Tag Archives: housewifery

Six for Saturday

Sorry I missed you fine folks yesterday. I was busy writing for people who actually pay me for it, so…sorry not sorry?

1. Meet Coconut Bubba. He was a free gift we picked up at a festival a few weeks ago. Addison became attached to him immediately, named him (rather creatively) and has since been dressing him in complete outfits. She was wasting so many of her own clothes on C.B. that I had to pull out two buckets of her old baby clothes she could use instead.

IMG_0451Maya took a liking to Coconut Bubba, too, except that affection resulted in the loss of his eye buttons.

2. Related: If I forget to put out Addison’s outfit for the next day, she’ll pick up the slack and create her own ensemble. The problem comes when her choices are a bit…festive for school or open gym.

IMG_0448 I don’t like stifling her creativity, so I’m trying to delicately suggest alternatives to tutus all day every day. And other days, I’m more “Throw some leggings underneath and let’s go.”

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A future in fashion, perhaps? Or clowning. Much of my life is spent trying not to be a Mitch.

3. C’mon, man.

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There’s no sense in fighting it at this point. Clayton’s cleaning the pool this weekend, so at least there will be one outdoor activity I’ll consider. 

4. Halloween was hot. Like, temperature hot, not “wow, that mom looks smokin’ in that old nightgown barely covering her see through tights” hot. The first neighborhood we hit was unresponsive, so we bailed like the socially mature adults we are and came back home to walk around our neighborhood. Addie did quite well for herself in terms of the chocolate to pretzel packs ratio, though a hefty 35.7% Mommy Tax will be enforced daily.

IMG_0397IMG_0402IMG_0404IMG_04095. It’s well documented that I hate cooking, but when I do find some motivation, I consult this book a lot. Either I’m using the recipes or I’m flipping through the index for the page on “how to caramelize on onion” or “what is a meat mallet?”

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6. And this super exciting, very recent development brought to you by our Friday night.

Clayton spent the day at a charity golf tournament. It stretched on into the evening…

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but so worth the solo bath and bed time routine.

kayak

Papa’s got a brand new KAYAK!!! Maybe not hating on those warmer November temperatures quite so much. Paddleboard + Kayak = true paddling love.

Today we’re breaking away kid-free for the first time this season to watch the FSU/Clemson game. So basically we’ll know around 6:30 tonight if this weekend will be a wonderful one or a terrible one.

Oh, who am I kidding? We have a freaking kayak, it’s a WONDERFUL weekend! 

Five for Friday

It’s late. What’s new.

1. I don’t always buy my lingerie at Goodwill, but when I do…it’s under $4. (Halloween prep at its classiest.)

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2. It was ALL KINDS OF HALLOWEENY up in here this week.

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3. Nightmares for days.

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Seriously, I watched “Beetlejuice” for the first time last week in anticipation of this costume and it is banana nuts! WTF is going on in that movie?!

4. We made our annual fall trek to the farm last weekend. It was significantly hotter this year than any other year we’ve gone, so while we tried our best to grin and bear it…

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by the end we all pretty much felt like Addie.

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“Are we done here?” But alas, any trip that ends at Capital Tacos is a trip well worth it.

5. And the scariest event of all is Asher deciding he’s almost ready to crawl.

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Not ready for ya, bro.

Halloween obviously has top billing this weekend. Per usual, we have a family theme and are planning to crush it. Mainly because we’ll be the only ones over 12 dressed up, but..details, details. And then the most glorious holiday on the calendar appears: November eat all the leftover chocolate week. 

Five for Friday

I’m trying to scarf down lunch, finish a work project, email Addison’s teacher, blog and catch up on my Friends marathon on Netflix all before heading off to car line to pick up Addison. Let’s get on with it, shall we?

1. Happy National Dog Day to this exquisite specimen.

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Allergies aside, she is the perfect companion and handles all of our neglect with the utmost grace and forgiveness. But the pool is never gonna happen, Clayton.

clayton maya

2. Despite all my hesitation, I took both kids to the museum this week AND stopped at the grocery store with them on the way home, even though it was past Addison’s nap time. It could have gone all sorts of sideways, but we made it in and out without incident! And then I picked up 24 ounces of positive reinforcement for myself.

dunkin

Speaking of treats, Clayton played golf last Friday, and I was responsible for getting the rest of us ready and over to Addison’s preschool orientation on time. It’s still quite the event to wrangle all of us into something presentable and arrive anywhere punctually, so I was handsomely rewarded for my efforts. Bribery is the key to any successful relationship.

