Road Trip Bras

“When you hang around the right people, adventure comes to you.”

– Mom

By the time I became a road trip bra, I knew my life was nearly over.

I started out so young, so naive, so fearless. Chosen from literally hundreds of options in a massive sporting goods store in a bustling city, I had to meet certain qualifications to succeed. And boy did I meet those qualifications!

Since the inception of the sports bra in 1975, our existence has been predicated upon two goals: support and comfort for your melons. For 40 years, women have relied upon us to hold up their girls while they run the world, and to do it in such a way that everyone forgets we’re even here.

In other words, subtle strength was the name of our game.

But in 1999, when one of my kind was first revealed on national television, a third bosom goal surfaced: looks.

It was no longer enough to simply hold your shoulder boulders in place without unnecessary irritation. Now we had to look good doing it!

Along came new colors, patterns, stripes, witty words, and (hold onto your knockers) glitter.

Whether your maracas are the size of walnuts or wagons, you can find the perfect one of us for you. Climbing Mount Everest and need extra warmth? We’ve got you covered. Playing tennis with your ex and need a little bounce? Not a problem. Your bongos are our business, and business is good.

The best part is that we get to go along for the ride! From the yoga studio next door to the rides at Disneyland, we see it all. And each one of us started with a purpose – mine was for the gym.

But, like everything on this earth, we age. We start to stretch and sag, and we can no longer hold your coconuts the way you need us to. So we start to see less action, and more tv time. Fewer workout sessions, more road trips.

And honestly, that’s okay by me. My life is almost over, but what a life it has been.

I’ve got your front, babe. Let’s hit the road together, one last time.

Social Norms for 800, Please, Alex

As someone who experiences social anxiety, I operate as a bit of a scientist when it comes to polite societal interactions. I observe behavior, I experiment with my observations, and I adapt my behavior in accordance with my findings. 

Specifically, I observe, experiment, and adapt when it comes to polite phrases. 

Example: One of my most successful phrase adoptions over the past couple of years has been, “It’s good to see you!” 

I find this phrase incredibly helpful, as it indicates no emotional status on my end other than a positive experience of the other person’s presence. I could be having the worst day of my year so far, could have been crying in the bathroom moments before, and could be wishing to heaven I was at home in my sweatpants, but being in your presence is still good. The phrase consistently communicates one thing and that thing is positive.

Because of this scientific approach to polite phrases, I also tend to notice phrases that do not work. Similar to Unhelpful Platypuses, these phrases tend to cause mixed emotions, communicate inconsistent ideas, and often end in the other person trying to sort out my motives. 

Example: One of the more confusing phrases I’ve encountered and experimented with is, “You look good.” 

As a point of interest, you should know that I currently do look good. I’m up lean muscle mass and down body fat and my skin is relatively clear and I’ve recently had a professional haircut. From a physical appearance perspective, I’ve got it going on right now. 

But if you see me and tell me, “You look good,” (or its more sophisticated elder brother, “You’re looking very well!”) what does that communicate? As soon as you say it, my mind starts to whirl. Perhaps, in the past, I have not looked well and you neglected to tell me? Or it is positive, in your mind, that I have a good physical appearance, and I should try to keep that up? What does it mean if next time I see you, you don’t tell me that I look good? Do I honestly even care if you think I look good?? I DON’T KNOW! So much internal angst from one phrase, my goodness. 

To wrap up: my point is simple. Words matter and we can choose them carefully. I do not always succeed at this, but I am making a concerted, scientific effort.


What polite phrase bothers you? I know there is one. (Extra points if the one that bothers you is, “It’s good to see you.”)

Last Day of a New Life

Hey there. It’s 2020. Do you know where your resolutions are?

Yeah, that was funnier in my head.

Anyway.

A few months ago I thought I was starting a completely new phase of life. New job, new house and roommate, new hobbies. And so, as any organized and hopeful person would, I started a new notebook of to-do lists and thoughts, and I named the notebook “New Life.”

Well, a couple things went to hell, a lot of unexpected (some very positive) things happened, and I ended up staying at my job. It was not the “new life” I was expecting. But the whole process felt like a trial by fire from which I emerged as a different human than when I started, so I left the notebook name.

Two nights ago, as we were cleaning up from a delightful series of New Year’s celebrations, I told my roommate I was throwing out the remaining desserts. By way of explanation, I said, “It’s the last day of a new life.” (Which of course wasn’t what I meant to say, but I hadn’t been alone in three days and I was at least two drinks in, so cut me some slack, people.)

And I keep thinking about that accidental phrase. The last day of a new life.

Because once you’ve lived a day of a new life, then after that it is not your new life. It is your normal life. What was a new life is now just life.

