The Time I Threw Up On The First Day of School… As An Adult

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Before anyone knew I was pregnant with Jack they assumed I had a horrible disease because I WAS SICK ALL OF THE TIME. Most people throw up when they have food poisoning, everyday of my first trimester was food poisoning for me. I would throw up at the stupidest things, like brushing my teeth or watching my husband scramble eggs. I went from cute little pink pill to HOLY-CRAP-WE-HAVE-TO-SEDATE-YOUR-DIGESTIVE-SYSTEM. And even then, car rides were still rough. I’d have to stick my head out the window like a dog to keep it down.

The first day of my second trimester was coincidentally the first day of the college semester. And I guess that I just magically assumed that I didn’t need medication since I was technically second-trimester-free.

Ha.

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It’s my very first class, the professor is going through the syllabus and someone behind me is eating straight dog food for breakfast. Honestly, I don’t know what they brought to class, but it smelled like a swamp rat. So like you know when you haven’t turned on your garbage disposal in a while? That was the smell that this person was eating for breakfast.

It kind of still makes me nauseous remembering it TBH

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So I’m dripping sweat, trying so hard not to puke. Finally, I can’t take it and I excuse myself from the room, go to the bathroom… it’s gone. The urge to barf is gone because I have removed myself from the cause of the problem. I step back into class… into the breakfast burrito poo cloud. And dude, it is immediate how fast I go back to square one.

The professor is at the end of the syllabus so I’m thinking she’s going to let us out early and then I can RUN FAR FAR AWAY! Someone raises their hand and has a question, like seriously dude?? It’s literally printed out in like eight stapled sheets in front of you.

I had sat WAY TOO FAR from the door, I was at least 50 people away from an exit point.
I’m not going to make it.

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Actual picture of me trying to wait out the lecture

The professor: Alright, well if there are no more questions I’ll see you on Wednesday.
Me: BLUUUUUUURRRP

Okay, so I didn’t actually throw up. Instead I made the LOUDEST AND GROSSEST SOUNDING BURP YOU’VE EVER HEARD. It was like Bruce Bogtrotter after he finishes the chocolate cake expect even wetter. The professor actually gave me the most horrified look, like the way her eyes snapped open is burned into my memory forever.

Oh man, and it was so early on in my pregnancy that I didn’t look pregnant at all. I’m sure I seriously shocked everyone. And it was the freaking first day of class so everyone probably called me barf-girl in their heads the rest of the semester.

Anyways. If you’re going to have sewage draining for breakfast can you like eat it before you come to class? Please.

 

 

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HALP PLS

It’s almost the end of the year. I started this blog six months ago (wow, that went fast). I’m trying to get an idea of what worked and what didn’t and how am I going to press forward in 2018.

SoooOOOOOooooo

Can you help me?

I just want your opinion on the blog so far and what you would want more of for next year. I have a survey if you’d be so kind. What was boring, what was good, you tell me. It’s anonymous so I can’t even hate you personally for being honest. You’re the one reading it, your voice should be heard!

 

10 Favorite Songs from My Top 10 Favorite Bands

Last August we took a road trip to see “The Great American Solar Eclipse”. During that long car ride, I came up with a game… list your top ten favorite bands in order (as best you can) and then come up with your favorite song by each of them. That’s how you make a “YOU-playlist”. It was super fun, but way hard! I made Dan do it too.

I decided to share what I came up with… even though it could be potentially embarrassing. I have a weird taste in music, much like my taste in movies so… I don’t know what you’ll think of this list. But it’s who I am, so here we go!

#10 “Althea” by The Grateful Dead

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I’ve just recently became a dead head and honestly… I am a believer. They are so freaking enjoyable. Really. If you don’t know The Dead are a bluegrass/folk/rock/psychedelic/reggae/whatever-they-feel-like band. They even have a funk song which I also considered for my #10 spot.

I finally decided on “Althea” because I just cannot resist the punch in that beat. OMG. Even my baby loves this song.

 

#9 “Hypnotize” by System of a Down

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No rhyme or reason, but I just REALLY love System of a Down. They’re weird but they’re also SO GOOD. Every time they come on the radio I have to stop talking and crank up my stereo to unreasonable levels.

I used to listen to this song on my chunky mp3 player in between every class period my senior year of high school. The nostalgia runs deep with this one, my friend.

 

#8 “Dragons” by Caravan Palace

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My brother introduced me to “electro swing” and honestly, I’m all about it now.

I especially had to give a shout out to this song because it inspired a dang good book idea.

 

#7 “Somebody to Love Me” by Mark Ronson and the Buisness INTL

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K. When “Uptown Funk” came out I was SO pumped, because I had been riding the Mark Ronson train for almost a decade before he got the appreciation he deserved.

“Somebody to Love Me” isn’t necessarily that impressive of a song. But I fell in love with it for what it was. I listened to it constantly on repeat the summer of 2011 and so now I associate it with some of those good memories that I have of that time.

 

#6 “Made in Chernobyl” (except like the whole darn album) by Viza

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Viza is one of the most underrated bands. They’re really fun and unique but no one knows who they are.

