THE LANGUAGE OF STARBUCKS

Languages have never been my strong suit, but there is one that I simply cannot understand no matter how many times I try. You probably guessed it. It, of course, is the Starbucks language of coffee. I’m not sure what class, or after school club, I missed in my education to pick up on this. How do people learn the little intricacies of their favorite orders? It’s not on the menu, believe me, I keep checking. It’s not on the website. It’s not on their commercials. It’s not on Google. If you don’t speak coffee, you better befriend a nice human who will teach you because otherwise you’ll be stuck standing at the front of the line looking like a deer in the headlights with angry, caffeine-deprived customers screaming at your back.

It’s a straight up clique. An original form of social distancing for those who haven’t proven their worth by passing the challenge of ordering a drink from the menu and then proceeding to change everything about it. Personally, I find the drive-through lines comical because that is way slower than waiting in the store line. You have to try and explain your custom creation through the highly efficient outdoor microphone. You know, the ones that pick up about a third of what you say. Then you get to play the ever fun phone tag, or microphone tag in this case, of you placing an order, the employee repeating it, you correcting it (because heaven forbid you get two pumps of caramel when you specified twenty), the employee repeating it again, you correcting it … again (because you asked for pumpkin spice not light ice), the employee getting a bit frustrated on round 3, you getting irritated over having to continue to repeat your daily order (how do they not have this memorized by now, all the money you’ve spent there?!), etc.

Rant over, I apologize for all the die-hard Starbucks fans in the world. What do you call yourselves? Starbucksers? Star-Warriors? Starbuck Chucks? Straight up Stars? SBean? Estarbucksso? Now that is a winner! I should trademark it, you are all welcome. Don’t say I never did anything nice for you. Judge you? Yes. Mock you? Definitely. Blog about you? Certainly. But alas, I have given your band of minions a catchphrase.

I understand the concept of customization in food. If you’re paying for it, it better be everything you hoped for and more. What’s the best way to do that? Make it your own! Most places have found a balance – a diverse menu that lets you make slight adjustments based on dining preferences. Burgers without ketchup, extra cheese on the nachos, double the oreos in the milkshake, re-heating the fries so they’re toasty by the time you get to them, combination of half lemonade and half tea, etc. Minor adjustments that don’t impact the overall cooking process. It is but a blip on the cook’s radar.

Starbucks has adopted the opposite mentality it seems. Create a menu, train employees how to make the small amount of available drinks, then allow customers to run wild with suggestions. Completely ignoring what people at corporate have deemed current feasible options. How this is a sustainable business model stymies me … oh, wait, it’s because they cater to both the 1% and the 99% all at once. In other words, the rarely seen 100%. Price: 1% model, hands down. Coffee drinkers: well there’s the 99-ers. It’s fascinating. Why even bother creating a menu? Why spend money and time and energy and sanity constructing beverages that people will look at and go, it’s fine and all, but completely change the recipe and I’ll drink it? 

You order a chocolate chip frappuccino, sans chocolate chips, without milk, zero sugar, and instead of espresso a black coffee pour over. Pretty close. You order a vanilla latte, but skinny edition sans flavor, additives, anything besides water, and low-fat whipped cream. You order a caramel macchiato, but with ten pumps of chocolate, just a quarter pump of caramel, milk steamed at exactly 152.5 degrees for slight froth, but not too much, and a whipped cream. I don’t even know what I’m saying but these are all things I’ve heard while waiting in line for my cake pop. Honestly, I don’t care – estarbuckssos, you do you. What I do care about, is having my order become unnecessarily complicated because the employees forget normal words like water. I have to order liquid, pulled from the coldest, purest creeks in Chile with ice, hand carved by farmers in the Swiss Alps. And, of course, a perfectly moist, aerated, sugar dough covered with the finest colors at the end of the Lucky Charms rainbow and topped with tiny globes of crunch.

Alright, jumping off my pedestal for now. If you know someone who would enjoy this post and want to share it with them, that would be awesome. Sharing is caring, after all. Don’t forget to subscribe to get these in your inbox twice weekly and follow TRP on Twitter for frequent musings. Thanks for reading!


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IF MY DOG HAD A TINDER

My dog is single and that makes me happy because it means she gives all of her love to me. All day long she follows me around and will set up a nap spot in whatever room I also happen to be napping in. Or occasionally doing work in, but if I don’t have a video conference call, who really knows how I’m spending my time? Besides my bi-weekly progress report. Not going to lie, I’m here for this level of loyalty and attention. It’s like being worshipped, but by an animal who doesn’t know any better. To be fair, I was the one who rescued her from the animal shelter and am, what one would call, the fun parent so it’s not all that unrealistic to be treated like her savior. Who takes her on walks? That would be me! Who has no control when the puppy eyes come out and ends up putting more treats in her bowl than kibbles? Unashamed, this is also me! Who will pet her constantly because her fur is so silky smooth? Sí, ‘tis mwah! Who disciplines her? This, most definitely, is not me – she’s an angel and does no wrong!

I was today years old when I realized that maybe I’m the one who’s whipped in this scenario … my dog may secretly be an evil genius. Stroking my ego by acting like I’m her favorite because she knows I’ll give in. I’ve tried to hold out – once or twice, but it only lasts about two seconds before I make up excuses to justify my behavior. We must not feed her, she wouldn’t beg if she wasn’t starving. Duh. Clearly, she doesn’t think we love her so I must constantly pet her and give into her desire to go on a fifth walk today or she’ll leave for a family that does. Obviously.

