Snapchatting Through Halloween

Halloween Weekend: Snapchat Edition

Anyone else having a bit of a struggle this fine Monday morning?  Post-halloween + time change, and I feel like my body is so confused. I woke up at 7am this morning, ready to go, and confused as to why my body would not let me fall back asleep.

Speaking of, Halloween was great.  A trip back home (Indiana University) with some friends was a much needed break after jumping into my new job and the stress of moving.  It was nice to be back in the familiar.
And thanks to my new-found obsession with Snapchat (follow me: iamkelskels, for everyone who told me they loved my Snapchat this weekend, I can say pretty confidentially that you won’t regret it), I decided to document the weekend.
It began Friday afternoon.  I was road tripping from Chicago to Bloomington, Indiana with Amanda and her dog, Harley.  I kept the news from Gracie, but I knew she was bitter about not going.

Halloween Weekend: Snapchat Edition

Blanket scarf, purse, water, and duffle bag packed. Gracie gave me that look the entire time I was packing.

Halloween Weekend: Snapchat Edition

And off we went.  Points for every teenage-angsty alternative song we sang in the car ride down.  Fall Out Boy for life.

Halloween Weekend: Snapchat Edition

After arrival, and dinner (which is not pictured because it contained a disgusting amount of amazing food that I’m pretty sure the waitress judged us for) we had a onesie party.  You know, as you do when you’re college alumni who came back for a weekend visit. We’re in our twenties and we don’t care who knows it.

Picture left to right: Jess, Amanda, myself, and [Other] Kelsey, our hostess for the weekend.

Halloween Weekend: Snapchat Edition

Saturday morning we started early to complete an IU Bucket List item.

Halloween Weekend: Snapchat Edition

Climbing the fire tower.  It’s an 8-story tall fire tower in the middle of the beautiful Southern Indiana hilly country.  It was equal parts terrifying and also exhilarating.  The first three staircases shook like crazy when you started climbing, but then got really sturdy.  Made you feel like you were dying, it was great.

Halloween Weekend: Snapchat Edition

Other Kelsey capturing my exaggerated posing as I tried to get the full fire tower in a picture.  Points for Harley, totally not giving a single f*ck in her Hoosier football jersey.

Halloween Weekend: Snapchat Edition

Look Ma, we made it.  The pictures don’t do it justice.  Even with a lot of the trees already shedding their leaves, it was so gorgeous.  And only a little bit freezing and windy.

Halloween Weekend: Snapchat Edition

Risking death by sticking my phone out the window to take this picture of Other Kelsey babysitting Harley while we climbed.  Harley, taking a break from barking like a mad women while Mom Amanda seemingly climbed to her death.

Halloween Weekend: Snapchat Edition

After the climb, we had a delicious breakfast and then went into Bloomington to do a little shopping and walking around.  It was a gorgeous day, so Harley napped in the car.  We came back to her curled up in the front seat, about ready to make her get-a-away.

Halloween Weekend: Snapchat Edition
Foreshadowing my last minute change of Halloween costume, thanks to finding a turtle backpack for dirt cheap while shopping.  I’ve literally wanted this backpack for years, but have never been able to justify spending the money.  It was fate.  I almost cried when the sales girl said “That’s the last one left, and it’s marked down.”
Halloween Weekend: Snapchat Edition

But before we got all dressed up, we made a pit stop at the 25th Annual Indiana University Dance Marathon.

I participated in the marathon all 4 years of college, twice as a dancer, and once as a Dancer Group Representative (basically support staff to those who are dancing), and the final year as a member of the Recruitment Committee for the marathon.

I surprised by grand-little, who is on the same committee I was on, and visited some other friends. It was amazing to see how much the marathon has grown since we were involved.  They had double the amount of dancers we had my senior year (YAAAS, Recruitment Committee killing it!), and raised over a million dollars more than my last year.  It’s amazing to see how a group of several thousands students can make things happen if given an amazing cause.  At the end of the 36 hour marathon, and a full year of work, they raised $3.88 million, marking the biggest year-to-year increase in Children’s Miracle Network history.  I’m so proud of my people.

Halloween Weekend: Snapchat Edition

Then, costume time.

