The unabridged story of how Charles Barkley saved my life

No, not that Charles Barkley.

This Charles Barkley:

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Charles has been the man of the house [err…my apartment] for about 10 months now, ever since I adopted him last October when he was just two months old. In that time, he has chewed through just about every cord I own, puked on my hair dryer when I was hungover, ate a leather strap on my new shoe, stepped into the hot wax inside a Scentsy warmer and tracked it throughout my family room (but to be fair, he smelled fantastic for like a week after), and virtually prevented any sense of alone time by barging in on my showers. He’s also been the most affectionate, chillest, and best pet I could ever ask for; always greeting me at the door and there to cuddle on a lame Friday night. I live alone but I’m never actually alone, which I guess is the point of a pet. But CB is definitely the illest.


So fast forward to Saturday night, I’m getting home from my friends house after Conor McGregor won part 2 vs Nate Diaz, at about 1am. I’m getting out of my car to walk the 500 feet to the entrance of my building, and someone from across the parking lot tried to get my attention. But not in an “I need some help” sort of way… in a “hey, you, how you doin’ pretty little thang why you walkin’ away?” sort of way. Alarms sounded in my head and I picked up the pace as I made my way to the door.

As soon as I got in my apartment, I looked out my balcony and noticed the same man was trying to gain access to the building. Yikes. Logic says I should have called 911, but I tried calling my local police department first. No luck. He walked away seconds later and I continued to look out the window but he never came back. Freaked out and adrenaline-filled, I sat in my bed with my lights on and the TV on watching Scandal reruns until the wee hours of the morning. At some point my fear and adrenaline subsided (or maybe I just exhausted myself), and I drifted into a series of anxious, unpleasant dreams.

All of a sudden, I’m woken up by a loud THUNK! noise coming from my spare room. And again. I look at the clock: 4:40am. Did the crazy psycho finally come back for me? Did he get into my apartment? I grab a hammer and turn on the spare room light and couldn’t believe my eyes.

I thought I was dreaming. No glasses to aid my blurred vision, and a slight pang of a hangover creeping through my head, a shadow flew across the room as Charles lunged into the air and all of a sudden… nothing. Silence. Charles was just standing there under my computer chair, staring at me. I was left to figure out what just happened.

Standing in the doorway, I thought very carefully about what I just thought I saw. Was it a bird? A big moth? If it was either of those, wouldn’t it still be flying around? I couldn’t have just imagined it. I flicker the lights. Nothing. Did I just imagine it? Maybe I just need to go back to bed and chalk up tonight as one big loss.

And then I realized Charles’ hair was standing straight up, right where his tail met his ass. I’ve never seen him like that before. He was motionless, staring directly at me and never looking away. He was definitely trying to tell me something, and that’s when I noticed it.

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Charles was standing right between me and a black creature on the floor, as I approached it I realized I was looking at a fucking bat. I’d never seen one up close before, and I was mortified. It was so ugly.

When it occurred to me the steps this cat took to not only alert me that something was wrong, but to also stand between me and this unknown creature, I realized that he was basically acting as my protector. Hell, he was my protector. Charles Barkley saved my damn life that night.

If you’re interested in how this story ends, I’m afraid it didn’t end well for the bat. I got Charles out of that room and closed the door, locking Mr. Dracula in the 14’x9′ space. The good thing about renting an apartment is there is a 24-hour emergency maintenance hotline, so clogged drains and bats finding a way in my apartment don’t have to be my problem if I don’t want them to be. The bad thing is the hired help around here is not very experienced in the way of humane animal treatment… after about 5 minutes of attempting to whistle and snap and yell the bat out the window failed, well… I don’t need to tell you what happened next. Poor guy. They think he found his way in through the bathroom vent.

So yeah. That was my traumatizing Saturday night. At least I have a bad ass roommate to take care of me.

HBDCB

Time for a lesson in witch hazel

So you might recall a post I did last year about my newest skin obsession, rosehip oil. I still use it on a daily basis and am still reaping the benefits of elasticity and much-needed moisture to my face. I’ll admit, though, I’ve still been experiencing breakouts… to the point where I actually went out and bought some salicylic acid spot treatment. Yeah… no one ever mentioned your mid-twenties would be spent battling both acne and wrinkles. Ugh. Anyway. It hasn’t been ideal.

