We Adventured So Hard

A few years ago, Anthony and I took a big road trip to South Dakota and had a blast just exploring, so that’s our new summer vacation thing, I guess. This year, we drove to northern Michigan, spending a day in Traverse City and three days in Mackinaw City / Mackinac Island. It was pretty magical and we adventured so hard and my feet are still so tired, you guys.

Here are a bunch of (mostly) unlabeled photos from our trip, because I am lazy but also really want to share everything we saw and did.

Productivity Apps to Help You Live

I used to be all about productivity apps. I wanted to turn my phone into everything I needed a notebook and some quiet time to be. Here are some of those apps. I don’t use them anymore because I turned into a robot, but maybe you’ll like them.

Plant Nanny

You drink a glass of water, you open your phone, you go to the app, you sit through an ad, you water your plant, and you hope it doesn’t die. You have notifications to remind you to drink water. You collect seeds on the plants you haven’t killed, and you use those seeds to plant fancier plants. When the plants — whom you name — are happy, they make cute noises when you tap on them. When they’re dehydrated / dying / dead, they make very sad noises. 

Quit That!

Do you hate that thing you do and want to hate yourself even more by tracking how many days since you stopped doing that thing and then watching when you did the thing you were trying to track not doing?

Habit List

The opposite of Quit That! Input a bunch of habits you want to incorporate into your life. Flossing? Washing your makeup brushes? Going for a walk? Things like that.

Round Health

Track when you take your medication, or feel like you’re failing yourself if you take your happy pill right before bed then forget to log it but your phone is already plugged in on the other side of your room, so.

Dreamboard

Wake up and smell the data. The dream data, that is. Log all your feelings, recount your dream, and watch as the graphs and charts show you how your brain says you’re absolutely, totally, 100 percent DOOMED.

Forest

Stay focused. Use your phone to set a timer to stay off your phone! If you don’t, a tree will die. If you do, you’ll grow a forest!

Moment

This one is the big kahuna. Moment runs in the background and logs every time you pick up your phone, every time you unlock your phone, and how many minutes you’ve been on your phone per each pickup. Get. Ready. To. Hate. Your. Self! One of my friends is in the top 17 percent of users who use their phone an absurdly large amount of time, so, like, at least there’s that.

Pee & See

For the other exit, see Poo Keeper.

Note: I do see the value in many of these apps! They can be great! But they did not work for me (maybe because I used them all at the same time?) and all of that tracking just made me more anxious about my life. If one of these sounds interesting to you, absolutely check it out and see real reviews instead of my snark-ass comments.

Extra note: If you’re feeling addicted to your phone, you should read Manoush Zomorodi’s Bored and Brilliant. Zomorodi realized she was losing creativity time by being on her phone playing Two Dots whenever she had downtime. So she cut the game out of her life and started analyzing all the ways she could use her phone less and live life more.

This post was originally published in March 2018 at the now-closed Burn Your Faves. 

Spotlight on Scoliosis

I’m not one to follow kings and queens and princes and princesses, but when I overheard my coworkers talking about the latest royal wedding and the bride’s open-backed dress, I had to do some instant Googling. And what do you know? The princess has the same back scar I have.

Princess Eugenie wore an open-backed dress on her wedding day, showing the world her beautiful scar from scoliosis surgery.

“I had an operation when I was 12 on my back, and you’ll see on Friday (at the wedding), but it’s a lovely way to honor the people who looked after me and a way of standing up for young people who also go through this.”

This means the world to me. What a wonderful way to show young people — especially girls — that our scars don’t take away from our beauty, but add to it.

I’ve had two spinal fusion surgeries: one when I was 12 to stop the progression of my curvy spine, and one when I was 21 to fully straighten my spine. The second was a hard choice I made after years of chronic back pain. It changed my life.

It wasn’t always easy (actually, it was never easy). I missed some school and lived in a fog of painkillers while I recovered. I had to relearn how to do mundane things, like putting on my shoes, without bending over. I lived in fear of slipping and falling, imagined my back ripping open at the fresh stitches if I didn’t stay perfectly still.

But now I can say it was all worth it. My scar tells the story of how I overcame all of that and grew 2 inches taller and became a stronger person.

Eugenie’s scar tells her story, and, I hope, gives strength to young people who are just learning how to deal with their weird spines.

* * *

If you want to read more about scoliosis, Braced by Alyssa Gerber is a wonderful middle grade book about a girl who loves to play soccer and suddenly has to wear a cumbersome turtle shell while she goes through the rest of the normal things in a seventh-grader’s life.

How to: Master a Menstrual Cup

Welcome to this super quick and easy guided tour of twenty steps in your first three (or four or five or six or twelve) months (and mishaps) of using a menstrual cup.

Step one: Decide that spending a wad of cash up front to save on at least five years of tampons is an excellent idea indeed.

Step two: Become overwhelmed by choices. Diva. Ruby. XO Flo. They’re cutesy-wutesy and sound like something Barbie would want to have.

Step three: Wait ever-so-impatiently for it to arrive in the mail. If you’re like me, your cup will arrive precisely one day before your period begins. That’s what we call fate, baby.

Step four: Tear open the package and assume you don’t need to read the instruction manual! You watched SO MANY menstrual cup videos before purchasing one! You know EVERYTHING there is to know about menstrual cups! Easy peasy!

Step five: Realize it is not easy peasy. Nor intuitive.

Step six: Make your entire vulval area sore from unlubricated activity involving silicone that bends and snaps RIGHT ON YOUR LABIA. That’s worse than breaking the UPS guy’s nose, y’all.

Step seven: Text your girl gang (after washing your hands, YOU ANIMAL) asking for prayers. Smile through tears at a deluge of images of kittens frolicking through fields of wildflowers.

Step eight: Give insertion one last try before calling it quits. Leave it in there even though it’s hanging out a little bit and go take a nap.

Step nine: Don’t actually nap. Instead, read horrifying articles about people who have tried cups and LOST THEM FOREVER. Okay, not forever. But. Someone got it suctioned to their cervix and had to go to the hospital to get removal help. So. Try not to do that, k?

Step ten: Pace around your apartment for a few hours because you’re afraid there’s been too much movement around your junk and cups are supposed to be safe all day and what if it doesn’t want to come out yet?

Step eleven: Take calming, meditative breaths before diving in. Fiddle around in there for the stem (some have ridges and some look like anal beads! Fun!) and pull ever so gently.

Step twelve: Listen for the slurp.

Step thirteen: Keep pulling.

Step fourteen: *sluuuurrrrrrrrrrrpppppppp*

Step fifteen: Keep going. Be gentle. The cup o’ blood is coming out soon and you don’t want to spill it, do you?

Step sixteen: Look! Look at that beautiful cup you’ve filled with blood! Oh. It’s not filled. There’s … not a whole lot in there? But you SWORE you bled like at least 3 gallons in a period, right? This is just a sneeze of blood!

Step seventeen: Snap a pic for posterity and dump it like a dump truck, dump truck.

Step eighteen: Rinse. It. Out. I swear to god. Rinse it out in the sink right now. If you’re in a public bathroom, I’m so sorry. Wipe it off with some TP and promise me you’ll wash it with warm water and unscented hand soap when you get to a private bathroom.

Step ninteen: See steps five through seven and hope for a better outcome (and OUTPUT, amirite?).

Step twenty: After three or four successful-ish cycles, throw all your tampons and pads like party confetti at your friends, because you have transcended to a better menstrual world.

Best wishes.

This post was originally published in August 2017 at the now-closed Burn Your Faves.