Life, an Update

It’s Friday!! It’s FRIIIDAY!!!

Happiest day to you all! Life has been flying by over in my neighborhood, we somehow have a mere 42 days until The Big Move, that is not a lot of days. My head has been in overdrive lately, thinking so many different random thoughts that it is hard to shut it off. These aren’t so much worrying thoughts, just a lot of gears turning, turning, turning. I think I expected blogging to help me sort through all these thoughts, but somehow the opposite has been true. Oh life, never doing what I expect you to!

Since my last novel-length post about our new apartment, we’ve signed the lease! Hooray for a big box that has been checked off my To-Do list! I’ve even reserved the trailer we’ll be renting to tow along to our new big adventure, which is incredibly forward thinking, for a “Let’s Wing-It” personality like mine. Move-wise, my head has turned to packing and selling as much sh*t as possible in the next 40 days.

This week we are dogsitting for the calmest fluffball there ever was while his parents are out eating delicious seafood on the east coast (bring me back crab cakes or I keep the dog, warning you Gen.) The apartment has been dog proofed, or as other people call it, “cleaned.” I am too excited about this, I can already tell. (RY! Just buy me a puppy already!!!)

I gave notice at work, so I can talk about the month of August now and not feel like I am lying to all my friendly co-workers. I didn’t realize how much head space the guilt/nerves of giving notice were taking up until I did it yesterday and felt 5 lbs lighter. Even went out and got a haircut to celebrate! …Well also because I was sporting a fugly grown out pixie/mullet.

A few posts ago I whined, as I so often do, about not having enough time to travel South to Nashville but extra time has been found! Days off have been approved! Car rentals have been reserved! Friends have been coerced into feeding and snuggling our kittens for a weekend! We’re spending the weekend of the 4th in America’s Music City with my Lo and I am so excited. I’ve somehow not seen my person in 7 months and that is just outrageous. If I’m really good, I may even get to meet a Virgil, probably the true star of my trip, I predict.

When I got home from my de-mulletting last night, my sweet Ry (who’d apparently sensed my unease and need for quiet time) surprised me with candles, jazz music, a cocktail, mini pb cups, Inspiration-Its & a clean bedroom to blog and generally relax in. I am sitting in the best smelling, comfiest little corner ever! Ry, you overwhelm me with love each and every day, thank you forever.

I hope you all have the most wonderful weekend!


ps- ‘Inspiration-Its’ are Cheese-Its that ry customizes to fit my varying cheesy needs, such as: Apolog-Its, Attentive-Its, Anniversary-Its, and on and on. Marrying a kid at heart is the very best thing I’ve ever done.



As you know, because it is all I can think about or write about, we’re moving. In <60 days. Up until 48 hours ago, we did not have a home to drive towards upon our departure. The small part of Type-A personality that exists in me was starting to lose it.

Well sweet, sweet relief has arrived, dear friends! We are signing a lease this week! Not only that, but it is 99% of what I secretly hoped for but couldn’t dare ask for out loud. Take a little stroll with me, into our new CONDO. An above ground condo, at that! Moving on up, actually literally, woot woot! As you come through our private entrance, the first thing you’ll notice is the open floor plan. This is crucial because the thing I hate most about our current place is needing to leave the couch to be able to talk to Ry as he makes me dinner. Now we can chat while I lounge and he feeds me! The luxury!!

To your left you will see a spacious living room with direct access into our own personal patio, you can bet your cute ass I’ve been stalking patio furniture & planter sales. To your right is the “dining room,” also known as an open rectangular space under a lamp, behind which you’ll see a breakfast bar and a row of cabinetry. That’s right, we get cabinets, several of them! All excitedly waiting to house our massive amount of kitchen appliances and stuff! Also in the kitchen: a double sink, double door fridge/freezer (WITH AN ICE MAKER,) a pantry, an electric stove/range (Ry is sad to lose the gas stove, but the next 2 items ease his pain.) The two stars of the kitchen area: a beautiful dishwasher, my new love, and an in-unit washer/dryer!! The rest of the condo could have been ugly and dysfunctional and I probably still would have pleaded for new landlord to gimme gimme gimmeee! However, magically, it is not! There are 2 generously sized bedrooms, we can finally upgrade from our stupidly small double bed, a guest bathroom and we get our own master bath! All that only $100 above the initial budget and less than 1/2 a mile from Ry’s new school? WIN!

