Do you even post, bro?

It seems like February has come and gone in a crazy blur of friends, family, and new experiences. I think the pictures do a better job at showing what all happened than I can writing it down in a post, but the links to the photosets are HERE for the entire month of February and HERE for the Kyary Pamyu Pamyu (J-Pop artist) concert. And now it’s late March? Dafuq.

Ok, so the wedding is a little over a month away as those of you reading this can tell by the infrequent posts I make on social media being all about the wedding planning — Sorry about that btw. Next month is when everything will finally start clicking and it will look like there is actually a wedding about to happen. There is a craft weekend in the works where I will be spending the weekend visiting with Nikita in order to make bouquets, centerpieces, and lord knows what else. Which is awesome because she’s super gifted with the creative stuff and I…well, I can follow instructions. She’s also been helping me a ton finding stuff that will make the wedding look nice while staying within budget. I’ll be snapping pictures of the process and posting it up on my Flickr or on Facebook (because let’s face it, sometimes clicking a link is hard). Anyways! The next couple of weeks will be spent working with Martin to nail down how we want the ceremony to progress as well as work on our vows. I’m trying to think of something creative for the wedding programs and *just* figured out what we’re going to do for a rehearsal dinner. We are thinking of having a pizza party on the terrace while walking through the details of the ceremony during the rehearsal. This should work out well since it will be a Thursday night and the in-town people who will be there will most likely be coming straight after work. Also, it’s easy to get something that everyone can eat (I can always do a salad or eat beforehand).

Non-wedding related stuff! We’re moving to Issaquah at the end of the month and are super stoked about it. We are minutes (walking and driving distance) from Cougar, Tiger, and Squak Mountains while also being *considerably* closer to work. The new apartment is a lot nicer and also slightly bigger than our current apartment. It’s a hike in rent, but not so much that it should impact our ability to save for a down payment on a house. I’ll be taking pictures of the area as we get settled in to the new place along with some pictures of the neighborhood.

I recently got over a really nasty bout of the flu that’s been going around and am trying to get back into the habit of 10k+ steps a day. Especially since killface is being a jerkface about his high step count (using treadmill desks is totally cheating, btw). The new place also has a decent set of weights and machines in the gym, so I’m going to start lifting. If anyone has recommendations on how to start out with lifting, it’d be much appreciated. I love hearing what works for different folks and I have already been following what Len, killface, and (ish) Dave Marcus have been doing. Although it seems kind of random to me at sometimes.

Being back on paleo has been amazing. My attention span has increased significantly and I’m starting to get my energy back. I still get some really bad cravings, but I am getting better at ignoring them instead of giving in. That’s been a real sonuvabitch. I also just started reading “Grain Brain” and it’s pretty interesting how it ties our diet to brain health. And by interesting I mean “OH MY GOD, THROW OUT ALL THE THINGS”. I’m kidding, mostly…..Mostly.

So, that’s about it as far as an overall update goes. I’ve sketched out a morning/evening routine that I started following today. One of them involves drafting out a post one day and posting it the next. Let’s see how that works out. :-)

Week 1 of starting over and general update

Today is the end of what I would consider a pretty successful week of getting my eating habits back under control. This is ignoring the fact that tomorrow is actually the end of the first week of the meal plan. Anyways…We made our meal plan on Friday and then went grocery shopping. We did a pretty good job sticking to it and the meals were as follows:

Breakfast was paleo-friendly “n’oatmeal” [Recipe here]
Lunch was 2 oz of sundried tomato turkey breast (sliced), 1 oz of Cabot horseradish cheddar, and 1 small red apple
Dinners:
Sunday – Spicy ground beef on top of roasted sweet potato (we used kale instead of the chard listed in the recipe)
Monday – Stuffed bell pepper
Tuesday – Indian stir fried rice with cauliflower
Wednesday – Paleo orange chicken
Thursday – Chili
Friday – Chili dogs
Saturday – Seared chicken thighs over puree cauliflower

I also started to get a little more active, averaging about 6,000-8,000 a day during the week. Sleep has been kind off a back and forth thing. I’ve started to feel sleepy during the mid-afternoon, but I’m starting to suspect that this is just part of the “cleansing” process and I should be fine in the next week or so. I’ve been waking up less often during the night (according to the Fitbit) as well as have been getting more sleep.

