really couldn't have come at a better time. For a couple of reasons. That email was from Natalie who blogs over at Coral Tinted Perceptions, and it said that she likes my blog enough to think that I/it deserves a bit of recognition. She gifted me my second Liebster Award, and like I said, perfect timing:

1. With so much energy and brain power currently being spent on keeping my head together, not having an anxiety attack every time I walk into my living room, and making sure everything I own gets moved safely and carefully and completely before I have to be out of my place at the end of Sunday, there's very little space left in the noodle for blog post ideas.
2. Awards of any shape or size are nice to receive and that is especially true when your stress level is high and your anxiety is threatening to wrap its arms around you and squeeze tight.

So if you'll allow me the self-indulgence, this week's Confessions are on a bit of a theme. Thank a billion to Natalie!
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I think the last time I did this I either didn't know about the part where I had to share 11 facts about myself or it wasn't a thing at that point, but I literally just shared 10 new pieces of information about myself and I'm not that into myself, so here are some links to lots o' facts rather than one list, because I'm a rebel with a cause (and my cause is time and energy preservation, currently. Sigh).

TMI Tag — 50 Facts About Me

Then Natalie went ahead and gave me some questions to answer as well, so here goes nothin':

1. Who's your favourite blogger and why?
Oh good god. I can't possibly. Blogging has introduced me to so many lovely, lovely people and I'm so happy to consider so many great girls from all over the world my friends. I can't possibly choose one. I will say that one of my favorite bloggers that I admire just from afar (and who undoubtedly has no idea I exist) is Katie Shelton. She's so creative and just gives off such a warm, welcoming air. Plus her daughters are adorable, her style is inspiring, and she seems like she would be absolutely awesome to grab fro-yo with.

2. What's your favourite post you've ever written, share the link?
It really depends on the day, and what we're going for. I loved writing this list of 25 things I learned in 25 years, this post about the Hobby Lobby decision, this post about living with a reproductive disorder, and this post about my love affair with running.

3. Kardashians: Love or Hate?
Neither, but when I'm flipping channels and I see their name, I stop on it. They are extraodinarily entertaining, for all the wrong reasons.

4. Would you be able to recognise Prince Harry or a fake knock off on a TV show?
Hm. I know what he looks like, but it probably wouldn't be hard to fool me with a good look-alike.

5. What's you're favourite book and why?
I have a few, and it all depends on my mood and the time of the year. I usually say that my favorite book is whatever I'm currently reading, because I don't stay with books I don't enjoy. But if you twisted my arm I'd say The Great Gatsby. I've loved this book since I first read it in high school and I've read it ever year since, around Christmastime. There are so many reasons I love it, the language chief among them and Carraway himself a close second. Sitting down with Gatsby feels like coming home after a long time away, wrapping up in a blanket, pouring a cup of tea, and settling into the pillows.

6. Biggest Pet Peeve?
Honestly, I have a lot, but that makes me sound like an awful person. I REALLY don't like when people scrape their forks on their teeth or their plates. And open-mouth chewing. And whining.

7. Who do you think could be your best friend if only you two actually met?
Jennifer Lawrence. Also John Mayer.

8. Dream holiday destination?
This is tough. I'm not very traveled yet, but I'm on a mission to go to all 50 states. I'd love to see the world, but I think there's so much to see right here in the ol' U.S. of A. that gets taken for granted. I've got 12 down already, and though there are other places I'd love to see as well, right now the next "big trip" on my radar is to Portland & Seattle next year, so I'll say that. It's my current goal, which is kinda like a dream, no?

9. You can have dinner with any four celebrities, who's invited?
I'm going to not even attempt a deep response here, I'm looking for a good time: Jason Bateman, Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, and J-Law.

10. Why did you start blogging, are the reasons still the same?
Well when I first first started, it was back in 2007 or 2008 and I honestly can't tell you what compelled me to do it back then. When I started alyssagoesbang 1.0 (in 2010 or so, I *think*) it was to house and work on creative non-fiction writing and become a part of writing communities. That fell apart sometime early in 2013 (again, I *think*) and then I relaunched it as this spot your eyeballs are on right now in February 2014.

I did that because I was still an avid blog reader, and I terribly missed being a part of the community. Previous adventures in blogging gave me connections that I still have today with some swell people and I missed the experience of "meeting" people with stories so alike and so different from mine, who could teach me things, who I could share thoughts and ideas with, who I could laugh with and learn from and enjoy wonderful conversation with. That, in combination with feeling jaded about writing (because I was only doing it for my day job and had lost my creative hobby and outlet), is what brought me back, and why I stick around.

