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Friday, October 31, 2014

my own BIG reveal

Day 31: Costume Reveal

So the truth is, I am not revealing a Halloween costume. My surprise is that I have been in Mexico since Wednesday! Keeping this a secret has felt nearly impossible... so much so, that I'm not even sure if I successfully did.

I am so happy about this trip for so many different reasons:

For one, hello, it is Mexico and Michigan is cold and rainy. I couldn't love 78 degrees anymore than I do right now.

Two, the whole Mexican situation is happening, because I am finally going to be a bridesmaid! One of my greatest friends, and a bridesmaid of mine, got engaged in November last year and decided, quickly, on a destination wedding. Megan is definitely fulfilling all of my vacation wedding dreams. (Thanks dogg)

And finally, the third reason, the wedding is at exactly the same resort that Aaron and I spent our honeymoon last year. It is really like a second honeymoon, and I am so, so, looking forward to spending the time together. And, we have a ton of time for good friends and all the excursions we can afford. Fingers crossed for dolphins!

Helene in Between Blogtober

Thursday, October 30, 2014

30 things: get to know me

Day 30: Thirty Facts About Me

When I first saw this prompt, I was excited. I have been in desperate need of a new "about me page," but, I have been putting it off. My list of facts really brought out some thoughts and descriptions that I don't think I would typically use. For that reason, I think it turned out pretty entertaining.
  1. I love travel and seeing new places.
  2. ...but I don't really like the outdoors that much.
  3. I believe that one day I will have seen every one of the fifty states.
  4. I have almost three complete university degrees.
  5. I am horrible at spelling. Like it is so bad, that sometimes it seems like I am joking.
  6. I love Taylor Swift...
  7. I love singing as loud as I can, but I usually won't around other people.
  8. Concerts are one of my favorite things to do.
  9. I do not have cable, or "over the air" television.
  10. I download old shows and binge watch them (Criminal Minds - holla!).
  11. I have been dying my hair since I was 14 and I don't see any indication that I will stop any time soon.
  12. I used to be real fat, like seriously fat.
  13. I have lost around 50 pounds.
  14. I still want to lose 20-30 more.
  15. I love Crossfit, but I left my gym.
  16. I think that my instagram presence is stronger than my blog.
  17. I compare myself and my life to others, but I wish I didn't.
  18. I have a love/hate relationship with my dog. I love her, but she makes me NUTS.
  19. I really like the idea of lipstick.
  20. ...but I think it looks silly on me.
  21. I like taking selfies with only half of my face in them.
  22. I got my first job at a grocery store when I was 15, because my mom wouldn't buy me plaid pants.
  23. I have had fourteen jobs total.
  24. I get a thrill out of creating a budget and sticking to it.
  25. Paying off debts is one of my favorite feelings.
  26. Sometimes I feel irrationally angry, about things that don't concern me.
  27. I also have anxiety issues (those, too, are irrational).
  28. My dog has over ten nicknames, I created all of them...
  29. I call my brother Ryan, "Brother" exclusively 
  30. I am 24 years older than my youngest sibling (Samantha) but only 5.5 years older than Brother
    Helene in Between Blogtober

    Wednesday, October 29, 2014

    the ABCs

    Day 29: My Most Embarrassing Moment

    Here in Michigan, the summer means going on vacations "up north." And for my family, going "up north" typically includes visiting Mackinac Island. If you aren't familiar with the island, you can read about it HERE, or you can trust that it is pretty much just a tourist trap. Literally, an island that you can't escape from without a boat, ferry ticket, or airplane.

    My most embarrassing moment goes back to the summer of 2006(?). This was before Aaron and I did a lot of road trips, and I was very uncomfortable with public restrooms. I'm still not the biggest fan, but I have learned that you better go when you get the chance. This particular summer, my family had decided that we would take a girls weekend trip up north. So, my mother, my grandmother, my Aunt Becky and I all went, and we obviously decided that we were going to go to the island.

    As I mentioned, getting to the island requires a ferry boat (for us poor folk). There are pretty standard run schedules for the ferries and you just have to wait until they come back to take you. So of course, without fail, I had to pee. It wasn't like a porta-potty or anything, but it was pretty bad, and it was extremely close to the general waiting area.

    I went in the bathroom stall and I could still hear the people in the waiting area talking. I immediately knew it was not gonna happen. I went back out and took my mother into the bathroom with me. "I need you to make some noise so nobody can hear me!" She began to sing the ABCs over and over, louder and louder.

