I’ve been waiting to write this post for over a year it feels. Despite the fact that I do enjoy living in Dallas – I have an awesome job and have made some great friendships that will last a lifetime – I’ve always had an overwhelming itch to move back to Minneapolis. This shouldn’t be news to you if you’ve been a reader of my sporadically (and as of late, rarely) updated blog. For the past few months I’ve been casually doing some job searching and networking with various agencies and people in the Twin Cities. I’m a firm believer in the power of networking and despite the fact that it can be a pain in the ass sometimes, it pays off in the end. And it did.

I’m happy to finally be able to share with you that the time has finally come for me to move home. With an awesome new job at an advertising agency. The past week has been very bittersweet for me in terms of being overwhelmingly excited to move home and start a new job combined with sadness and goodbyes to people who have helped make Dallas home for me over the past 2 years.

I can’t believe it will almost be exactly 2 years ago that I arrived in Dallas. Those 2 years flew by. Despite the fact that there were some rough patches during the past 2 years I think the highs outweigh the lows. I really am sad to be leaving Dallas (and believe me, no one is more shocked to hear that then me). I guess that makes sense since it was my first independent, adult home out of college. This city helped me grow and shaped who I am today.

But I know the next best thing lies ahead for me in Minneapolis.

Sharing some random thoughts on this Monday evening with you.

I currently lack any decent level of “wife material”. I don’t know how some women do it – work the 8-5 and still have time to raise a family. Or straight up be a wife. Kudos to all of you who do it and do it well. You amaze me. After working until 7 PM tonight and checking my mail for the first time in almost a week, I collapsed on my couch as soon as I walked in the door. Not before I poured myself a tall glass of chilled white wine and grabbed a few oreos. Even though I star post after post in my Google reader written by women who are capable of pulling pretty much everything off – working, cooking, decorating, laundry and cleaning all while wearing red lipstick and heels  – and my intentions are always good, the couch and oreos are so much easier. I better start getting my act together if I ever expect to catch and keep a husband because I’m pretty sure they expect a dinner that’s more than wine and cookies. I did, however, put in a load of laundry before pouring the glass of wine. Small steps in the world of wifedom.

I used to hate watching TV by myself. Which is odd when you think about it because TV watching is one of most solitary activities there is. Or can be. But lately I’ve found that I’m actually okay with it. And I’ve even been catching myself laughing out load while subjecting myself to mindless TV like The Bachelorette and Keeping Up with the Kardashians. After a long day at the office, these shows are just what the doctor ordered. Last week while watching Ashley schmooze on  date with one of the few lucky Bachelors I caught myself laughing out loud. Sitting in my living room alone. The same happened a few nights later while I was watching the Kardashian sisters fight over some petty (but pretty significant in their lives) ordeal. And it was so nice, to laugh sitting alone in my apartment.

I have an irrational fear of bed bugs, which I credit to this episode of This American Life (don’t even get my started about the cockroach segment. I’ve had more encounters with those disgusting critters since moving to Texas than I can to recall). I can distinctly remember listening to this episode while at my internship senior year of college and it’s haunted me since. This was prior to all the media hype and infestation of bed bugs in New York City. But since then I have been uber paranoid about the little pests making their way into my home. When I moved I was convinced they would somehow make my couch and love seat their new home somewhere between the old apartment and the new one. I hate the thought of sitting on airplane seats because I picture the little suckers catching a free ride on my clothes and then traveling from my clothes onto my bed. They’re all about catching rides and traveling as far as possible, no matter how unwanted they may be. I flew from Minneapolis to Dallas last night. Which is why I’m washing my bed sheets tonight. Twice. I need to let them know who is boss and that they are not welcome here.

It seems like not so long ago I was complaining about spending big bucks on new tires for my automobile. Yes, it sucked. And yes, it was uber expensive and one of the deepest holes I’ve put in my pocket on a car related purchase. But in the end the tires were worth it.

The thing is… I anticipated paying for the tires. I knew the time was coming so I was able to set aside a small amount of cash each month to help buffer the total hit my credit card would take.

Although I’m an employed twenty year old with essentially no debt… it’s not like I’m rolling the dough each month when I get a paycheck. Budgeting is one of my weaknesses. And unless I’m anticipating a large purchase or know I’m going to have drop a large chunk of cash I don’t have a huge amount of dollars set aside. Besides my savings which I refuse to touch.