11. What's your most played song on your iPod/iPhone?
No idea. I use Spotify, and thank god it doesn't record number of plays.
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Okay now next up I'm supposed to nominate a whole buncha people, but again, I'm a rule-breaker. I know the purpose of this is to attract attention to bloggers with fewer than 200 followers, but so many of my lovely blog friends are breaking that barrier left and right and/or being inundated with other fine bloggers' Liebster Award nominations. And I know not everyone enjoys filling these things out and/or reading them, and I'd hate to be a source of contention here.

So I'm gonna keep it simple and forward this lil' trophy along to my friend Tracy, who writes a kick-ass blog about her adventures in triathlon training, going back to school, and being awesome. Tracy has given me some great advice over the few months we've spent getting to know each other and has been an incredibly encouraging and supportive presence in my life as a runner and human bean. So here are my questions for Tracy:

1. Whats's the coolest/most interesting thing that has happened since you started your blog?
2. Smooth or crunchy peanut butter?
3. Who would play you in a movie about your life?
4. What do you wish you could tell your 16-year-old self?
5. If you could look ahead to the future, knowing you could do nothing to change the outcome, would you and why/why not?
6. One-way plane ticket in your hands right now to anywhere in the world. Would you take it and where would you go?
7. Show us your favorite post you've written!
8. What's the worst part about blogging?
9. What's your favorite place in the world?
10. What is the best "first" of yours that you can remember?
11. What is the number one thing you're working toward right now?
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Linking up with Kathy for Humpday Confessions because I confess I love talking about myself sometimes and I just kinda confessed to being entertained by the Kardashians and I should probably do some Hail Marys or something.
Vodka and Soda
Spill your secrets, tell me your lies. Come on board the confession train.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Picking Things Up and Putting Them Down

This weekend, pretty much all I did was pick things up and put them down.

Well, if you want me to be more accurate, what I did was pick them up (in my apartment), put them down (in my car), drive 3.6 miles, pick them up (from my car), and then finally put them down (in my new apartment). I should mention that this involves two staircases, three outer doors, a cramped parking lot, a busy parking lot, and hunger pangs that sound like something fairy tale characters hear coming from the forest right before they're almost eaten by a wild animal.

But it was a good weekend nonetheless; moving just sucks. And it's hard. Especially when you're doing the bulk of it alone because you know how much moving sucks and you don't want to be the person who asks others to sacrifice their Saturdays to such an activity, knowing that all the free pizza and beer in the world doesn't make moving someone else's stuff suck less.

Know what else is hard? Running 8 miles. But I did that this weekend too.

Wait, hold on. I need to be more clear about that. I ran 8 miles — and I did it without stopping — for the first time ever in my entire life on Saturday. I can't explain why, but this felt like a huge leap from the 7 miles I ran not long ago, though 7 didn't feel like a huge leap from 6. (Yes, I am aware there's just one mile difference between each. It's weird though.)
Long, long, long live the #sweatyselfie. 
I was flying higher than high after this run, guys. And then I foam rolled my quads and legit almost cried. But after the feelings of frustration that come with moving, I needed a strong release on Saturday and a really big win. Sweet lord did I get that. And then I went to my friend's house and watched The Dark Knight Rises and drank rum + Arnie Palmers because that's what a coupla twenty- and thirty-somethings do on Saturday nights. #can'tholdusdown

I can pretty much sum up Sunday with the same, except 86 the running and add a Slurpee (Coca Cola, of course) because there's nothing like moving into your first 100-percent-mine, no-roommate-to-split-rent-and-utilities-with apartment to make you hanker for the tastes of your childhood, I guess. I took a photo of my Slurpee in my car in the 7-11 parking lot and the dude in the car next to me definitely saw but YOLO.

Then I picked up, put down, unpacked, and packed more of the things, all while periodically scanning both my current living rooms and wondering to myself, "I've done a HUGE purge of my things. HOW DO I STILL HAVE SO MUCH STUFF?"

And now today I'm exhausted because I was up late last night tossing and turning about where I'm going to place my ginormous antique dresser that I totally need for the storage but that is also 22" deep thus making it awkward as hell to place near almost any other piece of furniture that is about half as deep as it is. I really wish part of me was even remotely kidding.

I was also a terrible blog friend and terrible editor and terrible everything but mover because I answered one email all weekend and read zero blogs. I'm sorry, I suck, but so does moving so this week I guess I'll just try to suck less.

Also please be advised that although this probably sounds like a huge downer I'm actually in great spirits, if not a little stressed but when am I not, so don't worry about my sanity. I have just about as little of it as I normally do. It's just in about 60 different boxes in two different living rooms in two different towns.