So the first day of your new life is also the last day of your new life.

Is your head exploding yet? Because mine did. (Although the impressive number of people passing through my house this week may also have contributed to that.)

So. Friends. You can start a new life today. But as long as you stick with it, your new life becomes your regular, every-day, get-up and lie-down life. Today could be the start of something new, and all your tomorrows (whether you have one tomorrow or thousands) could make that new something your normal something.

I, for one, would like to stop procrastinating. This is not a resolution, I am not resolving to stop putting things off. I am starting a new life today where I procrastinate less. And tomorrow, when it comes, I will be someone who doesn’t procrastinate as much as I did before.

What about you?

Unpopular Opinion

I was sitting in a job interview, trying to find a, “I’m confident and comfortable,” pose in a very uncomfortable chair, as the questions wound down. Since I’d already answered everything I could think of about how I function at work and what my dream job would be and what I like and dislike about Adobe software, I wasn’t sure what more there was to talk about.

The interviewer leaned forward across the table. “So,” he said, in a manner that told me this was the key question of the 38 minutes we had together. “Are you a cat person or a dog person?”

This has historically been a difficult topic for me. However, since I was going for confident and casual in the interview, I made the split second decision to lay it out straight.

“Neither, actually,” I said. “I don’t love animals, and I don’t hate them. I have no preference.”

Without hesitation, he responded, “So you’re saying you’re heartless.”

Knowing I’d lost the candor gamble, I smiled and nodded.

“Exactly. That’s me!”

I didn’t get the job.

See, there are basically three responses to me saying I don’t love animals:
1) I must be a heartless and untrustworthy human
2) I haven’t yet met the “right” animal to make me fall in love
3) I must have had a “bad experience” with animals and I need to work through it in therapy and come back to the light

Friends, I am 31 years old. I can safely tell you what I like and don’t like at this point. My tastes may shift as I age, but the basics are not going to. My favorite color is black, I don’t like how rubbery mushrooms feel when I chew them, and I don’t love or hate animals. I was around pets for the first 18 years of my life, and although I did have some traumatic experiences (a parrot once bit all the way through my lip, for instance) I have worked through them and I don’t need therapy. I know you will try to convince me that I am wrong, but the cuteness of animals (some of them are cute, I agree) will never outweigh their grossness and inconvenience for me.

And, you’ll be shocked to learn, I have plenty of empathy and heart, despite my lack of pet love.

Now, as I say this, I know that I need to make a clarification: I don’t hate your pets. In fact, some of your pets bring a level of enjoyment to me. But I don’t love them like you do and I never will.

I know that some of you will try to change my mind, or tell me that I am wrong, which is sort of funny. We tend to want to pull others to the way we see things, instead of accepting our different opinions. I do this too, I’m not just pointing fingers at all of you. What if we saw differing opinions as ways we all complement each other instead of opportunities to argue? And this goes both ways – for years I have pretended to like animals in order to avoid the conversation, but what if I saw my “unpopular opinion” as a chance to bring a different side of humanity to the world?


What’s your unpopular opinion that gets you into arguments?

Some of Us

Next week brings the day of Christmas.

Last week I ended my post by saying, “Merry Christmas, friends.” As though everyone is celebrating. As though it is that simple. But it is never that simple because we are humans in a broken and beautiful world.

Some of us are beyond excited to unwrap a present that we’ve been hoping and asking for.

Some of us won’t get what we asked for and will have to manage our disappointment.

Some of us can’t give what was asked of us, because we lack the resources, and must endure the disappointment of others.

Some of us are genuinely saddened and angered by the materialism we see around us.

Some of us are grateful to spend time with family.

Some of us are disappointed because we cannot be with our family.

Some of us are angry with our family.

Some of us have no family.

Some of us have no hope for tomorrow.

Some of us cannot understand having no hope for tomorrow.

Some of us are in physical pain.

Some of us are grateful to be spending one last moment with a loved one before they leave us.

Some of us are aching for one more moment with a loved one who left us.

Some of us cannot set aside the stress of car repairs, lost jobs, or foreclosure.

Some of us are so excited we can’t sleep.

Some of us will cry ourselves to sleep.

Some of us are celebrating a new life.

Some of us are grieving for a life that will never be.

Some of us are rejoicing.

Some of us are mourning.

Most of us are some blend of both.

But wherever you are when Christmas comes, Christmas is for you. Jesus, the gift we celebrate next week, once said, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” The arrival of the Savior of the world in the form of a human baby was messy, painful, difficult, complicated. The life of Jesus was not simple. It was sad, and hopeful, and weary, and joyful. It was a promise of comfort and joy. He is making all things new, and His Kingdom will reign forever. But right now, next week, not all is yet new.