Flash forward to a few weeks ago, my mom started going on and on about some wipes she found in the store that she swears by; something she called witch hazel.

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Um. What? When I think of witch hazel, I think of that character on Looney Toons. I honestly thought witch hazel was like a weird name for a supplement, like St. John’s Wort. And let’s just say my mom believes anything Dr. Oz tells her, even after he got sued for giving people false information. Like a ton of times. All that taken into consideration, I did some research, asked around, tried it out for myself… now I can confidently say that after three weeks of use, this shit should be sold by the ton.

Okay, so… what is it?

Witch hazel is a plant. Easy enough. The leaves, bark, and twigs of this plant are used to produce an astringent that can be used for various medicinal purposes. The essential oil is not sold separately as a consumer product, simply because the plant does not produce enough essential oil to make that production viable. Most witch hazel that is on the shelves is distilled with either water or alcohol, depending on the use you want out of it. From what I’ve read, if you get it in liquid form as witch hazel water, that is more for ingesting, and anything distilled with alcohol is used either as a liquid or wet wipe as an astringent centered around skin care.

I’m currently using these towelettes by Dickinson’s, which can now be found at almost any drug store and grocery store in the skin care aisle. The ingredients include: All Natural Witch Hazel (Containing Natural Grain Alcohol 14% and Witch Hazel Extract), Benzethonium Chloride, Sodium Benzoate, Aloe Barbadensis Leaf Juice.

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And… what do I do with it?

Let me preface this by saying my research only goes as far as uses for these astringent towelettes.

First and foremost, it is used as a natural astringent. It has the ability to remove excess oil from the skin and to minimize the appearance of pores. This aids in treating and preventing blemishes and acne from forming. I have been using the Dickinson’s wipes every night after removing my makeup and have realized my pores (which are normally huge) have noticeably shrunk down. My make up looks better and better sitting on my skin every day, and even when I go makeup free, I don’t worry as much. Stress and premenstrual break outs are not nearly what they were a month ago.

It also has  skin-tightening  properties and can help reduce swelling on the skin. This makes it ideal for brightening and firming the skin around your eyes, shrinking swollen/varicose veins, minimizing the appearance of bruises, and even relieves hemorrhoid pain. I’ve read that it is like “nature’s Neosporin,” so it can be applied to minor cuts and scrapes to disinfect, stop bleeding, and help the healing process.

As if that wasn’t enough, this stuff is the best after-sun treatment I’ve ever used. Never mind those expensive aloe- and cucumber-based lotions… there is aloe added into the wipes that I buy, but even the all-natural aloe gel I have never gave me these kind of results. After spending hours in the sun one lazy Saturday, I applied it to the redness on my nose and on my thighs where I got more sun than intended. It immediately took the burning sensation and tenderness out, and by the end of the night most of the redness was gone! I woke up the next morning feeling fine. I think this particular experience caused me to be a true believer in this shit.

And there are still more uses! I’ve also read it can relieve the itch from insect bites–though, I still have not tested out this theory yet (only because my Skin So Soft works so well I haven’t really gotten bit much this summer, thankfully). My coworker said when she was younger, that’s what her mom used to use on her for mosquito bites. Another use is razor burn and skin irritation, which I have tested, and it definitely helped in the bikini area. Not any more than using Listerine though (astringent hack, btw). WedMD says that it is “possibly ineffective” for treatment of itchy and inflamed skin (i.e., eczema or similar rash), and hydro-cortisone seems to be a better option. But either way, I’m convinced this stuff is a god-send. Like, why don’t more people know about it?

Is there a downside to this magnificent product?

The only con I’ve found thus far is the smell of the towelettes I use. The “signature botanical scent” they mention on the packaging doesn’t really do it for me.

And honestly, with all these benefits, if that is my only complaint… why are you still reading this? Go to the store and get some!

 

 

Three easy steps to take tonight to wake up easier tomorrow morning

So I’ve never actually have any issues falling asleep or staying asleep, for the most part. If you do, you probably hate me right now and that’s okay–I’ve known people with insomnia and that’s the absolute worst so I’m sorry. I’m also a self-proclaimed morning person. I feel like I’m at the top of my game most mornings, and usually take my first dip in energy right around 2-3pm. I yawn incessantly at the gym from 7-8pm. Then I get home, exhausted, and after a hot shower and a glass of wine I can barely keep my eyes open by 10pm. Lately, I’ve had a lot of trouble getting out of bed for work in the morning, only to start the same routine all over again. This weekend, I made three fast and easy changes to my sleeping habits that have given me more energy that lasts throughout the day.