How was your weekend?

Friday, August 22, 2014

Friday: The Link Party Edition

We did it. Sweet lord, we did it. I don't know about any of y'all but this was the. longest. week. ever over here! I was supposed to have {ugh} jury duty yesterday and today — and I'm not opposed to performing my civic duty; I'm just opposed to going to Newark at 8:15 in the morning — but some miracle happened and I receive the best text message ever Thursday evening as I was looking through a rack of patterned leggings because omg fall is almost here:
Bullet dodged. Seriously. I mean that literally and figuratively. It's Newark, friends. I love Cory Booker and all he's done for the town, but this. And this. It's actually bizarre to think that a city just 10 miles from where I live is so many worlds away in another sense. Anyway. /tangent. I'm done being morbid on this fine Friday morning.

I'm really all over the place here.
And now, time is of the essence. I {fingers crossed} get the keys to my new place this weekend, and I'm trying to get as much of the "little stuff" over there throughout the week before I call in the big guns {my brothers} for help moving the furniture next weekend. If I go missing, just look under the piles of bubble wrap and newspaper.

So that being the case, I'm sending you off into the weekend with some of my favorite links of the week to keep you entertained since I'm clearly not up to the task...

I mean, you could always start with the archives here at the ol' bang blog. I added a couple links to the Best Of page, if you've been wanting to catch up on the good stuff {seriously, is it horribly obnoxious to call my own stuff "the good stuff"? Whatever.} around here

Nick Offerman reading the best of r/showerthoughts

This song, because I have no self-respect

Actually, this whole website, because it's run and written by some pretty awesome people. Present humble-bragging editor excluded. Ahem

Alison wrote a great post about finding goodness in a world that so frequently goes dark

My sweet friend Kay celebrated her 100th post {!!} with some confessions about blogging

My favorite #badyogi has another yoga challenge coming out in just eight days! If you've wanted to give yoga a try but are intimidated by a studio {or are a seasoned yogi and just prefer home practice, like me}, Erin is your new best friend. Here's her first 30-Day Challenge. Go here to sign up {and unlock more weeks!} for the next one. Please. No, she's not paying me. I just fangirl for her that hard

Peter Rabbit is a plebe.

What have you been reading, writing or listening to this week? I'll need something to read during breaks from packing my life away...

You know what I've got planned for the weekend. What are you up to?

{Linking up with my Friday Favorites | AmandaWhitney}

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Hold On, We're Going Home

I confess that it'll likely be quiet here over the next couple of weeks as I finish The Great Stuff Purge of 2014, move whatever remains from a two-bedroom apartment into a "bright, sunny, and extra-large" studio, toss more things, and buy more things to make whatever still remains fit into an appropriate cabinet or drawer. This kind of thing completely consumes me, and though it's probably annoying to anyone who tries to get me to make a plan from now until September 10, I love it.

Moving is cleansing. Donating items to friends and charity is cleansing. Buying new furniture and bath towels is cleansing. Jumping up out of bed in the middle of the night to move the end table to the other side of the couch or write down another item for my IKEA list (Confession: I only have like three things from IKEA. Am I a bad millennial?) is cleansing. What, no? Just me? Okay.

But its also very time- and attention-consuming for me. When my home isn't orderly I find it really hard to focus on much else until everything has found its right place. And though I'm never really "done" — I rearrange furniture for fun and on total whim — there's a degree of finality that I'm looking for, and I'm not exaggerating when I say I won't rest until I find it. Not until every box is packed, moved, and unpacked will I feel like I can put any significant amount of attention elsewhere.
My living room, currently. Confession: I'm an "organized mess" kind of packer. No other messes are permissible.
And I come here to say these things as if I've even been a consistent presence here at all lately. I know I haven't. But I know you'll stick with me while all the chaos sorts out. And I know you understand because you get that I'm so obnoxiously Type A that I won't post a post just to post, and that I'd rather post something I'd really like you guys to read. Right? Right. Current post excluded, sorta.

And besides, it's summer, and as we get down to the bitter end (Confession: As far as I'm concerned, Labor Day Weekend is the definitive end of summer and start of fall) we're all trying to enjoy our last moments in the sun, on the water, at the beach, doing all those things we can only do in summer. Blogging isn't one of those things, but at least we're doing things to blog about. And by we, I mean the rest of you who aren't packing and moving and unpacking.

Confession: I {hopefully!} get the keys this weekend and mentally have 90% of my things arranged and stored where they will go. I have to-scale sketches of a home I don't live in yet. I know this sounds crazy, but trust me — if I hadn't been able to plan like this, I would have certainly gone mad.

