Well Isn’t That Pinteresting.

The house is slowly but (allegedly) surely coming close to completion. Keeping my fingers and toes crossed, we are hopefully a month away from a move-in date. Granted, that move-in date will most likely be pushed back again, but for now, we’re a month away from a move-in date. Which means finish work, which means mutual decision-making.

Until now, every decision made about the house has been The Mister’s decision. It is, after all, his ultimate art project. He poured his heart and soul into designing the house, and aside from an occasional suggestion here and there (no fluorescent lights in the bathroom, why cover up such gorgeous wood on the stairs, etc.), it is completely his vision. The finish work, however, will be a We thing, even if he isn’t yet fully aware of this.

Yesterday on the way to see The Secret Life of Arriety, The Mister suggested that we turn our lighting solution into an art installation – with not just table lamps hanging upside down from the ceiling, but an entire room’s worth of furniture. While that is certainly a creative way to combine our two exceptionally different design aesthetics, I told him under no circumstances were we going to live in The Twits. Roald Dahl may be a genius, but he wasn’t giving design advice in that story.

Combining our styles (pop art minimalist [him] meets kitschy cluttered study [me]) will be interesting for sure, which is why I’ve spent the past few months collecting ideas on Pinterest. Instead of being inspired by the Roly Poly bird, here are some ideas that actually could be incorporated into the house:

Handcrafted Mason Jar Pendant Chandelier

Handcrafted Mason Jar Pendant Chandelier

"Mercury" Glass

"Mercury" Glass

Bookshelf Couch

Bookshelf Couch

Pallet Wall

Pallet Wall (for the bedroom)

Stained Concrete Floor

Stained Concrete Floor

If anything, these few pictures are ideas to build on. I think we will ultimately figure out what our style is as a couple, but I want to infuse the industrial feel the house has naturally (I mean, it is a cement box) with warmth and life. I should start Pinteresting again with abandon, but at the same time I want our house to organically come together. There’s only so much decorating other people can do for your living space, and the rest you have to figure out for yourself.

Exercise Your Heart and Mind

After work, I made myself choose between yoga and writing. I hadn’t been in the yoga studio since Saturday (with self-practice Sunday), but I also had a couple posts outlined in my head that are begging to be told.

I went to the yoga studio, and those posts are still there. I think I made the right decision.

What is amazing to me, however, is that two extremely different activities can have the same incredible effect on me. Both writing and yoga are my own personal forms of meditation; they center me, calm my mind, and soothe my physical nerves. Both offer a catharsis from all the thoughts and feelings constantly swirling in my head. And yet yoga is about letting go of the ego, and writing is about indulging in it.

Tonight, I needed to let go of my ego. I needed the physical release and stretch and the non-judgmental boundaries of my yoga mat. I needed to be around other people, to share their energy and have the courage to let go of my ego. That’s exactly what I did. Hot vinyasa flow is not my strength. I prefer practicing iyengar, focusing on perfecting each pose down to the most minute details. Being in a class where everyone was stronger, faster, and smoother in their practice was difficult for me, but being one of the weakest gave me the courage to be strong and stop comparing myself to everyone else; to leave it all on the mat and revel in what my own body was capable of doing.

Leaving class, I felt strong and relaxed and ready to take on the world. It’s a hard feeling to capture, but the happiness that comes from an exhausted body and calm mind is priceless. All the down dogs, chaturangas, high planks, side planks, inversions, uktatasanas, reverse warriors… all the poses down to our final savasana made a great practice worth it.

Today, it was the right choice to choose yoga over writing. All those posts that have yet to be written will still be there tomorrow. Then, I’ll let the words that have been trapped in my head flow to the screen. But tonight… tonight was a night for yoga.

10 Things I Learned from the First Season of “Friday Night Lights”

I know I’m (extremely) late to the Friday Night Lights fandom, but after months and months of hearing what a great show it was (and The Mister’s Netflix Instant account), I decided to jump in and give the show a shot. Three weeks, 22 episodes, a reclaimed southern accent, and a box of tissues later, here’s what I learned from Coach Taylor and the Dillon Panthers (spoilers ahead).

Kyle Chandler Friday Night Lights

Coach Taylor could yell at me anytime.