On a not-health-related front, tomorrow @sunshineguinn lands in Seattle and will be staying with M and I. We’ve been friends since middle school and I’ve really missed her since moving out to Seattle (I’m originally from the Tampa Bay area). I can’t wait to not only have her in the area, but as a roomie. I know it may sound weird that we’re getting a roomie right before we get married, but the three of us get along well and it will be helpful to all three of us in the short and long run. We’ve been talking about/planning for this for a while now so to have it finally happen is so exciting!

It will be an especially full house starting in the middle of February. My little sister will be coming up to visit for two weeks in order to help with a little bit of the wedding planning as well as shopping for bridesmaid dresses. I think it’s her first time visiting somewhere in the US that isn’t in the south, so I’m hoping to get her drunk on the thought of moving up here as well. It’s all part of my evil plan to move my favorite family members and friends up here. ;D

Starting From Scratch…Again

Despite my transitioning to the paleo diet during the second half of 2012 and having really good results (not just losing about 50 pounds, but my enegy levels, mood and sleeping habits improved dramatically), I faltered around the holidays and have spent most of 2013 half-halfheartedly trying to “get back on track”.

I would like to blame starting my new job as a consultant combined with the stress of the holidays for my failure to “get back on the wagon”, but that would be wrong. I stopped because I got lazy and it was easy not to make special requests at client/work lunches. To go and get a crazy, sugar- and syrup-filled espresso seemed a lot more enticing and… normal to drink instead of my (before then) usual grande drip with agave. And then, as the year went on it was even *easier* to keep it up and I became less and less inclined to restart. Even when I think “oh crap, I’m getting married in less than x months”, I kind of push myself even *further* away from dieting because I get pissed off at the thought of “how a bride SHOULD look at her wedding”. And so on.

Anyways, after a year of being left to my own devices (and excuses) I find myself re-gaining half of the weight I lost as well as feeling constantly tired, hungry at random @$$ hours of the day (even/especially after I just eat), and just feel…blah. It’s a load of crap and I’m done. My birthday present to myself is starting from square one of my original plan to be healthy in order to be happy with myself.

I worked with M on a meal plan for the next week (our meal plans go from Sunday to Saturday) that involves nothing but clean, simple eating-all items on the menu are Whole30 approved. I’m going to spend today and tomorrow dusting off the books that I first read when transitioning into the paleo lifestyle and make clear, actionable goals for myself. Then I will report the progress of them on here. Also, I’ll be posting my meal plans/workouts here in order to keep myself accountable (even if no one ends up reading them). Failing at the rate I did last year is not an option, but if I slip I will bounce back right away (I was guilty of often going “well, today’s ruined technically so I’ll be a little bad and just start tomorrow”).

My first work-related challenge will be going to training at the end of February. They provide gluten-free foods, but that is usually a sandwich on gluten free bread or gluten free pizza. If anyone has recommendations for paleo-friendly eating in training/traveling situations, I’m all ears and would appreciate any help.

Brain dump

I’ve been pretty low-key as far as being social online goes recently. For the past month or so, I had no need or want to be online after getting home from work (the new 3DS may have something to do with that) and then I took a week and a half off from work in order to get stuff done around the apartment.

