there are lots of ways to chill out

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I’ve never lived alone. I went from living with my folks, to living in the dorms, to living with roommates, to living with Jared. And, since living with Jared, I’ve probably only stayed home alone for a few nights at a time. Until now.

He’s been gone for a week (a week!) doing training with Oakley, and he just went to Puerto Rico with them today for meetings or beer drinking contests or bikini judging or something, and will be there until Saturday. Most likely, I’ll see him Sunday. And man, I miss him. A lot.

However, being slightly weird and antisocial, I actually like spending time alone. But, it’s really weird to have a job that doesn’t require me to leave, and then also not having anyone else come into the house. Don’t get me wrong — there’s no pity party going on here. I’ve been able to be really productive (like, I cleaned, y’all, and plan to clean again). It’s just weeiiird.

Okay, and this productivity thing — I don’t know whether it’s because I know that, if I don’t do it, things won’t magically get done the way they do when Jared’s home, or if it’s because I don’t have someone to sit and be lazy with at night, but it’s bizarre. I normally get into a crazy cleaning mood once every few months, but I’ve already spent hours tidying and stuff on multiple nights. What gives? Will this go away when he gets home?

God, I hope so.

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You may or may not know that I am not really a beer drinker. I love wine, margaritas, vodka tonics, and lots of other yummy drinks, but until recently, I only drank beer if there really wasn’t anything else available. Because you know I’m not going to stick to water.

In the last few weeks, I’ve started drinking for the occasion — when we’ve gone to places that specialize in fancy beer, I’ve had fancy beer. Big step for me. Probably, there’s no place that’s more about beer than Oktoberfest, which we went to in Frankenmuth, Michigan while we were on vacation. And boy, did I drink some beer.

In fact, I drank beer from a boot. Surrounded by big, German men. In leiderhosen. Have you seen Beerfest (go to 8:18 in the video, and you’ll see, basically, us)? If so, you know the game, except instead of all of us having to chug a mug of beer, we all drank out of a giant glass boot.

Yes, you heard me right — I drank out of the same glass as six or seven random strangers. The drinking of the beer wasn’t so tough (at least not for me — Jared, who both started and finished the boot, might feel differently), but knowing about the germs — the germs!!! — nearly killed me. Still, I think I did my German heritage proud. As did Jared his Jewish heritage.

The start of the insanity:

Going around the table (of course I have to drink after literally everyone):

It’s go time! Notice, I’m not the one who looks hammered:

And, to finish it up:

Oy vey.

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Watch out, y’all — I’m on a diet. Again.

I’m realizing something — it’s not so much the eating less on a diet that gets me (although, I went to bed last night at 10:30 because I was starting to feel munchy and I knew if I stayed up I’d want to snack). It’s the fact that, in order to stay low in calories and still feel full, I need to plan ahead a bit more. Not that raw fruits and veggies aren’t great, but when that’s most of what I’m eating, I don’t feel like I’m getting meals, you know?

Backing up — I’m on Day 4 of the Keep it Around 1000 Calories Kristen, You Fat Ass diet. It’s not because I think I’m fat, so I don’t want anyone to leave any of those, “Oooh, you’re fine! Why are you doing that?” comments. But, New York and the photoshoot are in, like, two weeks (ohmygodohmygodohmygod), and I’d like to be a fit version of me. And since a lot of my workouts are off limits due to the shoulder, I really need to cut back on my eating for the moment.

So, at the grocery store, I made major efforts to buy fruits and veggies that I would DO something with. I got lots of peppers and mixed them in with some tempeh and left the rest to mix in with the giant bag of fresh green beans I bought. I never make fresh green beans, and I don’t know why — I love them. So, that’s dinner tonight, and I’m super excited. Excited because I planned it. Gah. Not excited like I would be if we’d ordered a pizza that would be delivered in 30 minutes or less — that excitement would be a little different, I assure you.

Anyway, if you have a fabulous low-cal meal you love, I would love to hear about it. So I can go to the grocery store and plan to make it. And because I will look fabulous — don’t you worry, Internet. I will.

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I had the BEST time last night.

I visited my old roommates — one who lives in Orlando and the other was in from NYC for work, and I had forgotten how much fun I have with them. Between the world’s largest pitcher of sangria, ridiculous desserts, and many bottles of wine, I laughed so much that my face hurts today. A lot. But it was totally worth it. We got just to the perfect point of drunkenness that repeating the same thing over and over gets really funny (you know, random things, like “Straight up!” as a response to EVERYTHING).

Aside from laughing to the point of causing pain (and drawing annoyed glares from fellow restaurant patrons), I just enjoyed soaking up the company of these two extraordinary women. I admire them so much, in many ways, but one thing I am continually envious of is each one’s sense of style.

I can ALWAYS count on R to wear something cute and classic — she always looks like she might have stepped straight out of a Gap ad (in a good way). And C has this incredible way of mixing classic pieces with something vintage or funky or totally original, and totally making it work. Always. Other than the scrubs …

They’ve both had this great personal style ever since I’ve known them, and it really makes me wonder when and if I’ll get some sort of signature style. Because, in all honesty, what I might wear any given day is a total crapshoot.

