Making lists keeps me sane

The title of this post should surprise no one who has read this blog for at least the last six months. (And if you’re newer than that, my name is Justine, and I’m incredibly Type A. Welcome.)

So as you know, I embark for Iceland in less than 48 hours. (Pause for girlish squeal…squeeee! Moving on.) Naturally, I still have a few things I need to accomplish before then. And to help keep my own brain straight, I’m going to document them here.

Welcome to my brain.

List of Everything I Will Accomplish Before Thursday Afternoon:

1. Go to the drug store for allergy medicine, batteries, face lotion, and a few other essentials. (Doing this over my lunch break today.)
2. Go to the gym. (After work.)
3. Pack. (Doing this tonight).
4. Go to the gym again. (Tomorrow morning.)
5. Get my nails did. (Yes, again. My nails grow really fast. DON’T JUDGE ME.)
6. Clean the entire apartment. Including putting away the laundry Joey is picking up tonight, straightening the living room and dining room, cleaning the kitchen and bathroom, and giving every surface a once over for that ever-multiplying dust. (After the nails.)

I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned this before, but I hate coming home from a trip to a messy apartment. I mean, you’re already bummed to be coming home (and in the case of international travel, it may have not been the smoothest trip). The last thing you (I) want is to do is stumble through the door to be met with a stressful, cluttered space. (Hmm? I’m the only one stressed out by clutter? What?)

So anyway. Six things. That’s not so bad. Plus I’ll have half a day after I pack to think of things I may have forgotten.

Hmm…I should probably make a list of things I need to pack, too, huh?

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On hiding the evidence

Susan: Well, I guess today we’re discussing whether or not you can hide the murder weapon

Me: Can you?

Susan: Oh, no you shouldn’t take the gun.

Me: I should hide it?

Susan: I mean, you should. But I can’t tell you how to hide it.

Me: Oh, ok.

Susan: And I can’t hide it for you.

Me: Fair enough.

Susan: BUT. If you hide the gun and tell me where you hid it, I can go find it and wipe it down. As long as i tell law enforcement where I found it.

Me: Bahaha. I love the laws of our country.

Aaaaand THAT’S why I love having best friends in law school.

A mish-mash of things.

For those of you concerned with the status of my health: The head cold has evolved to more of a chest cold.

Pros: Less nasal congestion, easier to breathe, not so much of that “out of it” feeling.
Cons:
The coughing has begun — and it sounds revolting. (You’re welcome, co-workers.)

Plus, I got these tissues that have lotion AND Vicks in them, and if I ever start feeling really congested, I just hold one up to my nose for a while and breathe real deep. It’s magical. And doesn’t make me look insane at all.

I think we’re going to pull through, folks.

For those of you not concerned with my bodily functions (humph…suit yourself), I GO TO ICELAND IN THREE DAYS.

Obviously, I am mildly jazzed.

For those of you not concerned with my life at all (in which case, what are you doing here?), it’s Valentine’s Day. I don’t celebrate it, but if you do, here’s hoping you haven’t already screwed it up. Or, at the very least, that you can still rustle up a $10 bouquet at the grocery store. (Hint: Get there early.)

Ok, can we go back to the Iceland thing for a second? (Listen, if you’re not concerned with my life at all, you should probably move along. It’s not you, it’s me.)(Literally.)

I’ve been looking forward to this trip since August of last year. For realz. And now that it’s finally here, it’s really starting to augment that feeling of “the year is pretty much already over“.

Because next thing you know, it’s March, which means it’s time to go to the hockey game that I bought Joey tickets for last fall. And then it’s time to FINALLY see The Hunger Games.

And then it’s pretty much April, which means it’s our one-year anniversary and Annie‘s bachelorette party.

And then it’s just about May, which means it’s time for our friends’ Bryan and Brittany’s wedding, and then oops, it’s summer. Surprise. Which means I’m officially 25. BAM.