  1. It just takes one bad tackle to change your entire life. It doesn’t mean you give up, you just start down a new road. Ask Jason Street.
  2. Perfect love isn’t perfect. It’s messy, it’s impatient, it doesn’t always agree, and it’s frustrating. It’s also respectful, supportive, and strong. See: Eric and Tammy Taylor
  3. Forgiveness isn’t a sign of weakness. But it still doesn’t excuse your best friend from sleeping with your  girlfriend when you’re in a rehab facility adjusting to being paralyzed.
  4. When you’re kidnapped in the middle of the night by the Rally Girls, don’t get shirtless in a hot tub with them. Especially don’t let them take photographs, and if you do, don’t lie to your girlfriend about it.
  5. The easy thing and the right thing usually aren’t the same thing. Listen to your gut and you’ll know the right path to choose.
  6. Sometimes all it takes is a little imagination and a lot of hard work to turn a cow pasture into a football field.
  7. The people who bring life’s greatest disappointments are often the ones we care about the most. However, they also bring life’s greatest joys, so care anyways.
  8. If you don’t make it clear that you consider an outing a date, don’t be surprised when she brings along her mom and her sister.
  9. Give people the benefit of doubt. Like Tammy told Julie, you don’t always know what’s going on in someone’s life. And if you’re worried about someone? Speak up. They may be mad at you at first, but even Tyra was able to eventually forgive.
  10. You may not win them all, but you will still come out on top. Life is easier though when other people believe in you as much as you believe in yourself.

Clear eyes. Full hearts. Can’t lose.

What did you learn from the first season of Friday Night Lights? Leave your life lessons in the comments below.

No Really, Your Boyfriend is a Jerk.

Alternate Title: I Am Getting Too Damn Old for Social Media

Today’s confession? I get embarrassed reading other people’s Facebook posts. Nothing makes me feel older than reading the Facebook updates of certain college-aged acquaintances. But even as I’m cringing and wishing I could stage a Facebook intervention, telling certain people to keep some of these FEELINGS and sentiments private, I know that such an endeavor is futile. Even though I’m 26 (and obviously much older and wiser), I remember what it’s like to be 20 and in love. I know trying to talk some sense into someone who is head over heels is pointless. You can’t save someone from future heartbreak, no matter how much you want to protect them from themselves. However, if I could stage a Facebook intervention, here is what I would say:

I know that [redacted] is the greatest thing in the world and the most amazing boyfriend a girl could ever have. He’s your first love! Of course you think he’s great! But here’s the thing – your boyfriend is really a jerk.

I know, I know. He’s so different, no one has ever made you feel that way, and I don’t even know him, so how I could judge him? (Un?)Fortunately, my years of dating jerks have taught me a thing or two, and I wish I could teach them to you. I know you’re going to ignore me, preferring to learn these things for yourself (hopefully with less heartache than I had to experience), but there are a few things I think you should know anyways.

This is why I think your boyfriend is a jerk:

  • He refers to women as bitches, sluts, and/or whores. Any guy who makes across the board generalizations about women in general doesn’t respect women – he sees them as objects for his own use. If they don’t meet his (most likely impossibly high) standards, they are Less Than, and therefore not worth an iota of respect.
  • He bemoans women for not wanting to date a Nice Guy™. What’s wrong with the Nice Guy™? I could go into how, like the above point, Nice Guys™ don’t respect women. I could touch on the expectation of sex for treating a woman like a real person. I could go on and on about how someone who is supposed to be your friend shouldn’t expect a damn cookie for not taking advantage of you when you have been drinking. Instead, I’ll simply point to this article. Trust me, Nice Guys™ aren’t just jerks, but they’re manipulative jerks. Don’t settle for a Nice Guy™, for a predator who disguises himself as a victim. Find a genuinely nice person.
  • He makes fun of women’s ages and/or weight. Someone who makes fun of anyone for being overweight or for being old is a jerk, no matter what. Someone who exclusively makes fun of women for being overweight or for being old is especially a jerk. What happens when you start to get old or start to gain weight? Is that really who you want in your support system?
  • He doesn’t make any effort in the relationship. Think back over the past two weeks. How much interaction in your relationship was perpetuated by you? How many times did he make an unprompted effort to express his feelings and desire for you? When it comes down to it, are you getting as much out of the relationship as you’re putting into it?