This apartment is the most grown up thing we’ll have had together, and oh my goodness I am so excited. All of this, of course still comes with the sad acknowledgement that we’re leaving Our First Home. The first place we actually decorated together, where neither of us had to do the mad rush to hide each other’s random underwear found behind the bed when our parents were coming to town. It was in that tiny bedroom over there that the boy I’d dated for 6 years turned to me and asked me to marry him. It was in this living room that we excitedly waited the necessary hours until it was after 8am west coast time to call our family and friends with the news. The place we had our first married fight (untrue, that was day 1 of marriage on our road trip honeymoon, real talk, but the first REAL REAL fight.) The place we had our first new family Thanksgiving & Christmas, where I cried about it being just the two of us, missed the loud family fighting & crackling fire, and where he then turned on Netflix fireplace and let me Skype my family as many times as I needed to on Christmas eve/day. This plaster wall I’m staring at is the one he crafted a mountainscape on a few weeks ago when I missed watching the sun set over mountains. This is where we adopted Leo, and watched him grow, play & learn to steal the meatballs off our plate. That little door way is where we experimented turning water into steam when it was -40* this winter. This is where I survived the Polar Vortex! That backyard is where we’ve spent Saturday afternoons sharing a banana boat sundae in the Spring sunshine we feared would never come. This has been our home, and soon it will be but a memory. The setting of the stories we’ll tell from our time as newlyweds, or before that the place I lived with my best friend for a glorious 10 months spent talking, drinking, crying, wedding planning, and laughing.

All of this is to say, we have a new home to arrive at this August. Suddenly this move is very much official. When I started writing this post, I just wanted to share the good news of the new place, and it has clearly been overridden by my emotions. GREY AREAS, PEOPLE.

Ifyou made it this far, pat yourself on the back, you are a run-on-sentance-overlooking champ! Happiest Tuesday!

– m

(note: no pictures of the place yet because I am both superstitious and respectful of current tenant’s privacy. Just you wait until August, it will be a condo-tour-palooza!)

61 Days

We have 61 days left in Chicago. That is a very small number when you consider how many of them are already planned away for work, side gigs & scheduled friend time. I’ve done the math, and that leaves me 11 free days to get as much out of this city and the midwest as I possibly can.


I’ve been trying to make a list for myself of all the things/places/people I want to see before we leave, and it is a daunting task! I should have started this months ago! We probably don’t have time to make it up to the Upper Peninsula, I know I will probably not make it down to Nashville to visit Lo or Virgil (H, you know Virgil is the one I really want to see, don’t be sad.)

So far, I have the following list of Chicago-things that we have 11-61 days to do:

  • Whiskey tour/tasting at Koval or CH Distillery
  • Sand Dunes in Indiana
  • Sail in Lake Michigan
  • Water Taxi on the river
  • 1 final Cubs game
  • Dinner at North Pond
  • Wine tasting in Michigan (only a 2-3 hr drive? WHAT?)
  • 1 last stroll through the Lincoln Park Zoo (teary typing that.)
  • Watch a show on the Second City main stage
  • Spend a fancy night down on Michigan Ave.

That’s what I’ve got so far!

Now I need to focus my efforts on finding us a damn apartment. OY!


Q&A a Day, wk 1

The 1st Installment! These questions are coming from this adorable book Trisha suggested sometime ago.

Weds 05/14/14:
Starting off script, today is Ry’s 25th bday! At 6am I drove to 3 different grocery stores to buy more sugar & butter for the buttercream frosting on his cake. He had cake for breakfast, Dante’s enormous pizza slices for dinner with Gen, drank too much with friends at Scofflaw (Malort shot. Oy.) and walked home in the rain with me. Great day! Happy birthday, love!!

Thur 05/15/14:
In heaven, everyone gets unlimited… Time. Time with friends, time for hugs, time to rest.

Fri 05/16/14:
What can you smell right now? Butter. Our apt has smelled like butter for 48 hours and counting.

Sat 05/17/14:
Today you got rid of… 1 more slice of Ry’s bday cake, we are now 1/2 way through a 3 day old cake.

Sun 05/18/14:
If you could travel anywhere tomorrow, where would you go? Anywhere anywhere? Greece. Where do I want to be right now? California.