Anywho … I clearly need to work on my will-power, but that is an adventure for another time. There’s a lot of dating app options on the market right now (for humans, anyways). Pollinate with the bees, jump into the fire of desire, get struck by Cupid’s virtual arrow – there is one for literally everyone. Some are very specific, some are very expensive, and some just provide an eclectic mix of options with a wide variety of endings. Despite all that we have access to, I feel the canine population is being underserved here. Not felines, they don’t love anything except themselves. Actually, I take that back, they would be perfect candidates for Grindr.

Dogs, however, are capable of experiencing emotions other than dissatisfaction and anger. They also tend to be socialized and know how to interact with other animals in a playful / friendly manner. And I, for one, think that if my dog had a Tinder, it would be comedic gold. My pupper loves everything. Except fruit, because deep down she is a weirdo. What dog doesn’t like apples? Or pineapple? Or bananas? Or strawberries? The worst part is that I’m an idiot and every morning think she’s magically grown out of her ‘I refuse to eat fruit phase’, so I give her some of mine. All those wasted raspberries make me sad. 

Alas, I digress. If you’ve never used Tinder and don’t have a real point of reference for what this would look like, I will enlighten you. You make a profile, add some cute pictures of yourself, or not, fill out a brief bio on you, or not, and then get thrown into the flaming hot pit of love. Or whatever it is you’re looking for. Swipe left if it’s a hard pass. Swipe right if you’re mildly interested and / or are looking for a confidence boost. Swipe up to super like someone. That is literally it. Swipe culture at its finest. Judgement being thrown around at scary speeds. 

Knowing what we all now know about Tinder (and it’s eternal flame of connection), let’s pause for a second and imagine what it would look like for the creatures we love the most in this world to join the movement. I lied, don’t do that. I’ve already brainstormed this extensively for the both of us. Before we continue further, let me provide some very basic, but essential pieces of background information:

  • My dog is a female (surely you’ve picked up on this by this point in the post, but *just* *in* *case* you skipped the first part I wanted to reiterate. Also, how dare you?! Go back to the beginning and read the whole post!)
  • My dog is beautiful. Now this may seem biased, but I have it on record from friends, neighbors, strangers on Twitter, etc. that she could be a *dogel without any effort. She is also low-key all about the spotlight and will pose for pictures
    (*Dogel = dog model)
  • My dog is the equivalent of a human lovebug – she’s a cuddler, she loves people, she loves other animals, she doesn’t like to be by herself, she would be a hardcore romantic, I’m convinced
  • My dog loves to exercise and, if we don’t play with her enough, she will play by herself because she also has extremely high confidence

Mmkay! That was super fun for all of us I’m sure (maybe me more than you, but no matter). Moving on to the good part. Let’s take this wonderful ball of fur and put her on the market! She obviously has an amazing gallery of photos to choose from since she will sit so still when the camera is on and make sure you get her good side. She won’t put all 9 possible options up, because she needs to leave a little mystery, but a solid 6 will do. Two self-portraits, two doing something she loves (one with her squeaky ball and one on a walk) and two with yours truly because we’re a package deal. Her bio would be personable, but also intriguing enough to make potential matches need to ask further questions. Something like:

Just a dog looking for a walk buddy so I can go on twice as many. Chasing you is my love language. Curious spirit and will sniff any hole in the ground, fellow living thing, or the same piece of carpet I’ve smelled for years just to see if something changed. Bonus points if you like apples

Now for the best part – get those paws ready – we get to see what deck of animals Tinder is about to shuffle for us. Cat? Like! Bird? Like! Fish? Meh, pass. Squirrel? Super Like! Hedgehog? Like! Centipede? Nope, nope. Snake? Why not, like! Bug? Not today. Dog? OH MY LORD! Is it … is it another one of me? Stop the freaking car! This is a thing? Super Like times a billion! 

Unfortunately, her attention span is less than that of a goldfish so there wouldn’t be much get to know you type of convos happening with all the matches. More like, I haven’t been on a walk in at least 10 minutes – you down? Or, my idiot humans put apples in my bowl again – if you come over in the next minute you can eat it. Or, you look familiar – did you bite my nose when I stuck it down the hole you live in the other day? Or, remember how I used to chase you around the yard? That was fun – I’m down if you can meet me at the driveway in 10 seconds.

Haha she would be a wild thing on there! She doesn’t take any BS and would either call them out or go straight ghost. Her shame levels are negative, I’m pretty sure. But she’s my shameless, confident, little cuddler and I’m not going to let any other human, pet, or reptile take her away from me. What would your pet’s bio look like? During your next work meeting is the best place to think about, at least, in my experience.

Alright, jumping off my pedestal for now. If you know someone who would enjoy this post and want to share it with them, that would be awesome. Sharing is caring, after all. Don’t forget to subscribe to get these in your inbox twice weekly and follow TRP on Twitter for frequent musings. Thanks for reading!