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3. Addison started K3 this week. It’s going to be an adjustment for all of us—new schedule, new classroom, new teacher, new friends–and I don’t think I realized just how startling that was going to be for her until after her first day. The bear hug and “I missed you Mommy!” warranted nothing less than an immediate cake pop.

addison first day2 Maybe by kindergarten I’ll be able to brush her hair without a steel cage death match.

4. We had the “jumping gym” to ourselves this week. It was the best of times…

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addie gym

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it was the worst of times.

addie gym laying down

5. Clayton came home last night and told Addison, “I have a new pet for you.” Listening from the other room, my oh-no-you-didn’t index finger instinctively started wagging as I bolted onto the patio. Thankfully my husband did not have the death wish I was imagining and the new pet fit on the lid of his coffee thermos.

Meet Annie the ladybug.

annie ladybug

She has since taken a toddler-initiated trip over the pool fence and is probably, uh, resting peacefully in the pool.

I suggested Clayton play some more golf this weekend, so I am expecting at least another dozen pieces of gourmet chocolate heading my way very soon. Cheers to a delicious, manipulative weekend!

Five for Friday

My mother in law is in town for a quick, impromptu visit to meet our little man and Clayton is off today, so my normal lazy Friday is out the window. Let’s jump in so I can get back to our holiday weekend.

1. When the in-laws are here, it’s time to dust off those pots and pans and present a finely crafted illusion of domestication. At least the rouse provided my family with one full, well balanced meal this week.

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Sorry if that half cooked meat grosses you out. I am imagining my pregnant self seeing that picture, and, well, gag fest. Still not changing it, though.

2. My dad took the day off Monday, and we took the troops for lunch and exploring at the park. This is a park we frequent, and I’ve always assumed the “beach” was saltwater. My mom thought it might be fresh water, so naturally we Googled and it turns out it does get fed by a lake on one end and Tampa Bay on the other. I say all that because saltwater = no alligators and fresh water = alligators. Thanks a lot, Mom, for that new red alert at our favorite park and paddleboard locale. I’m hoping the water is more brackish and the only possible threats would be bull sharks (which I am always on the lookout for while on the board because I would exaggerate the mess out of that story) and, worst of all, razor burn after getting in too soon after shaving. This one I can actually attest to after Monday.

pawpaw addie park

Ain’t no nap like a picnic table nap ‘cuz a picnic table don’t stop.

Or something like that.

table nap

3. Major Gap sale happening. In the store, the clearance sections were marked down an additional 50%. Hello, $5 kids clothes. My finder’s fee was an outfit for myself.

4. We went to the children’s museum this morning.

musem view ig

I could talk about how fun it was and how we stumbled on a secret patio overlooking the University of Tampa for lunch, which is true, but the reality is that we couldn’t find Addison for several minutes. I don’t know exactly how long it was because the seconds stretch on for eternities piled on top of eternities when that happens. It was probably close to 10 minutes. If anything like this has happened to you, 1. please let me know so I feel less like an absolute failure as a mother and 2. you know how long 10 minutes can be. I can’t talk more about it because it’s still too fresh and I can feel the remnants of that terror lingering in my wobbly legs and fingers.

5. I don’t want to end on that note because THANK GOD Addison is home, in her bed, napping peacefully. Instead, let’s get frivolous and celebrate this national treasure that starts Sunday! In related news, Florida is becoming a bit of a hot spot for great white shark sightings. Because gators and stingrays and pythons and panthers weren’t enough. We caught ourselves one a few years ago.

shark week

It was a wild one.

Have a festive July 4th! I hope the hot dogs are delicious and the fireworks are spectacular and, if you have kids or a dog, are over by 9 p.m.

Five for Friday

1. Clayton has been gone all week. Bye, I’m going to take a nap.

No, it hasn’t been that terrible…or so I said all cocky to myself on Monday afternoon. I wanted to seem brave and independent about the whole thing. That lasted a solid 24 hours. By Tuesday night I was sobbing during my nightly call with Clayton. Pregnant with a toddler is werk, guys! Middle class suburban werk, sure, but still tough.