Granted, I’m not terribly likely to go very goth or punk (although I DO have super dark navy toenails right now, thankyouverymuch), but I might dress preppy in the morning and go with a boho feel later on and then wear something trendy to go out. And it’s all me. Or none of it’s me. Or maybe the “me” is the ugly baggy khaki shorts I wear too often because they’re soooo comfortable (and seriously unflattering — I am aware).

In order to have your own style, does it need to be categorized? Even “eclectic” has some connotation of purpose, and I don’t think I even have that …

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In many parts of Florida, holidays are spent at the beach or at an amusement park. In North Central Florida, one is likely to go to the Springs. It’s hard to describe going to the Springs, other than, obviously, they’re freshwater springs leading to a river. At many of the Springs you can take a tube all the way down the river –yes, there are alligators, but they pretty much leave you alone — and you can bring a cooler of beer with you. The bad news is that you can’t bring dogs.

Fortunately, our friends had friends who own their own spring (how one gets to own their own spring, I have no idea), and they were totally fine with us bringing our dogs. All of us. All of our dogs. We ended up with six dogs there, three of whom had just turned a year old.

We had a ball, even though we cut the hell out of our feet and bruised our legs, and the dogs are so tired today they didn’t even drag me on a walk. Which was completely fine with me.

Also, on the way home, we saw this:

Yep, that’s a cow. In the back of a pickup.

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Yahoo! As it turned out I was all psyched out for NOTHING. Well, at least for very little. I am in charge of telling everyone when to go. And herding the bridal party into a little room at the end. And the crazy-ass complicated but super gorgeous bustle. But that is all.

Which is good, because apparently I’m hungover from the rehearsal dinner festivities and my brain feels kinda fuzzy and purple (I swear I didn’t have that much to drink! WTF?). I’m going to the gym now to try to sweat it out. You might think going for a jog is a better idea, but there’s always a bathroom nearby at the gym, and that sounds like a good idea right now, lest my breakfast decide it doesn’t want to stay put.

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So, I know it’s been, like, a week since you’ve heard from me, but I have good reason:

I was at the beach, relaxing and looking at my newly pedicured toes. I got a manicure, too (J won a gift certificate for me at the Puppy Hill Gala), but I ended up peeling it all off two days in. That’s still two days of pretty nails, which is WAAAY better than I could normally hope for.

Anyway, in between guzzling sipping pina coladas and Coronas and kicking ass at paddleball, J and I improved our minds through literature. He read a classic — The Three Musketeers – and I read The Mother Tongue: English and how it got that way. Yes, we’re a little dorky, but I was completely enraptured with my nerdy little English book — it’s by Bill Bryson, and if you have any interest at all in things like which countries don’t have native swear words (praise jebus I don’t live in one of those!) and whether Appalachian hillbillies speak at all like Queen Elizabeth did, you’ll be fascinated.

I did a little bit of work while I was gone, but check out my office:

That makes going to work a little easier.

The beach we visited was the same beach where we got married four years ago, and my folks were nice enough to rent a place for a week and split the time with us (thanks, guys!). We were hoping to see a wedding while we were there, but no dice. So, we made due with watching the sunset and going to seriously delicious restaurants. Of course, there might be lots of other delicious restaurants there, but we wouldn’t know because we just keep going back to the ones we like: Conch Republic (twice) and Gigi’s. I’m still stuffed (which, by the way, I learned is a rather obscene thing to say in England, but you can tell someone you’ll knock them up in the morning …).

You know, one of the things that’s so amazing about the beach is that only two full days there can make the whole world feel new. And I know that I’m just lucky that I live close enough to the beach that I can do a short getaway like that, but wherever you are, I hope you have something nearby that’s worth visiting for a day or two so you can join me in my post-vacation bliss.

Well, bliss other than the sunburn part. Because I am DREADING having to wear a real bra right now.

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Honestly, do I ever talk about anything but my dogs? Sheesh.

Anyway, since I’ve been spending hours and hours and millions of dollars at the vet’s office lately (oh, yeah, Rudi developed a really expensive UTI after we started treating the worms, with perfect timing to keep me from going to my Hip Hop class. The word you’re looking for is … Awesome), I thought I would ask them about something for Yuki, who has developed a phobia of rain and thunderstorms. And, we have a skylight in the living room/dining room/kitchen, which makes the rain SUPER loud.

She’s normally a pretty chill pooch, but the minute the rain starts, she starts trembling and trying to crawl down my throat, I guess because it’s obviously safer in there than outside of me. She’ll settle for climbing on the couch and trying to wriggle herself between me and the cushions, which is super comfortable for everyone involved.

So, I mentioned it to the vet, and she prescribed Yuki Doggy Xanax. Last night there were a few rumblings of thunder, so we gave her (half) a pill, and … the storm never materialized. Then, today, the rain started coming down, I once again drugged the dog, and … it stopped. WTF? Why can’t I get a storm when I want one?

The good news is that she did calm down, although I have no idea if it was due to the Xanax or to the fact that what she was scared of went away.

So, in case that bored the hell out of you, let me pass along something one of my fellow StyleDashers shared with us today about SHOES. (Mom, Dad, you don’t want to watch it. Trust me.)

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