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DEAR BANK TELLERS: LET’S BOTH ACCEPT THAT I HAVE NO CLUE HOW TO FILL OUT THOSE SLIPS OF PAPER … PLEASE STOP ASKING IF I HAVE ONE

What a time to be alive. Smartwatches, self-driving cars, every restaurant available for delivery, no shame for laying on a couch all day to watch TV, Chewy Chip-Ahoy. So much progress. So much technology. So much innovation. So much delicious food. So many choices for which piece of paper to fill out when you walk into a bank. Did that entire sector of the economy miss the memo? Did no one tell them that it isn’t 1879 anymore? Why are they always the last ones to know … everytime?

For starters, how long did it take banks to get useful online applications up? Too long. How long did it take for banks to finally jump on the happy app train? Too long. How long did it take for banks to do everything in their power to have minimal interactions with customers? Well, this is to be determined since they still seem to love face to face awkward money conversations. Self service is the future. Why talk to an angry, or confused, customer on the phone when they could read an article, or talk to a robot, and figure it out themselves? Anyways, I digress. Back to what’s really important here, which is how confusing it is to write on paper at the bank. It’s the only time I actually write something that doesn’t involve a screen and a cursor.

Some financial institutes have graciously allowed app users to deposit checks via picture. Genius. One less interaction and one less stressful choice at the paper counter. Choosing a slip is somewhat almost kind of intuitive. They’re all different colors. Then it’s usually an educated guess based on the two words I know: deposit and withdrawal. One is exciting and the other is sad. When in doubt, go with the more positive choice. That’s the easy part, though. After you have carefully selected what you hope to be the right check-sized piece of paper, then you have to fill it out. Who knows their bank account number off the top of their head? I don’t even memorize phone numbers, you think I’m going to memorize my bank number? Hard pass. 

I used to try and be a good bank customer and put my numbers in the tiny boxes on the paper. A traumatizing experience that reminded me of proctored tests in school. You know, the super fun ones where they make you write your name, address, medical information, dreams, every time you’ve blinked, with each letter in a separate box the size of a period. But, then the impossible question of my bank account number stalls me so I would take my half-hearted attempt to the bank teller who would have to finish it for me. Then, like technology, I evolved and would pick the bank paper and just take it up without even trying. 

Now, however, I no longer care about what the bank tellers think of me. I don’t even glance at that table. It’s a straight up swerve. Right into line where I confidently stroll up and tell them what I need – they can figure out which piece of paper I need. That’s their job, right? Or part of their ‘other duties as assigned’ at the very least. If they wanted me to do it myself, why not let me do it online? Or on their app? Or via a chat bot? Or via telekinesis? So many options that don’t involve a bank teller judging my skills as an adult. It also seems like minimizing real life visits would reduce overhead. 

Why don’t they move all operations online, you may be wondering? I’ve been asking myself this for years. Even Capital One’s reinvented “cafes” are still banks. Just banks with iPads and chairs in them. Which begs the question, why can’t I use the iPad in my house, sitting in my own chair, and not put on pants to come to a building to conduct financial business? Sure, I get it. Some people prefer in person interactions. Well, I would prefer it if I could eat a whole pizza by myself and not receive four plates from the delivery driver like I’m going to share it. I would also like to receive a bank bonus for showing up in person, when so many people are able to avoid that. But, we can’t always get what we want, can we? 

Alright, jumping off my pedestal for now. If you know someone who would enjoy this post and want to share it with them, that would be awesome. Sharing is caring, after all. Don’t forget to subscribe to get these in your inbox twice weekly and follow TRP on Twitter for frequent musings. Thanks for reading!


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ALL OF MY THOUGHTS WAITING IN THE CHICK-FIL-A DRIVE-THRU LINE

Like a good Southerner, I understand that Chick-fil-A is part of the food pyramid. Not the whole base, but the second biggest tier for sure. Combined, of course, with Bojangles’ and their legendary sweet tea. In essence, people living south of Virginia are 50% chicken, 10% sweet tea, and 10% seasoned fries. The remaining 30% is gravy, banana pudding, and mac n’ cheese #math.

Since our sustenance relies heavily on the big red C, it’s imperative that I make regular appearances. Except on Sundays because the owners are clearly good southern christians and leave one day a week for home cooked meals at Grandma’s house. Unfortunately, I am not the only one living with this gratitude mindset. For all of the genius that is the CFA kitchen, their parking lot layouts leave a lot to be desired. Specifically the drive-thru portion of the design. Everyone, and their mothers, know that there is never a dead period at CFA. Everyone except the car space architects apparently.

It does not matter what time of day you get a hankering for waffle fries and magical chicken, there will be a full drive-thru line. 3:45PM on a Tuesday? Packed. 11:15AM on a Thursday? Can’t even get in the parking lot. Anytime before 10:30AM? Forget it! People will fight to get their Chick-n-Minis before the breakfast menu shuts down. They are also the only restaurant I know with an all day lunch rush. How is that even possible?! How is the whole world eating both an early, on time, and late lunch every day of the week every week of the year? That’s not possible. 

I’m sure we’ve all waited in a long drive-thru line before and been super thrilled about watching our gas efficiency rating drop consistently and trying to communicate with the employee through the high quality speaker system. How many times have you waited in a double drive-thru line? I don’t mean the supposedly more efficient double lane options. No, no. I mean the double line that occurs in the same way that you would draw a spiral. The drive-thru line is full and wraps all the way around the building. Um, what? Yes, you start in line near the speaker to order … but are the second to third layer of the circle. Is there anything more soul crushing when you’re hungry? No.

