Our Love Story, Part IV

If you'd like to read Part I, click here. If you'd like to read Part II, click here. And if you'd like to read Part III, click here.

Although my new friend had gone home, I couldn't stop thinking about him the next day. I found myself creeping looking at his pictures on Facebook and contemplating breaking things off with my current man. But I'm too much of a wimp, so I couldn't bring myself to actually do anything. 

But later that afternoon, this new guy I'd fallen for sent me a text asking if I was free. Of course I said "YES!" And the next thing I knew, he shows up at my house and we spend the night talking and walking around my neighborhood until the sun goes down. 

There was one point in particular when we stopped on a corner and he looked down at me (he's 6'2" and I'm 5'4") and I thought I wouldn't be able to control myself anymore. He was so charming and had a lot to say. However, I was a big girl and knew my limits. I kept my hands and lips to myself and we kept on walking back towards my house. 

When we arrived back at our starting point he thanked me for a great time (all we did was walk around the neighborhood...?) and gave me the most gentle, but most protective hug I've ever received. I was so tempted not to let go. And so was he. I could tell by the way he kept holding me and by the way he said "I wish I didn't have to go back to D.C. tomorrow." At that moment, my heart shattered. In all this time we'd spent together over the past two days, I'd forgotten about the fact that he had a home far away from where we were. 

But he left my house that night, and flew 800 miles back to D.C. the next morning. There was nothing I could do. I figured I should just let him go and enjoy the memories. I thought I'd never see or hear from him again.  


My Happy Place

We were two teenagers, crazy in love.
It was my first visit to D.C. since we'd jumped into the LDR pool and we were excessively enjoying ourselves.
He had surprised me with a fancy dinner.
There we were, sitting in the luxurious Carlyle sharing meals we had ordered to complement the other.
We were giddy and laughing, genuine smiles plastered on our faces.
The lights were dimmed, I was wearing a new sweater, and The Boyfriend was gently rubbing his foot up and down my leg.
We kept holding hands across our small table until the waiter would bring out a dish to separate us.
I couldn't stop staring at him.
I didn't want to.
This dinner was so perfect. The food was delicious and I had shared it with the man of my dreams.
And just when we thought life couldn't get any more heavenly...
Our waiter brought out the creme brulee.

(Please excuse the glasses glare)


Unexpected Debt

I got a letter from Direct Loans in the mail today. Apparently, they were never notified that I enrolled in a different college and assumed I had just dropped out of my previous school, meaning that I am expected to start paying off my $7,000 in debt IMMEDIATELY. However, that is not the case. As soon as I moved back into my parents' house I re-enrolled in the local community college, so now I have to submit a "loan deferment form" to prove that I am, in fact, still enrolled in college, therefore pushing back the day that I have to start paying off the loans.

Oh, but that's not all. Nope. I asked my dad if this loan of mine was covered by the money left over in my college fund and guess what the response was...

Yep. You guessed it. I am now responsible for paying off over $7,000 in education-related debt. I was totally caught off guard by this because I was under the impression that there was enough money left in my college fund to cover the payments. But now that I know that's not the case, I'm wondering how in the WORLD I am supposed to pay that off. Being unemployed sucks. Especially when you have other monthly payments to make and another year of school that you have to take out more loans for. Oy.

Now, I know that my amount of debt is minor compared to what most people are paying for college these days, but I still can't pay it. So I still consider it a lot of money.

I guess there's always a time to start being a "real" adult, right? Thankfully, this past Wednesday I got a call from a local fitness center where I applied for a child care job to let me know that I got the position! YAY! Unfortunately, I don't start until the beginning of November, but hey. It's still a job!

Right now I'm just trying to figure out how I can cut corners on my spending and how I can afford to go to school next year while still making all my monthly payments for regular living expenses.

Oh, dear Lord.


My day today...

...was pretty good, for the most part.

0730: Hit the snooze button on my Samsung Intensity II.

0800: Wake up and groggily walk from the spare room (where I sleep) to my actual bedroom to get dressed and brush my hair. No shower today because I decided to hit the snooooooze.

0810: Brush my teeth, use the loo, and wash my face.

