Back-to-School Commercials Are Bumming Me Out: An End of Summer Update

There's this commercial that came on a lot during the Olympics (related: I miss the Olympics. Dear god, I miss the Olympics so much). Given how frequently it ran during that time, I should probably know what company the commercial was advertising, but alas, I do not. Walmart maybe? Old Navy?

Anyway, whatever, that's not the point. The point is, this ad features some really hip kids -- I mean, REALLY hip, cooler than I could ever dream to be -- dancing in backpacks on the first day of school. We're talking popping, locking, the worm maybe. It's the kind of energetic dancing that makes you feel slightly guilty for just sitting there on your couch with a lap full of prosciutto. 

While it's an impressive sight to behold, I have to admit, I kind of get annoyed whenever this commercial comes on. It's not the kids. They're amazing. It's just that I have been conditioned to hate back-to-school advertisements since the days of my youth. As a kid, seeing sales on three-ring binders and highlighter specials pop up on my TV used to turn my stomach into knots. It's not that I hated the return of school, but man I hated the end of summer. And even though I am no longer in grade school anymore, these ads continue to serve as a reminder of the thing that I never want to accept: summer is coming to a close. 

It's been a phenomenal summer on my end. Really, top notch. So I figured as a last hurrah -- one last ride down the metaphorical slip-n-slide, if you will -- I'd give you some insight as to what I've been up to lately at the tail end of one of my favorite summers ever. 

1. I went to Punta Cana and now I demand that all of my drinks be served in coconuts.

Daniel and I got back this Sunday from a much-needed vacation to beautiful Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic. Let me tell you about Punta Cana, folks: uh...it's a place. Truth be told, and I'm a little embarrassed to admit this, I don't know much about the city that housed us for five days because my husband and I stayed in a resort for the entire duration of our trip. 

We apologize for not being able to convey any cultural experiences from our vacation, but damn, honestly, we just needed a break. And oh my, did we get one. It was one of those "all-inclusive" deals which means that from the time of our arrival to the time our departure, we drank rum out of coconuts and laid under a canopy on the beach. I've decided, by the way, that all drinks should be served in coconuts. Seriously, they are optimal containers for cold beverages. They are like mini coolers unto themselves and they are fun to hold/take pictures with and also rum is good and also I think I lost brain cells in Punta Cana hope that's okay.

2. Oh yeah, and it was our FIFTH anniversary!

The reason we were on this ridiculous vacation is because we were celebrating FIVE years of marriage! I still can't get over that. Five. As in a five-year-old. As in one year longer than a presidential term. As in one year longer than the wait for the summer olympics (GOD I MISS THIS OLYMPICS SO MUCH WHY DO THEY EVER STOP????). 

I gushed about this man in a post on Instagram the day of, but really, if you haven't figured out how much I adore being married to Daniel by now, then I don't really know what to tell you. We're having the blastiest of blasts. 

3. Also, we went to TEXAS! 

Before our trip to Punta Cana, we spent some time with family in Texas. Specifically, we were there to celebrate my dad (who just turned seventy-years-young this last week) because he wrote a book! He's a writer too, y'all! His book is a historical chronicle of Camp Lone Star, a summer camp in La Grange, Texas that is near and dear to my family's heart. My dad essentially grew up there when his father was the camp director. He later sent me there when I was kid, and that's where I met a special kid named Daniel. The above picture is the gazebo where we first saw each other, and many years later when we were working as counselors, it's also the spot where got engaged. I mean, you don't even have to tell me: I know it's adorable.

This summer marks camp's 75th anniversary (thus, the reason for the book), so my mom, dad, niece, Daniel, and I stayed the weekend in La Grange for their annual BBQ celebration. It was so strange being back in that place, but so wonderful too. Smells, man. As I grow older, I am always amazed by how closely scent is tied to memory. I heard that in an Axe Body Spray commercial once, but it really is true. When I smelled the campfire the first night we arrived, I was immediately transported to my days as a camp counselor with a gaggle of eight-year-olds at my side. Such. Fond. Memories.