So clearly, as you can imagine, this line does not fall into the definition of fast food. It’s a slow burner. And time with your thoughts is a fun place to be. Well, fun may not be the right adjective. It’s an interesting place to be. My hungry thoughts are not on the same reading level as my well-fed thoughts. They get weird, they get abstract, they get confusing, they get twisted in circles (like the line I’m sitting in). It’s a black hole – one that I’m going to throw you into so you, too, can ponder these existential moments in my Chick-Fil-A waiting life:

  • Who taught the cows to spell? They didn’t do a good job
  • Who decided that the font should be a backwards foggy mirror attempt at writing?
  • Are CFA employees allowed to eat beef while at the office?
  • Does part of an employee’s non-compete contain information about dietary restrictions?
  • When will an employee be allowed to eat beef again?
  • Are all catered meals at corporate from CFA?
  • Has anyone ever pulled a prank and ordered Wendy’s or McDonald’s on “accident”?
  • Why was the chicken salad sandwich removed from the menu?
  • Why is there no option to supersize a meal? It could be the Fox option, get it
  • Is there a reason why sandwiches don’t come with a normal amount of pickles? What is so significant about two?
  • Is it a coincidence that the sun is always shining when I’m at CFA? No, it’s a sign from the heavens to eat mor chikin! (Side question: how did Google know to autocorrect that to the CFA version?! My mind just exploded)
  • Why were the color choices not orange? Like, you know, a chicken
  • How have I not moved at all?
  • If I use the app and place a mobile order while in the drive-thru, will I get my food faster? Spoiler: yes
  • Why is the peach milkshake not a year round treat? That’s the best option
  • Why do the cookies taste better when they’re catered?
  • How many times can an employee say ‘my pleasure’ before they explode?
  • How rapidly can I repeatedly say ‘thank you’ to test this out?
  • If the employees are taking my order, what is the point of moving through the line? Can they not also bring me the food?
  • Why is every parking lot so small? And tight? Neither is conducive for heavy drive-thru traffic
  • How many accidents happen each year in CFA parking lots? An acchickdent lol
  • Is there any way we could get a cow fence around the buildings? A normal fence with giant cutouts of the billboard cows? For full branding efforts
  • Do the billboard cows have names? If so, what are they?
  • How many free sandwiches are given away on Cow Appreciation Day?
  • Why don’t I own a full cow costume like a lot of the people here? Why do so many people own full cow costumes?
  • What if I had grown up in the North and not known about the mouth party that is CFA? The horror
  • How am I only one car closer to the goal?!

That feels like a sufficient share. Feel free to traverse that thought train at your own pace. Dive deeper into your feelings if you need to. Don’t if your care level for these questions is negative. You do you, but whatever path you decide, it’s better with a Chick-Fil-A sandwich and waffle fries. What drive-thru thoughts do you have while waiting to relieve the hangriness?

Alright, jumping off my pedestal for now. If you know someone who would enjoy this post and want to share it with them, that would be awesome. Sharing is caring, after all. Don’t forget to subscribe to get these in your inbox twice weekly and follow TRP on Twitter for frequent musings. Thanks for reading!


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TINY HOUSE, MIGHTY PROBLEMS

Good things come in small packages. Heard that inspiration before? I can see how in some situations this is applicable and would be a fun, everything will work out, sign. In other situations, however, this feels like anti-logic. Rather unhelpful. Because sometimes good things come in big packages. Take space, for example. The more space you have, the more space you fill up … but the less space you have, the less amount of essentials you have. 

Space is super prevalent in a lot of scenarios. Housing, the office, a car trunk, the refrigerator, any public place in the world currently. Imagine if you voluntarily took your current fridge space and cut it down to about a tenth of the size. Sounds a bit irresponsible – where is all of your cookie dough going to go? What about all the orange juice and champagne? How will you keep cheese sticks? Sacrifices will have to be made. So long produce. Adios dairy products. It’s been real lunch meat. If the thought of having to restrict the amount of refrigerated goods you can keep at any given time doesn’t make you sad, I can honestly say that we have very different priorities in life.

What about the amount of trunk space in your vehicle? Some cars only come with enough space to hold all of one backpack. On purpose. And some people buy these cars knowing that a “trunk” feature is basically a lie. On purpose. I have a lot of questions about how one is able to survive life without a trunk, but those are good questions for another time. For all the normal people in the world, a trunk is a necessity. It’s where you can hide your valuables on vacation. It’s also a great place to put suitcases for a road trip. Believe it or not, it’s also incredibly handy when shopping. For food, or clothes, or home improvement project supplies, or plants, or sporting equipment, etc. 

I, for one, would not know what to do if I woke up tomorrow and my trunk had disappeared. Well, more accurately, my trunk and the backseat of my car. Where would I put my golf clubs?! How could I ever take another trip to Total Wine?! So much panic. And yet, the tiny house market is still a thing. Tiny houses look a lot like a shed. I think, though, that they’re smaller. What does one keep in a shed? Extra items that don’t fit between the house and the garage. What does one keep in a tiny house? Everything they own. Wait, wait, wait. In one version, it’s more of extra storage and in the other version it’s the whole storage limit? How does that work?

