What might these two things have in common? How does Looking for Alaska, a young adult novel by John Green about a bunch of boarding school deviants somehow pair with Harper Lee, a pillar of canonical American literature? Watch the video below to see me talk nerdy about the wild world of what I’m reading lately.
For Day #5 of VEDA, I thought I would give you a rundown of 5 things I’m excited about this weekend!
And a few of my other favorite things from around the internet this week:
• This awesome student-made video gives me hope for future generations
• This amazing Taylor Swift – Jackson 5 Mashup had my toes tapping all week
• These Shaming Apps (Especially the Zombie one) are hilarious AND effective – I’m totally going to download Zombies, Run! when I start running again
• This One Direction video for One Way or Another is adorable and fun, and I’m not ashamed to admit it
• I forgot to even tell you guys about the awesome Ukulele Ring Josh got me from Etsy this Valentine’s Day, but I’m telling you now, and it’s awesome
• Get out the tissues before you click this one: Good Enough Dad from NPR storycorps
VEDA happened yesterday, I just didn’t get around to posting it here. Oops! Check out the video below for a glance at a normal day in my life:
Some days, you’re super ambitious. You come home, curl your hair, fire up the video camera and record video of yourself covering a complex, well-rehearsed cover of a timeless or popular song on your ukulele.
And some days, you come home, collapse into bed, nap for an hour, wake up, ignore your bed head, and record a video of yourself telling your favorite knock knock joke. To yourself. Because you’re pregnant and it’s your prerogative to do whatever you want, mama!
Guess which kind of day we’re having today.
It’s VEDA Day 2, and I’m craving a milkshake. Anyone else?
Happy April, amigos! I’m coming in just under the wire, ready to take this month by storm.
One thing Josh and I really want to be sure and do once we add a baby to our family is to document everything with plenty of photos and videos! I love filming and editing video – it’s something that I spend a lot of time doing at work, and NO TIME AT ALL doing for fun. So when Michelle Akin, one of my favorite bloggers, posted that she’d be doing VEDA this year, I decided to jump on board (at the very last minute, in true Corley style). I’m hoping this project will kickstart my jones to make videos for fun again, and just in time – because our lives are about to be full of moments worth getting on film. You can follow along with my VEDA experiment on my YouTube Channel. The first video of the month is embedded for you below:
Other things on the docket for this month include:
- Finish reading Looking for Alaska by John Green and Mockingbird by Charles J. Shields
- Finish our baby registry (we’re taking this monstrous task in phases)
- Schedule our second round of parenting/childbirth classes at the hospital
- Fill in my makeshift “baby book” journal so far
- Start taking weekly belly photos (now that I’ve got a real life baby belly to document)
Most of all, I’m ready to enjoy springtime in the air from my backyard, dogs running around, sweet tea in hand, planning and dreaming about our life with a new little boy in tow. Life has never been more exciting than it is right now, and I want to soak it in and remember as much as I can of this sweet, electric time in our lives.
I’m sitting at my kitchen table, catching up on tumblr and Facebook and Google Reader (whhyyyy are you leaving us, Google Reader) after a blissful weekend away from my laptop in beautiful Charleston, SC.
We had a wonderful babymoon – relaxing and easy and so, so fun. I spent most of my time daydreaming about how awesome our kid is going to be and marveling at just how lucky I am to be the girl who found and married Josh.
On FRIDAY, we got into town late in the afternoon and walked down King St. toward the waterfront in search of dinner. We settled on the Low Country Bistro, where we ate what I’m pretty sure was my favorite meal of the entire weekend. Josh got chicken and waffles – we’re talking sweet potato bacon waffles with a bourbon syrup and pecan cinnamon butter. I had an order of lobster hush puppies and a bowl of she-crab soup. Holy. Deliciousness. Everything was so rich and flavorful and just…wow.