Halloween Weekend: Snapchat Edition

A turtle, an Ewok, Pikachu, and their missing friend are ready.

Halloween Weekend: Snapchat Edition

Unfortunately, this is the only picture I got of just myself with my costume. Turtle backpack, turtle Halloween!

Halloween Weekend: Snapchat Edition

We went to a bar that was having a Dance Marathon alumni event, so we got to see even more special people.  Managed to snap a picture with a few generations of Recruitment Committee alumni.

Halloween Weekend: Snapchat Edition

This picture is hilarious for two reasons: paddles are not allowed by Alpha Delta Pi standards, but this paddle was given so long ago to Nick’s English Hut, a Bloomington staple bar/restaurant.  Gives any ADPi a little chuckle whenever we see it.  The people at the table next to me as I snapped this selfie also laughed pretty hard.

Second reason this is a great picture because take a look at my eye make-up! You can’t see it, but I did a strong blue to gold smokey/ombre eye, with a thick cat-eye liner.  So bold for what I usually do, but I’m in love.  I’m going to do something like that much more often.

Halloween Weekend: Snapchat Edition

Other Kelsey, the Ewok, and I joined the costume contest at the bar for sh*ts n’ giggles.  Spoiler: We did not make top 10, but the couple dressed as Blades of Glory did.  I think the guy and his girlfriend dressed as Subway Jared and a small child did as well.  She was holding onto his foot long.

Halloween Weekend: Snapchat Edition

And then, somehow, magically we jump all the way to the Sunday evening drive home. Shocking how that happens, huh?

In my quest to finally have the Toasted Graham Latte, I made Amanda stop at Starbucks on the way home.  They were sold out, because of course they were, but I still ordered a Puppachino for Harley. And about died at the cuteness of the tiny cup! I may or may not have saved it.

Halloween Weekend: Snapchat Edition
And voila, the weekend is over.  I celebrated by ordering boneless wings and watching “The Grinch” before going to bed early.  Happy Christmas Season!
I hope everyone else had a safe and happy Halloween weekend. Time to start putting away the scary crap and dreaming about turkey.

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Tips to Survive Thanksgiving

In my short experience, I have learned that holidays can either be super fun times to bond with family and friends… or they can be horribly awkward, and soul-crushing, and make you do stupid things, like accidentally drink an entire bottle of wine before dinner.  (Not that I know from experience, or anything.)

When you’re younger, you tend not to notice the dynamics that come into play for holidays like this.  You’re sat at the kids’ table discussing Disney shows while the adults get into the hard hitting stuff at the big table.  And you just couldn’t wait to move up from the folding table near the kitchen and graduate to the real dining room table, next to your aunts and uncles and the real ceramic plates, instead of the plastic ones you’ve got.
But finally, you’ve reached that big table.  And you’re sitting next to the adults now, and all those jokes you see on TV about how soul-crushing a holiday can be suddenly make sense, as this has now become your real life:
“So what is your plan?” 

“Dating anyone?”

“Have you heard from [insert estranged relative’s name here that it really pains you that you haven’t spoken to in 3 years] lately?”

“So will you ever get married? Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!”

“I thought you were going to be moving out by Christmas?”

“Obama… amirite!?”

Anyone still got that wine bottle?


HOW TO SURVIVE THANKSGIVING

Before you go:
Formulate your responses to the questions you know you will get:
  • “No, I’m single, but I’m so busy with my super important job/all three of my jobs that I just don’t have the time.  Who wants to be tied down, ya know? I’m still so young… Hey grandma, can I refill your drink?”
  • “No, I haven’t heard from [relative’s name], but I heard he/she is doing really well! We’ve both just been so busy lately… Hey Uncle, can I get you another beer?”
  • “I plan on moving after the New Year, I think.  I’ve been looking at apartments for rent, but am really trying to save up… Hey cousin, can I refill your drink?
Dinner….
At your (parents’) house:
  • Hide with your other like-aged relatives/friends.  Bonus points if you do this next to the appetizers table.  Stare into your phone while you obsessively check social media for distractions
  • Stay as far away from the Football space as possible.  Every house has one.  This is where your Uncles will all congregate (and anyone else who… ya know, likes that sort of thing), and it will probably be boring.  Unless you turn it into a drinking game.
  • Speaking of, here is a drinking game.  Go nuts, kids.
At your divorced parent’s significant other’s house/family party:
  • Address nobody by name, for fear of getting it wrong.  Just keep smiling and nodding when they talk.
  • Bring some sort of peace offering, like a dessert or vase of flowers.  This lets everyone know that you’re probably a nice person.
  • Just eat the food.  Don’t be that weird gluten-free person who asks if there is beef or vegetable broth in the stuffing.  Just smile politely, or don’t take any at all on your plate if you’re unsure.  Remember the flowers from before?  Don’t ruin all your hard work by titling yourself as the Clean Eating Girl.
  • Stay two drinks behind the hostess.  Don’t make it weird.
At your friends’ house, with the rest of your friends’ who have no place to go:
Happy Holidays!