4. I recently got so distracted on the train playing Pokémon Go that I missed my stop and ended up at Coney Island.

Hey, it happens. One minute, you're on the Q train trying to catch a particularly stubborn Squirtle. The next, you look up and realize that not only have you missed your stop, but you're as far south in Brooklyn as you can go: Coney Island. If you're unfamiliar with the New York landscape, just know that this is about as big of a subway fail as one can make. Like, you basically have to be in a fugue state to do this.

I'm telling you: I'm losing braincells. 

But it ended up working out pretty swimmingly because -- get this -- Daniel actually works at Coney Island! This is probably a good time to announce that my husband recently started a new job, and guys, it's the best job in the world. I thought Beyoncé's gig was pretty sweet, but nope, Daniel wins. That guy works at the New York Aquarium (along with several other NY wildlife institutions)!!! He's doing professional development for New York educators, but more importantly, he gets to see baby otters every. single. day. AND penguins. I mean, come on.

Also, he recently got a pretty sweet tattoo of the solar system. Check it. 

Man, that science nerd is LIVING. 

5. I'm wrapping up the book (I swear! I swear!)

In my last post, I announced that you can pre-order my book! What?! Yes. 

And wow wow wee wow, I cannot tell you how humbled/sweaty I was to see you beautiful souls start to pre-order your copies. You never cease to amaze me. In keeping a blog over time, my mind has been continually blown that I get to connect with such legit human beings through this platform. But the idea of being able to do that through a book: that is dreams-really-do-come-true level stuff right there. So from the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU. 

Admittedly, this has been a slower experience than I thought it would be. I've had to push back my pre-order release deadline a couple of times, and to those of you waiting, I am just mega thankful for your patience and sorry for making you wait. This is officially my first physical book rodeo, and it's a bit of a learning curve.

THAT SAID, a big reason why I've recently had to delay sending out pre-order copies is because, at the last minute (as one does), I decided to reach out to an outrageously talented designer, one Tim Bauer, to design a new cover for me. And guys, he sent it to me this week, and -- tears. I'm so excited about it, I can't even talk. He's tweaking it a bit more, but once it's finalized, you better believe I'm going to devote an entire blog post to it. It's glorious. 

6. Daniel and I are still podcasting! (Did you think we'd stopped?)

Remember how I host a podcast? Guys, it's still happening! Daniel and I (man, I've really talked up this guy a lot in this post) host a show together about TV pilots called Pilot Party, and man, if you aren't listening, then you are missing out on some Grade A weirdness from yours truly. Most recently, we covered the hit Netflix series, Stranger Things (which, guys, how good was Stranger Things? Eleven clutching a bunch of boxes of Eggo Waffles is me every day).

If you missed a couple of episodes of the podcast, it may be because I've stopped posting show notes on this blog. If you want to keep up with the haps, you can listen to us on Soundcloud, OR even better, you can subscribe on iTunes (and why not leave a review, baby?)!

7. I'm trying to make a decision...

Okay, so I know that we all struggle with making decisions. It's kind of a cliche when it comes to the human experience. But if I may, I think I have a special angst when it comes time to stick to my guns and make a choice. I ruminate and ruminate until I can't even remember what I'm trying to decide on and then I just get hungry and the whole cycle starts all over again.

Right now I'm in the midst of a bit of tough call (apologies for being vague for now, but I'll clue you in once it's all finalized, promise) and my brain feels exhausted from the tug-of-war. I've made a Pros-And-Cons list. I've consulted some of my closest friends. I've prayed and prayed and prayed. And still, it's blurry to me.

On this week's episode of WTF, Marc Maron's podcast, Kristen Wiig was a guest, and she said that her method for making a tough decision is to look in a mirror and ask yourself, "What do you want?" I've gone to the mirror to try this no less than nine times this week, but I keep chickening out. Give me a break, it's a vulnerable experience. 

Oddly enough, while we're on the subject of podcasts, an episode of Hidden Brain came up in my podcast feed yesterday that seemed to be made just for me. It was titled "Decide Already!" and it was actually immensely helpful. If you're in the midst of a choice that you can't seem to bring yourself to make, I highly recommend giving it a listen. I've left it for you below. 

So that's my summer folks! A big mess of fun, sun, and future-focused anxiety. By the way, while we're on the subject, here's a question for you --

How do you make big, tough decisions?