However, I didn’t buy ONE SINGLE MEAL this entire week. You’d have to be me, my husband or our bank account to understand how monumental this is, but woa. On an average week with Clayton in town, I’m sending him last ditch texts to pick up dinner at least twice. I’m working on it.

mac n cheese

Only the finest for my family. At least the mac ‘n cheese was organic and the sausage was chicken.

2. I even made some food for friends that recently had a baby. They didn’t get mac ‘n cheese. I tried a new recipe and have no idea how it turned out because I didn’t taste test. Always a safe bet as a terrible cook making a brand new dish for other people. Close up, it looked pretty good.

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But cropping can be deceptive.

messy kitchen

As is the case with most of my kitchen adventures, there was a casualty. I left our skillet on the oven too long with oil in it, and there was no salvaging that charred disaster. I’m still smelling smoke at random times.

3. I attempted to sprinkle in some fun outings for our Girls Week. All of them went terribly awry at some point, but whaddyagonnado. More on that later.

For a few minutes, we had fun getting some free froyo after school.

froyo collageAnd then the froyo ran out and a 40-pound hellfire and brimstone storm rained down from the skies on Mama. AKA, she threw a shoe at me. Good times.

4. Finally. Be gone, devil.

buhbye fb 5. This superstar on Instagram. (Ignore my text alert.)

IMG_7740Does she remind you of anyone???

maya collage

From now on, I’m sticking to Maya’s breed as “scruffy.”

Now it’s off to a weekend full of shirking my household responsibilities and lots and lots of take out!

Five for Friday

I am trying out this totally unique and original concept of listing a few ramblings, products, musings, complaints and the like on Fridays.

1. Clayton’s birthday was this week! He’s kind of a big deal around here. We went to Outback (gift card, hey-o!) and I attempted to make banana pudding for the first time ever. Mainly because I thought it came in a box like jello pudding that you just pour, mix and serve. No, sir. I had to bust out the mixer and re-do several steps. In the end, it was edible, but I need some practice. Good thing I plan to keep that guy around for a long, long time. Even if he pronounces it “puddin’.”

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pudding collage

2. Addison is officially in a toddler bed, aka crib with the front rail removed. It was awesome the first night and then miserable the second night. She woke up every hour with a new surprise – turning all the lights on, going to the bathroom, putting on a tutu, shouting to me at 4 a.m. that she was doing her princess puzzle, all sorts of exciting discoveries in the middle of the night. Particularly enjoyable were the few times I woke up with a small, silent figure standing directly in front of my face staring at me cloaked in shadows. That’s quite an exercise for the startle and bladder reflexes right there.

The next morning we met with a potential new sitter at a park and I can’t imagine the impression I left on the poor girl. It was BYObigasscupofcoffee day, apparently.

photo 1

It seems the novelty wore off quickly because last night she stuck it out until 7 a.m. I’ll take it.

3. We’re painting the nursery today!

4. Okay, Clayton’s painting the nursery today.

5. Hello, new lover.

Scandal_Season_2Now, I know it seems like I watch a lot of Netflix. That’s because I do. Clayton is smack dab in the middle of studying for his PA recertification, and he actually has the self control to prepare ahead of time. He scoffed at my suggestion to just wing the first attempt and go from there. I mean, you can take it up to four times, c’mon! Anyway, at night while he’s studying I will read, work on my novels, practice the piano, organize the nursery, work ahead for maternity leave, plan meals watch a crap ton of t.v. We downgraded our cable, so Netflix has been a lifesaver. Or something less dramatic. I honestly don’t have the physical or mental energy to do much more than eat ice cream and shed tears along with Olivia Pope after 8:30 p.m.

And that’s this week’s five!

How to Freak Out Your Valentine with Love

As much as I’d like to be too cool for school and totes nonchalant about Valentine’s Day, I’m not. Not even a little. I like holidays. I like excuses to veer from the norm, eat excessive amounts of junk and buy things that would otherwise be deemed unnecessary, e.g. polka dot ribbon. I am not the girl who expects a dozen roses (roses = no thank you) and a $200 steak dinner, but I do want a little pomp and circumstance. I love love, and it’s fun to think of new ways to celebrate it.

