6 Life Lessons for Turning 26

Today is my FIRST day being 26 years old! How is that even possible? Pretty sure I’m still writing 2001 on my checks even though I wasn’t writing checks until 2010. Even though I am now solidly planted in my mid-twenties, I don’t feel particularly wiser, older, or more mature. Like, at all. I hardly feel qualified to offer life advice given that I’m still on my parent’s insurance and recently considered Fruit Loops a balanced dinner option. Despite my frequent misadventures, I have picked up a few lessons over the years that I hope will guide me into the next quarter-century of life, and I thought I’d share my favorite six with you as told by my personal icon, Leslie Knope.

Lesson #1 Hold on loosely

In my experience, planning the future is a fool’s errand. I’m a naturally anxious person, so I tend to white-knuckle life like Stevie Wonder on a Nascar course. Timelines and goals are dandy, but I’ve realized that fixating on what lies ahead can rob you of what’s happening now. Whether it’s friendships, jobs, family, or matters of the heart, be content to enjoy the present. When it comes to the future, just hold on loosely.

Lesson #2 Be nice to your mom

Moms are proof that God loves us. How long is chicken good outside of the fridge? What about in my hot car? Is it safe to take six Ibuprofen at once? Is plastic microwavable? How do I clean vomit off of a white couch? Is this rash normal? Why are all of my socks pink? What happens if I use an 80 watt bulb in a 40 watt lamp? If it weren’t for moms, I’m fairly certain the human life expectancy would be 22 at best.

Lesson #3 Never pack a Fiber One bar with your lunch.

I don’t think this lesson really needs explaining, nor do I think there’s ever really an opportune moment to eat a Fiber One bar. Honestly, this shouldn’t be a problem unless you’re over 70 or stealing free food from you mom’s house, like me. This is most definitely a mistake you only make once. Consider yourselves warned.

Lesson #4 You’re doing better than you realize

Are you an official member of the bloods and/or crips? Did you steal your grandmother’s wedding ring to buy heroin? Are you the antagonist of a super-popular true crime podcast? Do you wear flesh-colored leggings out in public? If you answered no to these questions, then CONGRATULATIONS! You’re actually doing a fab-tastic job. Keep up the good work.

Lesson #5 There is no right age

There is no right age to get married, have a baby, have another baby, buy a house, move out of state, get a dog, start college, go back to college, start a 401K, open a business, start a career, switch careers, learn a new skill, or backpack through Europe. STOP. THE. JUDGING.

Lesson #6 Little moments make big memories

When I think about the past 26 years, the first memories that come to mind are simply a string of little moments. Jamming out to Aaron Carter in my best friend’s garage, dancing with my dad at the middle school formal, skipping chemistry to watch Friends with my roommate, when my boyfriend said I love you for the first time in my apartment kitchen. Most often, it’s the little moments that leave the biggest impact.

If you’re looking for more “wisdom” (aka laughable nuggets) regarding your twenties, check out the 8 Stages of Your Twenties As Told by Friends.


8 Stages of Your Twenties As Told by F•R•I•E•N•D•S

1. Blind Ignorance


Finally – my twenties! These are going to be the BEST YEARS OF MY LIFE. I’ll have a career, a fiancé, a swanky apartment, and my very own 401k. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m gonna’ go stock up on $80 pencil skirts because #adulting.

2. Adorable Optimism


I didn’t plan on living at home this long – or, like, at all – but this is great. What a wonderful time to cherish kith and kin. Oh, Taylor’s getting married? Good for her! I’ll RSVP for two. A lot can happen in four months!

3. Quarter-Life Crisis


Ohmygodohmygodohmygod. I’m already in my mid-twenties. What?! Conner just bought a house, and Jessica has the nerve to get pregnant – on purpose. Time for a change. Something bold and drastic. Something that says, “Despite all appearances I’m totally in control.” I’M MOVING TO BELGIUM.

*Skips dinner (again), browses Zillow for six hours*

4. Complete Apathy


Belgium is a stupid country, anyway. Maybe I can just cash in my Beanie Babies. Didn’t Buzzfeed say the Princess Di bear was worth like $500? Next month’s rent: done.

5. When Netflix Keeps Asking If You’re “Still Watching”



6. Attainable Goals


Okay. So I wasn’t elected the youngest president of the United States at 24. Whatever. But maybe I could get a job working for a senator or something. Oh, that’s super competitive? Oooooooor maybe I’ll just start a political blog or something. Yeah, blogging sounds good.