After dinner, we headed around the corner to meet our tour guide from Ghost Walk. I love ghost tours – usually – but this one was absolutely terrible (and yet not quite terrible enough to reach that “so bad it’s good” point of hilarity). Our tour guide, Tricia, was all over the place – literally and in terms of her storytelling. She kept changing her mind about where we were going to stop and stand, and what really drove me crazy was that instead of telling the ghost stories we all paid good money to hear, she just kept telling us about how her elderly friends repeatedly warned her to stop walking around graveyards and telling ghost stories. The upside is that she talked like a total skater bro, so all of her “stories” were peppered with “Daaaaaaaaaang”s and “Maaaaaaaaan”s and “Whaaaaaaaaaat?”s – so while we didn’t gain any insight into Charleston’s rich history or spooky stories, we did both leave with a pretty hilarious Tricia impersonation.
SATURDAY morning we woke up late (hotel blackout curtains are amazing) and walked down to the South Carolina aquarium.
We met a bald eagle, saw the glorious sea turtle (Coretta) pictured above, spotted sharks and jellyfish in the ocean tanks, and held sea anemones in the touch tank. I touched some really friendly sting rays, but the one Josh met must have been having an off day, because when Josh reached down to have a feel, the ray went CRAZY and flapped around, causing Josh to jerk his arm back entirely too quickly, splashing everyone around him and making me laugh so hard I thought I was going to pass out. It was awesome.
We spent the rest of the day wandering Charleston, including a stop at the City Market and a tour of the Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon. We walked everywhere, and by Saturday afternoon, my feet were killing me – so we stopped for ice cream and then hailed a pedicab back to our hotel for a nap. Because I’m pregnant and I do what I want, that’s why.
We woke up rested and hungry, so we headed for Stars at the recommendation of the front desk clerk at our hotel. My only requirement for dinner was that I get my preggo paws on a lobster tail, so I was delighted to find lobster and grits on the menu. My meal arrived in the relaxed pose you see pictured at left.
A few months ago, I would have been totally skeeved out by eating anything that was watching me, but pregnant Corley is hungry and ruthless. I ate every last bite.
We made a stop at Cupcake for dessert and then headed back to our hotel with full bellies and sore feet to catch up on The Walking Dead from the comfort of our king size bed.
SUNDAY, our last day in Charleston, my husband woke up craving breakfast – specifically hash browns – even more specifically, from a non-fancy diner. We found Sweetwater Cafe, which met all of Josh’s specific breakfast needs. Two eggs, fresh melon, and a double order of sourdough toast later, I had a full belly and a happy husband. A happy, crossword-stealing husband.
After breakfast, we walked down to the waterfront for a few photos and a final look at the ocean. The skies opened up just as we were leaving, and we hopped on the trolley before we got soaked for the drive back.
We haven’t been on a vacation this carefree since our honeymoon, and it came at just the right time. I mentioned back in January that this year, we have finally started to feel like we have this adult thing under control. This vacation felt a lot like that – we planned our days, we ate like grown-ups (compared to our trip to New York a couple of summers ago, where we ate at Subway because we were too overwhelmed and broke to consider our other options), and we didn’t have to worry about anything. What a welcome relief that was.
When my husband and I decided to start trying to have a baby, I sprung into action the way I always do – by downloading all of the apps I could find on the topic. With a “Baby” folder on my home screen filled with a rotating roster of apps, I quickly figured out what I’m looking for in a pregnancy app and narrowed my crowded collection down to a select few. It’s rare that a day goes by without my referencing one of these apps – for advice, for quick answers to my questions, or just for moral support. I’ve laid out a few of my favorites for you below (in no particular order).
Pampers Hello Baby Pregnancy Calendar
The thing I love most about this app are the photo-realistic illustrations of baby’s development. Before I knew for sure that I was pregnant, I could open this app and gaze lovingly at the little bundle of cells displayed for Week 4. Now that I’m up to week 16, I still love checking in to see what my baby looks like, more or less. Another really cool thing about this app is the “Womb Translator,” which lets you record a message and then hear what you sound like from your baby’s perspective. The downside to this app is that it’s not especially intuitive – you have to scroll to find “your” week each time you open the app, and for some reason this calendar puts me one week ahead of every other calendar app out there – so you have to do your own math, as well.