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HOW TO: Thanksgiving Dinner Sort of

Believe it or not, I have actually cooked an entire Thanksgiving dinner by myself.  Yes, hold your applause, please.

My sophomore year of college, I was a determined little thing.  On the first Thanksgiving after my parents split up, it was a weird time.  I was feeling unsure about the holidays with a split household, and– let’s be real here– the only perk to divorce is having two of everything fun, so I decided to ensure that there would be two Thanksgivings (AKA: TWO DAYS OF SWEET POTATO CASSEROLE). Thus, I volunteered to cook an early Thanksgiving feast for my father, brother and myself.

That’s right.  A 21-pound turkey for three people.  I said I did it, I never said I was smart about it.

Here’s how I did it (based on my not-so-great memory):

Gather your recipes.

Foodnetwork.com was my best friend.

Unfortunately, I’ve lost the exact recipes I used (LOL, so helpful, right?) but it’s not rocket science.  If you don’t have access to your true family recipes, then just look for those homemade comforts you know and love.  We’ve all got the basics.  My family has the turkey, sweet potato casserole, green beans, the very specific GFS bread rolls we know and love, Grandma makes the jello mold, The Delicious and Perfect Sausage and Sage Stuffing, and we try new cranberry recipes every year.

You know what your classic comforts look like and roughly what they taste like.  Sniff them out online. The internet is lousy with stuff like this.  Or just sit back and watch The Chew, Food Network or the Cooking channel on any given day during November.

Be realistic.

Learn from my mistakes.  If this is your first time cooking Thanksgiving, know your limits.  Store bought mashed potatoes aren’t cheating if you take them out of the plastic container before anyone gets there.  Bonus points if you mix in your own butter and sour cream.  They’re practically homemade.
But seriously.  If you’ve never done this before, don’t overwhelm yourself.  Stick to some basics for the most part, but pick one major dish to really wow the crowd if you need to satisfy your urge to get fancy.  Rather deliver a delicious traditional meal than a dry turkey and a really cool looking (but way over salted) homemade sweet potato au gratin (that’s a thing, right?).

Stalk your turkey (and other ingredients) EARLY

Thanksgiving is a big deal.  If you think you can go the day before and pick up a turkey, you’re going to have a bad time. 
How big of a turkey should you get? Let’s ask Martha.  She recommends 1-1.5 lbs per person for larger birds. AKA, my 21-pounder should’ve fed a good 15 people. Whoops?
Give yourself some time to get the bird without stressing out.  Keep it in the freezer, but don’t forget to factor in time for thawing it out.  Again, we can consult Martha here, or basically any other online source.  
Go shopping a few days in advance, or even more if you’re able.  Remember, this is a national holiday, and you’re not the only one looking for bread crumbs and canned sweet potato.

Double check yourself.

Before you wreck yo’self.
To cook a turkey, you need a turkey-sized dish.  Or one of those disposable tin pans.  The sweet potatoes also need their own dish, as do the green beans, and the mashed potatoes.
Do you have serving utensils?  Enough adult plates for the entire group that is coming over– not including your plastic and severely faded Pocahontas plate that you secretly stole from your mom when you moved out? 
There is more to this day than just food.  You also need the vessels to help get that food into your body.
There is no shame in asking around to borrow cutlery.  And that’s far less embarrassing than drinking wine out of mismatched plastic cups you stole from the bar.

Have fun.

Wine.  That is all.
Good luck!

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