7. Growing Up


JK. You might have some goals now, but you’re still a hot mess.

8. Secret Happiness


Your job’s a joke, you’re broke, and your love life’s DOA – but maybe it’s not so bad. You’ve got some pretty awesome friends, a paycheck, a new blog, and a lot of dreams left to dream. Looks like you’re doing alright after all, kid.


DIY Olenna Tyrell Costume for Under $20


tyrell.jpgYesterday, my best friend co-hosted a Game of Thrones season finale watch party, which frankly is everything you need to know about my friends. In addition to a life-size Iron Throne made of aluminum foil and a wall of remembrance for the deceased, there was HoDoritos, direwolf (puppy) chow, deviled dragon eggs, and iced Cer-tea.  Seriously, I have no Ygrittes. (See what I did there? Don’t worry. The puns only get worse…)

Lady Tyrell has long been my favorite character on the show. She’s sharp-tongued, fiercely loyal, and admirably apathetic to the plight of her enemies. Plus, she wears a wicked cool hat. When I heard the party was “costume optional” (whatever that means), I searched Varys sites for an easy costume DIY to no avail – meaning, I had to get a little crafty.

The costume is essentially two pieces: the body (skirt + blazer) and Olenna’s signature Maid Marian-esque hat. With a quick run to Hobby Lobby and Goodwill, I was able to whip up a no-fuss costume in under an hour for less than $20. Even if you know nothing (John Snow) about sewing, you’ll breeze through this project. No cutting, no sewing, no stress. With Halloween just around the corner and the season 8 premiere a short 18 months away (LOLOL), I thought I’d share my Lady Tyrell costume tutorial with you today.

So what Arya waiting for? Let’s get started!

What You’ll Need:

supplies 2.jpg

  • 1 yard of black chiffon
  • 1/2 yard of black spandex
  • 1 tube black acrylic paint
  • 1 circular Kraft box (small enough to sit on top of your head)
  • Scrapbook rhinestones
  • Hot glue gun
  • Medium-size sponge brush
  • Black, patterned blazer (I got mine at Goodwill for $3.99)
  • Floor-length chiffon or silk skirt (also Goodwill, $1.99)


1. Using the sponge brush, paint the Kraft box black using two coats of the acrylic paint. Note: You do not need to paint the lid, which can be discarded.

2. Once the box is dry, fold the yard of chiffon in half vertically (as if folding a blanket) to find the center. Place a small drop of hot glue on the inner wall of your box, and lightly stick the fabric in place.


3. Using a thin line of hot glue, adhere the fabric to the inside of the box until half of the circle is covered.


4. Stick the already-adhesive embellishment to the front of the hat, using hot glue if necessary to secure the hold.


5. Wrap the black spandex fabric around your face to cover your hair, using two hair pins to secure the wrap in place near the top of your face. Don’t worry about pinning the fabric together – the jacket will hold it in place! Wrap the excess fabric across your neck as you would a scarf, so the uncut ends hang down the back of your shoulders. (Sorry, I forgot to grab a photo of this step, but hopefully it’s pretty intuitive.)

6. For bonus point, give yourself some light wrinkles with a skin-colored eyeshadow. Trust me, you’ll look like a smoking hot Mandy Moore in This is Us.

old lady

7. Party like it’s 300 AL.

Once you finish your Lady Tyrell costume, drop a photo in the comments below. I’d love to see your finished work! If you have any questions or hiccups along the way, I’m always here to help. Until then, dothras chek (be cool).


9 Signs You’re in a Long-Term Relationship, As Told by Tina Fey

1. Sweatpants Are Considered Date Clothes…

Goodbye, sundress. Hello, Snuggie!

2. …Because Netflix IS a Date

Given that the television is actually the third member of your relationship trifecta, it only makes sense.

3. You cut the crap.

Oh, you want to drive cross-country in a remodeled Volkswagen to observe the real America? No. We’re not doing that. Why are you so weird?

4. Farting.

All. The. Time.

5. You deal with each other’s weirdness.

Enough said.

6. Illness is no longer a good excuse not to hang out.

It’s not true love if you don’t French kiss strep.

7. You’ve basically forgotten how to be single.

I could totally snag another lover. I have all the flirts.

8. You order for each other when you’re out to eat.

Except sometimes bae asks what you want to eat and you say “I don’t care” and then he orders the WRONG THING.

