Category: Yay! Super Awesome! (Page 1 of 6)

Sleep and My Codependent Relationship with the Snooze Button

This morning, I didn’t want to get up.

It was like most mornings. I’m not a morning person. I never was a morning person. I may never be a morning person.

It’s something about myself that I’ve accepted. Brent can hop out of bed the minute his alarm starts dinging, but I can’t. Instead, I fumble for my phone (it’s my alarm clock) and hit the snooze. That sweet, sultry, sinfully delicious snooze button. I don’t care if it’s only five more minutes. That’s five more minutes I’ll be spending warm and beneath my blankets, free from responsibility.

Boromir snoozes like a pro.

You could say that the snooze button and I are in a long term, codependent relationship. At times, it’s been unhealthy.

In high school, I set three alarm clocks – all of which I would end up either turning off or hitting snooze on. My growing limbs just weren’t listening to the radio, the buzzing, and the ringing all at once. I had to go back to bed. I NEEDED more sleep.

Those who lived with me were none too pleased.

In college, the snooze button and I went on a bit of a break. I had a roommate in my dorm, so I needed to train myself to get up at a decent hour so as not to disturb her. It worked – until I got my own apartment.

The snooze button and I got hot and heavy then. Showing up to my 8:30 a.m. class three minutes late, unshowered and probably looking like hell? Yep. That was me. It was like a drug. I started taking naps then, too.

When Brent and I moved in, that was an adjustment period for sure. Sharing your bed and sleeping habits with someone is incredibly intimate – and challenging – as you try to figure out exactly how this puzzle is going to fit together. There were moments when the snooze button has tried to cut in on my real life relationship. Thankfully, if that’s the worst thing I have to worry about, we’re doing pretty good.

Brent is an early riser, but now with my work schedule, I’m up before him most days. On weekends, Brent is up well before me, out taking photos or hiking to take pictures of the sunrise. But, I still go back to the snooze button.

Oh, Snooze. Why can’t we just unhinge ourselves from each other? You know I love you, but you’re keeping me from having extra time in the morning, time that I could use to go to the gym or make breakfast or spend time actually doing something with my hair.

Snooze button sounds good right about now.

You make me groggy, even though there’s this little voice in the back of my mind that’s telling me that I should indulge in hitting you one more time because I’ll feel more rested.


When I’m with you, you make me want to stay asleep all day. When I try to take a nap, you turn what was a 30 minute siesta into an hour long saga where I feel even more tired than before. You make my life harder – but yet, I keep coming back.

Maybe, just maybe, one day I’ll be able to take a vacation from you. I’ll get up on time and actually get to the gym. I’ll make breakfast and have time to do something productive. Maybe I’ll read the newspaper – or at least a blog post or two.

But…as always, I need just five more minutes.


One Little Word

Right now, at this very moment, there’s something hanging around my neck.

I’ll give you a clue: it’s shiny, is usually worn somewhere else, and it’s the key to a much bigger adventure.

I’ll stop the guesswork.

I’m engaged.

(cue screaming and jumping up and down)

I wasn’t expecting it to happen, but it did and I’m overjoyed.

And now it’s time to get the ring resized so I can stop wearing it on a chain.

They say you know when you’ve found the right person and that getting engaged will just feel like the universe aligned. For me, it was more like this:

If you could be in my head at this very moment, you would have heard a lot of “HOLY SHIT!” “THIS IS HAPPENING. THIS IS HAPPENING.” “REALLY?!” “MY HEARTBEAT IS IN MY EARS.” “OH-EM-GEE FOR REAL!” (As you can tell, I couldn’t really say anything, but my brain was on overdrive).

I honestly say that it was terrifyingly wonderful. Perfect. And you’re never quite ready for the moment when it happens either. Sure, we’ve been together for quite some time, but I wasn’t expecting it. Maybe that’s why the feeling is just so deliciously intoxicating.