There have been some pretty big and just interesting developments, though. This past month, I bought a new car for the first time. My first vehicle was my dad’s Toyota Tundra 4×7 and I used that until I did something stupid and lost the right to borrow it from him. The second was a Ford Escort that I got for $500 from a friend and it died in less than a year of me receiving it. I have mostly relied on using public transportation, but recently found the need for a car of my own instead of intermittently asking Martin if I could borrow his. It’s probably one of the most “adult” things I’ve done and it is kind of exciting and nerve-wrecking. Exciting because I have this shiny, new thing and it’s all mine. Nerve-wrecking because it’s a bunch of debt and could be destroyed by some random asshat. Anyways…

The past week and a half I’ve been on a “staycation”. I got a ton of cleaning and reorganizing done around the apartment, donated stuff that had just been sitting in one of the closets for at least a year, and did some wedding planning. Martin and I finalized the guest list, created a general timeline for the ceremony and reception, did seating/table arrangement planning, and agreed on wording for the invitations in the design we both liked. It’s crazy to think that we’ll be married in five months, but I’m very excited for it to happen. There was some bouncing around of ideas when it came to where we wanted to do our honeymoon, but I think that we have that finalized as well (Florida). We’ve done all the registering we plan on doing (Bed, Bath, & Beyond as well as Amazon) and are starting to work on getting the bridal party to look at and purchase the clothes they’re going to wear to the wedding. I’ll also be going to a salon to figure out hair and makeup, which should be intersting since I don’t really spend much time on either.

On the professional/career-development front, I got a promotion at work and am now a Senior Consultant. I’m starting to do research on admission requirements for schools in order to get my MBA. It’s not a requirement for further promotion at this company, but I think that it would be a good idea to get some general business knowledge that could help me later on in my career. I want to keep up with learning technical stuff, but I think to invest solely in that would be a bad idea. I’m also starting research on a project that I’ve had in the back of my mind for the past year or so. It involves some hardware and coding (both being varying degrees of new areas for me), but it’s something that means a lot to me and I think could do some good. Once I have the idea fleshed out more fully (or at least have a written set of requirements), I’ll most likely post something on here in order to ask for help with the project.

I’m also currently struggling with the idea of not going to any infosec cons this year (or at least, none that I pay for out of pocket). I’m already set on not going to any before May (the wedding is in May and our lease is up in April). We are planning on renting a house in a nicer part of Puget Sound. Adding this to the cost of the new car and the plan to go to business school just doesn’t leave a lot of time or money for cons. The idea of missing even one of the “regular” cons I go to is pretty painful. I love my hacker family/friends dearly and spending time with them and learning new stuff at cons (either talks or hallwaycon) are very important to me. I just think that it may be better to take time off to attend to my newly formed family and focus on interpersonal development. Nothing is decided completely yet and if I can go as part of work, I’ll sure as hell jump at the chance to go. But if I do decide to forego cons for the entire year, I’ll still arrange hacker family dinners for the cons I would otherwise do as well as try to be the Seattle hacker “welcome wagon” for visiting hackers. Seriously, if you’re ever in the area let me know. I really enjoy getting together with out-of-towners, even more so since if I’m not at cons.

2013 Goal Review and 2014 Goals

This year seemed to fly by super quickly. It felt that I had just posted about my goals and the happiness project I attempted (and finished. It didn’t really have the outcomes that I was expecting and having something so strict just didn’t work out for me). So without further ado, let’s see how I did on this year’s goals:

  • Train for and complete a 5k by the end of the year. – Didn’t do it. I have added it to the goal list for 2014, though.
  • Limit myself to no more than 2 cups of coffee a day. - I now have one cup of coffee a day. Still working on cutting the stuff that I put in it since I don’t really want to cut it altogether. I really enjoy the taste of coffee in the morning.
  • Make a workout schedule that doesn’t revolve around a gym. Yeah, that didn’t happen yet either. Working on it for the rest of the month going into next year, though.
  • Buy better quality meats regularly.
  • Make gifts/cards this year. Yeah, this totally fell by the wayside and added to next year…
  • Decorate the apartment to properly reflect us. Of course we started decorating the year we decide we don’t want to renew our lease. heh…
  • Write regularly. Also added below
  • Take more pictures. Ditto
  • Finish all of Terry Pratchett’s “Discworld” novels. 9 more left! I have a week off from work coming up so you can guess what I’ll be doing.
  • Go through clothes quarterly. Not quarterly, but still got rid of lots of old clothes.
  • Filing system. Nope, didn’t happen. I’m hoping to have an office in the new place, which will house a filing cabinet.
  • Get rid of junk.I have this planned for the week off I have coming up. I want to pare down all the extra “stuff” we have and don’t want to move.
    Set up calendar reminders for certain tasks and act on them. Still struggle with this sometimes, but at least I do it.