If you’re also confused, it’s not just you. The need to downsize makes sense. Personally, my collection of things has gotten a tad out of hand. But it would basically be impossible for me to downsize to the tiny house point. In the same square footage as my current bedroom, I would have a kitchen, a bathroom, a bedroom, and a living / dining area. What actually … is that possible? What if you were cooking fish? Then you would smell it in your dreams because less space means less room for disbursement. Or if you made a Taco Bell run after work. Oh boy, that’s another time when you’d be praying for higher ceilings. 

Imagine trying to have friends over. You could have two, max. So it would be like russian roulette – who do you like the best out of your friend group? They get to come over and nobody else. Don’t even get me started on trying to live there as a couple. If you had a disagreement, where would you go for space? The front porch? All of five feet away from the back porch where your significant other is taking time to themselves? That seems like a recipe for disaster. I guess what I’m confused about, is how much is too much when it comes to decluttering? Reduce your footprint by reducing your space, your sanity, and everything you’ve ever loved. That seems like a hard line between acceptable and a bit unhinged. But what do I know? I currently take up an entire master closet by myself. Space sharing is not really one of my better features. Alas, I also have a stress shopping problem so which issue needs to be addressed first? I like option C, neither – all is fine. I’m fine. You’re fine. Anyone not in a tiny house is fine.

Alright, jumping off my pedestal for now. If you know someone who would enjoy this post and want to share it with them, that would be awesome. Sharing is caring, after all. Don’t forget to subscribe to get these in your inbox twice weekly and follow TRP on Twitter for frequent musings. Thanks for reading!


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CHEERS TO THE RED, WHITE, AND BLUE

Drinking and fire is a combination. Not an ideal one, but one nonetheless. Probably because alcohol and confidence go hand in hand. I have found, though, that confidence and cockiness often get confused and I think the real issue is that alcohol and cockiness go hand in hand (more on that dilemma in THIS POST). Enter the 4th of July. America’s Independence Day. Which, at some point, was probably a historical celebration. I’m not sure when that changed, but now it’s a bonus day off work and yet another excuse to drink (because who doesn’t need another one of those?!).

Official, and unofficial, drinking holidays are essentially the modern calendar. A millennial edition, so to speak. When you know that a giant cookout themed with the American flag, and its respective colors, is this weekend, you understand exactly where you’re at in the year. No question. Beginning of July. Over halfway to Christmas. One month into summer. One month until school starts … but not for me because I’ve crossed into the “adult” realm and have, wait for it, another month of work. Three months until Fall starts, which is obviously the best season of the year. Since alcohol usually leads to a fall at some point. Thus, more drinking!

And obviously, once one has started drinking, the pack mentality kicks in, and everyone else follows. Unless you’re at a party with children, in which case, some are allowed to have fun and others are stuck “parenting”. This brings one main question into my mind, which, of course, is was there no babysitter available? If not, is there no allowance-dependent pre-teen in attendance who would gladly take your money to sit in the same rooms as the children and watch TikToks all night? Because I feel like the latter is always a great bailout. 

Thanks to Heineken, everyone can drink, but not all drinks have alcohol. And this is perfect for Independence Day. Specifically for the designated person, or group of people, known as the fireworks lighter. Because, have you ever considered that maybe the person in charge of lighting the fireworks should not be the same one holding an open beverage? Seems like an interesting decision. I’m not really a fire fan in general so I definitely don’t trust others with flames. Especially when I don’t know the sobriety levels of said individual(s).  

No matter, though, fireworks are but a small portion of our celebratory weeks / weekends. An optional one. Sometimes an illegal one. The main draw here is clearly the ridiculous use of American themed decorations. You can buy anything in the flag pattern. And I do mean anything. Feel free to use your imagination on some of the most extravagant, questionable, straight up weird, items and I guarantee they come themed specifically for this day. Flag leis, flag solo cups, flag swimsuits since it is summer after all and clothing is not mandatory, but masks are. Luckily you can also get themed masks.

Never has there been a holiday where the Red Solo Cup is a more appropriate addition, or acceptable drinkware. Outside of anything planned / scheduled prior to your quarter-life mark. That’s one of three colors done automatically, if you’re opting to decorate sans actual flag decorations. A chance to flex your creative side. Which just leaves blue and white to round out the festive atmosphere you’re trying to create. If you happen to be attending a celebration on some sort of water, blue is in the bag as well. If not, will there be clear skies? Still no? You’ll have to get creative with one of the food dishes, or table accessories. White is the same color as napkins so as long as you’re not treating guests like cavemen, a third strike! 

If this sounds like any weekend at the lake, day at the beach, party at your friend’s house, that’s because it probably is very similar. The only real difference is a free PTO day with which to either recover, or pre-game. In other words, we love Independence Day so much we celebrate it constantly. Year round to be exact. Sometimes we swap the flag for pumpkins, or trees, or hearts, but deep down we’re still celebrating the same thing. Freedom. 

Alright, jumping off my pedestal for now. If you know someone who would enjoy this post and want to share it with them, that would be awesome. Sharing is caring, after all. Don’t forget to subscribe to get these in your inbox twice weekly and follow TRP on Twitter for frequent musings. Thanks for reading!


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CONFIDENCE V. COCKINESS – THE STORY OF A FINE LINE

Everyone strives to be confident in life. The feeling where you are self-assured and nothing can get to you. How you dress, how you act, what you do, what you eat, how much you eat, how little you work out, what your hobbies are, who your friends are – everything. Is that person throwing the side-eye and definitely hard core judging you? You don’t care. You’re cool as a cucumber. Fly as a butterfly. Stinging like a bee. Swiping like a boss. It’s sexy. It’s healthy. It’s strong. It’s a good way to be successful … well, at least according to Hollywood.