0815: Head downstairs to the kitchen, gawk at the mess of dishes that need to be washed, make myself a Goober sandwich for breakfast and taquitos to take with me for lunch, and pack my too-heavy-for-my-achey-back book bag.

0835: Head out the door to my lovely school, Waubonsee Community College.

0915: Attend my Sociology class. Today's subject was on intersexuality, babies born with both male and female genitalia. I won't get into our discussion, but it was interesting.

1045: Head out of class and run into my Monday/Wednesday friend, Kyle. We meet every M/W after class to catch up for a minute. He's pretty awesome and one of my only friends from high school that I still keep in touch with.

1100: Hop in the car, drive to the opposite side of campus, eat my taquitos, and head to my next class (early, I might add) to finish up some homework.

1130: Get a call from a local fitness center letting me know that I GOT THE JOB!!! I'll be working in their child care. PERFECTION. Now I can work with kiddos (which I love) and get a free gym membership! 

1230: Attend my College Studies Class (total bull, but actually kind of helpful).

1345: Head out to pick up a grill from someone on FreeCycle! The boyfriend has been wanting one for some time now, so I snatched one up for FREE!

1500: Laze around the house for a while. Chillaxin'. Camping out on the computer.

1700: Whip up some sloppy joes for myself and the fam, only to find out that the fam isn't going to be home for dinner. Something about mom and brother going to church like they do every Wednesday night. Totally forgot about that. And dad's outta town for work...so I ate alone and watched When In Rome. Super cute! Laughed a lot.

1930: Head to the dreaded basement and streeeeeetch before jumping on the elliptical for 20 minutes while watching one of my FAVORITE shows, House Hunters. Then added in a few crunches and (girl) push-ups.

2000: Hop in a nice, cool shower to unwind and then jump right out of said shower due to SPIDERS EVERYWHERE (there were about 3, but whatever). Have brother kill the nasties and run to the bedroom where I sleep (I've got 2 rooms, remember?).

2020: Finish up this blog post, check Facebook, and head to bed.


Changing It Up

So...I've decided that I'm not so sure how I feel about sticking to such a strict schedule on the blog. I'd kind of like to have more variety than what I've got already and I've found that I miss talking about real life situations, personal experiences, random thoughts, etc. So back to square one.

Now to develop my "blogging voice."

I'm not quite sure how to go about creating my voice on the net, but I'm guessing it just takes trial and error. Kind of how it was with the "schedule." I'll attempt to write in my own personal voice and to make make this blog unique to myself. Hopefully, my readers will be able to sense who I am and what I'm like in real life after a while. We'll see how this goes...


Toned and Trim Thursday

So, I know this post is 3 days late (my bad), but I thought I should post it anyway just to keep the blog on track. Better late than never!

Today is just going to be boring. Nothing too exciting or interesting. On Thursday I decided that, since I hadn't worked out in a few months, I should probably hop on the super snazzy elliptical my parents own. So I stretched, did 15 minutes on the "fat burn" cycle and added 30 crunches and 30 push-ups to top it off. Decent exercise. But still wore me out. I guess that's how you know that you're WAY out of shape (that and the fact that last years' jeans don't fit).


Our Love Story, Part III

After deciding to let him drive, we headed off to Meijer so we could pick up a few energy drinks, singing all the way there. I normally don't get that comfortable with anyone the first time I hang out with them, but I just felt so safe and free with him. It was awesome. When we arrived at the store, we got our drinks then wandered around for a while and ended up leaving with the movie 1941. He asked if I'd seen it and was appalled when I told him no. So, of course, we just haaaaaad to watch it. However, heading back to his parents' house to watch this amaaaaazing movie we had quite the relationship-altering experience.

As we were about 3 minutes away from his parents' house we approached an intersection with stop signs on the east and west corners and yeild signs on the north and south corners. It was about midnight, pitch black, and there were very few cars on the street. There was one car driving in front of us (we were on the "yeild" corner) and just as they were passing through the intersection we saw this speeding white blur t-bone their car! My new friend immediately slammed on the brakes, put the car in park, and we both hopped out to help the people in this shocking accident. Thankfully, the driver and her passenger were completely unharmed (thank the LORD!), just extremely shaken and their vehicle was obviously totaled. We helped them out of their car and pushed it off to the side of the road, just in case. Then we called the police. This was definitely not a situation one just walks away from.

