Monday, June 23, 2014

Not So Fancy, Iggy.

I'm going to say this loud and proud - I am a true social media creep. I check Facebook, I check Twitter, I have a Tumblr that I (very rarely) frequent - but when I do, you can bet I'm creeping. I don't comment, like, or repost many things. I just like to look and observe what is going on. Call it 21st century people watching. Call it weird. Call it chicken salad. It doesn't matter. I do it.

I've found myself scrolling through my newsfeed many days, looking for anything funny or engaging. Jokes, funny photos, entertaining status updates - it catches my eye. I have hundreds of "friends" on Facebook, and so it's safe to say that I have a wide variety of people to creep on. Obviously though, being a girl, I have many more female friends on Facebook than I have male friends. Nothing wrong with that! I just have had many more opportunities to connect with fellow girls than I have boys. I've counselled at my church camp several times, giving me different young women that I interact with. My major in college was predominantly filled with women, giving me even more connections with the female population. And, obviously, I am a girl - which both blesses and curses me with girlfriends, best friends, and those girls that were always prettier than me in high school but aren't looking so great now that four years of college has went by and so I have them as a friend for days where I need a pick me up and their fourteenth duck face selfie of the day serves a greater purpose than gaining likes on Instagram.
Sorry. That needed to be said, Lord. 
As I creep, though, I've noticed a scary trend - so many younger girls are doing so many different things to gain attention from the guys in their lives. I see young girls that I met when they were entering middle school that are gushing about how cute so-and-so is and how much they love them, only to enter a new status the next day about how heartbroken they are over their relationship ending so abruptly. I see girls that grew up with my sister posting selfies showing more cleavage than I feel comfortable seeing on my own body when I dig out that stubborn Pringle crumb that fell into my bra as I was eating and not paying attention in the 12 inch journey from the can to my mouth. (I am such a catch...) I see girls talking about their boyfriends/significant others/flirtation of the (day/week/second/whatever, circle one) and the incredibly elaborate dates they went on, and how their man finally caught on to the hints they were leaving to finally, finally, treated as a princess. Dates complete with the new dress, fancy dinner, expensive flowers or trinket, and incredibly romantic situation - whatever it may be.
Now, I'm no relationship expert. I have proudly only dated 3 men in my life, and I am proud to marry #3 (third time is a charm!) In my first two relationships, both my boyfriend and myself were too young and too poor to go out on these fancy dates that seem so commonplace and so essential for young women today, so I never experienced one until I began dating Ryan. What I love about Ryan (other than everything,)  is that he really knows how to treat a woman well. Notice how I say "woman" instead of "girl", because never in my entire relationship with him have I felt like a little girl! He's everything a amazing Christian gentleman should be and everything your momma wants you to take home, ladies: he opens car doors and building doors, he buys me little trinkets that make him think of me, he calls me beautiful at least once an hour whether I look like it or not, he prays for me constantly, he buys me Reeses Oreos before I know they exist, and he has my Chinese order memorized for when we order take out. He's the real deal.
This is what I don't understand, though - as I creep on all of these accounts, and see the tweets that mention buying flowers, getting chocolate, and even going so far as buying a perfectly sized designer outfit, jewelry, shoes, perfume, and everything else for their woman and including a note saying what time they're getting picked up for a fancy date - I have just one question. Is something wrong with the little things, ladies?
This is where things get tricky. Since, as previously mentioned, I am a woman, I have the right to change my mind, have two completely opposite opinions at the same time, and still be right no matter what way I decide to say things. That being said, I'll just continue by saying that there are two firmly different thoughts in my head on the subject of dating and being treated well by a man who respects you. For now, I'm leaning one way. In another post, I know I'll flip the coin.
Anyway. Moving on.
The little things are great, girls. As someone who has had the craziest year of her life just finish, I'll be the first to say that the smaller things that men do for their woman are some of the greatest things ever. In my opinion, a perfect date with Ryan and me is us ordering pizza or Chinese (I'm serious about him knowing our order by heart. It's true love.) and turning on something on Netflix or watching a ball game together. It's nothing crazy, and sometimes we even mix it up and make dinner together (which can be very entertaining, considering our impressive inability to create the edible) but no matter what we do, it's special. It's a wonderful date. And it didn't involve flowers, chocolate, a fancy dinner and expensive everything. Instead, I get to wear my basketball shorts, have my hair up and no makeup on, make food that I want for much less money AND I get to kiss the waiter instead of leaving a tip as he takes my plate and goes to wash the dishes so I can get back to homework or reading or whatever it is that I'm doing. It's the little things.
So, ladies, I know this is a long rambling post that may seem like it has no point. What I'm saying is true, though. We can get so caught up in the preconceived notions that a man doesn't like or respect us unless we have that PERFECT movie and dinner date that is so idealized in our friends' Instagram updates, or in the #truelove #perfectdate #boyfriend tags on Twitter, that we don't realize that maybe his way of expressing his respect and affection is making that dinner at home or clearing the table so you can get back to that job application, homework packet, or amazing book you're reading. 
I'm not married yet, but I can already tell that I've been blessed with an incredible man to walk through this life with. Since we bought our house, we've been all over the place looking at paint for the walls, carpet for the flooring, and furniture for the rooms. It's a big undertaking, and it's fun getting to mold it into something that represents us. This past Saturday, Ryan and I went on a smoking hot date together. We went to Home Depot and spent an hour finding faucets for our bathrooms, and paint samples for my kitchen. It may astound you to know that not once during that time did Ryan surprise me with a fancy dress and tell me to change in the bathroom because he had a romantic dinner awaiting me in aisle 4. Not once did he pull flowers from behind the paint samples, and I certainly did not find chocolates hiding in the toilets and sinks in the plumbing department...not that I would even want to look or try to find chocolate colored anything in the plumbing department. That being said, we still had an incredible time together. There was no food involved, no trinkets, no presents, just 2 faucets and some paint samples that we tried in the kitchen later that day. And you know what, ladies? I had more fun that day than I have had in a while.
You may not be getting married and are looking for the perfect shade of yellow for the back wall of your kitchen (if you are, it's definitely Wildflower Honey from Baer paints) but I can guarantee that you can still find something small to do that is meaningful and sweet and doesn't require elaborate planning and dinner reservations made last May. Yes, the big things are nice and fancy dates are romantic, but so is sitting on the couch and watching Scrubs with your significant other. (In my opinion!!) I can pretty much assure you that if you do have a significant other, he will greatly appreciate a day to relax with some Netflix and popcorn, or a quiet hiking trail and some comfy sneakers, or a blanket and a tree to lay under. All of these things are sweet, romantic, and still have the same end result as a fancy date - you feel special, loved, and are able to reciprocate those feelings to the one you're spending the time with.
Grab the number for Dominos and turn on the Pirate game, girls. You - and your guy - will be glad you did. 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014