    Sure it allowed me to pee, but it also allowed everyone to laugh. Absolute horror.

    Helene in Between Blogtober

    Tuesday, October 28, 2014

    three things (that don't scare me)

    Day 28: Things that I am Superstitious About

    I actually wracked my brain about this topic, and it turns out that I am not superstitious at all! In fact, I laugh at superstitions...

    1. Black Cats: I have one. His name is Jag and he is a real piece of work. I'm pretty sure that is to be expected since he grew up with me and my brother... we are both pretty big aholes and now the cat reflects the same exact personality. If he is hungry, he will bite you HARD until you feed him. He is great.
    2. Friday, the 13th: Aaron was born on the 13th, I was born on the 13th, and we got married on Friday, the 13th. If anything, I would say this is a damn good date for me.

    3. Tail-side Up Coins: Yeah, definitely do not practice that rule. I am broke, if I see money on the ground, I am picking it up regardless of the face. Although, sometimes, I do think about that show/movie where they glued coins to the ground and made fun of the people trying to pick them up? Then I feel shame and keep walking.

    Helene in Between Blogtober

    Monday, October 27, 2014

    Hey Bitch Part II : The Prequel

    I honestly, have no idea what I have done to the first photo. Clearly, I have used it and edited it too many times. Aaron and I look like we are made of plastic.

    Day 27: A Letter to My Younger Self

    Hey Bitch,

    We could keep this short and simple. I could just tell you to stop acting like such a damn fool. But, since we are the same person, I know you will be all, "what does she know, I'm not being dumb, I have no idea what she is talking about." And then you would just go on and continue acting like an idiot. For this reason, I am going to break it down for you.

    1. Look at yourself, seriously look. Counting the points of all the potato chips and candy is not going to help you lose weight. Your skin and your hair are a hot mess, and I'm sure that your insides aren't doing great either. You need to get it together. Losing that extra weight will improve all those things, plus your confidence. It'll make you happier, you'll be a much better girlfriend, and you might even make some friends a long the way.

    2. Be a better girlfriend, and stop being so damn crazy. Aaron isn't going anywhere, you need to trust him. He very rarely wants to go out and have fun without you, if he decides one day that he wants a little space, just give it to him. Aaron is an amazing guy, treat him like it, be nice and show your appreciation more often.

    3. Take school more seriously. The classes you are taking now are way more fun then real life. Enjoy it while you can. Spend time with your friends and don't complain. It's all down hill after graduation (when it comes to work). Education is your job right now, do your best!

    That is enough. I feel like your mother. Just do us both a favor and get your shit together. Thanks!

    Helene in Between Blogtober

    Sunday, October 26, 2014

    who? me?

    Day Twenty-Six: Who Would Play Me In A Movie

    I have never really spent any time taking into consideration who would play me in a movie. Therefore, I questioned three trustworthy characters and these are the responses that I received. 

    1. "That girl from the Wendy's commerial!" Morgan Smith Goodwin: This one I find acceptable because I really like spicy chicken sandwiches, and Aaron thinks this girl is pretty hot. 
    2. "Kathy Griffin!!!!" Before or after the plastic surgery I wonder? At least she is thin and hilarious.
    3. "Emma Stone! That is my final answer." Again, funny girl and very attractive. She is also a really great actress. And look at her photo, we have the same signature head tilt and dewy skin that only a really good filter can give!
    I choose Emma Stone... tell me I'm right!

    Helene in Between Blogtober

    Saturday, October 25, 2014

    Closer & Closer & Closer

    Day Twenty-Five: My favorite Book

    So yeah, my favorite book is about as old as I am. Actually, great news, I just looked it up and it is three years older than I am. Nevertheless, I still love it. The suspense just keeps you reading more and more. Honestly, I think I am probably going to start reading it again now. Thanks #BLOGTOBER14!!

    CLOSER… They found the town silent, apparently abandoned. Then they found the first body strangely swollen and still warm. One hundred fifty were dead, 350 missing. But the terror had only begun in the tiny mountain town of Snowfield, California.

    AND CLOSER… At first they thought it was the work of a maniac. Or terrorists. Or toxic contamination. Or a bizarre new disease.

