Syndicated on BlogHer!

Good new, you guys!

The fabulous editors at BlogHer have selected one of my posts to be syndicated on their site! I was featured on the homepage:

And on their Food channel:

Please check it out here, and show me some love in the comments.

How embarrassing.

I’ve mentioned before my phobia of being embarrassed. It’s probably the thing I am most afraid of, that gives me the most anxiety when I imagine encountering it. (Well, that and cockroaches. I’ve often said — and meant — that if I found a cockroach in my apartment, he would get the apartment.)

My fear of humiliation manifests itself in bizarre ways sometimes. For example, even if I know the answer to a publicly asked question (and know that I know it), I’ll usually keep quiet on the off-chance that I’m somehow wrong anyway and don’t want to be called out on it.

Another situation I can just barely stand? Going around in a circle and introducing yourself in front of a group.

Yup, I’m saying that one of the most anxiety-producing situations I can experience is having to say my name.

Told you it was a little weird.

As long as I can remember, I’ve dreaded that moment on the first day of school, the first meeting at a new company, etc. the bigger the circle and the longer I have to imagine what could go wrong, the harder my heart pounds.

Why am I so freaked out? I’m worried I’ll say the wrong name or mess up my own an everyone will laugh at me.

THAT IS LITERALLY THE ENTIRE BASIS OF MY PHOBIA.

It’s a little pathetic, right? I mean, I don’t consider myself an insecure person. I should be able to handle misspeaking and everyone getting a little chuckle out of it.

I was going to say, “I mean, what’s the worst that could happen? I stutter over my words, everyone laughs, and we love on.” But the fact is, yeah, that’s the worst that could happen. I can feel my face burn and my stomach fill with butterflies even just thinking about it happening.

Why am I dwelling on this (somewhat ridiculous) phobia? Because yesterday, my entire department had to introduce ourselves to the head of our company, a woman whose name I can almost guarantee you know, a woman who’s a celebrity in her own right and whom I admire and respect and am more than a little intimidated by. And not for nothing, but she’s also a woman who has made it clear she suffers no fools and doesn’t have time for people blathering all over themselves trying to string a few words into a sentence.

So, yeah, I was a little nervous.

I’m going to throw out a spoiler here and tell you it all went fine. She was very nice to me, and a managed to spit out my name, title, tenure with the company, and what I was working on without any embarrassing stammers or awkward phrasing. (I know, you guys! Someone should really get me a medal.)

Unfortunately for me, I think this is just one of those phobias that will always be in the back of my mind. The trick will just be learning to overcome it. (Hint: I’m a big fan of practicing. You know I had rehearsed my little “what I’ve been working on” shpeel.)

Ok, now. Let’s go around the room an everyone say what they’re afraid of so I feel better about my own fears.

SEE WHAT I DID THERE?

But seriously. Spill!

Rawr.

UGHHHH.

I wrote an entire post on my fear of going around in a circle and introducing yourself (including a fun anecdote about work yesterday where I met the head of our company), and I typed the whole dang thing on my phone, and then my phone deleted it.

I’m furious.

But also not awake enough to re-type it right now. Sorry. Maybe later.

I just wanted you to know that I tried, you guys.

**UPDATE! A few of you awesome peeps received the post in an email (yet another reason why you should all subscribe to the blog…just sayin…) and sent it to me. Special thanks to Annie, Michelle, and Susan’s mom, Gayle. You’re all awesome for pointing this out to me. ENJOY THE REAL POST HERE.

The Revenge of the Single Girl Dinners

Whenever Joey and I are running low on groceries and lacking the funds or motivation to buy more, we’re forced to get a bit more creative with what we eat for dinner. The result?

For one, we clean out our fridge and pantry, which makes me feel better about using what we have instead of over-buying. Go, responsible consuming!

For another, we eat a lot more of what I have affectionately dubbed “Single Girl Dinners.”

I’ve discussed the gist of Single Girl Dinners before, but I feel like the topic has been coming up a lot lately as more and more of my friends pair off and get married or move in with their dudes.

Basically, it’s anything you would eat as a meal but would never serve to a guest. I’m willing to bet at least three different weird things you have eaten for dinner but never bragged about just popped into your brain.

The point is, I’ve decided to embrace the Single Girl Dinner (and possibly just amend it to the Low On Groceries Dinner). Especially since, for the last week, Joey has been taking a night class, so in general, I’m on my own for how I feed myself.

It’s weirdly…liberating. And I get a little nostalgic for my poor, single girl days. Don’t get me wrong; I love being married and love cooking real, would-serve-to-a-guest meals, but curling up on the couch eating tuna salad and crackers and watching Bravo by myself inspires a feeling I can only describe as decadent.

Plus, it makes a great lunch the next day! See?

I don’t know, you guys. Between Joey taking over the weekday cooking duties and me embracing these super easy “meals,” I’m a little worried my cooking muscles will start to atrophy. So for old time’s sake, let’s make this a quick Kitchen Adventure, shall we?