After making sure the t-boned drivers were alright, we tried to help the driver of the vehicle that had run the stop sign, but her passenger refused. He yelled at both of us to get away and yelled at the woman to keep her mouth shut and stay in the car. My new friend and I tried to calm them, but they were obviously so intoxicated that there was no reasoning with them. Eventually the police showed up and asked my friend and I to stick around as witnesses, so we stood there next to one another in utter disbelief at what we had just witnessed. What an adventure this night was becoming!

After about an hour at the scene we were dismissed and headed back to my friend's parents' house to FINALLY watch this movie. We went up to his sister's old room, the only room with a TV and DVD player...but it was also only equipped with one twin sized bed. Hm...So we sat down next to each other and starting watching 1941, definitely feeling the chemistry, doing our best to resist a steamy make-out session. Thankfully, we were interrupted by my mom's desperate plea for me to come home (she's a worrier when I'm out too late), so we grabbed the movie and headed on our way back to my house.

But when we got back to my place, we totally scrapped watching 1941 and opted for a more creative, edgy film and popped in Across The Universe. Um...fail. We didn't even end up watching it! We actually spent the entire night, and part of the morning just talking. It was incredible. We had so much in common, but also so many things unique to ourselves. Definitely the best conversation I've ever had in my entire life. But my current boyfriend didn't feel the same way. At about 3am he texted me asking if this guy had gone home and if we had a good time and I had to admit that he was still at my place and we were having a great conversation. This definitely upset said boyfriend (I'm sure he sensed the chemistry), and I decided to respect him and send my new friend home.

What a crazy, adventurous, tempting, caring, incredible man! What is a woman to do?

Stay tuned next Wednesday for Part IV of Our Love Story...

Our Love Story, Part II

*Affectionate Sigh* Where were we? =) Ah, yes. The obstacles keeping me from this extremely handsome man...

1. I currently had a boyfriend (but our relationship was already going downhill).
and 2. This "new guy" lived 800 miles away. SO SCARY!

Considering those factors, I kind of just let myself "window shop" while we were at the Bible study, knowing that I'd probably never see this guy again. Everyone else would be hanging out after the study was over, but my boyfriend and I were headed to his parents' lake house for 4th of July weekend and were leaving immediately after. So I spent the weekend with my boyfriend and his family in Wisconsin and had an a-okay time, but as soon as I came home (my boyfriend had stayed back in WI with his familia) I couldn't stop thinking about this "other guy."
A sunset, viewed from the dock at the lake house. 

Ironically, my boyfriend suggested that I "get to know a few of his friends", so I took the opportunity and added the Army stud on Facebook. We got to talking and realized that both of us were bored out of our minds as everyone else was still on vacation for the holiday weekend. So I texted my boyfriend, explained the situation, and he agreed that I should invite this guy to hang out as a nice gesture. Now, this wasn't unusual for me since I try to be a very social person and I had a load of male friends in high school, so none of us thought anything of it. Little did we know how crazy this entire situation would turn out.

So...I asked my new Batman-loving friend (remember the t-shirt) if he'd like to go see Transformers 2. I thought, "It's a neutral, non-date movie so we should be good, right?" But theeeeeen I find out that he's never been to Red Robin! *gasp!* This was unacceptable, so we planned on meeting at Red Robin, which was conveniently located next to the movie theater, and then see Transformers 2. Everything was going just I had planned; totally neutral, no romance, just friends...until he called me while I was on my way and asked what he should wear. WHAT? Who does that? He was asking me, "Batman t-shirt or American Eagle t-shirt? Vans or tennis shoes? Hat or no hat?" I couldn't stop giggling while he was bombarding me with all these decisions! It was just too adorable. It was a sign that he wanted to look good when I saw him. ;) 