It’s been about a month since he popped the question and we’re still riding the high. We go out to different things and we see someone new who congratulates us. I’ve got a bit of wedding fever and my family doesn’t help much with it (I know you’re all excited and I am too!) It’s a nice feeling, to know that so many people are happy for you and support you. I know that when the big day comes, we’ll be surrounded by so much love that we won’t even know what to do with ourselves.

Or maybe we will. We’ll say, “I do.” That’s what you do when you’re surrounded with that much love.



Photo By: Tabitha Blue

Have you ever had a question that bothered you for so long that you just gave up on trying to find the answer, only to find that the answer was probably the simplest thing ever? Yep. This happened to me.

I’ve spent more time in the past several months staring at my blog, slack jawed and frustrated, wondering what the hell I was going to do with it. I define myself as a blogger, but I haven’t shown my blog enough love. I don’t post consistently. I’m unfocused. I lose interest. And it’s because I’m relying on this ridiculous expectation that just. isn’t. true.

Your blog doesn’t have to be about just one thing.

So here I sat, for months, worrying about my one thing.

But, I don’t want to just write about one thing. I want to write about lots of things.

I want to write whimsical pieces about things that are slimy.

I want to write about marketing, new media, and SEO.

I want to write about ways I add loveliness into my everyday life.

I want to write about acts of kindness.

I want to write about balance and taking care of myself.

I want to write about movies. And food, too.

So why am I throwing myself into a trap that says, “Oh, hey, to be taken seriously you have to write about just one thing.”

Nope. Nope. Nope. WRONG.

I DON’T have to write about one thing. There are a TON of bloggers that don’t write about the same thing. Sure, they may have a common thread that connects their posts, but they don’t just write about one subject. A person isn’t defined by just one thing – and a blog doesn’t have to be either.

And the sad part is that it took me so long to arrive to this conclusion. I was going to buy ebooks and courses and do worksheets to give me the answer to what was my one purpose, but I’m not a one subject kind of girl. I like lots of things – and now, I can enjoy blogging about them without the pressure – because I’m giving myself permission.

I’m giving myself permission to be me and write what I want to write.

And I’m sorry that it took me so long to get to this point because you, dear reader, have suffered because of it.

*Deep Breath*

Okay, now to get started afresh – and figure out how the hell categories will work with this theme. Wish me luck! It’s about to get organized up in hurrrr!

3 Things I’ve Learned By Playing Charlotte Lucas

So, I’m in a play.

It’s a production of Pride & Prejudice set in the 1960’s. Think Austen meets Mad Men. It’s truly amazing and we opened last Friday (I’ll include all the details at the end of this post, as there are showings this weekend and I’d love for you to see it).

My role in said production is that of Charlotte Lucas, the 27 year old, practical to a fault,  best friend of Elizabeth Bennet who marries Mr. Collins to hightail it out of her parent’s house so that she won’t end up a spinster. She’s a lot of fun to play, especially because this production offers an interesting – and hilarious – take on the character.

Being Charlotte for the past few months has been an enlightening journey to say the least. I’d like to share some of my observations, if you don’t mind.

Pride & Prejudice at The Vintage Theater. Mandy Boyle as Charlotte Lucas.

Photo by Brent Pennington

1.) There are many kinds of happiness.

This piece on Charlotte’s marriage really says it best. Although Lizzie may not understand it, this is happiness for Charlotte. She chooses to pass over romance in marriage to secure a more comfortable life. In the book, her prospects – and future – is at stake. She’s 27. She’s on the fast track to spinsterhood. Marrying Mr. Collins not only helps her escape that fate, but it gives her a unique control over her own life in a way that she did not have before. Once, she was a prisoner of her social standing, family, and sex. Then, once married, she’s the mistress of her own home, able to make decisions for it as she chooses. She structures her day in a way that suits her (and allows for her to avoid her husband). She establishes a comfortable routine, that she herself has chosen, and is happier for it.