I mean, I’m sure other stuff will happen in between there. I’m sure it won’t literally be like a quick blink and then suddenly it’s 90 degrees out. But I’m also sure it is going to go pretty quickly. And…I don’t know. I guess it’s weird when life starts to pick up so much. And honestly, I’m not even that weirded out about getting older. It’s just that 25 has always felt like such an adult age. You are officially, for real a grown-up.

I know that shouldn’t weird me out. I’m married. I have had a grown-up job for a few years now. But it’s still…weird. Am I ever going to actually feel like a grown-up?

This post has rapidly spiraled out of control. (Almost like my year! Full circle!)(?)

Oh well. Hopefully in all that madness, at least a few of you will read this and be like, “Yup. THAT IS HOW IT FEELS.” If not…well…then I’m alone as well as insane.

And just to end this post on a suitably random (and positive!) note, I bought the J. Crew pants. They were on sale, plus I got an additional 3 percent cash back from Ebates. (You HAVE signed up for Ebates by now, right?)(If not, please use that link there — I get rewards for referrals, so we BOTH win.)

And thus ends the most random post EVER. My apologies.

My favorite cold remedies.

I really hardly ever get sick. I just sifted through my archives, and the last time I came down with something (bad enough to be blogged about) was January of 2011. The time before that? October of 2010.

That’ll do, immune system. That’ll do.

So I guess I shouldn’t complain too much about the fact that my nasal region has turned into a cesspool of mucus production in the last couple of days.

But guess what? I’m going to complain. And you want to know why?

BECAUSE I’M GOING TO ICELAND ON THURSDAY AND I’LL BE DAMNED IF I LET A COLD KEEP ME DOWN.

Fortunately, a side effect to having a fairly robust immune system is that I’m generally not sick for very long. And I have enough vitamins coursing through my system to give even the toughest bacteria a run for its money, so here’s hoping the next three days are packed with good health.

My “get better” concoction consists of a B-complex and D vitamin daily, along with at least two Emergen-C (knock-off) packets and 3-4 Zycam (zinc) meltaways every day. Like I said, lots o’ vitamins.

Plus I slept about 12-13 hours Thursday night (stayed home from work on Friday), and about 10 hours on both Friday and Saturday nights. My body has no excuses for not beating this thing.

THURSDAY. I LEAVE ON THURSDAY.

In almost every other way, though, I’m very ready to go. I just need to pick up some boot socks today and pack on Wednesday. That’s it! Obviously, I’m super excited.

So if you need me, I’ll just be sitting here thinking healthy thoughts.

Anyone else have any cold-busting remedies to share?

Treat yo self.

I’m not a particularly indulgent person.

I mean, sure, I can treat yo self with the best of ’em. But in general, my Practical Polly ways win out.

Like any good rule, though, there are exceptions.

Can I just express how much I love doing really indulgent things on my lunch break? I mean, come on. You’re sitting at your desk all day, and while life may not be miserable, it’s certainly not (most likely) the time of your life. (And if it is…well, you’re probably a circus performer. And some of us are uneasy around clowns, so that career path isn’t a viable option.)

It’s nice to know that you can escape for a bit and do something for yourself.

Remember that time I got my hair washed and dried on my lunch break? Greatest decision ever.

And today, I got my nails done. Boom, instantly more relaxed. (Although the color turned out a bit more “Barbie” than I intended. C’est la vie, amiright?)(SEE HOW RELAXED AND CHILL I AM NOW?)

Anyway. If you’re having a rough day, I strongly encourage lunchtime pampering. Anyone else do this? (Or am I the only occasionally self-indulgent one out there?)

Book Review: The Weird Sisters

Note: I was compensated for this BlogHer Book Club review, but all opinions expressed are my own.

If you’re not a girl with a sister, you might not understand the relationships in The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown.

There are a lot of books about brothers. Brothers solving mysteries together. Brothers soldiering through wars. Brothers rescuing brothers. There are fewer literary examples of sisters.

You might say, “Little Women!” And I say, “Please.” Because little women was a family of girls. I’m talking about the relationships between sisters. And yes, there is a difference.