I arrived at Red Robin and waited for him out front, trying not to get nervous. This wasn't a first date, after all. We were just friends who had nothing to do and wanted to catch a good movie, right? Or so we thought. But when he showed up we awkwardly said hello then headed inside. As we ate our dinner, the conversation got lighter and less awkward and when the bill came we each agreed to pay our own halves, seeing as this was NOT A DATE, then we walked over to the movie theater and paid in the same fashion.
During the entire movie I could sense that he was trying not to look at me. You know that little out-of-the-corner-of-your-eye glance? Yeah...I could feel it. And I was trying to do the same. There was definitely chemistry and it was red-hot. No denying it. However, being mature almost-adults with self-control, we kept our hands to ourselves because neither of us are cheaters (remember my boyfriend...yeah) or instigators. So we finished the movie, recapped about the parts we liked and the ridiculous acting by Megan Fox, and started heading back to our cars. I was ready to say goodnight when he asked if I'd like to keep hanging out because he "wasn't tired just yet" and I happily obliged.

Stay tuned for Part III of Our Love Story to be posted later tonight...

Sentimental Wednesday Kickoff - Our Love Story, Part I

Yay for Sentimental Wednesday! I thought it would never come. I am very excited for today's post because it's all about how I fell in love with The Boyfriend. Cheesy, I know, but I'm psyched to tell you our love story. Just don't get too attached, because not every Wednesday will be a post about The Girlfriend and The Boyfriend. =P

How I Met the Man of My Dreams

It was the end of June 2009 and I was attending a Bible study with my current boyfriend in his church's youth pastor's home. I'd been a few times before so I knew all of the people there...except one. Everybody else seemed to know him and be uber curious about his "new life." On the outside, he looked a little nerdy, but kinda cute. He was wearing a black t-shirt with the Batman logo, glasses, Vans with black and white checkered shoelaces, and a high 'n' tight. Essentially, he looked like this...
Everyone seemed so into this guy and I really wanted to know why he was oh-so-interesting. I caught him glancing at me a few times (probably because I was the only person he didn't know either) and I was pretty sure he knew I was eying him too. Now, I was sitting next to my current boyfriend so I just asked him "Who is that guy?" and he explained to me that this guy had gone to the same church before joining the Army.

Woah. Stop right there. He's in the Army??? I know this is super shallow of me, but that instantly made him smokin' hot. He wasn't just nerdy-cute anymore. This guy was sizzlin'. Of course I couldn't tell my boyfriend that I thought this. Oooooh no.

But then...as if it couldn't get any better...he spoke. Oh, my heart! Unlike all the other scrawny, wimpy guys at the Bible study, this guy had a MAN'S voice. His voice was deep and commanding, but also gentle and light-hearted. He had people laughing and he answered questions so matter-of-fact. Needless to say, my heart melted into my shoes.

Unfortunately, my new heartthrob came with two very large problems.
1. I had a boyfriend (with whom the relationship was already on the rocks).
and 2. He lived 800 miles away.

Stay tuned later tonight for Part II of Our Love Story...

*South Park imitation compliments of The Boyfriend.*


Travel Tip Tuesday Kickoff

Ready for your very first travel tip from Long-Distance Love? I know I am!

This week's travel tip is one for risk-takers, so buckle your seat belts.

Have you ever noticed that, while chain hotels (i.e. Hilton, Fairfield, Comfort Suites, etc.) are super convenient and have all the typical amenities, the prices are never quite as low as you'd like them to be? That's something I've always resented about chain hotels. They're comfortable, most often safe, and have the pool, fitness room, and hairdryer, but I don't want to spend $110 a night to stay there. So how can we save money and still have those amenities?

LOCAL HOTELS! Yes, I know a few (or maybe a lot) local hotels that give others a bad name, but when you do your research you can get a great deal and the amenities! Sounds awesome, right? That's because it is awesome. But how do you know if these local gems are safe, clean, and have the services you're looking for without trying out the actual hotel first?