Buy New Pillows

Okay, so this is the only one on this very short list that you actually have to spend a little coin on. But in the grand scheme of things, it’s a small price to pay for a great night’s sleep. I have probably been using the same pillows on my bed for the last 10 years. It’s just not something I ever thought of as a priority to replace. You hear about people who have issues sleeping needing new mattresses–and that’s a ton of money and hassle–but, for just $30 at TJ Maxx I bought two Calvin Klein pillows that are *literally* heaven. $30 may seem like a lot, and they had pairs of pillows in other brands and on sale for $9.99 and $16.99, but honestly, this is not something I was trying to skimp out on [really, it was only because I had indulged in a pitcher of margs before I went]. But I’m glad I bought the nicer ones, I can’t tell you how much more rejuvenated I feel when I wake up in the morning. It was a quick fix for a problem I didn’t even realize I had.

Get Less Sleep

If you’re an insomniac that never sleeps, skip to the next point. But, if you’re like me: exhausted all afternoon, and ready to pass out as soon as you get home at night, then the solution may be a bit counter-intuitive… but you might need to sleep LESS. What I didn’t realize when I was ready to pass out at 10pm, was that while my alarm was set for 6:05am and aptly allowing for 8 full hours of sleep, I wasn’t actually getting up out of bed to start my morning until almost 7am. I couldn’t get out of bed for my first alarm, so the second one hit, and then snooze, snooze, snooze. This past week I have not only been forcing myself to stay up a little later, but I also cut my nightly sleep time to 7 hours instead of 8 (okay, 9). The afternoon crash is almost nonexistent, and again, waking up in the morning has been so much easier. Who knew too much sleep could make you more tired? Everyone has a different ideal sleep amount, so you may have to experiment with it a little bit until you find the golden number. Mine, apparently, is 7 and not 9. Oops.

Don’t Sleep with Your Phone Next to Your Bed

Have you ever decided to climb into bed one night, and you open your phone, you know, just to check and see what’s going on, and before you know it, it’s two hours later and now you’re wide awake? Have you ever hit snooze so many times in the morning that your alarm literally just gave up on you? All of these issues can be resolved by leaving your phone across the room at night. If you do have trouble getting to sleep at night, you might want to consider getting rid of the TV in your bedroom as well. The light from your phone and TV actually send signals to your brain that it’s daylight, and even if you are exhausted, your brain will try to keep you up. In the morning, if your alarm is going off across the room, just getting up out of bed to turn it off gives you less incentive to hit snooze and go back to sleep for another 20 minutes. There are tons of studies out there telling you how terrible that 20 minute snooze between alarms really is for your body. The good news is, once you figure out your perfect amount of sleep and pick up those new comfy pillows to sleep on, you will have less incentive to hit that snooze button because you’ll feel a million times better in the morning!

And that’s it! Sleep well my beauties.

 

The unintended side effect of adding protein powder to your diet

I decided to add a powdered whey protein isolate into my diet when I went from 2 muscle training classes and one cardio session per week, to 3 muscle training classes and no cardio per week, to 3 muscle training classes and a boot camp conditioning class every week. I figured with my increase in exercise and lack of any actual protein in my diet, adding some in the morning/post workout couldn’t hurt. I didn’t notice much of a difference at first until I started making these bomb recovery shakes after my boot camp class and realized I was less sore when I woke up the next day. So that was pretty cool.

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I’ve been drinking at least one scoop of protein each day with 4-6oz of vanilla almond milk for the last month. In the past week or so I noticed an unintended side effect of this magical supplement.

I have thick hair. And a lot of it. I’ve been using this fall fight shampoo and conditioner by Garnier for probably about a year now and only continue to use it because it smells good and for some reason my hair is not getting used to it. You know like when you use a shampoo and condition combo for too long, it stops making your hair look good so you have to switch?  Right. Okay. Anyway, I was still shedding like a mofo. I only wash my hair three days a week and each time I’d scoop clumps of hair out of the drain after the shower. It was so annoying! And not to mention the time I completely fried my hair a month ago because one plate on my hair straightener broke. So, between this fall fight crap and the keratin leave in conditioner I was using to repair the damage to my hair, I still lost quite a bit of hair to breakage daily with no idea how to prevent it. But we’re girls, we just deal with shit like that, right? Wrong. Enter in a month of drinking protein.