Mon 05/19/14:
What’s the most creative thing you’ve done recently? Bake Ry’s bday cake, if that even counts as creative. Come on, Mariela!

Tues 05/20/14:
What’s the craziest thing you’ve done for love? Lie my way through O’Hare airport to hug mom & dad for 10 minutes (5/15/14) OR move for Ry, twice (Chicago 07/2012, Fort Collins 08/2014. )

PicMonkey Collage
And that was 7 days in my head & iPhone! I already love this, hope you all do too.

Happy long weekend!


Oh, Hi There!

This morning I ate nutella stuffed french toast topped with bananas. I imagine you are all salivating as you read that, and rightly so. Below is my first blog photo, I feel totally at ease with this because even an iPhone Instagram quality pic cannot ruin the masterpiece that was my breakfast. There is no real point for this paragraph except YUM. YOU JEALOUS? …sorry.

A thing of beauty @ Palace Grill

A thing of beauty @ Palace Grill, Chicago

It’s been about 5 weeks or so since I posted my 30×30 list, aaaand I have neither suffered immeasurably nor achieved a whole lot since then, except that I’ve been living, laughing, EATING and enjoying Spring and life in all it’s forms (except dishes, I reject that form of life, on principle.) I found myself avoiding the blog because I didn’t think I had much to say, oh the absurdity! I recently learned about a type of journal that asks you daily questions over 5 years, and I fell in love with the concept! I want this blog to be my journal, something I can look back on to remind myself what this moment was like, big or small, so we are going on this journey! Working through #24 on my list! Woo!

I will be filling in my journal daily (woah, dream big) from a prompt and allow myself to write as much or as little every day as I feel I should/can, then every Wednesday I will publish the journal entries for the week! I really hope I keep this up, I know I’d treasure it years from now if I did.

Has anyone ever done something like this? Any suggestions?

Happy Tuesday lovely people!

30 by 30


Right off the bat I am going to admit that I am not quite yet 25, which makes this technically all part of my 5 year + 4 month goals. Please hold all comments on my youth until we are face-to-face, I do love those, humility be damned.

On to the main act!

Below is a list of 30 things I aspire to have completed, lived, achieved by August 31st 2019 (holy wow.)

  1. Take Ryan to Guatemala, finally.
  2. Volunteer with a women’s shelter.
  3. Keep a running budget.
  4. Pay off credit cards and continue paying off monthly balances.
  5. Bring credit score up.
  6. Spend 1 week unplugged on a beach somewhere isolated and beautiful with my husband.
  7. Take a whole T-P family camping trip.
  8. Go back to school.
  9. Attend a summer music festival.
  10. Learn to fly fish/Let Ry teach me.
  11. Roadtrip along PCH from Seattle to San Francisco on an anniversary.
  12. See Ryan speak at a conference.
  13. Throw a themed birthday party for myself.
  14. Surprise my mom with a trip.
  15. Adopt a puppy.
  16. Travel to Ireland.
  17. Convince the T family to take me along on their yearly fishing trip.
  18. Sell another house.
  19. Learn to walk in heels like a fucking adult.
  20. Get drunk with my sisters for a weekend.
  21. Purchase a couch.
  22. Find a way to work with kids other than teaching.
  23. Take a dance class with Ry.
  24. Keep a journal for an extended period of time.
  25. Save up $5,000.
  26. Spend Semana Santa in Guatemala, carry.
  27. Visit my dear friends in all of their new far off homes.
  28. Own a really cute bike.
  29. Read all written work by Jane Austen &/or Isabel Allende.
  30. Procreate, probably. (See! Grey areas, they’re everywhere.)

Gulp, that’s my list! It was easier to compile than I’d expected, actually. I apparently want lots of things! I made a conscious effort to exclude Ryan from some of these, number 31 is to not be one of those couples, but he is my life buddy, so.

Happy Friday friendsies, have the greatest of all Fridays.



5 Year Plans & Other things that make me cry

It’s been almost a week! Hallo friends! Hope your week has been whatever you wanted it to be! Mine was randomly busy and has seriously flown by. Also, Spring may have actually hit Chicago, I exited a building in only a cardigan yesterday and didn’t immediately curse the weather gods! Hooray!

