We don't keep secrets.

Hello Joyflakes,

The other day I was talking to one of my friends about our parents and I was reminded of something pretty interesting.  When I was growing up there weren't a lot of rules. Beyond things meant to keep us safe (no doing backflips off the top of the couch...which only became a real rule after a broken wrist that caused me to be terrified to do one again forever anyway) my mom's parenting style was pretty lax in comparison to my friends parents. We didn't have a real curfew, just a time that was completely reasonable and agreed upon by us and our mom depending on the event.  We had to do chores, but they were on a rotation and other than having to put up with nagging if you didn't do them, there were no consequences for not having them done by a particular time.  We were never grounded, not for bad grades or even for sneaking out of the house to go TP-ing (ask my brother about that one).  

I've never really asked my mom why but I would assume there were two reasons for this.  One, was that she knew groundings and super strict rules just make you want to rebel and do worse things than you probably would have in the first place. And two, was that she was a single parent who worked incredibly hard and simply didn't have the energy to be that strict. Not to mention the fact that knowing you had disappointed her but still weren't in trouble was a pretty good way of making sure that we didn't make the same mistakes twice.

The best mom in the whole wide world

The one and only rule we had was that we wouldn't keep secrets from each other.  Other than birthdays, christmas, or other times when presents and surprises were involved, secrets were not allowed.  It may sound like an unusual rule, but in many ways it is the best rule anyone has ever taught me. 


By not keeping secrets, my mom taught us some pretty important life lessons:  

1. Taking responsibility for your mistakes (a hard lesson that I am still trying to learn) helps you gain respect.  Both from yourself, and from others.  

2. Lying is hard. The fewer lies you tell, the fewer you have to remember to keep up.  Make that number zero and you'll have WAY less stress.

3. Honesty really is the best quality.  It is now the number one thing I ask from my friends and people I choose to have relationships with.

4. Although it's not always painless, being honest is the quickest way to move forward.

With mothers day coming up so soon, I want to say thanks to my mom for instilling such and important value in my everyday life.  It's not something that I ever really thought about growing up, but it has very much become my golden rule.


The "Next Blog" Button

Hello Joyflakes,

I've been home sick for about a week now and other than giving me the time to binge watch friends, it has also given me the time to catch up on the blogs that I follow.  It may sound odd, but I genuinely enjoy getting a little peak into other peoples lives and reading blogs is a great way to do that!  In finally getting caught up though, I started to explore the blogosphere a little more and finally thought to press the "next blog" button that is at the top of every blogger page to see where my blog would be linked.  What I found, is that my blog is stuck in a never ending loop of about 7 blogs all written in what appears to be eastern european languages.  

Is blogger becoming the next xanga?

Let me know if any of the rest of you have this experience.


Beauty Balance

Hello Joyflakes,

I did something this past week that I haven't done in just about 6 months.  I painted my nails.  It is no secret (especially among my sorority sisters) that I love doing my nails and hair and makeup.  There is something therapeutic and relaxing about taking the time to make myself feel pretty.  In college, I changed my polish just about every 3 days.  It was my way of procrastinating and taking some time just for myself.  I was always the absolute last person to be ready to go out at night because by the time I had finished my hair and makeup I was sick of the outfit I had chosen.

When I started this blog, I highly considered making it a beauty blog, complete with youtube tutorials and reviews for my latest mascara and lipstick finds.  The thing is, once I started to really think about it, when it comes to my daily routine, I may be the laziest and most forgetful person on the planet. I know and understand the importance of a good skin care routine but the amount of times that I remember to remove my makeup before bed, moisturize, use a proper SPF lotion, etc. is an embarrassing number.  How could I possibly preach to the zillions of you (more like 5) that read this blog without practicing what I preach?