Sprout is another great app for checking in on baby’s development and growth. I love that this app offers three different bits of information each week – baby’s size and weight, new “skills” (for example, this week, our baby’s chest is expanding and contracting to prepare the lungs for breathing), and a note about what I can expect from my own body. Sprout also includes weekly and daily doctor’s advice and other handy tools like a weight tracker, a to do list, hospital bag checklist, kick counter, contraction timer, and more. Basically a comprehensive pregnancy toolkit in your pocket.
Pregnancy Buzz by The Bump
This is basically an app full of pregnant lady FAQs. When I want to check in to see if it’s normal to cry when my Kit Kat bar is all chocolate and no wafer, I open this app. Any time I feel like an irrational crazy fat lady, I open this app. Moral support and reassurance that I’m normal – that’s what I keep this app around for. A word of warning, though – tread lightly on the message board. Pregnant women can sometimes err on the side of FULL ON HYPOCHONDRIAC PANIC, so take any user-submitted advice with a grain of salt, and remember to always go to your doctor if you’re really worried about something.
My Pregnancy Calendar by The Bump
I’ll be honest, I really use this one to find out what fruit or vegetable my baby compares to each week. But this app also offers a pregnancy calendar, to do list, and appointment tracker, which are handy tools that I just don’t have a need for (because I’m using the tools in the Sprout app or on my phone’s built in calendar). The other handy feature this app offers is quick access to “Is It Safe?” – a list of safety concerns. Some are common (“Can I use nail polish while pregnant?”) and some are a little out there (“Is it safe to go bowling while I’m pregnant?”), but it’s a nice reference to have on hand.
My Pregnancy Today by BabyCenter
I used this app a lot early in my pregnancy, when I was terrified of morning sickness and had no idea what symptoms to expect. This app is basically a me-focused pregnancy calendar: what I should be doing, what I might be feeling, helpful reminders and tips, and so on. Some of the “to do” items are a little silly — for example, today I have a check box reminding me to “spend time with [my] partner” (Hey thanks for the reminder! I was going to ignore him completely!)– but this app was wonderful when all of this was brand new and a little terrifying. This app also has a built in message board for my “Birth Club,” a group of other women who will also be delivering in August. This group gets the same disclaimer as the Pregnancy Buzz message boards – take any advice with a grain of salt – but it’s nice to read messages from women who are in the same general place as me. It’s like the Sisterhood of the August Due Dates.
Did I miss any of your favorites? Leave me a comment and let me know!
No matter whose calendar you’re going by, I am officially in my second trimester.
How big is baby?
Avocado-sized! Baby is close to four inches long and weighs in the neighborhood of 2.5 ounces.
How big am I?
Bigger. My mom came to visit this weekend and swears that I have a real life baby bump now. It’s not consistent – some days I’m bigger than others – but I sure do love my maternity jeans now. No other pants will do. My clothing budget starts over for the month tomorrow, and I have an Amazon wishlist full of cute maternity dresses and tunics to order – but my top priority is getting my chubby paws on two or three more pairs of these heavenly pants. Seriously. Why don’t we all wear maternity pants all the time? Life is so much better without buttons or zippers. (PS – Fellow preggos, this is the pair I’m currently loving so much. On sale at Old Navy right now!)
How am I feeling?
Awesome. Seriously. My energy is coming back for real now, so I have to stop using pregnancy as my excuse for lazing around in hibernation mode. Time to start pitching in at home again (I know Josh is smiling as he reads this and thinking he’ll believe it when he sees it, but I mean it!) The hard part now isn’t waking up, it’s breaking myself of all the terrible sloth-like habits I spent my first trimester building.