In the last week I’ve noticed that I am shedding less and less in the shower, on my pillow at night, and in my every day activities. I looked it up and it’s actually legit: upping the protein in your diet can prevent breakage, allow your hair to grow faster, stay attached to your head longer, and be healthier and stronger overall. And if you think as a girl combining protein and weightlifting will make you bulky, you’re out of your mind but that’s another rant for another day. It’s not only good for your bod and your post workout recovery, but it can help your hair grow stronger and more beautiful, and who wouldn’t want that?!

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I totally forgot to put a title on this.

Well… it’s that time of year again. Another birthday looming on the horizon. Another year older. Arguably, it’s been a great year. Better than most. But 25 just sounds… so old. I don’t know if I’m having what you’d call a quarter-life crisis, because I’m totally stoked at where I am at this point… but, like, damn. A quarter of a century? Really? I’ve been here that long?

It’s wildly appropriate that I stumbled across this instagram page a couple of days ago. Created by Samantha Jayne, “Quarter Life Poetry” is just what I need to read this week to realize I’m not actually alone in feeling the way that I do.

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Sidenote: I got a cat and his name is Charles Barkley and he wears a bowtie and he’s the shit. This poem rang the most true.

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Ok, no, this one rang the most true. Because, food.

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I’ve been on this particular juice cleanse for about 2 years now.


And for all my weirdos out there, the New Moon in Scorpio will peak at 12:47 PM EST tomorrow (11/11/15). So, not only is there a “holy portal” opening numerically with repeating 11s, but astrologically, we will experience a gate opening for new beginnings. This energy lets us dive deep into our emotions and desires to get us closer to where we want to be. Fuck yeah. Accept what brought you here and be at peace with where you are. Set intentions for where you want to go. At least the universe has my back just in time for the birthday!

Top five reasons why Halloween costumes are the actual worst

Happy Halloween!

What a wonderful time of the year… scary movies on every station; parties where everyone gets to dress up like someone they’re not; and it’s perfectly acceptable to scare the shit out of children. At the ripe old age of 25 (in two short weeks), I’ve finally come to the realization that purchasing actual costumes for Halloween is complete and utter bullshit. Why, you ask?

  1. The price of a good costume. You can always tell when someone gets a costume or wig at Walmart versus one of those fancy Halloween stores. If you want to look hot, you’ll have to pay for it.
  2. They’re a one-time wear. So on top of spending all that money to look good, chances are you aren’t going to reuse the costume for a very long time, if not ever.
  3. Does anyone really look good in polyester? ‘Cause that’s what most of those crap costumes are made out of. Itchy, uncomfortable, unflattering, and cheap looking. Halloween should be about having fun and being comfortable in something you wouldn’t normally wear. Not being in something you can’t wait to change out of.
  4. October 31st in Cleveland is cold. Not an ideal time of year to be down with the “sexy” costume of anything. It’s fucking chilly out there, peeps! And more likely than not it’s going to rain on you and all your slutty friends.

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  5. Shopping online for clothes is the worst. Shopping online for Halloween costumes are a true nightmare. You really think you’re going to look like the person modeling that thing? Here’s a fun fact: they have binder clips pinching the back of their costumes to make it look more form-fitting in photographs.

My solution this year for my new-found disdain for Halloween costumes: make-up. Whether you’re drawing an animal face on, a zombie, sugar skull, or a skeleton… you can literally wear whatever you want and it still looks like you put in a ton of effort. Look good and feel comfortable! Halloween make-up is not that tricky, it just looks like it is. Just google it, man.

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Have fun and be safe, everyone!

xoxo

rainy saturdayz

It’s okay if something doesn’t go exactly the way you planned. In case you haven’t already figured it out; the things you want and deserve the most usually come to you in ways you least expect. It’s going to be a journey if it’s truly worth it. Keep the faith, even through all the bumps along the way. If it’s what you really want, keep believing that the universe will respond. It’s going to manifest itself to you. One way or another. Don’t ever lose hope.

And if all else fails, just keep reminding yourself that mercury is in retrograde and everything will end up sorting itself out once the universe gets its shit together. !!!!! 😉

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Checking in

Hello!