The other thing that happened right around then is that I came out to my friends and family and started dating an amazing woman.  You may think...whats the connection here? but for years I had been sure that my face and clothes and hair and nails were on point so that no one would even question my sexuality.  Yes there are "lipstick lesbians" out there, but they're a lot less likely to peak your gaydar than someone that's more butch.  The question I asked myself when getting ready turned from "does this make me look like a lesbian?" to "do I look gay enough?"

Over the past year, I've started to finally feel comfortable in my own skin, and going basically make up free has really helped with that process and has made me feel like my skin is healthier.  The thing is, life is all about balance and when you sway too far in either direction, things just aren't going to work out in your favor.  So I've decided to try and find a balance between these two sides of myself.  Make up free with lots more time on my hands, and feeling super pretty. This may mean that beauty posts begin to pop up here or it may only go as far as my nails.  But either way, I'm happy that I'll be taking more time for myself.

Do you guys have any tips or tricks for me to make my beauty routine more manageable and take less time?


Iowa City Blues

Hello Joyflakes,

Today dawned foggy and grey and I woke up with a sore throat that just won't go away which has put me in a very droopy mood. Whenever I get into such a mood I start to think about the fact that although I've gone a lot of places in the US, I have never really lived anywhere else (ames is a small town in Iowa...so that's basically the same as living at home) or been out of the country.  That last fact is so depressing to me that just thinking about it puts me in a very deep funk. Over the years though, I've learned some ways to deal with it and one of my coping mechanisms is to get on pinterest or youtube and look at/watch peoples lives in other places.  London, LA, Denver, Santorini, Paris, Stockholm, Edinburgh, Bergen...the list of places that I want to live in or visit is incredibly long so it helps to plan out my trips or do job searches even if I know that the chance of my moving to England for a job is basically zero.  It makes me feel like I'm doing a little something to get myself out of the town I've grown up in.

Growing up in Iowa City is a very different experience from other places in the world.  Home to a big 10 university with a med school, law school, dental school, pharm school, and one of the worlds best writing programs means that people come from all over the world just to study here.  Iowa City has produced some of the best academic minds in the world and that means there is always something happening.  We may have thought it was boring growing up but I don't know too many other kids who grew up in the midwest and had seen broadway caliber plays and danced with pilobolus before even graduating from elementary school.

In a way I think it makes us kind of jaded.  We say "oh I guess I'll just go to Iowa" as if getting into a major university isn't a big deal.  It's normal to have friends who weren't born in the US or who's parents are regularly published and recognized for major academic and scientific discoveries.  Coming out of the closet here I had absolutely no fear that my girlfriend and I would be accepted and loved.  It's an amazing place to grow up and I understand why people stay here forever but for some reason, I just can't stop thinking about the fact that no matter how lucky growing up her makes me, there is so much out there that I've never seen.

For now, I have to stay here and be an adult, but mark my words...I'll get to take my trip someday...and it will be AMAZING.

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?


Our new addition

Aloha Joyflakes!

I am incredibly late in doing this (I know you're shocked...) but I am very happy to introduce you to the newest member of our little family. Meet Isabeau Mable!!!

Izzy is our adorable and loving new(ish) Eskinu (1/2 Shiba Inu 1/2 Miniature American Eskimo) and we are more than mildly obsessed.  She was my birthday present from Misha this year and is literally the best present ever.  She came from a local pet store and before you get all up in arms about rescuing puppies, she was previously purchased by a couple of college girls who couldn't take care of her and returned her.  Since she was already almost 4 months old by then, she had to be alone in her cage all day and was having trouble finding a home as no one knew what had happened to her in her first home.  Obviously, this meant that we needed to take her home immediately and love her like crazy.

As of Easter Sunday, she is 5 months old, likes playing with balls, and is terrified of our neighbors garage.  I learned about that last one this evening when we came back from our walk and tried to get into the building that way and I literally had to carry her in.  I think it has something to do with the fact that their door is broken and has the loudest slam when you close it.

Thanks for the ball Aunt Les!
Love and good vibes to all!