So when Dallas gets hit with the worst hail & tornado storms I’ve ever experienced and my poor car gets slammed with golf ball size hail… my bank account isn’t ready to handle the high deductible I’ll have to pay to make the chicken pox on my car go away and replace the cracked windshield.

Once again I’m faced with a crappy adult expense that comes with owning a car. Not my ideal way to spend money I haven’t really budgeted to spend. On a car none the less. I’ve been debating buying an iPhone for the past few weeks since my Droid is on its last breath these days. But instead I’m going to have to hold off and put the few hundred iPhone dollars towards my darn deductible. How frustrating. Damn high deductible.

But hey, as one of my friends told me the other day, at least my car isn’t broken. And even better, as Jason pointed out last night, at least I’m still alive. I guess I do have that going for me.

First, some housekeeping. As you may or may not notice – the blog is sporting a new look. It’s been like this for a while now; I just haven’t blogged since the makeover. And it slipped my mind to mention it earlier this week when I wrote about my new obsession with Ellie Goulding until Sherrie mentioned it in her comment. So, thanks Sherrie, for reminding me that Schönes Leben is looking a little different these days.

Also, I’m feeling pressure to keep the blogging going after receiving comments from what I estimate to be around 99% of my blog readers about the new post. Shocker, eh?  But I guess I sort of put myself in the predicament after mentioning I wasn’t able to stop my sleepless brain from thinking of future blog topics the other night.

And this topic was one of them.

There are two things the Academy of Holy Angels (where I went to high school) taught me well. The first is the 5 paragraph essay.

Seriously, thank you Academy and English teachers for being Nazis about our introductions, three paragraphs and the conclusion. And thank you for forcing me to write an outline for every paper. Although I may not have appreciated it at the time, I can 100% tell you that I sure did appreciate it in college and still appreciate it to this day. Despite the fact that I’m no longer writing 5 paragraph essays on the books I’m reading, I still do occasionally work on outlines when I have a large writing project at work.

And, secondly, the idea of service. Specifically, volunteering. This is one of the things I believe the Academy does right – instilling the importance of giving back to your community by volunteering.  For four years I was taught the importance of taking care of others around us. To me that meant it didn’t matter what color their skin was, what religion they practiced (if any at all) or what their sexual orientation was. (Although, I’m not sure all Catholics would take the same stance.) If someone was in need and you had a hand to lend… why wouldn’t you? Even though I despised waking up at 7 am on a Saturday morning to make it downtown in time to serve breakfast to the homeless, as soon as I got there I knew that the sleep I was giving up was well worth serving those in need.

In college I tried to continue to share my time with others in need. It was a little more difficult but I was able to get involved with the YWCA on campus. I may not have been serving breakfast to the homeless of Ames but I was still volunteering as a mentor to young girls who needed someone in their life they could look up to. I was fortunate enough to spend a few years with the YWCA; to watch the mentoring program and the organization go through changes and grow. It’s nice to see your work and dedication pay off. And I truly believe that to this day the girls I mentored loved the program and the time we spent together. And that touches my heart.

To me, that’s what volunteering is all about. I love knowing that the simple act of giving up a few hours of my week can make such an impact on someone else.

I was reflecting on where I am with my life and sort of taking “inventory” of what I felt was missing. One of them was volunteering. Since I’ve moved to Dallas I have not been volunteering as much as I would like. I haven’t found an organization to donate my time to. That’s laziness on my part because I know they’re out there – I just need to start looking.

Having the volunteer void feels really weird for me after spending the past 8 years of my life committed to an organization. You really cannot replace the happiness you feel from knowing you’ve made a difference. It’s a fulfilling and gratifying experience that cannot be replaced by material things. As I reflect on this and tell myself to kick my butt in gear and find an organization in the community I believe in – I have to credit this passion to the Academy and the religion classes that taught me that it’s about more than just me.

When my BFFs were in town for a weekend we woke up bright and early on Friday morning to pop the champagne and watch the Royal Wedding. I know you’re probably wondering why I’m bringing the Royal Wedding up now that weeks have passed.