I have been struggling with migraines more than I ever did in my pre-pregnancy life – terrible migraines that start with a twinge of a headache between my eyebrows and end with a full on incapacitating stabby-brained-meltdown. Yesterday when I felt one coming on, I checked one of the five pregnancy apps on my phone for pointers on how to keep the headache at bay. Several women mentioned that drinking just a little Coca Cola helped. So I bought a bottle while I was out and sipped a little, then took two Tylenol as soon as I got home. Sure enough, the warning headache faded away and I got to spend the night heckling The Bachelor with my husband – much better than locked away in a completely dark room with a washcloth on my head. We’re keeping cans of Coke in the fridge from now on.
Still haven’t started working out – but this is the week! Energy is back and excuses are gone. Summer Sanders Prenatal Yoga, here I come.
What am I eating?
I want to be eating chocolate and cookies and sweets, oh my, but I’m doing my best to exercise my self control. I eat Greek yogurt and granola each morning for breakfast, lots of fruit throughout the day, and then whatever Josh makes for dinner at night. We’ve been making a lot of pasta because it’s quick and easy AND because I’m kind of a carb monster right now. We fired up the grill for the first time this year last night, and I’m very excited about what this means for our dinners at home – lots of fresh grilled meats and veggies to come! Last night was a Trader Joe’s burger with tomato and provolone and a side of mashed up avocado — way better than rigatoni with butter and parmesan cheese, right?
I’ve also been really craving sweet tea, but I’m trying to completely avoid caffeine (except for my emergency migraine Cokes), which makes ordering tea anywhere tricky. Luckily, my grandma (who makes the best sweet tea in the world) gave me a tutorial on how to make it at home in my coffee maker – quick, easy, and exactly what I’ve been craving.
Now I just have to find some willpower and not drink the whole half-gallon in one day.
Avocado illustration via EvaForest on etsy.
I love the movie High Fidelity. I developed a crush on John Cusack early in high school and spent many (probably too many) college nights tucked into my extra long twin size bed with chocolate covered pretzels and a DVD from the John Cusack canon, happy to wile away the hours wishing some handsome, misunderstood kickboxing enthusiast in a trenchcoat would hold a boombox up outside MY window for once in my life. (Is it me, or does Lloyd Dobler sound way creepier in writing than he did in the movie?)
But I digress.
One of my favorite scenes in High Fidelity is the one embedded below, where Rob Gordon (our pal John Cusack) decides to rearrange his records in autobiographical order.
Last year, I made you a Sweetheart Songs Valentine’s Mix - and I might still give you an old-fashioned mix tape this year, too. We’ll see. I don’t want to spoil the surprise. But I spent all weekend thinking about a playlist of love songs in autobiographical order, and I know I won’t stop thinking about it until I do it.
So – I hereby present to you – A Playlist of Love Songs in Autobiographical Order
- When A Man Loves A Woman - Percy Sledge
When I was in kindergarten, I thought my teacher, Miss Petrone, was the absolute prettiest lady I had ever seen. Her eyes reminded me of Lady’s from Lady and the Tramp, who I also thought was very pretty (despite her more canine qualities). I was not the only person who thought Miss Petrone was the bee’s knees – there was a little boy named Nathan in my class who was absolutely in love with her. One day after nap time, he marched to the front of the room and sang this song to our teacher in front of the whole class. It was the first time I had ever seen such a grand romantic gesture, and even though she let him down easy, I thought the whole thing was terribly romantic.
- Let Me Call You Sweetheart - Ethel Merman
My dad and I sang this song at my aunt’s wedding. He picked me up and propped me on top of the piano, and I was wearing a dark red velvet dress – it was the most glamorous I had ever felt in my whole life. There’s an embarrassing story to go along with this song – click here for the details.