Anyways, I love this dang album. For similar reasons to #8… I came up with one of my all time favorite book idea solely listening to this album.

 

#5 “Walcott” by Vampire Weekend

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I adore Vampire Weekend and I don’t care what you say. I’m a poser indie hipster and I’m totally fine with it.

Every time I hear “Walcott” my heart melts. Something about it is so cheerful and I can’t not smile listening to it!

 

#4 “Hey Jude” by The Beatles

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And you thought Vampire Weekend was bad? Ha! I know there are people who think that The Beatles are overrated and over-hyped. But I don’t care. I just genuinely really enjoy their music.

In fact, it was nearly impossible to pick just one Beatles song. Like, really? How do you even have a favorite!? I was really tempted to do something under the radar like Lennon’s “You Can’t Do That” or something like that. But in the end… “Hey Jude” has gotten me through some really rough times. And the story behind the lyrics, I don’t know… I find this song really meaningful.

 

#3 “Where Have You Been” (the live version) by Reel Big Fish

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I had to give a shout out to my passionate and brief love affair with ska music.

I bought the whole live album JUST for the version of this song. It’s super cool. And the break down! #earmassage

 

#2 “Hong Kong” by The Gorillaz

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I love the Gorillaz so much it’s not even funny.

I used to play this song every day that I would walk home from the bus stop. I felt like it was my own personal soundtrack. When I was serving an LDS mision and we weren’t allowed to listen to pop music… I cried. I actually shed tears over this song. That’s how close I am with this song.

 

#1 “Fearless” by Pink Floyd

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I love everything about this song. I love the music composition. I love the lyrics. I love this band. I love the meaning. I love the crowd vocals at the end. This is my heart song. This song is me. It HAD to be number one on my “me-playlist”.

 

What’s your list? Write it down it the comment section!

Chicken Bacon Ranch Pasta

In case you couldn’t already tell, I have a love affair with pasta. Pasta is so great. I got this recipe from this blog here. http://www.craftymorning.com/chicken-bacon-ranch-pasta-recipe/  I was just too lazy for that recipe, so I made a quicker and easier version…

 

INGREDIENTS:

1 pound of pasta (penne or rotini)

2 diced chicken breasts

1 package of bacon bits

1 packet of ranch dressing mix

2 cups of milk

1 cup of cheddar cheese

2 tbsp of flour

 

DIRECTIONS:

Start cooking your pasta. In a skillet cook your chicken until no longer pink, (if you are as gross and lazy as me you can use a can of chicken of cooked chicken and skip this step). Add the ranch dressing, flour and 2 cups of milk to the chicken. Stir until thick. Add cheese and half of your bacon bits. Stir until melted. Combine with pasta. Garnish with extra bacon bits if desired.

 

My husband and one-year-old LOVE this recipe.

 

Writing Update

Can’t talk now. NaNoWriMo.

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“The Other Five Percent”:

Total word goal: 55,000 – 70,000

Word goal for November: 50,000

 

Words written so far: 37,723!!

 

Guys! I am killing it! At this rate I will definitely be finishing the first draft before December. This has been even way more fun than I thought!

 

See my stats here: https://nanowrimo.org/participants/val-manwill/novels/the-other-five-percent/stats 

See what my book is about here: The Other Five Percent

 

The thing that happened on my wedding day…

I was honestly NEVER going to tell anyone this story. Seriously. I’m blushing just thinking about typing this one. But it’s a pretty funny story and my husband said it was okay, so…

*cringing so hard*

Here it is…

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We had our ceremony in one city and then our open house reception in another. We planned for time to take pictures after the wedding and go right to the reception, but the shoot ended up being super quick! We had like an hour or so before the next set of pictures at the reception.

We had no clue what to do. Bum around town in our gown and tux? Go to the reception place and take a nap? Finally I was like, look… this is the most romantic day of our lives. And we have an hour to ourselves! We should do something totally spontaneous that we can say we did on our wedding day.

So we decided to drive up a random canyon to an overlook.

the overlook
This one.

It was a surprisingly crowded day at this overlook so we parked on a little spot of gravel on the other side of the lot. We took some pictures and talked about how cool it is being married now. It was so sweet and romantic… too romantic actually. We started making out.

At some point during the M.O.S. I completely moved over to Daniel’s seat… I was WAY into it. But c’mon! Wedding day! There was this really loud constant noise but I was a bride and in love and didn’t pay any attention to it. Finally after a good solid minute of this loud noise we stop kissing. “Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep” What is that?

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That’s when it occurred to me that I was SITTING ON THE HORN OF THE STEERING WHEEL.

oh my gosh.

And there were tons of people there too. IN BROAD DAYLIGHT. Beep! Don’t mind us. Just a bride and groom mauling each other over here.

Dan looked over at the other cars and calls out, “It’s okay. We’re married now.” And we peel out of there.

 

lol SO ANYWAYS. You can get that picture out of your head now by looking at this! These were our Halloween costumes this year: Can you guess who we were?