I pray that you feel the hope of Christmas next week, my friends, wherever it finds you.

Good Stuff for the Holidays

As we barrel full-speed ahead into Christmas (where did December go?!?) I feel a little bit like I got hooked onto the back of Santa’s sleigh and dragged reindeer-style across the globe. It’s not a great feeling. 

Consequently, I’ve decided that it’s time to pause and enjoy a few little things in life lately. So whether you’re on your way to your Christmas cruise or still at work slaving over those deadlines, I hope one of these things brings you joy. ‘Tis the season to enjoy some good stuff, amirite?

I’m right. Just trust me. 

Podcast: Three different people have recommended three different episodes of the Goal Digger podcast to me. And they’re right! Funny, honest, and practically helpful on a wide variety of topics, there’s an episode of Goal Digger for you. The host, Jenna Kutcher, also has lots of other resources and content, so if podcasts aren’t for you, you might still enjoy checking out her website. Fun extra bonus: she has a great Wisconsin accent.

Books: Okay, this is not a brilliant revelation, but an old standard. I’m currently rereading The Lord of the Rings book series and really enjoying it. Now, I know that some of you are groaning or rolling your eyes, but don’t scroll away yet. I’ve learned in recent years that a surprising number of our population have tried to read this series and just couldn’t do it. And guys – I understand. It took me 18 months to finish the first one. The Fellowship of the Ring can be PAINFUL, like tear your eyelashes out with just your pinky fingers kind of painful. But I finally finished it a few weeks ago, and promptly blasted through The Two Towers in less than a week. It’s worth the struggle, friends. Get through the Council of Elrond and the nonsense in Lothlorien – I promise it gets better from there. 

Bonus book: I’ve been listening to Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church by Rachel Held Evans, and I’ve really enjoyed it. The Audible version is read by the author, which I always enjoy. Rachel was able to paint a vivid and emotionally accurate picture of what it’s like to grow up in and struggle with this thing we Christians call church. It’s authentic and it’s not all easy to hear, but it’s also beautiful. 

Music: Christmas music is a surprisingly controversial topic – when to listen, what constitutes “classic,” these things are almost as dangerous to discuss at the family get-together as the White House or Global Warming. But if you’re like me and you just enjoy good music that also incorporates Christmas, then check out Fragile: Nichole Nordeman’s new Christmas album. It’s different, but not so different that you find yourself wondering if you stumbled into a Christmas acid trip by mistake. 

And finally, a quick recipe that is a new favorite in our home:

The Italian-ish Meal: 

Start cooking one box of your favorite pasta (I prefer ziti, but it really doesn’t matter.)

Brown a package of Italian sausage with some minced garlic (I buy jars of pre-minced garlic because ain’t nobody got time for pressing and peeling.)

As the meat browns, add one onion (chopped as you wish) and one bell pepper (I usually go orange or red but it’s really up to you). 

Add salt and pepper and Italian seasoning (also known as basil, oregano, and thyme, if you’d rather make it yourself.)

When everything looks cooked, add one jar or can of tomato sauce. (You can use a pasta sauce that has spices or a simple canned sauce, I’ve succeeded with both.)

Optional: add a bag of pre-washed spinach (add this a handful at a time to allow it to cook down.)

Once the pasta is done and drained, I mix it into the sauce (this allows for maximum integration and correct ratio assessment, but if you’d prefer to serve them separately, feel free.) 

Top with Parmesan cheese and ENJOY. 

Merry Christmas, friends. I hope you have some good stuff in your life this week.

Kenny Rogers Was Right

Some days, you have so many words to say that you have to bribe your friends to tell you which words to cut. (The going rate for this is one Starbucks Latte, in case you were wondering.) You feel downright verbose and like the world is made of metaphors and witty anecdotes.

Some days, you struggle and grind your teeth and sigh heavily for hours just to put something on the page and it turns out sort of “meh” but you feel good about just writing something. You pour yourself a shot of tequila and toast to your “pure grit and determination” like you just climbed Everest without oxygen.

Some days, you write something and it straight up sucks. This really burns your biscuits because you fought the good fight, put in the time, and it still sounds like a four-year-old dictated your final draft. Or like you played Mad-Libs with a non-English speaker who chose words out of the dictionary at random. You may put it out there or you may start again, but either way, at least you wrote something. You just sort of slide into the next thing, pretending it all didn’t happen and that you’re still very confident and everything is fine.

And some days, no matter how hard you try, no matter how much you stare at the blinking cursor (take that literally or as an expletive, both are appropriate) or ask your friends for ideas, nothing works. You’ve literally got nothing.

That, my friends, is when you got to know when to fold ’em.

And all that’s left at that point is one decision: walk away or run?