This year was Addison’s first year in preschool, so she I got to make valentines for her class. Hippie alert: I didn’t want to use candy. With Addie potty training–and rather successfully might I add–her life has been all manner of hand sanitizer and chocolate treats. The girl pees five times before 11 a.m.; she is her mother’s daughter.

I hopped over to the Dollar Store under vast amounts of pressure from my frugal hubs to keep things within reason. (“They are only two years old!”) I present to you sixteen adorable, “healthy” valentines that I didn’t even hijack from Pinterest.

school vday supplies

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school valentine

school valentines bunchI did forget/ultimately decide to forego her teachers and still feel bad about that. (Their Christmas gifts were on point, don’t worry.) They may have a sweet Presidents’ Day gift heading their way if I can come up with an equally adorable Abe Lincoln craft.

I guess my mom blogger status is now official. Womp womp.

Valentine’s morning began with heart-shaped perfection. Doughnuts and pregnancy take the place of pizza and beer for nine months over here, and someone better hide those bad boys until after my glucose test on Monday. There was already one, uh, missing before I took this picture.

doughnuts2We have ambitious, likely-to-end-our-marriage plans for the new nursery, so we went on a research mission to Home Depot. Clayton still has some semblance of trust in our toddler’s capacity to listen to direction and obey commands from a distance, so he didn’t secure her in a cart. Do I need to spell out how enjoyable that trip was between the rows of loose lumber, wood cutting devices and swinging model door displays?

To reward both of us for not throwing tantrums at the tile displays, we stopped at a park to let that energy out. Ladies and gentlemen, my Valentine:

C slide C slide2

C slide3

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C A slideThey are the cutest.

I had to kick Clayton out for a couple of hours of Super Secret Vday Prepping, so he took A to my parents’ house. While he was gone, my little valentine elves, my brother and dad, got to redecorating the backyard.

Idiotically, I assumed my eagle eye hubs might not notice an open side garage door (with the extension cord trailing out of it) or a big gaping hole where our futon once sat. He did. And he was noticeably freaked out by the whole situation. In retrospect, watching “Gone Girl” the night before trying to pull off an undercover house heist while he was gone wasn’t the best idea for instilling confidence in one’s wife.

Once I let him in on the plan, it eased his little fretting mind. Mostly. He didn’t fully relax until the futon was back in its place on Sunday night.

After Clayton whipped up a delicious steak and shrimp combo, we took ourselves to the movies. In pajamas. With hot chocolate, popcorn and, duh, another doughnut.

movie night2I don’t want to brag is not something you’ll be hearing from me. I absolutely do want to brag about this one. It was the perfect mix of romantic and special—definitely out of the norm–but still comfortable. I was wearing a hoodie for goodness sake. Everything worked out with the technology, which was a major victory by itself. No one spilled hot chocolate on the rented projector, Maya didn’t start a yard fire with the candles and no one’s toes went numb in the chilly temps.

I hope you had someone or something that made you feel loved and celebrated this weekend. Baked goods totally count.

Closure & Contemplation

“The only way to find out if you’re in the right place
is to stand in the place.”
- Amy Poehler

During a brief respite from determining how I can force Amy P. to adopt me, I took a few minutes to watch this Smart Girls video of her speaking on courage. The above quote kept echoing in my head after I heard it for a few reasons.

Most obviously, I thought about our time in Virginia. Clayton and I had been so excited and optimistic to leave Florida. We’d talked about that leap for years, imagined it over and over, and finally had an opportunity. We were so ready. Never in a million years did we think that journey would circle right back to Florida two years later, at our own choosing.

nat shenandoahIn some ways, it felt like we’d failed. Scratch that, it felt like I’d failed. I was the one who couldn’t hack it less than a year in, I was the one looking for PA jobs in Florida (no one would even see me for an interview) after building up this dream of what life would look like anywhere but here. But Ames reminded me that we wouldn’t have known if that move was for us unless we actually packed up and moved. Turns out, Newport News did not hold the Noas’ glamorous, reinvented future. It did, however, hold a lot of military bases, terrible traffic and an insane job in a trauma hospital. (But weekend D.C. trips were pretty fantastic.)

nat clayton dc

So we moved on. I think about those years quite a bit, for better or worse. Maybe moving on didn’t necessarily have to mean moving back, but Clayton and I were both so desperate for relationships. Tampa had a whole vending machine of prepackaged, ready to consume friendships waiting for us. It would have been hard to take another risk in a new city at that point. Plus, I was pregnant and wanted my mommy.