Ok, so since that’s out of the way…onward to 2014 goals! Since I’m feeling particularly gimmicky this afternoon, I think I’m going to do 14 goals for 2014.

  • Have no debt that can be correlated to the wedding/honeymoon after you get back from the honeymoon.
  • Take classes to boost my GPA to over a 3.0 (currently a 2.7) so I can get into a decent MBA program.
  • Get my CISSP (dun dun duuuuuun)
  • Study for and take my GMAT
  • Keep up with the InfoSec Book Club all year
  • Arrange 10 hacker family dinners
  • Consistently send out Christmas and birthday cards
  • Save up money and start an IRA account
  • Be good about dental/doctor checkups
  • Start a vegetable and herb garden (at least a potted one if our new landlord won’t let me dig up his yard)
  • Train for and complete a 5k
  • Write in this blog more regularly (at least once a month)
  • Take a stupid amount of pictures
  • Get to a healthy weight for my height

Happiness Project Update

The first 30 days of my personal happiness project have come and gone. I have been meaning to make two separate blog posts (one for a recap and one for the 2nd set of 30), but since I haven’t made the time to make that happen I have decided to get it over with and just write this single post.

During the first 30 days, I found that I do pretty well with staying on track with my diet and exercise when I have it as a daily “to do” item instead of marking it as a string of “x’s” on my calendar. I fell off of using my tracking apps (MFP) and was completely lost after losing my FitBit during the first week of the second set of 30 days. Anyways, here is the recap on what I have found does/does not impact my happiness in relations to the “health” 30 days:

What and how much I eat does impact my mood! Surprise? No, not really. I’m trying to kick this ice cream craving I’ve developed during the summer as well as all the Paleo “cheats” that I’ve allowed myself by being super strict during this next set of 30. So far, so good (although I’m expecting the mood dip that comes along with about 2 weeks of being “clean).

Exercise has been mostly walking (and not much of it). I’m hoping to get a set of weights so I can do stuff in the apartment since the apartment’s little fitness area is open during hours that doesn’t mesh well with my schedule.

I’ve also been doing a lot better with my sleep and sleep schedule, so yay! We’re going to try and keep up the good work there.

Anyways, on to the second set of 30: Interpersonal Relationships.

Starting on the 22nd of last month, I have decided to develop relationships that I would like to see grow as well as spend more time on the established ones so that they don’t stagnate. The main focus of these 30 days is:

  • Reach out via email or text message on someone’s birthday. It’s so easy to spam someone’s Facebook wall and then disappear. Those wall posts are quickly forgotten, but it means a little bit more to people when you take the time to send them an email or a text.
  • Send messages to M throughout the day that don’t include “did you…” or “could you…” in the message.
  • Put the phone away/out of sight during meal times so that I talk/engage with M instead of just occupy the same space.
  • Answer the freaking phone. This is a hard one for me because I *HATE* talking on the phone. I really do. It is harder for me to multi-task when I’m on the phone or facetime, but that is actually a good thing because then I’m forced to focus on the person who wants to take time out of *their* schedule to talk with me.
  • Be generally more engaged with people both on social media as well as email/text/google hangouts.

My progress so far has been pretty good (still struggling with the answering the phone and not looking at my cell during dinner, but I’m getting there). :-)

Happiness Project Update: Weeks 1 and 2

After my first two weeks of following the 30 Day Goal of Being Healthy, I have already started to notice a trend as to what sub-goals impact my mood and which ones seem to be something that has a positive impact on my health, but doesn’t (noticeably) impact my mood.