Well hello hello hello! My, how time has flown since I last wrote. Somehow I wrote in January, twice in one day, and then...well, it's June 10th. Hi, everyone.
I've said before that I wouldn't make excuses for not writing frequently, and I won't this time either. I have been incredibly, blessedly busy in the last 6 months. I have post its on post its of writing ideas, half constructed blog posts, and one giant note that says "There's a huge Taco Bell across from my dorm now! Why couldn't that have been there when I was here? Granted, I would be dead right now..." from when Ryan visited Penn State Main in April. (That didn't have anything to do with this blog, it's just the closest post it to me, for some reason.)
For those of you playing the home game, I'll recap the past half year for you.

  • I went back to my student teaching placement in January, after 6 weeks off. It was an interesting semester, filled with lots of struggles, chocolate, long hours in the car, and tears. But, it eventually ended in...
  • GRADUATION! I graduated from college exactly one month ago on May 10th. What an incredible day that was. It was completely surreal. Luckily for me, though, it lead to...
  • My first (kinda) post college job! I was fortunate enough to be hired on as a substitute in my home district, a convenient 3 minute drive from my house, right away. I graduated on Saturday and was back in a classroom by Wednesday. I did all sorts of odd placements, including high school chorus (we sang one song and then had free time), elementary gym (we had one warm up and then had free time), and a bathroom monitor for high school Keystone exams (in case the 18 year old senior forgets where the restroom is after 4 years! Just kidding.) All of these positions were entertaining, and I loved every one of them. Plus, I was also able to get in some serious teaching days in the elementary in third, fourth, and fifth grades. It was awesome. 
  • Whenever I haven't been in the schools working, I've been at home wedding planning! Ryan and I are a mere 145 (I think...) days away from saying I do, and I can't wait. Especially since...
  • We bought a house! Or, well, I liked it and Ryan liked it so he bought a house. We have been extremely blessed to have found an incredible house right outside of Pittsburgh (you can see parts of downtown from my backyard, something that greatly excites this pretend-city / actual-country girl.) It needs some love, but our incredible family has been hard at work, spending their time to fix it up for us so it's ready to go for Ry sometime this summer, and for the both of us come November 1st. 
  • I was offered a position helping out, as a substitute Personal Care Assistant, at a summer school through July. I'm in the middle of leaving Subway (see ya later, sandwich diva) and entering into this new phase of my career. 
It's weird to think that this chapter of my life is drawing to a close. Being in school as a student, at home with my family, is all that I have ever known. I can't remember the transition from being home to school, so I can just remember elementary school, middle school, and high school as the first chapter. When that closed, I was nervous. Who knows what college is actually like? I had a different view, compared to everyone else, since I went to a local school where I was able to come home every night to my family and sleep in my own bed. That both was good, and totally sucked. (As a graduate now, though, being able to walk out debt free is a total blessing!) Now as a college graduate, I'm in the chapter where I'm job hunting and trying to put this degree to use. I don't get to go back to school in the fall as a student - I'm looking to go back to a school in the fall as a teacher! And, possibly the craziest of all, I'm getting ready to become a wife in a few short months! That to me is the weirdest chapter. Ever. But, the best one too! (Right, Ry?)
TL;DR - Things have been nuts. I haven't had the time to even think about, well, anything - much less write an entire post and get my thoughts together so you people at home can read it. However, I have tons of things to say, and some pretty decent posts already crafted in my mind. Stay tuned, friends!