When I think about where we’ll be five or ten years from now, though, I don’t know that Florida is sustainable. Crazily enough, I’m the one who will probably initiate another foray outside the Sunshine State. Clayton has the personality that accepts things as they are; I am the wanderer and questioner. He can’t sit still literally, but I can’t stay still figuratively. After only a few years being back, I cherish the family and friends that fill my life but still wonder what might be waiting. And, quite simply, we won’t know if there is another place for us until we’re standing in that place

Apart from an actual get-up-and-go battle cry, A.Poehls reiterated some thoughts I’ve been wrestling with about my work. Writing as a career in and of itself still thrills me. Factor in doing it from home, on my own schedule, and in between caring for kiddo(s), and it’s oh so tempting to ride this wave as far as it takes me without changing course.

contract

But then some days, like today, I will catch a glimpse of what writing about things and people and places that truly inspire me would feel like. And I know with certainty I could do that. That’s about where the debilitating blackness of the Unknown begins to stretch out ahead. I have no idea what “writing about what I want” looks like. A book, a column, a blog that is actually maintained, a journal that never sees the light of day. Or a more creative day job that nurtures me professionally but prevents me from nurturing my family in the way I am used to.

So far, I have not felt a strong enough pull to make any effort to change my work load. I take what I am given by my current clients, weathering the hectic months along with the silent ones. Thankfully, my income has remained pretty steady and everything balances out by the end of the year. Except for taxes. God forsaken taxes.

Now that baby number that’s-it is coming along, I’ve been getting a different thrill thinking about what comes next. I am sure this was a crux, but it seemed a little pointless to dive into a new lifestyle, hobby or work situation knowing a baby was about to be on board. Could I have opened a new business or enrolled in a doctorate program in my second trimester? Sure. Would it have led to a mental breakdown ending in a murder-suicide primed for a Lifetime movie? Probably. All signs now point to the imminent end of childbearing, and I’ll be “free” to and (eek!) responsible for creating what life will look like raising babies instead of making ‘em.

It’s an exciting proposition to feel like anything is possible. I honestly feel that way, as cheesy and PSA-sounding as it is. I’m looking forward to training for all sorts of running PRs in the next decade, planning trips that require air travel and being able to take the necessary sedatives to follow through with them, visiting far away friends more regularly, and who knows what else. I was semi serious about the doctorate program. Always the scholar.

oh the places

My future second mommy Mama Amy offered an added reassurance that yes, all those plans may crash and burn—okay, not cool to use that analogy related to air travel; double my dose, please—but taking steps to stand in those places, no matter what the result, is courageous. Even more, it’s living.

Open the screen door or the maltipoo gets it.

I am non-confrontational to a fault, many times kicking myself after the fact for being walked on or a silent observer when I could have spoken up. I craft clever comebacks days later while waiting in traffic.

Since having A, though, a more assertive streak has been slowly developing. I don’t know if it’s entirely a  Mama Bear thing or the sheer fact that I have way less time and brain power to process 16 different hypothetical scenarios if I were to to say something in a given situation.

This newfound confidence/lack of caring can sometimes mingle with my pregnancy mind and exhaustion, and then it just gets silly.

Case in point:

Our neighbors on all three sides have small yappy dog-ish type pets. Two of the neighbors have two dogs each. Lotsa tiny but powerful voice boxes. Every time any of the dogs are let out, it’s a screech fest. Which is fine, you have a ridiculous, obnoxious pet, that’s your problem. But the instigators—two miniscule balls of fluff prancing around the yard behind ours—are the worst. They rile up any other dogs who may be outside within three blocks and it’s all out yipping pandemonium.

As a reference, imagine a combination similar to this:

maltipoo plus hyena

(Source & Source)

Normally Clayton and I just roll our eyes. I’ll let a few frustrated grunts trail into the back yard as I’m closing the sliding door at nap time because those punks have been let out and could wake Addison up. Beyond that, what else can you do? The other night, I found out.

It was after 11 p.m. and the back neighbors released those crazed rat mongrels. They screeched and yapped for 19 minutes. NINETEEN MINUTES. Almost midnight, our kid is sleeping, we would like to try to sleep soon, and there are two Real Housewives-level canine hissy fits happening feet from our room.