Happiness isn’t always an epic romance or a whirlwind journey. It’s not always dramatic or jarring. Sometimes, it’s quiet and seemingly not that exciting. Charlotte, in the book, seems happy with her situation. The way I portray her is just as gray as her perception in the book. Lizzie doesn’t understand or see Charlotte’s version of happiness because of her own prejudices and expectations. You’re not quite sure whether to be happy for Charlotte, accepting of her choices, or sorry for her future. It can be a mix of all three. In The Vintage Theater adaptation, the gray area Charlotte inhabits is one we’ve seen and felt before. Some may see trying to make the best of a situation. Others, pathetic.

From my interpretation, part of that area of grayness is from the change in time period. Were I to play Charlotte in Regency England, I’d be happy at the prospect of marriage because that was my best option. My only option, really.  In this adaptation, I’m less desperate, but I’m coping with my decisions in a particular way that earns a few laughs, but really, can be quite sad. But, if you’ve ever seen an episode of Mad Men, you’ve seen behaviors like Charlotte’s.

2.) Practicality has it place – but there are times when it’s taken too far.

Charlotte is intensely practical and many may argue that it’s her flaw. The life she chooses is rooted in acceptance and routine. She goes into her marriage with her eyes open, knowing what’s in store for her. She’s accepted her position and her future. Some may feel she’s making the best of a bad things and securing a future, while others feel she’s just resigned herself to settling. This is the part of Charlotte I relate to most.

I can be practical to a fault. I forget whimsy and play sometimes. I choose function over form, sometimes more often than I should. I lose perspective  when all I focus on is responsibility. Charlotte reminds me to not lose myself in my practical nature, to make time for those things which bring me joy, and to not settle for anything less than what I want. Dammit, I’m going to make ridiculous faces and walk around making obscene gestures backstage (really, I’m guilty of this x100). I’m going to give hugs and high fives. I’m going to remember to spoil myself on occasion and instead of asking for something I need, I’ll go for something I want. Because, sometimes, we just deserve to throw practicality out the window. Believe me, practicality will always stay with me, but I’ve remembered to make room in my life for impractical lovelies, too.

Pride & Prejudice at The Vintage in Scranton. Mandy Boyle as Charlotte Lucas and Anthony Melf as Mr. Collins

Photo by Brent Pennington

3.) When people do not act the way you expect them to, sometimes the fault in understanding is your own.

The scene where Charlotte announces her engagement to Lizzie is one of my favorites. There’s an electric pulse of emotion running through each line of dialogue as you watch two best friends completely overwhelm each other. Lizzie doesn’t fathom Charlotte’s choice and is upset that she’s making it to begin with. Charlotte feels judged for choosing her own destiny. It’s a short but powerful moment in the story. The emotions that run through me when it happens during every show are just…wow. It’s a smack in the face to everyone in the story and in the audience. And we all can relate to it. We’ve all been blinded by our own assumptions and expectations and sometimes, life flips you the bird or throws a bucket of ice water into your lap to wake you up again to realize that you’re not that powerful. Life will happen whether you like it or not – and missing it can be the fault of your own nearsightedness.

When I think about Charlotte and how she is in the book, I am both understanding and perplexed. The Charlotte I’m playing touches on only a few aspects of her character. Her practicality is there. Her friendship with Lizzie is there. Her acceptance and ability to craft a future for herself is there. But, there is a twist in this production, which is actually quite funny and sad at the same time when you see it play out. I won’t spoil it for you, but let’s just say that I’ve been given some comedic freedom in this role (which makes an already interesting character even more fun to play).

If Pride & Prejudice was set in the 1960’s, Charlotte’s behaviors – as I’m playing them – might be a bit more commonplace than one would think. You’ve seen Charlotte’s married life before. You’ve also seen how sometimes, when you’re not paying attention, you miss someone’s true character. You’ve also seen how everyone develops ways to both accept and cope while seeking that illusive thing we always seek: happiness.

This is what makes Pride & Prejudice so timeless: the realization that we’re all flawed, we all have something we can learn, and we are all seeking our own happy endings, in one way or another.