Sometimes, though, very unfortunately, confidence crosses the line into an entirely different territory known as cockiness. Now, I understand how this is confusing to people. Both start with a ‘co’, both have 9 letters, both have 3 syllables, both have kind of similar letters, both inflate your ego to where you wake up and love seeing who’s staring back at you in the mirror, both kind of sound the if you say them quick enough for an extended period of time. 

As a blogger, I feel a need to educate the public on the symptoms, treatment, and prevention of cockiness to keep everyone in the happy, healthy, goal-attaining place that is confidence. Let’s start with the symptoms. How can you tell if someone has crossed the threshold into cockiness? Well, for starters, they’ll tell you all about it. How great they are, how beautiful they are, what they do for work, what they’ve got going for them, how everyone wants them, how the world simply doesn’t see their potential, etc. Then, they’ll walk away mid-convo because you aren’t worth their time anymore. Sound like someone you know? Is that someone you? Don’t worry, there are treatment options.

If you, or a loved one, or a random stranger who approached you, are experiencing the above symptoms, here are the (unofficial, and not scientifically, or medically, backed) treatment options. The most recommended one is to simply remove all sources of arrogance and conceitedness by deflating the ego. One can be creative here, but verbal cues that a cocky person is not who they think they are tend to be effective. However, you will need examples to back this up. ‘No, you don’t have a music deal about to come through because you have never once recorded anything.’ ‘I understand that everyone wants you, but somehow you blow up my phone every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights because you’re bored.’ ‘Oh, that makes sense, you were the greatest pole vaulter in school history. Except that the team cut you on the first day for not attending tryouts.’ Adjust to match your specific situation.

Another option is to encourage said person to help others. Volunteering, seeing the world in a new light, being helpful towards other human beings in a way that doesn’t involve talking about yourself, all can help soften a heart and open the eyes. Help someone to help yourself. If they are highly against doing some volunteer work or community service, Jesus is always a solid option as well.

If the above treatment options don’t work, you can pretend to get on their level and attempt to out-cocky them. A word of caution, though, once you reach that level for an extended period of time you could become confused on what’s happening to you and also turn into a meathead. Hopefully there are people who care about you and can bring you back to reality.

Finally, prevention. This sounds like something everyone should avoid so how can we prevent it in ourselves? Listen before speaking. Think before speaking. Try targeting what’s in your head at yourself and see if you receive it well, before speaking. Care about others. But, like, actually care. If someone is feeling some type of way, be there for them, listen to what they’re struggling with, and sympathize with that. All the while, not caring if it means you have to miss out on another party. Funny thing about preventing cockiness, is you’ll probably pick up that confidence along the way. You’ll trust yourself and the decisions you make. That is essentially the condensed Google definition so I don’t know what other evidence you need.

Alright, jumping off my pedestal for now. If you know someone who is experiencing the devastating symptoms of cockiness, pass this along and they can reach out if they don’t agree. If you yourself are concerned about falling into the black hole, follow the prevention methods and you’ll be golden. Thanks for reading!


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WHAT DO COVID AND VOLDEMORT HAVE IN COMMON?

Unless you’ve been living underground for the past six-ish months, more than likely you’re aware about the pandemic happening throughout the world. COVID-19. Coronavirus, if it’s feeling fancy. There’s a lot to be said about how our lives are being changed daily in response to the incredibly rapid spread of the ‘Rona, but I’m not super interested in the facts or political aspect of it at the moment. Like most people, it’s been on my mind a lot. Unlike most people, I’ve been trying to find how it’s different from Voldemort and have been wildly unsuccessful.

When you really put some thought into it, I think that you too will be left unconvinced that this is not the magical moment Harry Potter fans have been waiting for since 1997. Magic in the muggle world. And with that, the possibility that you, or me, are secretly wizards about to receive our Hogwarts summoning. Some of you may already own wands, robes, and house colors. Like any good wizard trapped in a muggle body, though, you are well aware that your love for a certain color combination gives you zero preference with the sorting hat. I would venture that some of you need to brace yourselves for that reality.

How to become a wizard is a fun discussion topic and one that I, obviously, have a lot of thoughts and questions on. But, unfortunately, today is not the day to jump on that train. No, we are here to examine cold hard facts that our suffering is being caused by You-Know-Who. Is it really so hard to believe that this would be his next choice of form? What is dead may never die (thank you GAME OF THRONES for teaching us that lesson) and clearly his soul has been dead for a long, long, long time. Besides, of all ways to finally kill Harry Potter, this seems like the most unsuspecting and overall destructive. 

Ok! Enough with the build-up – what do COVID and Voldemort have in common? Aliases, choice in profession, hobbies, relationship status, adaptability, reputation, and personality. As we do here at TRP, let’s break those down for clarity:

Aliases

This feels like a good starting point, because it’s obvious. Voldemort and COVID are nicknames. Tom Marvolo Riddle and Coronavirus are their given names. He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named and ‘Rona are how they’re mostly known by those with no personal connection. And of course, one is You-Know-Who while the other is You-Know-What.

