The Pope & a Novelist Walk into a Bar

And it’s the world’s friendliest thumbs-up battle.

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Now I know why I like Frank so much. #JBFletcherForLife


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Mad Props to Pope Frank

Today I read this article about an interview where Pope Francis shared his 10 tips for happiness.

Trust this list, because this is the face of a man who knows happy:

Below are The Pope’s ten tips translated from Spanish by the Catholic News Service (and copied from the article above).

1. “Live and let live.”
2. “Be giving of yourself to others.”
3. “Proceed calmly” in life.
4. Have “a healthy sense of leisure.”
5. “Sunday is for family.”
6. Be “creative” with young people and find innovative ways to create dignified jobs.
7. Respect and take care of nature.
8. Stop being negative. “Letting go of negative things quickly is healthy,” he said.
9. “The worst thing of all is religious proselytism, which paralyzes.”
10. Work for peace. “We are living in a time of many wars,” he said. “The call for peace must be shouted.”

I think this is a perfect list, one that transcends any religion, any lifestyle. Sure, No.5 can be pretty Christian, but change your Sunday to Saturday or Friday or whatever, and remember the important thing is to designate time for family.

No.4 is definitely my favorite. Not because I’m particularly lazy or adept at free time (remember those few years where I worked full-time and nights and weekends?,) but because I do think that one in particular is imperative to accomplishing all other things on the list. Take some time to enjoy life and you can sure do a lot of good with the sense of contentment, happiness, etc. that go with taking a break for leisure.

Thanks, Frank.

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For the Record

I fucking hate writing personal statements. 

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The Race of Life

Today I realized a big shift in my Facebook feed. What once–and I mean as recently as last year or perhaps even early this year–was all engagement ring selfies and shower snapshots and wedding photos, is now babies. Baby bumps, baby showers, baby swaddling, eating, smiling, pooping, baby is X-months-old!… just baby, baby, baby. Far more babies than life milestones like graduations, engagements, or new homes.

When did I get this old? Or this out of my demographic? I couldn’t be further from having a baby than I could be from getting engaged, graduating, or buying a house. I have to admit to being really shaken by this realization. I’ve always been aware of being a little behind, like perhaps some people have lapped me. But now I’m not sure I’m even running in the same race as most the people I know. Am I on some alternate track? Are there water stations and a finish line for me, too?

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Buckle Up, World: The 28 List

Less than a month into the year, I’ve nailed down all 28 things for my list. It’s looking highly accomplishable, which I feel is either not a good enough challenge or just smart pre-planning on my part. Let’s go with the latter.

I’m mostly excited because this mantra gives me an excuse to purchase some type of Daft Punk t-shirt (I hope this one comes back in stock) which I’ve been ogling for ages. Oh, and of course, chase me some booty. #28IsTheNew18



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Summertime Sadness

On the social medias I see all these pictures of girls in swim tops and tank tops and halter tops and strapless tops and not-exactly-there-tops…

I can’t help but wonder just how liberating life is when you don’t have to wear a standard bra. Or a bra at all. And swimsuits actually provide support and coverage. And strap tan lines aren’t inevitable. And the middle part of boobs actually can get tan.

What is that magical world like? Le sigh.


Busty Girl Problems by Rampaige


Busty Girl Problems by Rampaige

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The 27 List: Final Results

All right, folks, it happened. I turned 28. It wasn’t painful or sad or anything. It was delightful. Delightful because I hosted brunch  and had book club that night.

But also because 27 was so damn good to me. I managed to accomplish 20/27 to-dos I set for myself, and I really loved every minute of it. This year, especially in the last six months, I really put fun (for lack of a better word) first. Not exactly loving my job helped me to spend more time reading, socializing, making friends, and adventuring. All my friends getting married sort of helped that along, too. And most important, all those things helped me inadvertently take Dickens’ quote to heart: I’m not dwelling on lost relationships, grad school failures, and other past hangups. This is my life, here and now, and by not looking back I’ve noticed far more present blessings.

Read the whats, hows, and how-nots, below. (And stay tuned for the 28 list later this week.) From the original 27 List page.


“Reflect upon your present blessings – of which every man has many – not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some.”

- Charles Dickens

I’m in my late twenties. Officially the slippery slope to 30. My life’s not perfect but I have a lot. I am lucky. And while last year was a year of rebuilding and me, me, me, this should be a time to be thankful for who and what I have in my life, not focusing on what’s missing.

True to form, this will remain fluid and open to new goals. I’ll track my progress, in an unfashionably slow manner, here.

The 27 List

  1. Travel three places I have never been 

    The most beautiful place in the world.

    The most beautiful place in the world.

    Again, I set this goal and I get to exceed expectations beyond my wildest imagination. Last year was England, this year was Spain and Italy! A work trip sent me to Barcelona and Almeria, Spain, and I took the opportunity to vacation for a week beforehand. I boarded the Norwegian Epic cruise ship–all by myself–and went from Barcelona, to the top of Mount Vesuvius and the lost city of Pompeii, to the insanity and history of Rome and Vatican City, to the extreme serenity of the Cinque Terre, to the coast of France, and finally, to the island city of Palma de Mallorca and a day of swimming in the ocean. It was one of the most amazing things I will probably ever be able to do with my life, and I am so grateful it happened. My absolute favorite stop was the Cinque Terre. I bet you can see why.