I’m honored to have been part of such an incredible cast, crew and creative team. There aren’t enough words to describe the feelings we’ve felt and the moments we’ve created together. Thank you, thank you, thank you. To those of you who have supported us, we are so grateful. We hope you’ll come to join us this weekend. Share a few moments to reflect on that beautiful and frustrating experience of being human with us. We know you’ll enjoy it.

Pride & Prejudice at The Vintage Theater in Scranton

The Vintage Theater Presents: Pride & Prejudice

What: Pride & Prejudice

When: Friday, May 17, 8 p.m.; Saturday, May 18, 2 and 8 p.m.

Extras: A “Wrap Up” dance party at The Vintage will follow the final show on May 18.

Details: Tickets are $10 for students and seniors and $12 for general admission. Tickets are available online at; over the phone at 507-9671; by emailing; or at the Vintage Theater, 326 Spruce St.; Library Express, Mall at Steamtown; or Albright Memorial Library, 500 Vine St.

Creativity Tool: Story Starter

Story Starter

I don’t really do much with fiction writing, but on the occasion that I decide to dabble (or if I just want to get my creative juices flowing), I turn to my regular swipe file of things to write about.

But sometimes, I run out of ideas. Or maybe I want to try something different. That’s where Story Starter comes in.

Simple, effective, and outrageously fun to use, Story Starter is a tool that gives you a prompt that you can frame a scene or story around. Just a line to get you going, but that line is chock full of details that can spider outward into a work of art.

Also, if you’re looking for a good laugh, the prompts can be quite funny.

Go ahead, give it a whirl:

My First Phone Number Request

Photo By: Alan Mays

So, I’ve never actually been asked for my phone number by a complete stranger before. It’s never happened.

The closest I got was when I was 14 and I went to Medieval Times with one of my good friends and the guy working the souvenir counter slid a sheet of paper across the glass with his name and number on it. He had long hair and wore tights with Converse shoes. I dug it. I actually ended up calling him too, which got really creepy. Never mind the fact that I was in PA and he lived in MD, he has a girlfriend who he gave some sort of crystal gift to that he felt the need to tell me about, I was the most awkward teenager ever, I still hadn’t hit puberty and wasn’t aware of how to be a female, he said he didn’t like school and wanted to drop out, but I digress. It was only one phone call because it was too weird, by the way.

My dating history is vanilla at best, so imagine my surprise when I got asked for my number in the grocery store this week.

It started in the bread aisle, as these things often do, as I had glanced down at my list. I didn’t need bread and wasn’t entirely sure what I needed in the same aisle, but I figured I’d make a pass to jog my memory. As I pulled my cart to the side and started to dig into my pocket for the list, a boy approached. He couldn’t have been more than 13 or so.

“Excuse me, miss?” he asked.


“Do you go to Scranton High?”

“I’m sorry, no.”

[Insert long awkward pause]

“Oh, so, um…are you a grown up?”


This was now turning into one of the most awkward experiences of my life. What did this kid want? Maybe he thought he knew me from somewhere, which is fine, but the whole exchange was just so unexpected.  After that, he walked to the end of the aisle and turned the corner. I went further down the aisle, then he returned.

“So, um…do you mind if I get to know you better?”

I thought for a second. I didn’t know what to say, so naturally, I said, “Okay, sure!”

What am I getting myself into?

“My name’s Jamal. I like to play basketball, go to the movies, read a lot, stuff like that.”

“Nice! My name’s Mandy. I like to read and watch movies also.”

Another long awkward pause.

“So, do you think you could give me your number and maybe I could call you some time?”

Oh. My. God.


I had to have turned about 50 shades of red. This whole situation just screamed uncomfortable. How do I let him down easy so that he doesn’t get depressed and drop out of school and blame the girl  that he got up the stones to ask for her number but she said no because she was a grown up?! (This is what happens in my crazy brain. I still feel terrible about this whole thing.)