    AND CLOSER… But then they found the truth. And they saw it in the flesh. And it was worse than anything any of them had ever imagined…(1)

    I also enjoyed (please don't judge me):

    Helene in Between Blogtober

    Friday, October 24, 2014

    the more orange the face, the whiter the teeth

    Day Twenty-Four: A Beauty Product I Cannot Live Without

    Another writing struggle, I am absolutely terrible at making choices. So then I decided that mascara doesn't even count. Seriously, I am a ginger, I have no eyebrows and no lashes, I literally have to paint them in order for them to be seen.

    So aside from the obvious, the beauty product that I love and would die without is, by far, bronzer. There is no shame in my fake tan game. Like I mentioned before, I am a ginger, which means, I am pasty year round. I use Tarte Brizilliance body tanner, all over my body (duh), and I use bronzer on my face like I believe its gonna keep me young.

    You know what they say, tan fat looks better than pale fat. And if all else fails, put a black+white filter on it. 

    Helene in Between Blogtober

    Thursday, October 23, 2014

    4 photo editing tools (everyone is already using)

    It is my hope that when I read everyone else's #BLOGTOBER14 posts on this topic, I will find something new. I use Lightroom and Photoshop too, but these are the quick and easy tools that everyone has access to. I really prefer not to open Photoshop on this hog of a computer anyway... it takes days.

    Day Twenty-Three: Favorite Editing Tools for My Blog

    iPhone: This is supposedly a new feature with iOs8 and I love it. It is so easy and works really well. I'm sure you have noticed (if you follow me on instagram) that I have been going crazy with the black+white photos recently. I have two reasons for that: 1. the iPhone gives a lot of different filter options in black+white, and then you can still continue to tweak the photos and make them look however you want. 2. I look thinner and prettier in black+white.

    A Beautiful Mess: Although the zoom feature in this app could use some improving (or maybe it is my fingers? let me know), I would be lost without it. There is no better app for making before/after photos and then adding text or doodles. For some reason I really like the hand drawn feel of the app. I think it makes it the photos more welcoming.

    Instagram: How does it just keep getting better and better? I have no idea, but please keep the updates coming!

    PicMonkey: So when I started this post, I thought why am I bothering? Everyone knows about this stuff already. But then I remembered, when I first started my blog, and a long time after that, I edited my photos in Photoshop and then created collages in inDesign. Good lord, it took forever. I never knew about the ease and convenience of PickMonkey, and now I probably wouldn't edit photos if I didn't have it.  

    Do yourself a favor, if you haven't started using PicMonkey, do it, and pay for the upgrade!

    Helene in Between Blogtober

    Wednesday, October 22, 2014

    seriously, stop it.
    Day Twenty-Two: Pet Peeves

    This post could truly go on for days, so, after Monday's excessively long post, I have decided to limit myself to a single pet peeve. Originally, I had planned to add images... but then I got to Google searching "bumper stickers" and I realized that I may just be asking for trouble. There are no bumper stickers that are completely neutral, and sharing them on here will be just as bad as what I am complaining about.

    Truthfully, it does not matter to me if your bumper stickers are things that I completely agree with, or things that I disagree with. I hate all of them, even neutral ones. In fact, I think I hate those the most. I do not ever want to see a stick person family on a car window. Ever. There is an extremely good chance that if I am driving behind you, I already want to punch you. And now I want to punch all of your stick family too. 

    Unless we are real life friends, I do not need to know your thoughts on anything. I just need you to drive to where you are going, in a fashion that does not interfere with me driving to where I am going. This is a similar issue I had with Facebook: far too much sharing. Just stop. Seriously. Stop.

    Unless the bumper sticker on your car is the gnomies one, I hate it.

    Helene in Between Blogtober

    Tuesday, October 21, 2014

    What a Dream

    Day Twenty-One: My Dream Vacation

    It has been a long lived dream of mine for Aaron and I to go to Bora Bora. I actually (desperately) wanted to get married there. But, as you can see, a flight for one person is around $3,000 and a day or two long. Not really the ideal price point when your family is requiring their own attendance. Sure, it was nice to have them all there, but gosh... Bora Bora would have been nice too! I'm totally just kidding... kinda.

    Did you know that they spray the entire island so there are no bugs? That is incredible. I am not a fan of the actual nature that happens outdoors, especially tropical insects. It is actually disturbing me as I type about it.