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KuzCOooooo

Darling llama hat made by Yarnageddon! SHOUT OUT: https://www.etsy.com/shop/Yarnmagedon?ref=l2-shopheader-name

4 Things I Did for My Post Partum Body

I think I felt less sexy in my post partum body then when I was pregnant. Seeing that weird little pooch hanging down there… I felt like I was still pregnant only now with a deflated basketball.

Here are four different things that I did, that seemed to help A LOT that year after I gave birth.

 

#1: I bought a new bra!

Guys. Really.

Looking at pictures of myself and my new body… all I could see was an orangutan.

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And I honestly thought that it was because I was fat. But you know what? One day I tried on a new bra at the store and ba-bye orangutan shape. No kidding. I went from slouchy beanbag to curvy and feminine in one second. Pregnancy, breastfeeding, all of it! It changes your girls. And when you give them a new support, you give them new life. It works! I’m serious!

#2: I started taking my baby on walks.

I knew I had to get active. But how? Now you have a tiny little person that you can’t tote to the gym. And plus I hate working out, so there’s that. I secretly tried to learn the dance from the “Hideaway” music video… and threw out my back. (Not actually a joke) So after that point I was like… I have a stroller, let’s stroll.

I LOVED IT! And so did Jack! It was so nice to get out and about. Super non-intensive. And every walk was a little adventure!

#3: I gave up soda.

This one hurt.

coke

I am the queen of soda. I have a serious Mormon drinking problem. But I knew that if I actually wanted to lose any baby weight I had to trade in my sugary crutch. After I gave up soda, I lost 10 lbs in two months. So it’s always good to re-examine what small things are holding you back and decide what you can try to give up.

#4: I gave it time.

This is the answer you don’t want to hear, but it really is true. Getting back to your old body takes time. You grew a human inside of you! You’re amazing! Don’t tell yourself that you’re not amazing just because your body is normalizing after giving someone life! Give yourself time. It will happen.

Val’s Version of Stroganoff

This used to be my husband’s favorite meal that I make and when we were first married he would have me make it every other day.

 

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INGREDIENTS:

1 lb hamburger

2 brown gravy mix packets

1 cup beef broth

1 Tb Worchestershire sauce

1/2 cup sour cream

 

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DIRECTIONS:

Brown the beef in skillet (drain excess fat). Add both gravy packets to the cooked meat. Add the beef broth and the Worchestershire sauce. Simmer until thick. Mix in the sour cream. Serve over noodles.

My Actually Haunted Ghost Story

Ever since I started writing this horror short story, strange things have been happening to me.

 

The very first night that I even began outlining… something really creepy happened. A sound came over my baby monitor. A high-pitched trill that sounded like someone screaming. Dan and I just stared at each other like… whaaaaaaaaat is that?? It had never done anything like that before or anything since… I didn’t tell Dan that I was working on a ghost story at the time and tried to pretend like it wasn’t the creepiest thing ever.

After the baby monitor thing, I tried to listen to music when I worked on the story. But the music would inexplicably turn itself on and off.

Then, one night I had a vivid nightmare that I was lying on the floor of my apartment and couldn’t get up. This weirdly-lit guy was standing by the wall, grinning at me. He slowly came closer and closer to my face. I woke up gasping and thrashing my arms trying to push him away. Dan calmed me down. The next day the light had burnt out in the spot the man had “stood” in my nightmare.

creepy lighting

After I had written the story and revised it. I was cleaning a bottle for my son at the kitchen sink when I saw a man in a blue jacket walk across my backyard. Thinking it was my husband I dashed to the other window to wave hi… no one was there. And I know, because I frantically checked ALL of my windows and EVERY inch of my backyard.

I finally finished revising the darn story. Good. I exited completely out of Word. And I started to play around on the internet… when the thing RE-OPENED ITSELF onto my computer. I think I wrote a ghost story that in and of itself became haunted.

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So… anyone want to read it?

Ava, a true skeptic, has no problem cleaning and closing The Redd’s Theater by herself at night… even though it is said to be haunted by a magician who murdered his wife there. 5,000 words

If you are brave enough to challenge the haunted ghost story, you can fill out the application below and I will email it to you. (All I ask in return is that you tell me what you thought of it.) HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

 

The Time I REALLY Told the Wrong Punchline

When my husband and I were dating, I decided that I was going to tell him a little joke…

I’m not going to tell you what the joke was, because honestly it was an inappropriate joke and I shouldn’t have been telling it in the first place. All I’ll say, is that it had to do with a handshake and a leprechaun.

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That’s it… that’s all I’m going to tell you about it.

As I begin to tell him, I remembered how funny the punchline was… and it made me laugh before I could even get to said punchline. I started laughing really hard. So hard that … I farted. Audibly.

I vividly remember Dan blinking in confusion, wondering if that was part of the joke. IT WAS NOT. But now I’m laughing and crying of pure humiliation. And I never was able to finish that joke.

It was bad. But he still married me.

 

Just a short story today. You can click HERE for more embarrassing stories if you want to laugh at me. Go ahead… it’s fine… I won’t even know…