After a long, hot summer full of new beginnings [in my career], planning overload [for bachelorette and surprise birthday parties], and finally getting to be the maid of honor in a beautiful wedding… I finally feel like I have a life back! Summer is officially over in Cleveland, wildly apparent in the 60 degree weather and continuous rain we’ve had all weekend, and football season starts tomorrow–my favorite time of the year. Now that everything has calmed down, I’m also contemplating whether or not I should get a cat…but more on that later.

Tonight we experience a solar eclipse and new moon in Virgo (which happens to be my moon sign), and the most important thing I can say about this is, When you are needless, you are free.” So, let go of all that shit that’s been holding you down and embrace your inner strength and new beginnings! Without realizing the cosmic significance of today, I stumbled across this quote earlier and now see how applicable and appropriate it is to share:

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Hopefully you’ll get to hear more from me now that the busiest most fun summer of my life has come to an end!!!

I guess this is growing up.

Things I don’t have time for now that I work so much:

  • Cleaning my apartment
  • Responding to texts
  • Taking lunch breaks
  • Managing my personal finances, social media accounts, and writing for my blog on company time (note: this one is a major bummer)
  • Reading BuzzFeed articles
  • General creeping on social media
  • Blow drying my hair
  • Morning showers

Things I still have time for:

  • Planning surprise birthday parties, bachelorette parties, and general Maid of Honor wedding planning
  • Making tons of lists so I don’t forget to do shit
  • Watching at least 3 to 4 episodes of Orange is the New Black every night
  • Wine

Mmm… wine….

kc survives roofie island

I was a little hesitant when the general consensus voted in favor of a bachelorette party in Put-in-Bay, due to the recent horror stories arising last year dubbing it “Roofie Island.” Having never been there before myself, I wasn’t entirely confident I could pull this off without a hitch. But, seeing as it was the closest thing to a getaway we have here around Cleveland, I was ready to make this thing happen.

As the Maid of Honor, my duties ranged not only from getting a final head count for the trip (which, for a destination bachelorette party is way more difficult than I ever imagined), to getting all necessary information to the girls attending in regard to departure times, cost, and actually getting to and from the island and making sure everyone had a good time. One thing I am so glad I did was put together full-proof survival kits for everyone going. Here’s what was in them:

“Team Bride” tank tops

A necessity for any bachelorette party. People need to know why you’re down there celebrating, and what better way than to be decked out in tanks. Obviously, the bride had her own tank that said “Bride” along with a veil and sash (and various penis-related items) to separate her from the crowd, but these were a must. Also a pretty good tool to locate your group.

Medicine

I got mini bottles of ibuprofen that were $0.99 a piece at Target, and gave everyone enough Pepto Bismol chewables for the weekend. It not only helped prevent hangovers but helped cure any morning nausea from our long days of drinking. These were probably the most popular items in the survival kits!

Liquid other than alcohol

Water and Gatorade bottles. Because everyone was so worried about all the liquor they were bringing, no one was paying attention to rule number one… STAY HYDRATED! Especially after a long night of drinking and a long day drinking in the sun.

Protein bars

So our hotel serves a complimentary breakfast…every day except for Saturday. Clearly because it’s the busiest day… but what a kick in the gonads to roll out of bed at 8 am looking forward to a free meal and finding nothing. The protein bars helped stave off the hangry while we sipped stale coffee and started to plan out our day.

Chewing gum

Because sometimes your rank ass breath needs it after a long day and night of binge drinking.

Mini sunscreen

Perfect for our long day at the pool on Saturday, the mini sunscreens came in super handy for the face! Clearly, I didn’t bring mine to the pool and burned the hell out of my nose. It only just now looks half way normal.

Other miscellaneous knick knacks

Cheap sunglasses just in case someone broke or lost a pair, small samples of perfume and makeup and Mardi Gras beads just for the hell of it.

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My voice still isn’t entirely back, and I’m pretty sure multiple people now have pictures of me bonging a beer out of a dick-shaped beer bong, but all in all it was a great weekend.

Protip: Always keep your thumb over the opening of your beer while you’re dancing, honor the buddy system with your girlfriends at all times, and be aware of your surroundings. Then you, too can enjoy a weekend in Put-in-Bay without being roofied!!!!!

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