Rosalind (Rose), Bianca (Bean), and Cordelia (Cordy) are three sisters who live in what, at times, appears to be the kind of world you can only find in a novel. Small-town bred by a dreamy mother and a Shakespeare-obsessed father (thus the names), they each spiraled away from each other in an attempt to find their place in the world, only to be thrown back together by their own failures. At first, I admit, the whimsical way they seem to speak and see each other was a bit grating — does anyone actually talk/live like this? But as the book goes on, the characters become sharper, more real. And you learn that given their upbringing, it’s really more of a fantasy to think they could have turned out any differently.

In the end, though, it was the ties between the sisters that resonated with me (which was the point). As one half of a rather dynamic sisterhood myself, I share the sisters’ complaint early in the novel:

We see stories in magazines or newspapers sometimes, or read novels, about the deep and loving relationships between sisters. Sisters are supposed to be tight and connected, sharing family history and lore, laughing over misadventures. But we are not that way. We never have been, really, because even our partnering was more for spite than for love. Who are these sisters who act like this, who treat each other as their best friends? We have never met them. We know plenty of sisters who get along well, certainly, but wherefore the myth?

What I liked about this book — really liked about it — was the honest assessment of the competitiveness that comes with being sisters. I’m not sure brothers have this emotion. Whereas brothers tend to band together, sisters learn to define themselves by whatever their sisters are not. In the case of our weird sisters, Rose is the practical, responsible, achieving one; Bean is the pretty, boy-drawing one; Cordy is the rambling, undependable-but-loveable one. The sisters start to lose themselves in these identities to the point where they feel there can’t possibly be two smart ones. Two attractive ones. Two capable ones. Let alone three brave ones.

Sometimes, they are cruel to each other. At others, they are unbelievably gentle. But to be perfectly honest, I’ve never met sisters who didn’t behave that way.

Over all, I recommend the book. It has a sort of lilting cadence to it (which I have to imagine was inspired by the idea of iambic pentameter) that’s soothing to read, and though things manage to tie themselves up into an almost too-perfect bow in the end (heck, according to Shakespeare the only other option would be tragedy, in which everyone would have to die), it doesn’t discredit the rest of the story.

Has anyone else read this one? I’m sure I’m forgetting some other book about sisters (ahem)…anyone care to remind me? And if you want to read more reviews, check out these other responses from the BlogHer Book Club and join the conversation!

My new friend Sofiie

It should surprise no one that I like giving my opinion on things.

In fact, that’s a quality that I notice in most of the people I choose as friends. (You already knew I don’t trust people without some kind of opinion.)

Honestly, I think especially with how easy it is to express your opinion nowadays (what with status updates, tweeting, blogging, etc.), it’s a little surprising that there are still so many companies and commercials out there that seem to have zero idea what women (and, well, anyone) really want.

Which is why I’m so excited to be a newly minted affiliate of Sofiie.com.

Sofiie is an online network that acts as a liaison between women consumers and the companies looking to reach them. Here’s how it works:

Companies want to know what women want. (Hey, it’s the age-old question, right?) Rather than just blindly guessing, affiliates of Sofiie can post questions on the site to get answers and engage discussions. The mission of Sofiie is to “understand women’s decision-making processes and fuel the growth of brands through sharing opinions, forming insights and improving experiences.”

The best part? They want to give you fabulous prizes — just for sharing your opinion! Every question you answer enters you in a weekly drawing for gift certificates and prize packages from places like Target, Starbucks, and Aveda. (It’s like they know what we like, right?) It’s seriously that simple — answer questions; get entered to win prizes. Boom.

And if I can get serious with you for a second, the prizes are great, but the truly awesome part about this idea is that it actually gives you a voice. And who doesn’t want that? (Yeah, ok, and the prizes are still pretty cool.)

Interested in signing up? Click here to register.

Then be sure to check out Sofiie’s shout out to Stop Me if You’ve Heard This One here.