9. Despite everything, you’re happier than you’ve ever been.

Suddenly unshaven legs and Funyun-breath look like happily ever after.

Michael Scott’s 10 Tips for Successful Living

World’s Best Boss, rabies philanthropist, poopball prodigy. Michael Scott is highly accomplished in the art of life, and his wisdom has inspired countless others over the years. Today, for the first time ever, Michael Scott breaks his silence and shares the 10 Scranton secrets for successful living.

1. Confidence is key. Never be afraid to highlight your best qualities.

2. Know how you want to be perceived by others.

3. Through thick and thin, stay grounded in your beliefs.

4. Problems are inevitable. Always take responsibility for your mistakes.

5. When speaking to others, always use encouraging, supportive words.

6. Acknowledge your shortcomings.

7. Have a role model. Don’t be afraid to look to others for inspiration.

8. A healthy diet is a must in leading a well-balanced life.

9. Never be afraid to share your opinions with those you care about.

10. Last but not least, be true to yourself. No matter what.

For more advice on living well, check out Harry Potter’s guide to school exams or Zooey Deschanel’s rules of being a modern woman.

Why We Hate to Love and Love to Hate Claire Underwood

Smart, savvy, and impeccably dressed – rain or shine, day or night. On the exterior, Claire is precisely what you’d expect a first lady to be: polished, polite, pretty. But this House of Cards character also knows how to play her best hand – the seductive allure of a winner. This modern Lady Macbeth tramples the weaknesses staining the Underwood name, and she’ll pay any price. Some would say her ruthless, Machiavellian attitude is her downfall – others, her greatest strength. But one thing is certain.

For better or worse, Claire Underwood is an icon – and that’s why we hate to love and love to hate her.

Somewhere deep within ourselves – in a place we are afraid to expose – we are Claire Underwood. We understand her unquenchable longing to be significant. We relate to the hunger pains of powerlessness that keep her moving up. We get her thirst for independence. We recognize her merciless ambition because the same parasite infects us too. It is why we secretly hate to love her. But are we not afraid, too? Don’t we all fear the possibility of losing ourselves inside the games – of falling from the highest rung of the ladder of success? Or worse, never reaching it at all.

While Claire paints an nontraditional portrait of women in power, there is a danger here – a danger of typecasting. Of pitting our own accomplishments against those of the former CWI director. In her latest column with Glamour magazine, Girls actress Zosia Mamet brings light to a pressing yet unseen issue. Many of us – including Claire – define success in terms of the long-standing male standards of power and money. But isn’t there an alternative? What about women who don’t want to become industry moguls and CEOs? Mamet writes:

I hate that we look at women who choose not to run a country as having given up. I get angry that, when a woman decides to hold off on gunning for a promotion because she wants to have a baby, other women whisper that she’s throwing away her potential. That is when we’re not supporting our own. Who are we to put such a limited definition on success?

As women, we are caught in a tricky game of limbo between becoming the next Claire Underwood and the future Debra Barone. Kids or career? Fame or love?  Even Claire admits that sacrifices must be made, but who is to say that children are less successful than a career? Likewise, who could say that fame is less worthwhile pursuit than love? To each their own. But whether you hate to love or love to hate her, we can all learn something from Claire Underwood. We can translate her inextinguishable drive into our own lives – whether that leads to a seat in the White House, a minivan for five or a cafe in Vermont. Because significance is not measured by the sum of success, only you can know the answer to the million-dollar question.

What does winning mean to you?


12 Pictures That Perfectly Describe Your HIMYM Finale Depression

Whoa. Hold up, yo. You mean the series finale is tonight?

Hoooooooly crap. Siri just confirmed this devastating news. Tonight will be the last episode. Ever. I feel so…so numb.


Uhhh…I think I dropped something under my desk. Excuse me.

I mean, how am I  even supposed to get through the rest of today?

Wait. What do you mean why are you getting so upset?

Okay. I’m sorry for yelling at you and accidentally spitting on your cheek. Could we just hug it out? I need to feel again.

Also, do you have any ice cream? Hit me, Linus, and make it a double.

I’m not overreacting. Right? The world is just as devastated as I am. Right? I’m not overly attached to five fictional characters inside my television. RIGHT?

Okay. Don’t answer that. Honestly, I don’t mean to be such a basketcase. But you see…

But I will contain all the feels by asking myself just one thing. WWSD: What would Swarley do?