    So, yeah. I still really want to go to Bora Bora some day. And I would love it if "some day" was in the next couple of years. I remain optimistic. Though, I really do not expect it to happen (read: student loan debt). But, I am the type of person that makes things happen if I really want them to. The issue I usually have, is that the want for the thing usually fades pretty quickly. But, I mean, what are the chances of not wanting to go to Bora Bora? Pretty damn unlikely.

    Helene in Between Blogtober

    Monday, October 20, 2014

    What does failure mean to you?

    Day Twenty: My Biggest Fear

    Overall I am terrified of failure. Though, the general topic of failure spreads across many aspects of my life: my marriage, my friendships, my career (or lack of career), my health, and my overall happiness.

    My marriage: I don't have too much experience with successful marriages. My parents were divorced when I was, probably, three years old. They both remarried, but those didn't really work out either. It's not that I have any real feelings about their marriage(s) ending, like I never think to myself, "why didn't they try harder?" or "God, what a bunch of failures." It's just sorta something that happened... But when it comes to my own marriage, I have idealistic thoughts about divorce not being an option.

    Don't get me wrong, Aaron and I haven't really had any challenges where divorce would have ever been considered, but I try to think these things in a more long term way. There are going to be struggles and some not so good times, but I don't ever want us to think "oh, let's just throw in the towel." We are (give or take some) 12 years into our relationship, and at this point, I am more obsessed with him then I ever have been. Like I've mentioned in earlier posts, I would spend ALL of my time with him, if I realistically could (or if he felt the same way). 

    I think I am feeling especially passionate about this topic right now because of an experience I had a couple of weeks ago. I was at a job interview, in a relatively small architecture/engineering firm. The woman who interviewed me said something about her husband working in the same office, to which I responded, "oh wow! That is so cool!" she replied, "eh... It's okay." I just felt so... maybe concerned is the right word. They don't work in the same department, he is actually in the field most of the day, she really doesn't even see him that often. So why is it just okay? Why isn't she excited about the chance of crossing paths in the hallway, or eating lunch together in the break room?

    I don't think it is completely unrealistic for me to want my marriage to be a happy one. A marriage where there are more times that I want to be with my husband than I want to be apart. Maybe even a marriage where I remain forever obsessed and happy 80% of the time. While the other 20% is spent bitching about him using my razor to shave his head, and leaving dirty clothes next to the hamper.

    My friendships: I am a really awesome friend (most of the time). But typically, I am the kind of friend who loses touch with people. I've met a couple girls while working at the bank, that I absolutely love. They are funny, we chat a lot, and I think, in general, we just understand one another. But I still have this fear that when we no longer work together. Will we still text? Will we ever hang out? In my past experience, there is a good chance that we won't and that bums me out.

    I have a similar fear when it comes to my long term friendships. Will we stay in contact if one of us moves? What about when Bre is in a serious relationship and working full time, will we still make time to see one another? Or when Megan has kids and I don't, will we still talk and go get coffee together? I really, honestly, hope so.

    My career: what the hell am I doing with my life? I hope that one day I figure it out. I want to be successful at something... and not just at being a wife and friend.

    My health: I am horrified that I will never reach a weight or body that makes me feel accomplished, and thin, and strong. I don't have this fear because I think it's impossible, I am just incredibly lazy... I get frustrated and I quit. Or I reach a goal where I am feeling pretty good about myself and I quit. Basically, I am a quitter and I'm afraid that I will never be anything else.

    My happiness: I just want Aaron and I to be happy together. I want to feel like we are doing the right thing, for ourselves, and that things couldn't be better. I know that most people struggle with that idea, sure there is always room for improvement, but we have a pretty strong idea of where we want this life to go. If we could figure things out to make our (realistic) dreams our real life, we would be all set. For now, I will end it there, but there is more on this to come, there are plans. Big, huge, giant plans.

    Helene in Between Blogtober

    Sunday, October 19, 2014

    9 photos to help me explain

    The list of things that make me happy is pretty basic: my husband, my dog, my family, and my friends. Even though I don't think this post is going to be some big surprise, its still a nice topic to write about. People don't really share their feelings and appreciation as often as I think we should. So, thank you #BLOGTOBER14, for giving us all a reason to tell people how much we care!

    Day Nineteen: What Makes Me Happy

    That is a truly random assortment of photos that I could find and throw together, I know that I have left people out and I am... sorry? I can't spend all day hunting for photos people! Real life struggles when your family reads your blog.