Keeping paleo and not allowing “little cheats” was kind of a given as far as my mood goes. I have known since first giving up gluten that I feel much better when I don’t have it.
Additionally, drinking lots of water and cutting out espresso drinks altogether (as well as coffee after noon) helps. During DEF CON, I also noticed that if I get too little sleep or allow too much time to go in between meals (or don’t have a regular set meal time) my tolerance level goes way down. So much so that there were times last week where little things and quirks that are usually negligible that made me want to smack the shit out of them. But I didn’t. I usually realized that I needed some food or a nap and texted Nikita. Problem solved.

As far as exercise goes, I haven’t made the time to do yoga or strength training like I wanted to. Now that I’m home for the next month, however, I am going to make it a part of my daily routine. That’s about all that I have so far, but it’s been enough to have a positive impact on how I’m feeling through the course of a normal day. We will see how it goes as I continue doing this as well as start planning for the next 30 days, which will be focusing on relationships.

Meal plan for the week (including links when I have it):

Guacamole-Stuffed Southwest Burgers
Buffalo Strip Steak with Veggies
Chipotle Chicken Salad
Almond Flour Pancakes
Chicken and Shrimp Stir Fry with Chinese Five Spice
Sushi (celebrating M.’s new job)
Rotisserie Chicken with fried apples

On health

Last week, I posted On Happiness. After doing some thinking on how to approach my first 30 days, I’m ready to start the project. The first day of each set of 30, I’ll write a post about what sub-goals I want to accomplish that will lead to accomplishing the month’s main goal and (hopefully) will lead to achieving the over-arching goal of being happier.

Sub-goals

Eat Smart. I fell off the paleo wagon initially around the weekend and kept allowing myself “little cheats” as recently as last week. As a result, I’ve felt awful and knew why, but never worked up the resolve to do anything about it. That’s changing. I’m going to drink my 8 glasses of water. And no more “little cheats”, but then again I don’t see the value of depriving myself of things I enjoy and don’t contribute to feeling awful. I love cheese and eating small amounts of it make me happy without adverse side effects. Milk and ice cream? Not so much. I invariably end up with a stomachache and its totally not worth it. Alcohol is a kind of touchy subject. I love the taste of beer and wine, but I dislike the feeling I get after drinking too much. Also, I don’t really drink at home. Like. At all. Recovered from that shocker? Ok, good. Let’s carry on. I’m also going to get back to not eating within 3 hours of planning to go to bed and keep a closer eye on portion sizes.

Sleep. I know I need 8 hours of restful sleep or else I feel exhausted and practically useless. So, I’m going to get back into the habit of shutting off electronics at least an hour before I plan on going to bed and instead read. This has the added benefit of helping me get through my ever-growing backlog of books. Also, no espresso drinks at all and no black tea or coffee after twelve (noon).

Exercise better. I’ve been hyper-focused on getting my 10k steps, but I don’t think that is enough (we will ignore the fact that I haven’t hit that mark in a while). I want to start strength training in addition to getting rededicated to my cardio. I have no idea how I am going to go about this, but Uncle Len has offered to send me some stuff so at least I have a starting point.

Increase Energy Levels. Sleep, exercising better, and eating smart should be helpful, but there also other little things that can help as well. I’m going to start up yoga again, which helped not only with my energy levels, but also made me feel better and helped with posture and sleep. I’ve read some stuff about breathing exercises and meditation (thanks again,to Len) that may be useful. At the very least, I can do it for 30 days and the see if they helped at all. Finally, I will make a point to listen to music that pumps me up/gets me energized. I swear it won’t be “Eye of the Tiger”. At least not every day. ;D

This may seem like a lot to do in 30 days, but I tend to do better when I have lots of little tasks to tackle rather than one nebulous task, which usually leaves me feeling anxious. Now the next thing I had to think about was “how I’m going to track all of this?!” Below are the various apps and such I’m going to use and for the ones with a social aspect, I ask that anyone who wants to add me, do so.