I could go on and on, but trust me – your boyfriend is a jerk. It’s okay; when I was 20, my boyfriend was a jerk too. I know you don’t care what I think about your boyfriend, and these 600 words are falling on deaf ears. Just remember that when he ultimately breaks your heart, it will feel like the world is ending. But, you’ll come out stronger on the other side, and eventually you will find someone who is worthy of all the beauty and love you have to offer.

It’s the night before Valentine’s Day, and this isn’t the best time to go over this. We already established that you’re probably not listening anyways. If you are, however, take these words to heart and dump him. He’s a jerk.

Smells Like Home to Me

My apartment currently smells like Kraft mac and cheese and hot dogs.

While I’m not 100% sure where this smell is coming from, I can only assume it’s from my neighbor’s apartment. Unfortunately, due to being gluten free, Kraft mac and cheese and hot dogs are a comfort food of the past, like many of my comfort foods now are. However, it’s amazing how easily a scent memory can take you back to a different place.

Before I smelled this wonderful, nostalgic smell, I was sitting on my bed, content to sip cheap red wine, eat dark chocolate, and read a trashy VC Andrews novel (inspired by this article). I was firmly entranced in a world of Gossip Girl-esque Mean Girl shenanigans and drama when I was suddenly yanked out of this world of wealth and privilege and sitting at my parents’ kitchen table, with three pots on the stove: one boiling hot dogs (Oscar Meyer, of course), one making mac and cheese, and the third simmering with baked beans (which to this day I have still never tried).

I assume everyone can sing this song as easily as I can. I also assume Kraft mac and cheese was the 6th food group in your childhood diet.

In this world, I sit in the chair nearest to the door, just to the left of my sister and the right of my mom. Dad’s probably cooking, as this meal is one he is an expert at. On nights like tonight we help ourselves, using the silver tongs to pull our hot dogs out of the hot water and onto a bun, then scooping a heap of mac and cheese next to it on the paper plate. And it had to be a paper plate – paper plates were designed for meals like this. After putting more ketchup than probably necessary on my hot dog, I sit back down in my spot at the table, where someone (possibly me) had earlier been tasked to set the table, setting out napkins, forks, and glasses of water. The table cloth is a dark red, closer to a cranberry than a burgundy or maroon. Though not all of us have our food, Dad announces that it’s time to pray, so each one of us stops what we’re doing, closes our eyes, and swiftly follows along.

The actual prayer is

Come, Lord Jesus, be our guest, and may these gifts to us be blessed. Amen.

In true Puza spirit, however, it comes out in one breath, almost as one word:

Comelordjesusbeourguestandmaythesegiftstousbeblessedamen.

I guarantee you anyone in my immediate family could say it faster than you.

After we are all settled in at the table, we begin our usual dinner discussion, consisting of stories from our day, questions of happenings in our life, and the usual banter, often times all of us more or less ganging up on the other, but only in good-hearted fun. If anything, family dinners taught us to take it as good as we can give it, because whatever you gave was coming back to you tenfold.

Family dinners taught us a lot more, however. They taught us to appreciate each other’s company and take an interest in everyone’s lives. They taught us that “zinging” one’s fork against one’s teeth was a crime punishable by death. They taught us the importance of taking the time to turn off the TV and listen to someone. They taught us how to be good dinner companions. They taught us the importance of family and taking the time for people you love.

It’s amazing how easily a scent memory can take you back to a different place. Right now, I’m sitting on my couch, still with a glass of wind in hand. The scent of mac and cheese and hot dogs has faded away, but the warmth of my memory of home hasn’t. I still feel the comfort and warmth of my parents’ kitchen; the coziness that evades every inch of space. I know that I’m lucky because my apartment right now is just as cozy. It makes remembering easier and happier, because where I am reminds me a lot of where I was. Tomorrow morning when I wake up it will be cold, and a little lonely, and there will be a lot of snow on the ground, and I’ll remember that I’m in Colorado, hundreds of miles away from my family and where I grew up, but for now they’re just a sniff away, and that’s worth all the boxes of mac and cheese in the world.