Ellie Goulding is the reason. I was first introduced to her when she had a stint on SNL when Tina Fey was hosting a few weeks ago. She sang a cover of “Your Song” and my sister and I were both confused as we watched. We couldn’t figure out who this hip-Scandinavian-looking girls was. I’m not even sure if she’s Scandinavian she just had such a close resemblance to the Swedish pop star Robyn I just assumed she too was from the Northern hemisphere of Europe.

Ever since I saw Ellie on SNL her name has been popping up everywhere it seems. I saw her mentioned on the home page of iTunes when I was doing some new music searching the other day. But I skimmed over it because I still had no idea who she was.

That all changed today. Via Twitter I discovered that Ellie was lucky enough to be asked by Kate & William to perform at their wedding reception. Ding ding ding. That’s why she’s all the sudden hit the mainstream music scene! I had to do a little investigating for myself. Turns out she sang a cover of Elton John’s “Your Song” at the reception. Attention caught. The next stop on my investigation was YouTube. And I found a video of the cover. And I, too, became a Ellie fan.

And if you’re unfamiliar with Scandinavia and their culture… this video will give you a pretty good idea of what it’s like. It’s one of the reasons I can’t stop watching it.

On a completely different note; last night, I as I laid in bed trying to fall asleep my mind was racing like crazy with topics for future blog posts. I came up with a few. So stay tuned – the blog is planned to actually get some new content this week!

Despite the fact that I love having visitors in Dallas, when it all comes down to it, I’m a fairly independent person and require alone time every so often. So that’s exactly how I’m spending the first Friday in 3 consecutive weeks that I’m without guests. It’s blissful and relaxing.

I received an email from friends this afternoon saying they were planning on meeting up at a bar to watch the Mavericks game tonight (PLAYOFFS WHAT WHAT) but I knew I had to say no. It’s rare that I say no to social gatherings on a Friday night, but I knew the couch, a bottle of wine and the DVR couldn’t be passed up.

Earlier this week I was digging through some blogs I have saved in my Google Reader and discovered this cilantro jalapeño hummus recipe from Mama Pea. If your mouth starts salivating just reading that threesome combination then do not waste any time and make some ASAP. To say it’s delicious is an understatement. It’s so good it’s my dinner and I’ll most likely eat all of it.

Also, lesson of the evening is that patience really is a virtue. Especially when opening a bottle of wine. Or you may end up trying to pry (read: force) the cork out too soon, resulting in a broken cork and half of it floating in the bottle.

I had to snap a quick picture with my high-quality phone camera.

Hummus, wine, DVR and the couch are calling my name. Enjoy your Friday, whether or not you’re flying solo.

My memory, that is. Seriously people… I’m having major memory issues. I think it boils down to the fact that my brain is on overload between work and my life outside of work. Too much to remember. The ironic thing is when I mentally tell myself to remember something… I’m more likely to forget it. For example, yesterday I was printing some things off at the end of the day. As I walked to the printer to pick up my material I passed the break room, where the refrigerator is. When I saw the fridge I made a mental note to myself to grab my leftovers from lunch on my way back to my desk. Did that happen? Nope. I didn’t remember that I wanted to bring my leftovers home until my stomach began to rumble later on in the evening when I was at home.

I have no problem remembering big things – like paying my bills on time, people’s birthdays….. Maybe this has something to do with long-term memory? Flash back to Psychology 101. None of that stuff made it into my long-term memory. Obviously.

If I don’t make to-do lists my weeks are absolute chaos. I live and breathe by to-do lists. Plus, the satisfaction of crossing off something as “done” is totally worth it. But most of the time the random mental notes to myself throughout the day don’t make it on to my to-do list. These are the little things I tend to forget as they continue to pile up as the day goes. My brain can only hold so much, and I feel like it’s reaching max capacity. Problem-o.

I know I already mentioned in my previous post that one of the drawbacks of having guests in Dallas is that all fun must eventually come to an end. But I would like to take the time to write about how much it really, truly sucks to live hundreds of miles away from family and friends.

This whole “goodbye” thing is getting old real fast and I’m not sure how many more goodbyes I can take before I throw everything in my car and drive North. I’m almost positive after the next 2 weekends – my BFF  and sister are coming to visit back-to-back – that the likelihood of that happening isn’t too far fetched.