A great way to get a feel for what a local hotel (or any hotel for that matter) offers and for a great rate comparison, check out Expedia. It allows you to enter what you're looking for (flight, hotel, car, activities), the dates you're traveling, how many rooms you need, and what city you'd like to stay in. Once you enter this information, the search will automatically grab the results and sort them according to "Expedia's Picks." This often does not give you the best rates, but shows you hotels based on their ratings. To search for hotels based on their nightly rates, simply click the tab that says "Sort by Price."

Now comes the tricky part. You see the low rates (woohoo!), but what can you tell about the quality of the hotel? Good question! Click on the listing and you'll be taken to a description of the hotel. On the left hand side of the screen there's a tab that says "Photos." Click that tab to see pictures of the rooms or the lobby. Also on the left hand side is a tab that says "Traveler Opinions." Now, be wary of some of these reviews. The hotel may have low "star-value", but that doesn't mean it's not actually a great find. Many travelers that write negative opinions are either people who set their expectations high or who like to be picky. If this is you, stay away from local hotels because you will be disappointed. If this is not you, if you're looking for a great deal and don't care that the rooms might be a bit dated, then you'll be just fine.

Another idea to consider would be to stay away from major cities. I live right outside of Chicago and The Boyfriend lives right outside of Washington D.C., so prices tend to be pretty high for hotels. However, if you'll have a car or are comfortable navigating public transportation, checking in to a hotel in the surrounding areas would be a great way to save some dough. For example, the first time I traveled to D.C. to see The Boyfriend I spent the weekend in a hotel right in the heart of downtown. Not so great for the wallet. But the next time I came in town I decided to stay in Fairfax, which is about a 15-20 minute drive from downtown. Just by adding a little time to the commute I saved over $80 and that was with adding in the cost of public transportation!

Now that I've shared my very first travel tip with you, I'd like to hear about your experiences with local hotels. 


Music Review Monday Kick-off

Today's the first day of my new "editorial calendar", so please bear with me as I find my blogging style here. Here goes nothin'...

Weekly Fave

I've recently been addicted to The Band Perry . Now, they're country...(yes, I know, not everyone's cup of tea), but they've got such a unique sound. They're Alabama-raised siblings, Kimberly, Neil, and Reid Perry. Labeled as "country" but with a much more pop-ish feel, I'd say they're creating something of themselves beyond a particular genre of music. The tunes are catchy and the lyrics are cutesy, but somewhat weak. However, I find myself tapping my foot and singing along with every word. Feel free to take a listen here. My current favorite of theirs is "If I Die Young."

Weekly Abomination
Miley. Cyrus. Disgusts me. I mean, how in the world do you go from adorable role model for pre-tween girls to a complete musical failure who dresses like a slut? Excuse my language, but I think we all know its true. Having worked at a daycare and nannying for Miley's previous demographic, it kills me to see how she's "re-created" herself. Since when is it okay for a 17 year old to only wear underwear and a tank top and display it for the world to see? I used to be supportive of Hannah Montana, and even Miley Cyrus when she first dropped her Disney character, but now she's gone too far for my liking. Her lyrics (and videos) are tasteless and show a complete LACK of maturity, the exact opposite of what she was going for. Watch her most recent body-flaunt here...just be sure your kids aren't watching.

*Photos courtesy of Gossip Teen and Grand Ole Opry.


Setting the Stage

Earlier this week I read an article about creating an "editorial calendar" for your blog. I thought, "Hm...that would be a great way to stay organized, but how would I brainstorm that many topics in advance?"

Solution: Create a weekly editorial calendar dedicating one topic to each day of the week.

So here's what I'll be attempting to stick to as I blog away;

Music Review Monday: The first day of the work/school week is always the longest and most boring, in my opinion, so why not spice it up? On Monday's I'll be reviewing my current music vice and hopefully providing links so that you can listen along to see what you think.

Travel Tip Tuesday: Considering the fact that I travel a LOT to see The Boyfriend, I have a few travel tips up my sleeve and I'd love to share them with you. Traveling should be a great, stress-free experience and hopefully these tips will be of great use to you.

Sentimental Wednesday: Since this blog is written by a girl in a long-distance relationship, it's only fitting to include struggles, triumphs, tips, and stories from myself and others regarding love from a far. Occasionally I'll post personal tips I've learned from my relationship with The Boyfriend, tips that I've gathered from relationship experts, cute love stories, ways to stay close, etc.