“I’m sorry, but no, as I’m quite a bit older than you, but it was very nice to meet you!”

He looked heartbroken.

I felt terrible.

I still feel terrible.

I wish I would have said something motivating before he walked away.

“Hey Jamal, keep your chin up! Keep reading!”

I really do hope he keeps reading and watching movies, though, because he seemed like a nice kid. You’re too young to be picking up girls at the Giant, buddy. Focus on school and you’ll find the right girl some day.



Things That Can Be Frozen

By: Wapster

And my experiment with list making continues.

  1. Assets.
  2. Bananas dipped in chocolate and peanut butter.
  3. Peas.
  4. Broccoli.
  5. Meats.
  6. Mango cubes.
  7. Soups.
  8. Lakes.
  9. Ponds.
  10. Windshields.
  11. Time.
  12. Planets.
  13. Rivers.
  14. Raindrops.
  15. Tundras.
  16. Movement.
  17. Mammoths.
  18. Mummies.
  19. Sauces.
  20. Potato pancakes.
…just to name a few.

Things I Like to Do on Rainy Days

By: Pasco Olivier

  1. Nap.
  2. Read a book. (I just finished rereading Les Miserables in preparation for the film release.)
  3. Watch movies.
  4. Clean something.
  5. Bake cupcakes, cookies, or some other kind of sweet.
  6. Try a new recipe.
  7. Sit in the window with the cat and watch the droplets on the pavement.
  8. Open the windows just a smidge to let the rain smell in.
  9. Not wash my car.
  10. Try to get my life organized in some little way.

Things That Are Slimy

I got this topic idea from a writing prompt that was sent to my inbox. It was sort of fun to think about, so I think I’m going to try to work more with prompts from time to time to vary things a bit.

By: Peter Taylor

So, here we go. Things that are slimy.

  1. Politicians
  2. The bit of lettuce I found in the back of my refrigerator.
  3. Earthworms, but they’re good guys. They’re great for gardens.
  4. Snails – they really are adorable, though!
  5. Slugs.
  6. Boogers.
  7. Fish.
  8. Raw meat.
  9. Frogs.
  10. Oysters. I’ve never tried these but have always wanted to.
Hmm…that was sort of fun. I may make this a habit.

Surround Yourself with Cuteness

We all have days when we’re feeling blue. Discouraged. Lonely. Stressed.

On days like that, I usually end up on YouTube. As for what I watch, it sort of depends on whatever strikes my fancy. More often than not, it’s videos of kittens, baby sloths, or other tiny furry creatures being adorable.

Sometimes, I watch videos that are more inspirational in nature. They’re usually widely circulated and tend to have really powerful music or cool graphics attached to them. They make you feel like getting the heck out of your funk and DOING SOMETHING.

Lately, when I’m feeling a bit down, I’ve been watching wedding proposals.

Now, I know. If you know me in real life, you’re probably thinking, “Wait – is this some sort of hint for Mr. Photographer?”

Let me put your mind at ease. It’s not a hint. We’re both on the same page where that subject is concerned :)

But back to wedding proposals. I don’t know, but there’s just something about them that warms your heart. To see two people smiling, teary eyed, nervous as all hell, laughing, hugging, and sharing in a special moment…there’s just nothing like it. The best word I could use to describe it is “radiance”.

In my YouTube travels through wedding proposals, I came across one that made me laugh and smile from ear to ear from start to finish. Should I get a proposal one day, it would be frickin’ awesome if it were like this. But beyond that, I think what I love most about this video is how personal it feels. You can tell it was designed with detail. Attention. Effort. This moment was made for her. It’s a gift just for her and yet something exquisitely shared with those she loves – and eventually, the whole world. How cool is that!?

And the result is absolutely lovely.

When you feel far from up to par, surround yourself with cuteness. Whether it’s a photo of your cat or a YouTube video or a laughing baby. The simple act of smiling will lift your mood and make you feel at home in your own skin again.

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