Choice in Profession

Voldemort’s profession is hunting Harry Potter and anyone who stands in his way. COVID’s profession is also hunting Harry Potter and anyone who stands in its way. In other words, what they do does not come from a college degree. It comes from having no soul or empathy.

Hobbies

Master death and become immortal. One of the two has successfully achieved this and it isn’t a supposedly fictional character. Coincidence? No, I think it was just a matter of time before the Dark Arts progressed enough to get on this level. Thus, we have Tommy Boy in tiny virus form everywhere.

Relationship Status

If hearing that everyone’s favorite noseless monster is single surprises you, I’m deeply concerned about your ability to read other people. I would venture to say that Corona is also not the romantic type and tends to fly solo, stealing love from others.

Adaptability

Voldemort has taken on many forms so who are we to deny the most current one being a deadly, highly contagious, virus. COVID has been disturbingly adaptable to all methods of prevention and treatment. Only a monster would keep switching things up to avoid being put down. And we all know that Voldemort is a monster.

Reputation

For the wizarding world, He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named is infamous and known by everyone, but not in a popular way. More of a fear-instilling, stay far, far away, type. For the muggle world, we all know that not even limes can make Corona better and are not thrilled about its persistence.

Personality

Tom clearly suffers from a lack of a soul, or I guess, technically, a damaged soul. I believe that COVID has no soul. Which, clearly means that Tom has finally split his soul so many times seeking immortality that it has been destroyed. Also, from a visual standpoint, a very closeup image of a ‘Rona virus has the same “skin” color as Voldemort and red “eyes”, like Voldemort. Plus interacting with either one of them is basically a death sentence so all the signs match up.

If you’re still on the fence, you must not know who Voldemort is. This connection is so obvious. Or … oh my. I hate to be the one to break this to you, but you’re a muggle. That is the only logical explanation. Us wizards are able to see what’s happening because we have the gift of sensing when evil is around us. Don’t worry, though, sometimes ignorance is bliss. Just watch out for the death eaters: coughing, shortness of breath, and fever. 

Alright, jumping off my pedestal for now. If you know someone who would enjoy this post and want to share it with them, that would be awesome. Sharing is caring, after all. Don’t forget to subscribe to get these in your inbox twice weekly and follow TRP on Twitter for frequent musings. Thanks for reading!


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ROLLING UP IN SWEATS BECAUSE THAT’S JUST WHERE I’M AT IN LIFE

I’m not sure why we didn’t make loungewear first and then decide to boycott all other forms of clothing. If the Victorian era folk could only see us now, they would be speechless – either from our choices in fashion or because their corset’s were too tight, maybe both. They’re probably rolling over in their graves. Women who don’t wear dresses that turn them from a normal, healthy size, into a quadruple 0 everyday? Blasphemy! Men who don’t wear three piece suits just to go walk around outside? Sacrilegious! Children who wear onesies? Adults who wear onesies? Loose fitting clothing? Oh my heavens, it’s the apocalypse for sure!

Meanwhile, I don’t remember the last time I wore real pants. You know, like jeans. Clearly doing my best to court a suitor in these outfits – sweats and t-shirts. My sneakers are always the most polished part of my outfit, like a true millennial. Working from home, or not, my sneakers better be clean and they better match the rest of my outfit. I take pride in that, kind of like how men used to take pride in their top hats. Don’t touch my sneakers! The only downfall to having a great sneaker collection, is having to wear non-sneakers to work. This is a problem. For starters, what difference would it make? I’m not client-facing – throw me in the back room and let me wear some comfortable shoes. Sneakers feel more versatile and also have much more personality than run of the mill “dress” shoes. Anyone can rock black and brown, but not everyone can rock teal and pink. Just saying, it’s a gift. 

They’re also easier to run in for all the times that your favorite food truck is about to close up shop. Or for when you’re about to miss the bus because somehow the alarm clock decided (all by itself) to snooze seventeen times, which is weird – AI has gone to a whole new level. While we’re at it, if I don’t have to wear real shoes, then I should be able to apply those principles to my whole outfit. Pretty sure a smart person once said that comfort leads to productivity … or motivation … or nicer human beings in general … or to more appropriate lunch servings (because comfort clothes are stretchy!). I might be thinking of a binge-watching marathon. Anyone can be a binge-watching pro – I talk all about how to crush your next couch day in THIS POST.

No matter, I have lost all shame for my choice of outfits. Oh, we’re going to the grocery store? Sweatpants and a hoodie. It’s time for a doctor’s appointment? Sweatpants and a t-shirt (for easy access to the blood pressure machine – have to stay thoughtful). Do I want to go shopping? Definitely! Joggers and a hoodie for that upscale comfort. You better believe by date 3 the sweats have come out and will most likely stay out. It is what it is. Not trying to set false expectations for the long-term. It looks a lot like this: sweatpants, sweatpants, running shorts, joggers, leggings, sweatpants, running shorts, joggers, jeans (what! I know it happens once in a blue moon), leggings, etc. I couldn’t even tell you the last time I wore a pair of khakis if that gives you any indication of my current life crisis mood (the life crisis struggle is too real – you can read more about the various stages in THIS POST). It was definitely pre COVID-19. 

Some of you are probably wondering why? Why do millennials insist on dressing like a gym locker room? Plenty of reasons. Mainly because it allows you to sit in the MOST comfortable positions without any concern for rippings your pants. Also because it instills a mindset of exercise. At any moment I could bust out some push-ups, or lunges, or go for a run. Who knows? You gotta go with the flow of the day sometimes. Usually that exercise flow hits hard after I eat the whole package of Oreos … again … for the third straight day … and my brain is like STOP IT! Have some control, you animal.