Challenge accepted. So despite the crippling pain, I’m choosing to be CRAZY excited for tonight’s episode. Why? Because if it’s anything like the past nine years, then I know it’s going to be…

3 Spiritual Lessons from HIMYM

Confession: I’ve been on a serious HIMYM kick lately (Thanks, Netflix.) We’re talking a season a week, here. As I’ve been watching, I can’t help but draw some parallels between the show and my own spiritual life. That probably sounds strange, seeing that HIMYM isn’t a faith-based show or anything, but I’m inclined to believe spiritual lessons are all around us if we’re willing to be open-minded. With that being said, I present to you 3 spiritual lessons from HIMYM.

1.     It’s okay to be scared.

“Doesn’t being scared let you know you’re onto something important?” – Ted


Think back to the last time you took a leap of faith and followed God’s calling. Whether it was something huge, like becoming a missionary, or something small, like joining a church, there’s a good chance you felt nervous and maybe even a little scared before taking the plunge. Don’t let that stop you. Just as Ted points out, being scared means  there’s a good chance something big is about to happen.

2.     Mistakes happen.

“There are certain things in life where you know it’s a mistake but you don’t really know it’s a mistake because the only way to really know it’s a mistake is to make that mistake and look back and say, ‘Yup. That was a mistake.’” – Lily


Not everything in life is black-and-white, and it’s so easy to get confused in the gray. Romans 3:23 reminds us that no one is perfect, and we are absolutely, 100% guaranteed to make mistakes. When you do, don’t wallow in regret and self-loathing. Sometimes you just have to say, “Yup. That was a mistake,” and carry on (Romans 6:6.) Remember, God can use even the biggest mistakes for his glory.

3.     It’s all about the journey.

“You can’t jump straight to the end. The journey is the best part.” – Robin


David, a man after God’s own heart, wasn’t always a spiritual hero. Neither was Jonah, Peter, Mary Magdalene and plenty of other Sunday-school superstars. It’s no secret that every spiritual life has its ups and downs, and a good testimony isn’t just a snapshot of the ups. Like a good book, your story takes time to develop. So be patient, rejoice in today (Psalm 118:24) and make the most of your spiritual journey.

I hope that you found something worthwhile in this post. If you have absolutely no idea  who Ted, Lily and Robin are, I suggest you get yourself a Netflix subscription and dedicate a weekend or two to a truly fabulous show. If you have absolutely no idea who Jonah, Peter and Mary are, might I suggest you hit up an online Bible and dedicate a weekend or two to some truly inspirational stories. Now that you’ve read my post, I have a question for you.

You know that I think it’s possible to find religious value in nonreligious places, but do you agree? Tell me what you think in the comments below.

Was Doug Funnie a Racist?

I hereby call to order on this day, the fourth of June, the Council of Nineties Kids for the trial proceedings of a Mr. Douglas Funnie of Bluffington. Recently, I came across an article by the Huffington Post titled “Was ‘Doug’ and Its Central Character Doug Funnie Racist?” and couldn’t help but ponder the curious dilemma presented in the article. In a land full of green, purple, blue, and hot pink citizens, is it mere coincidence that the title character, his family, and love interest are the only white characters in the show? Below, I make cases both for and against this accusation in hopes that you, the jury, will have adequate evidence to pass a verdict.



As the article correctly stated, Bluffington High School is a 100-count box of crayons, and Doug manages to seek out the only other member of the beige family for his long-term love interest. Blogger Wolf Gnards, in a 2009 post that sparked much of the Doug Funnie controversary, states that this discrimination serves as a subliminal racist gesture that only white characters deserve to be in the spotlight. Additionally, in the show’s eight-year history, Patti Mayonnaise never pursues romantic relations with any of Bluffington’s colorful crew.



Although Doug and his love interest may be the closest in hue, Patti Mayonnaise is clearly darker complected and could represent a different ethnicity altogether. Additionally, Doug Funnie’s mother (a title character) sports a pinkish hue with blue colored hair, like many of the other townspeople. Exectuive producer Doug Campbell defends the accusations by stating that the show’s key demographic was caucasian children, and like any other television show, production centered around a marketing component. He claims that creators attempted to dodge the issue of race altogether by creating a unique host of rainbow-tinted characters in addition to the Funnie family

Funnie Family

Now that the evidence has been presented, it’s time to pass a verdict. Doug Funnie: average kid or racist symbol? Leave your thoughts in the comments below, and be sure to follow my blog for updates on this pressing case!