Single Girl’s Fancy Tuna Salad & Crackers
2 cans of tuna, drained
1/2 cup of non-fat plain Greek yogurt
2 stalks of celery, chopped
1/2 red onion, chopped
2 Tablespoons crumbled feta cheese
Whole wheat crackers

Combine all ingredients (except the crackers) in a small bowl. Spread on crackers. Enjoy. (Keeps in an air-tight container for lunch the next day.)

SEE? Eating whilst single is beyond easy. Also, it’s kind of pathetic I blogged this. Having second thoughts…but it’s been too long since I posted so I’m keeping it. But Lord knows I need to stop scraping the bottom of the barrel sometime soon.

Or at the very least, start eating more dinners that don’t call for crackers.

The happiest.

I’m a little embarrassed to say just how much happier I am now that I have a job I love.

Of course, only I would see being happy as a reason to be concerned.

I shouldn’t be embarrassed. Given the amount of time one spends at their full-time employment (that’s is to say, most of my time), it makes sense that if my job makes me happy I’ll be happy most of the time.

So why am I being hard on myself?

Because I’m a person who believes that it shouldn’t be your job that makes you happy. Your job should not define who or what you are.

At least, in my head I believe that. In my head, I know that’s true.

Ironically, when it comes to other people and their jobs, I believe it whole-heartedly. I see that their job is simply a way to provide for themselves and their families. That it doesn’t make them a better or worse person if they have the coolest job ever or no job at all.

I don’t know why it’s so hard for me to see that for myself.

Because even though I know my job is far from the most important part of my character (that my job doesn’t really have anything to do with my character at all), sometimes, usually when I’m working a job I don’t like, I forget that.

I’m trying not to let this be too painful of a realization for a couple of reasons:

1. I know that when you get right down to it, I have my priorities in order. I put my job somewhere in fifth or sixth place in terms of the things that are most important, and even then only because we need it to support ourselves.

2. I know I’m not actually a bad person for caring about how much I like my job. I do spend the majority of my day there, and I’m a better person all-around if it makes me happy.

I think the reason why this revelation is at all disturbing is that I don’t feel comfortable having my happiness depend on anything that could be fleeting. And lord knows jobs aren’t exactly rock-solid these days. If I’m forced to go back to a job I don’t enjoy as thoroughly, what does that mean for my mental health?

Fortunately, I’ll always have things outside of work to truly fulfill me. Things that if I didn’t have them, even a dream job couldn’t compensate for. (I’m lookin’ at you, spirituality and relationship with my husband.)

So maybe (probably) I’m looking at this all wrong. My job isn’t making me happy — it’s just contributing to my happiness. And I guess I can settle for being the type of person who lets her job contribute to her happiness.

I’m curious how other people feel about this. How crucial is the date of your career to your personal contentment? And once you’ve assessed that, does it bother you?

Hair help needed.

You guys. I need help with something totally frivolous.

Yup, it’s time for another “let’s talk about Justine’s hair” post. You love those, right?

But for realz. I need advice.

As my more long-standing readers can attest, I go back and forth on what color my hair should be fairly often. It’s kind of a seasonal thing.

In the last year or so, however, I’ve come to the conclusion that I am happier as a blonde. I think it suits me better.

YOU WOULD THINK THE QUESTIONING WOULD END THERE, RIGHT?

Wrong. I still have questions.

Because lately my hair has gotten pretty darn blonde. And I think for fall, I want to do something a bit deeper. But not so much darker that it’s at all difficult to go back to blonde once the weather gets warmer.

So I have a couple of options.

1. Ombre.
Although I read something online yesterday that mentioned ombre might be over. I always miss things. But I was thinking something soft like:

2. All-over reddish-blonde toner.
I’ve done the red hair thing, and while I liked it, it’s pretty hard to maintain in the long-run. But a subtle honey-colored toner for fall/winter? Seems simple enough. I’m thinking:

So…what do you think? Anyone else make a seasonal color change almost every year, or am I the only crazy one? At least I’ve narrowed it down a little, right?

Let’s trade.

I think life will almost always be all about trade-offs.

You can excel at your super competitive career, but the trade-off is that you have to give up a personal life. You can have more free time, but the trade-off is that you work a boring job. You can have the great job in the city, but the trade-off is that you’re left with less time and less to blog about.

Okay, I may just be referring to myself on that last one.

But seriously, in the last couple of weeks I’ve found myself struggling to come up with topics. Nothing too blog-able happens to me during the day, though I guess that could be considered a good thing. At least I haven’t had any train horror stories…yet.

And it doesn’t help that I’ve been blogging about my life as part of a freelance assignment, so even the things I would share have already been contracted away.

Although I don’t feel too bad about that particular trade-off when the checks come in the mail.

I think a lot about why I maintain this blog. I don’t think anyone out there would be too distraught if I stopped, but at the same time, I think I would miss it.

Don’t fret; I’m not stopping. I just need to be more organized. I need to look a bit more consciously at the potential stories in my life.

But I think I will be cutting back on my post frequency. Obviously I haven’t been maintaining the once-a-day schedule I once was.

Hopefully, though, that will mean the posts you do get are of a higher quality.

And that sounds like a pretty reasonable trade-off, right?