Toned and Trim Thursday: Let's be honest, it's not easy to get in shape and stay in shape, especially for those of us who know nothing about losing weight and getting healthy. So Thursdays will be dedicated to my personal weight-loss journey (to encourage others), work-out tips, and healthy (but tasty) recipes. I also personally vow to you that, before posting any of these said tips and recipes, I will try them first.

Frugal Fridays: Who likes to save money? Me, me, me!!! Fridays will be set aside soley for the purpose of sharing fun, creative, smart ways to save money on everything from travel, groceries, utilities, cars, and anything else that might come in handy.

Weekend Ramblings and Reflections: On Saturdays or Sundays I'll post any random thoughts or rants I've held inside throughout the week.

Hopefully this structure will allow for me to post daily without having writer's block! I'm actually very excited to get started, but I've got to put the finishing touches on a paper due tomorrow. Thanks for reading. Blog ya tomorrow!


Don't update, Stand up!

Recently there's been an epidemic of seemingly risque Facebook status updates. Women and girls everywhere posting their status as "I like it on the kitchen table" or "I like it in the passenger seat." At first I was a bit confused and kind of disturbed that people would be disclosing this kind of information, but when I found out that these statuses were to raise awareness for breast cancer I literally did a face-palm. Not only did I feel stupid for assuming the posts were regarding people's personal sex lives, but I was also slightly upset that this is ALL people were doing for the cause.

Now, don't get me wrong, I think it's a creative way to create awareness of breast cancer, but what is your Facebook status going to do to FIGHT this cancer that is stealing our wives, mothers, sisters, grandmothers, aunts, cousins, bosses, and girlfriends??? NOTHING. I've seen a few of my friends lose mothers or grand mothers to breast cancer and it is horrifying and heartbreaking. Not only do you know that you could lose your loved one, but you also have to watch as they deteriorate before your eyes.

This is something far bigger than just our Facebook statuses people! Raising awareness is just the tip of the iceberg. People already know it exists. They already know that it's sad and painful. But what are we doing to HELP?

If you want to help, if you feel led to give to those who are helpless against this life-taking cancer then here are a few ways to be sure that your resources are going towards a genuinely life-SAVING cause.

1. Purchase an approved item whose proceeds truthfully go towards a breast cancer foundation, such as the ones Yahoo! Shine posted today. I personally just purchased the Glowology candle and am so excited to have a reminder in my home of the women fighting the battle against breast cancer everyday.

2. Donate to Susan G. Komen for the Cure. You can donate funds, become a breast cancer advocate, participate in a Race for the Cure and so much more!

3. If someone you know has breast cancer or has lost the battle, there are often resources available to donate to a breast cancer charity of their choice. For example, a girl I knew in high school lost her mother to breast cancer only last year. Her mom knew that the cancer would eventually win (after battling it for over 13 years) and decided to make a difference by completing races and marathons to raise money for breast cancer research. Steph Lesiecki's story is extremely powerful and makes me cry when I read of her life to this day. To donate to breast cancer research sponsored by a Rush University Medical Center patient, click here.

Now stop reading this and join the fight! Sign up for a Race for the Cure or spend just a little cash to make a HUGE difference in the lives of the women we love. God bless!!!


Back to Work!

*Sigh* This weekend in Lafayette turned out to be more than wonderful. The Boyfriend was out there for work and thought he would be on call all weekend, but his corporal gave him all of Saturday off to spend with me. How thoughtful! We spent the day driving out to see some friends of The Boyfriend's and playing Halo on their HUGE screen. I'm pretty sure he was jealous. Needless to say, we had a great time with them and even got some alone time together. I love spontaneous visits with my Love.

Gettin' down to business...
Today I've grabbed some simple ways to score an upgrade when flying, staying at a hotel, or renting a car, thanks to today's article on Yahoo! Finance. Anyone can pull these off, so don't be shy! Get the biggest bang for your buck. Check out the article and feel free to let me know of any sweet scores you've made while traveling!