It also feels like freedom. Yes, I’m going to work, but in my loungewear … so is it really work, or is it my choice to do some things today? Because it feels more like my choice. The real reason, though, is so that when we do dress like the adults we pretend to be, everyone notices. And I do mean everyone. Strangers, your relatives who live in a different state, the neighbor’s cat (who never once tried to be nice to me, but all of a sudden I bust out the black jeans and they want to rub their white fur all over my calves), the weather (oh, you wanted to look nice? Here’s some pouring rain and high winds … you’re welcome), your boss (who thinks you might be an interviewee, they’re so confused), and most importantly the bartender (free drinks?! For wearing jeans?! I should do this more often).

Regardless of your personal style choice, own it. Clearly mine is the latest catwalk fashions. In my mind anyways, in reality it’s a bunch of workout clothes and some killer sneakers to tie it all together. That’s just where I am in life and I’m owning it for sure.

Alright, jumping off my pedestal for now. If you know someone who would enjoy this post and want to share it with them, that would be awesome. Sharing is caring, after all. Don’t forget to subscribe to get these in your inbox twice weekly and follow TRP on Twitter for frequent musings. Thanks for reading!


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PSA: YIELD SIGNS AND STOP SIGNS ARE NOT THE SAME

There is nothing that irks me more than bad drivers. I can’t stress that sentence enough: bad drivers are my pet peeve! The reason I scream at my windshield and take my hands off the wheel to throw them up in frustration. The reason I usually show up at work stressed out (ok, this may be somewhat related to other circumstances … like the fact that I’m driving to work), but you get the point. I’m always amazed at how the overall quality of driving seems to decrease overnight. Every. Freaking. Night. Has the driving test gotten easier to pass? Is it now a pay-to-drive scheme where you just have to show up with cash and the person at the DMV is like ‘OK, let’s take your picture – you have 3 hours for that right?’.

I’m not going to say how many years it has been since I took the driving test, but for fun let’s say enough for my parent’s car insurance to drop down and they no longer have to sell their souls so I can drive. I almost failed my driving test before I left the parking lot because the radio was on and that is “distracting”. Literally turned the car on and the employee gave me this how dare you look and said ‘Really?! That’s how you want to start this test?!’. Being the clueless, snarky, idiot that I was, I replied, ‘Well, it’s hard to drive without turning the car on’. Which technically, is very true, but I should have known better and just brown-nosed it because my freedom (from having to be driven everywhere) was now in this (angry) employee’s hands. As you can imagine, it was a stressful drive and my every move was criticized. At one point when turning left, I looked left first, then right … is that incorrect? Not sure, but apparently it was that day.

Anyways, I digress. I have a lot of thoughts on the stupid things some drivers do, however, today I want to just put it out to the world that yield signs and stop signs are not the same thing. At all. In fact, they serve very different purposes. Let’s start with the obvious, one is an octagon that says STOP and the other is a triangle that says YIELD. That alone should be enough, but unfortunately, it is not so let’s go a little deeper.

The STOP sign (with 8 sides, remember from up there?) is where you have to come to a complete stop – wheels aren’t moving. You can safely look both ways and then proceed from 0 MPH as you please. Funny how people usually forget the one action item here, which, of course is to STOP! As much as I enjoy that moment of panic when I’m driving by a stop sign and the other car decides to read stop as roll (this isn’t a fire drill – it’s just stop, there is no drop, and there is definitely no roll), I much prefer the relief that comes with someone fully stopped and not moving at all. What does it say about drivers, though, that I now expect people to roll and get pleasantly surprised when someone doesn’t? I mean, in their defense, stop and roll both have four letters and both have an o in the middle(ish) of the word. So, yes, I guess I could see how that would be super confusing. If only the sign was clearer.

Now that we are through the complicatedness that is a stop sign, prepare yourself, because we are about to look at the YIELD sign. Unlike the stop sign, you do not have to stop at a yield sign if no one is coming. There’s a lot to break down here, so let’s start with part numero uno. I realize that the sign is red (like a stop sign) and has a similar shape being a triangle (almost like an octagon, just with 5 fewer sides), but you do not have to stop! In fact, people aren’t expecting you to stop, so when you do, someone has to slam on their brakes to avoid hitting your selfish rear-end. Look at it this way, stopping at a yield sign is basically the same thing as deciding to stop in the middle of the freaking road. Which is not safe driving!

But wait, there’s more to this epidemic: you don’t have to stop, IF NO ONE IS COMING. In other words, if someone is coming, you do not have the right of way and you have to stop. I realize this is very confusing for people – maybe that’s why they stop at all of them? Fewer things to remember. Keeping it simple, stupid as that is. Deciding to merge full speed into traffic is rarely a good idea and I do not recommend it. Especially if I am the driver with the right of way. Those people are the reason I have to constantly know who’s in the lane next to me, who’s behind me, etc. so I can know if I have an escape swerve option or not. Them and also the safe rules of driving.

Alright, jumping off my pedestal for now. If someone you know is suffering from stopield confusion then, by all means, share this post with them and help get them back to leading a normal, safe driving lifestyle. Thanks for reading!


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