- Have You Ever - Brandy
I slow-danced with a boy to this song at a dance in the 8th grade, and as he gazed into my eyes, surrounded by white eye shadow and gel glitter, he felt a spark. When I got home, I checked my email to find a message from him. There, in navy blue Comic Sans font, were the lyrics to this song along with a confession of his feelings for me. He didn’t just like me – he LIKED-me-liked-me. This was my first time navigating the minefield of unrequited affection, and I think he and I handled ourselves well. We stayed close friends through high school
- (God Must Have Spent) A Little More Time On You – *NSYNC
If I could only choose one song to sum up my awkward middle school years of secret (and not secret at all) crushes, it would be this song. My best friend and I spent hours listening to this song and obsessing over whatever boy we had our hearts set on – and *NSYNC. We were also always obsessing over *NSYNC. She loved Justin for his blonde hair and smooth moves, but I knew JC’s quiet demeanor was a front for his smoldering romanticism.
- Teddy Bear - Elvis Presley
This song takes me back to the summer before 9th grade, swinging in the hammock that hung in my friend’s backyard, listening to oldies on the radio and stressing over clothes, boys, and hair. My friend was a big Elvis fan, and by the end of the summer, so was I.
- Me and You – Kenny Chesney
Ah, my very own grand romantic gesture. My sophomore year, I had a boyfriend who was seriously the best. He was a year older than me and he was hilarious. One day at lunch, he stood up and sang this song to me in front of the whole cafeteria – not because he was being especially sappy or gushy, but because he knew my face would burn to the color of a stop sign. He was right. I wanted to crawl under the lunch table – but I was thrilled, too. What a goofy, embarrassing, completely sweet thing for him to do. (I broke up with him later that year because he bleached his hair with the swim team. A girl’s gotta have standards.)
- Light In Your Eyes – Blessid Union of Souls
OH THIS SONG. My love affair with this song stretched from middle school through today – but it earned its spot on this playlist my sophomore year, when my BBFF (boy BFF) and I sang a duet at our school’s annual pops concert. He was so nervous that his hands and his voice were shaking, but he soldiered through because he knew it was important to me. Sophomore boys could be real jerks and he was no exception – but I’ll never forget how he came through for me on this one.
- Come To My Window – Melissa Etheridge
This one’s for the girls (of course). Junior year of high school, wearing tutus and leather jackets and entirely too much body glitter, we ate Chinese food and headed for downtown Asheville, singing this song at the top of our lungs all night long. Later, on Spring Break at Lake Junaluska, we got all dressed up and sang this song for karaoke night at a small-town biker bar. Nights with those friends were some of the best nights of my life.
- Being Alive (from Company) – Raul Esparza
We’re skipping forward a little here. After a string of late high school and early college relationships that just didn’t go the way I planned, I took a step back to look at my life, look at my choices. I also happened to be going through a major Sondheim phase – and when I heard this song, something clicked. I was dating the wrong guys, and I was dating them for the wrong reasons. (“Add ‘em up, Bobby, add ‘em up!”) When the dust settled, I was ready for a major change. So I looked up the tall, handsome, smart, nice guy from freshman year who I had always assumed was out of my league. And I asked him out for coffee. And the rest is history.
- Spit On A Stranger – Pavement
Honey I’m a prize and you’re a catch and we’re a perfect match. When you know, you know. Josh put this song on a mix CD for me early in our relationship, and that line bounced around in my head for months and months. The rest of the song isn’t especially sweet or romantic, but that line. That line is us.
- Real Love – Regina Spektor (John Lennon cover)
On July 25, 2009, I grabbed my Dad’s arm and floated down the aisle toward Josh. This song played as I walked. I have never been so sure of anything in my life as I am of the fact that I am married to the absolute best man in the world – and I am so, so lucky to have found him.
If you loved this playlist, you can watch all the videos at once by clicking here. Or, you can listen to all the songs on Spotify (except for Have You Ever, which isn’t on Spotify and was replaced by Back at One by Brian McKnight, which I also danced to at the same middle school dance).