Yesterday, on this nicest day this year by far, I drove up to Rogers Park with a few friends for our monthly feminist book club. It is a genuine treasure to have a group of intellectual, witty and funny women to meet & drink with every few weeks. Book discussing is also nice. This week we discussed a book that I randomly suggested (never doing thaaaat again) and then had our usual catch ups and anecdote telling, my favorite! I announced our big news, talked about Ryan’s  successes and plans, like good wives do. After my schpeal, one of the ladies turned to me and asked, “So what do you want to do in Fort Collins? What will you do for those 5 years?” I wish I could show you all what my brain looked like, because in that moment it looked like Black Friday at Walmart, except the big prize the little brain peoples were trampling each other over was not a 98″ TV, it was any answer that didn’t involve the words “don’t” & “know.”

In the moment I said something super embarrassing about supporting Ryan and maybe Real Estate? The question hung in the back of my brain for the rest of the conversation and as soon as I got in the car with Gen & Jesse I spit out the words that had been flashing like a neon sign on my forehead. “I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I WANT. I HAVE NO 5 YEAR PLAN!” The thing you need to know here is that I married an Academic. We are picking up and moving so he can be a part of his desired PhD program which should last between 4-5 years. Then he’ll interview to join tenure track at any and all educational institutions that will pay what we’ll need and maaaybe he’ll be offered full-time position. This will likely mean one last move.

The problem with that timeline is that my chosen career has been Real Estate, a career that not so shockingly requires quite a bit of stability and a good chunk of start-up time before I’d even be profitable. Frequent-ish moving and real estate careers have not been known to compliment each other. I don’t want to get settled in CO then have to move and start a whole brand new real estate career in a new place at 30. This whole 5-yr plan thing is a big giant arrow at my blank, nervous face, with scared little tears streaming down it. I currently have no idea what I will do when I get to Fort Collins. Or where I want to be in 5 years, except I hope 5 years wiser & happier? This is the biggest grey area of my entire life, and it is frustrating.

I got home from book club and dumped this all on my husband, I’m pretty sure this is the whole point of his existence. He responded with gratitude for the sacrifices, hope for the future and general support for whatever I want to be. He also suggested a personality test, I tried not to hold this against him. I know who I am! I just don’t know what to do with that knowledge, thankyouverymuch. We went on to watch TED talks for the rest of the evening; the series on women is the most motivational group of videos I’ve ever seen. I realized that not all of these women have made careers out of their passions. That is, in my opinion, the dream, but maybe what I can hope for is a steady-ish office job that allows me a life outside of work? Time to fulfill my passions, whatever they may be.

I don’t have a solid, or even jello-like, 5 yr plan, but I do have a To-Do List for the next 5 years, and for now, that must suffice. This has gotten epicly long so now you have Mariela’s 30 Under 30 list to look forward to for tomorrow! Bet you’re excited!


The Problem with Blogging

The problem with blogging is that it requires actual thought, effort and follow thru. These traits all seem very black/white to me. These are not the traits of those living in The Grey. With this realization in mind, I’d like to formally set your expectations to their lowest possible setting. Try not to be heartbroken to likely not hear from me as often as you might like, then also be prepared for a litany of spelling and grammatical errors when posts should eventually appear (know that I am working on this, but I am realistic about my abilities.)

The other problem with blogging is that true Bloggers have decent cameras that take professional looking photographs with which to delight their audiences. I have a trusty iPhone & VSCOcam, which some might say I use too vigorously. You will notice this when pictures do finally pop up in your email version of a post. Try not to judge me too harshly. One day, the gift gods will bestow upon me a DSLR, and the magic abilities to work said camera, with which I will be able to match all you beezies. Today is not that day.

To end this shebang on a high note, it is Friday & in America that means it is now publicly acceptable for me to speed home at 5:01 and drink excessive amounts of alcohol with my husband, kitties and best friends. Yes my kitties drink with us, we are an inclusive bunch at the T-P household.

Happy weekend, whoever and wherever you may be!


The Grey

Of all the blogs I’ve started, this one will surely be my favorite.

Life is a series of shades of grey, approximately 49 shades, and not one more. This blog will be a place I go to work through the grey, find the shade closest to black or white as Ry & I hustle to live the happiest life we can.

Looking ahead, you can expect to hear about a cross-country move, my shameful baby rabies, along with my conflicting selfishness and love of cocktails, and Ryan’s adventures in the kitchen.

Excited to bring you along as we traipse down our grey stone boulevard (shout out to my trusty thesaurus.)