I was losing my mind. I walked into the yard a couple of times without knowing what I could do. I peeked over the fence but saw nothing useful…like a loaded BB gun within reach. The owners weren’t even outside. I guess I couldn’t blame them because wow, can you imagine having to listen to that nerve-fraying racket for 23 straight minutes? How annoying would that be?

Finally, I straight up lost it. Clad in my most fetching maternity nightgown and breezy bathrobe, I marched into the backyard, crouched down low by the fence and just started pounding.

I don’t know if I was trying to scare those pooches initially, but I do know after a few raps it became more about releasing a couple decades’ worth of pent up aggression. It didn’t really matter by then if they kept barking; I was responding. Sure, insanely, but reacting nonetheless.

Believe it or not, the owners did not issue a restraining order. Instead they let the dogs in within minutes of FenceBash 2015. If this assertiveness isn’t gaining respect, at least it might incite some fear of the crazy barefoot pregnant lady in pj’s next door. Either way, those dogs haven’t been out after 9 p.m. since.   

C’mon get happy!

I posted an overly obnoxious and whiny caption on Instagram the other day and have been feeling lame about it ever since. I was—and still am—extremely frustrated by our new insurance situation as of late, but hey, we can afford (loose use of that word) insurance for our family and one way or another, I can see a doctor whenever I need to. So, time to get over myself.

As a recompense, here are some things that are making me not frustrated right now, 90% of which are food related because hello, pregnant.

1. Cream cheese + red raspberry preserves. Maybe I ordered a bagel with cream cheese, added the preserves at home and devoured the combo like a starved mountain lion. And then made two more pieces of toast so I could have more of it. Related: how are your New Year’s diet resolutions going, those of you not baking a baby? Suckers.

2. Mama got a new pair of boots. And baby is about to get fancy.

boots

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3. It’s been less of a meatless Monday and more of a meatless two trimesters over here, so I made vegetable enchiladas and they were filled with good veggies (albeit smothered in cheese) that I’ve been neglecting and lasted for three nights, i.e. I could slack on meal prep for two nights.

4. I ordered a decaf coffee at the Target Starbucks counter, and since they don’t keep a brewed pot of decaf, they made me a pour over. Holy delicious. It didn’t seem complicated until I looked it up; there are like 29 ways to make a pour over at home, so…whatever. Here’s my $3, pour hot water over powdered beans for me, please sir.

5. Doughnuts. I haven’t actually had one in a few months, but just the idea of them is putting me in a pretty good mood. Which reminds me of the ridiculous idea I had to do a pregnancy announcement using whimsically decorated Halloween doughnuts and the phrase “Something wickedly sweet this way comes.” Adorable, no?!

No.

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There was so much failure happening with the manifestation of this idea. First of all, the Dunkin Donuts commercials obviously used professionally trained, bakery owning frosting masters to craft the images I saw on t.v. Over at the ol’ local DD, I was treated to a “let me see what I can do” and gifted the scraggly interpretations of a moody teenager with some sort of clear musculoskeletal dysfunction. Then there’s the lighting, the giant plate, just a whole lot of no.

I was so annoyed I didn’t even eat one.

6. Breaking Bad. Not exactly an upper, but our two nightly episodes are little mini dates. Intensely graphic, drug-filled, cringe-worthy mini dates. We are at the beginning of Season 4 and OMG I want to punch Hank in the throat. (Source)

hank marie text1

hank marie text2

7. My brother (who is called Kunkle instead of Uncle) popped in this week and played with Addison for a couple hours. The next morning on the way to preschool, out of nowhere she shouted, “Kunkle’s here!” It melted my cold, dark heart.

8. Clayton, and now also Addison, playing the harmonica while Maya howls along. Never gets old.

9. Filling out paperwork and answering the “Occupation” section with “Writer.” Because stay at home pajama wearer, toddler chaser, kitchen avoider, stink eye deliverer and Instagram enthusiast usually takes up too much space.

10. The Bachelor is back and I don’t care who knows I am ALL IN already. With the sheer number of diagnosable alcoholics alone, this is going to be excellent television. SPOILER A’COMIN.

So sad to see you go, Tara. Thank you for representing Florida in a truly spectacular fashion. Enjoy that month long hangover. (Source)

drunk tara