I really can't wait to share some before/after shots with you guys. As long as you're not expecting anything extravagant of course. Remember, it's just a rental. It's just a studio. I'm just a broke joke lowly little writer at a mom-and-pop publisher. Don't get excited. I'm trading hard-wood floors for carpeting, ACK. But all the same, it's just right and it's just mine. I can't wait to call it my new home.

Confession: I still love this song, and I always get really lame and smiley when it happens to come up on my running playlist as I round the corner to run the last half-mile straightaway to my apartment. It's like Spotify knows. #fullofcheese.

Vodka and Soda
{ Linking up with Kathy }

Monday, August 18, 2014

One Kool-Aid, Please

This is going to be really tough to publish, so bear with me. There are few topics I've ever approached here that might come so close to making me a total outcast in bloglandia, but what's life without guts, right? Whew. Here we go... I have a big confession to make today:

I never enjoyed reading Harry Potter. I had no desire to see the films and attempted to read the books THREE times with no luck. I set Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone aside in apathy after less than 20 pages every time I attempted to read the series.

Please, don't shoot. There's more!

So I wanted to try again, and give it a real, fair try. My step-brother loaned me book one (I've been staring at it on my bookshelf for a good two years now) and all of you Potter-loving bloggers doing your big summer re-reads have inspired me. So recently I sat down, dusted off the paperback copy and dove in. And I am VERY happy to report that the fourth time is apparently the charm.
Remember that night when laying in my bed, reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone was inst-worthy?
Yes, I have drunk le Kool-Aid.
I wouldn't say I devoured the text, because it is still not exactly my genre. But I thoroughly enjoyed all of book one and made a beeline this weekend for my friend's bookshelf to borrow book two. I can definitely see myself working through the rest of the series before I even look at another book — and considering my budget will have to take a bit of a hit over the next few weeks as I prepare to and go through with moving apartments, I'm already looking forward to more than a few nights in with Harry and friends.

OKAY, CAN WE STILL BE FRIENDS NOW?

So I was thinking about all this and realized that this isn't the first time I've been the last one to arrive at what proves to be a kick-ass party. Some other notable examples of bandwagons I've dragged my feet to join and turned out to be the one steering the buggy, or some other effective way of delivering that metaphor:

1. The Hunger Games. Both the books and the movies I'm talking about here. No hate on J-Law or anything because that girl's da real MVP. Again, this just wasn't my genre. Cut to me reading all three books in about 18 hours each and begging my friend to go see Catching Fire in theaters for a second and third time.

2. Sushi. Yeah, hated it. Hated it, hated it, hated it. Then, one fateful New Year's Eve, many moons ago, my friends sprang for a couple of boats to feed the beasts at our annual gathering. A friend's girlfriend encouraged me to try again, starting with the basics and then working my way up to the real stuff. These days hardly a week goes by where I'm not on a mission for some shrimp tempura or spicy tuna.

3. DMB. I know, so many haters are likely among you. But whatever. See, when I was in high school, it was kind of like we all woke up one morning and everyone in my school decided Dave Matthews was their new BFF. I didn't get the insta-boners for the band so I just pretty much stayed away, not caring about what I was "missing out on." Cut to college when a good deal of my friends, all older than me and mostly (wannabe) musicians were DMB fanatics, having seen the band live upwards of 30 times. Nice guys, but MAN was it obnoxious to be shushed so they could hear (and tap out on their thighs or the steering wheel) a drum solo. I hated the band purely because of the fanbase that tried to force them on me. Then one day on a nice quiet drive with one of the less-obnoxious members of that friend group, I heard "Grey Street." And then I heard this recording and at 4:25, I fell head over heels {#grux. RIP Roi.}. Ten shows of my own later I see no reason not to shout my love for Dave from the rooftops.

4. Chipotle. I had never had it, not even once, until I came to the company I work for now, a little over two years ago. The office had a birthday lunch with Chipotle and that was my first experience. Now, like with sushi, I have a weekly debate with myself about whether or not I can justify a burrito bowl for lunch.

5. Guacamole. Related. Hated, hated, hated it. Then I dipped one of Chipotle's magical lime-and-salt corn chips into my friend's little cup of guac and, well, since then, let's just say it's serious.

So if we've learned anything today, it's that my own deprivation of wonderful things that I was too stubborn to admit could possibly be wonderful are indeed punishment enough, so please don't throw things at me for only just now adventuring into the wizarding world of Harry Potter and even saying the word "hate" in the same sentence as the aforementioned wizard's name. I'm on book two now, guys. Let's be civil about this.

Please take some of the pressure off — what's something you were hesitant to try, or even adamantly against, that you ended up loving later?