FitBit (tottenkoph): steps, sleep, and water intake
MyFitnessPal (magenhughes): food, water, and exercise
GoodHabits: app that I can use to make sure I don’t “break the chain”
The blog: I’ll try to do a weekly summary of what’s up, recipe links, interesting reading. Also I’ll post whenever I come across something that I want to share or am looking for help with. I’m not sure if anyone is interested, but its better than spamming twitter or facebook.
Spotify (tottenkoph): for music; the playlist I will be making for this will be something super-original like”feel good” or some such. That’s the plan for the next 30 days, which starts tomorrow (Monday, the 22nd).

On Happiness

A few years ago, I wrote about wanting to be happy. Part of that included working on how I looked and viewed myself. Since then, I’ve lost 50 pounds and am only slightly happier as a result. I’m not unhappy or anywhere near depressed, but I’m not as happy as I want or feel I should be. It sounds funny, I know, but I think if I can Be Happy, it could possibly lead to other goals I have. For example, my loft goal of being more confident in myself and my abilities or my (previously) unspoken goal of trying to be more appreciative of what I have and of those around me.

The “less than happy” feeling hits me even harder when I travel (which has been a lot recently). When I travel, I suspend whatever routines I have at home. I don’t exercise, I allow “little cheats” (that have led to me falling off the paleo wagon and drinking soda, adding to my feeling Less Happy)(, and work until very late because there is nothing better to do. But it all leads to me feeling exhausted mentally and physically, which leads to feeling too tired to make anything better.

Also, it makes me feel like I’m being too whiny. I actively dislike it when I complain too much (even if I’m the only one who thinks that it’s too much), so when I realize I’m starting to be whiny, I tend to over-react and keep quiet when I should probably speak up. Part of it is not wanting to be seen as difficult, the other part is I don’t feel entitled to complain because (usually) the folks (I feel I’m) whining to are going to get irritated because they’ve been doing it longer and I haven’t put in the time needed to have the right to complain.

During the return trip home yesterday, my kindle broke. The screen is all cracked. Additionally, I left my earbuds at home. Since I know I’d be bored out of my mind, I broke down and got two books: Lean In (which I needed anyway for the office book club) and The Happiness Project, which sounded kind of interesting but I accepted it could be a crock of crap.

I started to read The Happiness Project on the plane and by the end of chapter 1 I was thinking “Well….crap.” I felt similarly to how the author was describing how she felt and she was doing self-experimenting of sorts, which has been interesting to me for a long time. In the book, she outlines twelve “priorities” she chose she wanted to work on to help make herself happier. She got the idea after reading Benjamin Franklin’s Autobiography and learned about his Virtues Chart. With it, he would score himself daily on how he practiced the thirteen virtues he felt were important (temperance, silence, order, resolution, frugality, industry, sincerity, justice, moderation, cleanliness,  tranquility, chastity, and humility). I think to help achieve my loft goal for the year, part of the solution may be to go back to the decision to do what it takes to Be Happy. The other part is to get more experience, which will come with time.

So the question then becomes: what virtues, priorities, etc. do I consider necessary to be happy? After thinking for some time on the plane I came up with the following eleven:

  • Health: With good health, eventually comes the physical benefits of Looking Better, but also increases energy levels and makes me feel better/calmer.
  • Knowledge: I generally feel happier when I read a book on something and am able to apply what I read or tackle something outside of my intellectual/technical comfort zone.
  • Relationships: Interpersonal relationships are very important to me. My family and friends are the most important thing to me and I need to have strong bonds in order to feel happy.
  • Work: Professional development and achieving work-associated goals are a growing part of my life and I need to learn how to work hard and smart so that I can have a proper work-life balance.
  • Money: I want to have a better cost-to-value ratio when it comes to things I spend money on as well as to stop sucking at budgeting.
  • Charity: I want to give time (or money) to those who need it. Monthly donations are easy to forget about and don’t fully satisfy my wanting to help others. Also, it is sometimes an inconvenience when it comes out of my bank account at an inopportune (for me) time.
  • Personal Convictions: I need to decide what is important and not be afraid to stand up for it. I need to get better about not backing down when it comes to defending my ideas/beliefs, but that doesn’t mean that I want to be an unrelenting asshole about it, either.
  • Creativity: Making stuff and writing makes me happy, so I want to try to incorporate that more into my life.
  • Insight: I want to think more before reacting. I know it’s been recommended to me since I was a teen, but maybe it’s time to see what all the hubbub is all about. Additionally, insight would include meditation of sorts and trying to take others’ point of view into more consideration.
  • Integrity: Dad has often told us that our integrity is the only thing that can’t be taken away. As a result, I’ve often had a heart-sinking feeling when I did/do something that goes against what I know to be The Right Thing To Do. I think this goes somewhat with Personal Convictions, but it also stands on its own.
  • Order: I usually feel more calm when things around me have some semblance of order. So I also want to focus on creating/sustaining order in my personal space while trying to work with accepting the chaos that surrounds me.

So now that I have my eleven whatevers fleshed out somewhat, I’m going to spend the first 30 days focusing on one of them and then on the 31st day, add the second item. I will be slowly building up each of them, until at the end of (roughly) 11 months, I will have been incorporating all of these things in my life at once. At the beginning of the 12th month, I will look over the data I’ve recorded and re-evaluate how I’m feeling and make any necessary adjustments. If any item or part of an item makes me less happy after a month, however, I will stop.

The order of focusing/adding these things into my day-to-day life will be:

  1. Health
  2. Relationships
  3. Personal Convictions
  4. Money
  5. Integrity
  6. Knowledge
  7. Creativity
  8. Work
  9. Mindfulness
  10. Charity
  11. Order

My next post will outline what my approach to Health will be for the next 30 days. Wish me luck…

Lessons Learned: First Week of Travel for Work

I am currently in Costa Mesa, CA, as part of a work assignment. As the title of this post may have hinted, this is my first full week of traveling for work. The hell trip to/from Carlsbad doesn’t really count because it was a week and I was throw-up nervous because of the impending proposal. The point really is, though, that I am bored now and didn’t have this idea then. So here we are!

1. Give the TwitterFaceSquare a head’s up that you’re travelling more than a day in advance so that way you can actually figure out what/who to see in the area.

2. Rental car guys are really helpful when it comes to asking about local driving laws.

3. Make sure you always have a book with you. If you’re anything like me, you’re worried about being late to stuff. So you show up ridiculously early to wherever it is you are supposed to go. But then (again like me) you show up an hour early. Instead of being that creeper who circles the block a few times (bonus creeper points if there is a school in the area), remember to grab a book to bring with you. Because it doesn’t always look appropriate to look down and play with your phone.

4. Don’t believe the raving reviews for the restaurants in the area. You’ll end up at sushi places that are questionable at best. This also leads into a rant about In N Out Burger, which is meh awesome not so bad after you filter through all of the suggestions on how to “properly enjoy” the meal. So far I have been told: animal style, protein/animal style with no grilled onions, skip the fries, do the fries animal style, protein/animal style with no lettuce, animal style no lettuce, chocolate shake and animal style, protein style with cheese, and eat protein/animal style burger with no onions at the desk in your hotel room while you watch anime and contemplate “what the hell am I doing”. Oh wait, that last one wasn’t so much a suggestion as it was what really happened (but it still tasted better). MOVING ON!

5. Give more weight to reviews before you select a hotel. Chances are that most of them *aren’t* crazy bag ladies or have insanely high expectations and you really *are* going to stay at the place between the Hooters and the freeway entrance and will get leered at by a dirty-looking, overweight man who lives at the LaQuinta Inn you’re staying at every time you head back to the hotel after work. Added hint: the $79/night price tag should have been a tip off you were probably staying at a murder hotel. Derp.

There’s probably more, but this is all I can come up with right now. I may add more later. Thanks for distracting me while I finished the last of my burger!