After dropping my baby sister off at the airport and enduring another depressed valediction I immediately called my dear mom and told her this time it’s for real – I’m moving home. I’m determined to make it happen this time.

The next chapter of my life has been on my mind a lot recently. Seeing as most of my friends in Dallas are also foreigners to the city – a few have also started talking about the next chapter of their lives, most of which don’t include Dallas. They’re also considering moving home in their next chapter. At least it’s comforting to know I’m not the only baby who’s homesick.

So that’s it, friends. I’m ready to return to the North. Where when I say “pop” waitresses don’t stare at me as if I’m from another planet. Anyone wanna hook a girl up with a job?

Opps. Another blogging hiatus. My bad. But really, did you expect any more from me? I hope by now my few loyal readers know that it’s completely unrealistic to expect multiple blog updates in one week. As much as I wish I could or would update daily –  there are days I don’t have anything worthwhile to say. So I  choose to spare you from random ramblings.

I’ve been busy entertaining guests from out of town. I have a love / hate relationship with people visiting me in Dallas. I LOVE LOVE LOVE playing host and getting to spend time with family and friends I love dearly. Always having a companion or someone to run around town with is almost a guarantee for a good time. But I hate when the time together comes to an end and you have to say your goodbyes. And you’re left alone (God, does that sound uber depressing?). Goodbyes are the worst.

Moving on to today’s Lent!Blog! prompt:

What is your dating litmus test? Explain. Have you ever broken it for *swoon* true love?

Shoes make or break the deal. Back in college one of my BFFs was always judging guys based on their shoes. Bad shoes automatically meant game over for her. You know, the guy who ties his tennis shoes so tight that they cut off all blood flow to the rest of his body. Or who is still sporting the Dr. Martens. After spending many nights at the bar pre-judging guys based on their shoe decisions  and snickering at the losers who made poor decisions – this  eventually rubbed off on me and now shoes are one of the first things I notice on potential men.

Besides the superficial appearance litmus tests, I am also turned off by boys who can’t or don’t use proper spelling and grammar. Send me an email with spelling mistakes and I begin to rethink our relationship. That was one of the best things about most recent ex – he ALWAYS used proper spelling, grammar and punctuation — even in his text messages. Talk about making me swoon.

Ironically, this weekend I said goodbye to a boy who passes most of my litmus tests. I say most because one of the most vital tests is that we both reside in the same city. Heck, even the same state. Which, unfortunately, is not true. Instead we’re about 700 miles away from each other, making it an extreme long-distance thing. Litmus test fail.

But he did buy a new pair of shoes this weekend that I approve of. Litmus test pass.

I already shared this with my Twitter followers, but I am SO over this week. After a rough start to the week (can we say too much Sunday Funday) I’m ready to curl up on the couch and catch up on my Kindle and flip between episodes of Lost and FNL. Hence, my procrastination at the office today with this blog post update.

When have you been mistaken for someone else? Did chaos and/or attempted murder ensue?

When I lived in the Midwest, I was constantly able to convince people that I’m half Asian. When I met my BFFs boyfriend at-the-time (now husband) my freshman year of college I nonchalantly told a little white lie – that my mom’s Korean, making me half Asian. And he bought it and believed it until one day my mom came to visit and he realized that she’s as Caucasian as his mom. Upon this realization, he quietly shared his surprise with Katie by whispering “She’s not Asian.” Fooled. This isn’t the only time I’ve been able to twist peoples arms to believe that half of my genes are Asian. I blame my super-thin almond eyes. Which become even smaller when I smile. Which is odd because my sister has some of the biggest eyes I’ve ever seen. She’s also tall and thin. Clearly we share a limited number of the same genes.
Since moving South I still occasionally receive the “What are you?” question. Caucasian – and thanks for asking for clarification. But rather than people assuming I’m Asian, I’m now Native American (living so close to the Oklahoma border where Native American roots are not uncommon).  Granted, my skin tends to be more sun kissed year round now thanks to the fab Texas sun. And with my darker complexion and dark hair I can understand where the confusion comes from.
Alas, I’m just straight up, boring Caucasian with German ancestry. Not a trace of Asian or Native American in my blood.