  2. Consider my career (part 2)
    Well, the last year has produced some of the worst moments and first grey hairs of my career. I really, truly need to think about who and what I want to be. Plus, my GRE scores run out soon (now?) and I’ll have to retake the test if I want to seriously consider the library/archiving route. So, I QUIT THE BARN. If that’s not a step in the right direction (for both surviving my day job and considering the future) then there is no right step or direction.
  3. Say yes
    I said yes to a new job. To going out. To drinking. To friends. To more book clubs. More old books. More adventures. More sleeping. It was great. It took a few months, but once I finally gave in, I said yes to the social life and fun that I’d deprived myself of and that had eluded me for a long time.
  4. Say no
    I could have done this earlier, but hitting late 27, I’ve said a lot of “No.” No to some extra sorority work. No to working late. No to working the second job. No to men who suck.
  5. Dry clean
    I either only buy clothes that can be washed, or I buy sweaters that can be dry-cleaned and I instead wash them. It’s fine–a great way for me to limit what I buy–but there are some things that just need to be dry cleaned. So, I’ve had three lovely dresses go to the cleaners and come back ready for another formal occasion in 2014.
  6. Go to an Iowa Cubs game
    Done! We lost. But it was a beautiful night and a lot of fun.
  7. Go to a Twins game
    I’m learning, in my second year of this, that I shouldn’t make so many things destination based. It’s hard with people’s schedules!
  8. See a 3D movie
    I did! That movie was not Gravity, which is supposedly, like, the reason 3D movies were even invented. But that movie was THOR: Dark World and it was amazeballs. Plus an almost-touchable Chris Hemsworth is not something to turn down.
  9. Iowa Wild and Des Moines Buccaneers
    We lost both. Who cares. #hockey #beer #friends
  10. Go to the Iowa State Fair
    HUZZAH! I did! I lived in this fertile land for 27 years without once setting foot on the fabled event, which is grounds for expulsion in this state. So, mom, pop, and I took an early morning, pre-heat and pre-crowd trip to check it out. And by “check out” I mean eat all the fried food I could in 15 minutes. Left: mini cider donuts, fried Oreos, fried Twinkie. Right: double bacon corndog with syrup, fried Snickers.
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  11. Bake something new
    I’m calling this a win, even though it was really that I made these super sweet cookies with almond and my first-ever experience with Royal Icing. Royal Icing is the GREATEST.
  12. Scrapbook
    Ain’t nobody got time for that. I had too many wedding-related craft projects.
  13. Read another Austen
    Huzzah! I did this one on accident. I listened to Lady Susan on audiobook. Not so terribly exciting, but I’m glad I experienced it.
  14. Read another Bronte
    What? I started one, but that was a last-ditch effort. I had far too many reading goals.
  15. Read another Collins
    Ditto to the above.
  16. Brush up on  history
    I didn’t quite tackle a history book, as I might have thought when I wrote this, but I have read a few books with a heavy focus on history, and I definitely heard a lot of history on my tours of Pompeii and Vesuvius.
  17. Catch up on my magazine subscriptions
    Every Day with Rachael Ray, check. More, check. Vogue, check. Vanity Fair, check. Esquire, check.
  18. Refresh French
    I tried some French-Word-A-Day email. It wasn’t daily. I’ve since found another. Fingers crossed. … I surrender, this one just isn’t happening. The new daily thing was just verbs, it seemed. I need to start more basic than learning how to say and use “to emboss.”
  19. Read two nonfiction books
    Another accidental win! Two of my book clubs picked nonfiction reads: The Psychopath Test and My Year With Eleanor and Running Away to Home. I also listened to An Education and read a book I had been gifted a couple years ago, Summer at Tiffany. I really don’t often opt for nonfiction, so I’m kind of glad to see this was an effortless task on the list.
  20. Read Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels
     It feels so good to say I did this. I read all but the first one this year.
  21. Blog the Bond (finally)
    Come to find out, deciphering notes you took on Bond movies in 2012 is not as easily remembered as you thought it would.
  22. Closet connection
    I’ve got a clothes fetish, particularly from Target. And I also hoard clothes, even if I don’t need them. Enter this year’s slow purge of clothes I never wear. It’s been really, really nice.
  23. Cook vegetables
    Brussels sprouts! Green beans! Broccoli! Sweet potatoes! A vegetarian chili!
  24. Drink more water
    Thank you, Lent! I gave up pop (like every year) but this year I’m actually hoping to kick it for good. Water it is! Although it’s lots of water + Crystal Light or Propel or Mio or something. Baby steps. … No I haven’t kicked pop, but I’m drinking a lot less! And definitely craving it less.
  25. Send more mail
    In an effort to read the magazine subscription, I sorted the 100+ food magazines I have. The ones I didn’t want anymore? Mailed it!
  26. Lose 5 lbs
    More like gain 10. Fuck. Ah, well, present blessings and all.
  27. Look at school qualifications 
    I didn’t just look, I met with reference professors, chatted up librarians, and I’ve started applying. BOOM.

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