    Aaron: I would literally be homeless without you and probably in a severe depression. You are my best friend and I love hanging out with you. I miss you when you aren't around (or when you sit on a different couch). I really can't go all puddle of mush and feels right now, but you are amazing. Thank you for being you.

    Friends: I find it entertaining that I am listing you as a category when really there are only probably five people on this list (Breanna, Megan, Craig, Kayla, Brittany). You all bring humor to my life, you get me, and you support me. You don't need a million friends, you only need a few good ones. And, lucky for me, I have a really great group.

    Family: I definitely appreciate and need your consistent support, unless it comes to the flu shot (which I am still NOT getting). I love you all very much.

    I am lucky and I am happy to have this life. It may be a small group from day to day, but the people here are perfect!

    Helene in Between Blogtober

    Saturday, October 18, 2014

    something you probably didn't know

    Another impossible #BLOGTOBER14 post... why must these prompts be so thought provoking! It literally took me until this very second to think of anything to write. I feel like I should probably have a secret or two...right? Maybe, I'm just old and boring or something. But then I decided, "a secret" doesn't necessarily have to be a secret from everyone, it can just be a secret that your readers don't all know. With that in mind, I have come up with a secret to share.

    Day Eighteen: Share A Secret About Myself

    My secret is that I am terrified I am going to get fat again. There are times when I will compulsively weigh myself every day, and then get kinda panicky if I see an unexpected number. I do try to live by the, "my diet is like a bank account" moto, but sometimes I get down on myself and freak out a little. I'm pretty much an anxiety ridden mess (there's another secret I could have shared). I think these freak outs come on because, when I look back on photos (like those above), I feel like, I had no idea that I was so... rotund.

    Maybe that is just how denial works... it feels like every other day, I would just be completely devastated about how I looked. I would avoid social situations because getting ready to go anywhere, or getting dressed for a night out would inevitably lead to me crying my eyes out. Clearly I knew there was a problem.. and I clearly did nothing to change it for a very long time.

    I often times feel like I have gotten more self conscious now, after losing all that weight. I think that is for the same reason as above. If I had let myself get to such an unhealthy point before and hadn't realized, what is to say I'm not doing it again? So I weigh myself, talk about my muffin top, and worry that I'm gonna blow up any day now.

    My secret is also a reason that I am thankful to have this blog, and for you reading it. It's sorta motivational for me to keep working on myself. Because obviously, posting pictures of yourself, or writing about exercise isn't really all that fun when you aren't feeling good about yourself.

    Helene in Between Blogtober

    Friday, October 17, 2014

    Master Bull-Shitter

    I am beginning to feel that these #BLOGTOBER14 posts are really getting to the core of my being. I wonder, am I sharing far too much of myself? I also think that I might be taking a more serious approach than a lot of people.. that in itself is an odd experience. I am not the serious type of blogger. Nevertheless, let me continue.

    Day Seventeen: I am an Expert at...

    This post, in particular, was challenging for me. I'm really not that great at anything... I get by, but usually there ain't much to write home about. And then, I remembered something a friend said to me after a job interview one day, "wow, you are really good at thinking on your feet." And it struck me: I am an expert at making shit up.

    Does it make me a good liar, if I am able to spin a tale at a moments notice? Does it make me a bad person, because I typically prefer to wing it when it comes to interviews, presentations, or any other question based experience? I say no. I say that this trait of mine (is that the right word..?), makes me creative.

    So, if you ever need helping coming up with an excuse for why you didn't finish a project for work on time, or a riveting answer to an interview question, you know where to come. I will be here for you, because that is part of the job when you are an expert, you must always share your skills to better the lives of others.

    Helene in Between

    Thursday, October 16, 2014

    4 reasons why fall is the best season!

    one. Black Bootie Target

    two. Brown Ankle Boot Similar

    three. Grey Boot Target

    four. Brown Steve Madden SimilarSimilar

    Day Sixteen: Fall Fashion

    I am so excited about this #BLOGTOBER14 post prompt. I have always wanted to try fashion blogging but have always been to scared and self-conscious. The idea of posing in the middle of the street for someone to take random pictures of me kind of freaks me out. And of course I have no idea how to use a tripod and do it myself. But, it actually ended up being way more fun then I thought it would be. Cropping my face out definitely helps... Thanks mommy.

    I have also included some stunning outtakes. Please take notice of how much I look like Britney Spears.

    Helene in Between Blogtober