Salty Stories

10 Things I Would Go Back and Tell Myself at College Graduation

I have a real obsession with matching. Some may call it unhealthy. I love to accessorize and all accessories MUST be color coordinated. My hat has to match my sweatshirt which of course matches my sunglasses and sneakers and oftentimes fanny pack. So that’s how I found myself going to the beach a couple weekends ago with a red and grey Marist College sweatshirt and a matching red Marist hat. Because obviously the only red hat I own is my collegiate color and none other than the color of Shooter that wily Red Fox of a mascot. #PutYourShootersUp. What I didn’t realize is that this outfit choice made me look like an overzealous 18 year old who just decided where she was going to spend the next four years and went crazy at the bookstore to stunt that new school pride all over the joint. And that’s how I found myself in a predicament with an actual child (graduating high school senior) asking me if I go to Marist because that’s where he’s going in the fall and I had to reply I did go there…10 years ago.

So after struggling to answer far too many interview-style questions being lobbed at me about my what dorms I lived in and my favorite thing about campus, I wanted to reflect on this ten year anniversary. It feels like a big thing…it’s been a decade since I finished schooling and although they tell you you’re a grown-up in the real world when you leave college, I’ve come to learn that couldn’t be further from the truth. When I look back on baby 22-year-old Ju, I want to pull a Scar and tell her to run. RUN AWAY AND NEVER RETURN! Just kidding, sort of. I just want to do that fun thing you can only do when you have more years of life experience under your belt…look backward and share some perspective with the girl who was so clueless she didn’t even know how her college was paid for until her exit interview a week before graduation when she was handed a packet of info from Sallie Mae on paying off 4 years of loans. What a sweet, sweet idiot.

Disclaimer for all who haven’t heard or experienced it for themselves, May 25, 2013 will not only forever be remembered as my college graduation, but more importantly, as the day that there was such horrifically bad stormy weather from top to bottom, and yet the geniuses that planned my commencement decided to FORGE AHEAD with an outdoor ceremony. To say it was a miserable shitshow would be the understatement of the G-D century and yes obviously I’m still bitter about it and I was even more bitter when the following year it was 75 and sunny. To sit facing the Hudson River while you get pelted by rain, soaked completely through, can’t hold an umbrella because it will blow inside out and also have to hold your graduation cap in your lap with a death grip because if you don’t it’ll take flight in the hurricane winds whipping is not a milestone moment I wish on anyone. Shout out to the do-do brains who decided everyone should suffer through that for hours instead of just putting everyone in the dry and warm gym. Hope that gametime decision doesn’t keep you up at night.

For anyone who wants to visualize the soggy crapfest that I was still shivering from a week later:

10. Stop looking backward so much. I realize the utter irony of kicking off a blog that is completely centered on looking backward and telling myself to stop looking backward. It’s something I definitely struggle with, and I’m always hard on myself with my struggles. But I have noticed throughout the years that I’m always looking into the past and romanticizing how I was happier then or had XYZ then that I don’t have now. And then I do it over and over again as the years go on. And if you think about it, if I’m always looking back and saying wow look how great that time in my life was, then my life is probably great pretty often and I should maybe cherish those moments as they’re happening instead of reminiscing or comparing the past to the present so much. So this is a solid reminder for Lil Ju AND Big Ju (big refers to my age and not my size because obviously as you can see, I’m basically the spitting image of 22 year old me. Haven’t gotten chunkier due to a slower metabolism AT AWL.)

9. Take more road trips. I absolutely love to travel and have always kept a running list of places to visit and trips that I want to take. However, it’s been a rare occurrence that I’ve had the budget for traveling. In college, I was able to make the most of studying abroad, checking out different spots in Europe while I was in Italy, boarding Ryan Air with a prayer that the wing wouldn’t just dislodge itself mid-flight because with the prices they were charging for that airline and the state of disarray the planes were in, it’s honestly a miracle that so many broke students have survived to tell the tale. But once I was stateside again, I couldn’t really afford flights (US doesn’t give you the poverty option to fly barley legal aircrafts for cheap) and I wish that I got craftier in planning trips. There’s so many states to explore and I should’ve just gotten some friends together, hopped in the car and made it happen. Road trips can be just as fun and splitting gas costs and stopping at cheap motels with a gang of buds could’ve been cost effective and some great travel memories. Now that I’m old, most people don’t have flexibility with their jobs or time off from work or even day to day family responsibilities to be able to just take a frivolous trip just because. My go-to travel buddy is my retired dad right now. And while that’s pretty great, I also wish just once I could’ve done a coming of age style cross-country road trip with buddies fueled by junk food and mix CD’s, stopping at all the stupid roadside attractions documented by my Nikon Coolpix dusty pink digital cam.

8. Don’t think about building a career at 22. HEY YOU, YEAH YOU! You’re not going to graduate with a degree in Radio/TV/Film and start working on a TV show or film set within the first year of graduation. The unrealistic expectations I had with this were bonkers mad. I spent my first summer post-graduation sending my resume NON-STOP to any production assistant opening that came through on Media Bistro or whatever dumb job search engine was hot in the streets then. I had two resumes, one with a fake NYC address on it, and one with a fake LA address on it. I had worked connections on both coasts and asked to use their address to get my foot in the door because I didn’t think I was going to land a TV gig in Upstate NY. Which turned out to be very correct. Also, don’t really recommend lying about your address because all it got me was an interview for the Steve Wilkos Show in Stamford, CT and I had to pretend I just breezed on over from my apt in NYC when in reality, my dad chauffeured me 3 hours each way to make this interview that was a real bust. I was so laser-focused on my “dream” and how bad it would look to have lots of jobs and to work at places that I knew weren’t connected to my goal of being a TV producer that I didn’t think about the big picture, which was that I was 22 years old and no one gives a shit.

Every experience that you say yes to, you’re going to take something away from it. And maybe that leads to a career, but you’re never going to have a career right out of college. Some people never have a career at all. Sure, you just graduated with $27,000 in debt that’s about to accrue a buttload of interest for the next ten years, and the entry level entertainment positions pay $10-$12 an hour, and you just want to be a big TV exec rolling in it…but that’s not the journey you’re on, kemosabe. You’re on the get laid off 3 times by the time you’re 30, work in 10 different industries, string together some restaurant and temp jobs, barely scrape by in a small town journey. And you know what? That journey will lead you to a little thing called covid with a lump sum of pandemic unemployment assistance to pay off that student debt you didn’t know you’d have until you graduated because you never thought to ask your dad who was footing the bill for college. Most of my friends were still working at restaurants in their mid-twenties trying to figure out what was next. Career Schmareer. It all works itself out so take the ride, kid, and maybe try harder to get free drinks at the bar. Cut costs where you can, yanno?

7. Do social things other than going to bars. I was fortunate to spend my prime drinking years in a party town. Caroline St. was in its heyday in my twenties (I can say this for sure now because I just galloped down it once again for a throwback night and learned that it’s gone all the way downhill since then even changing closing time from 4am to 2am because the riffraff that’s drinking there these days are exploring knife and gunplay while blasted. FUN!) So obviously I had my fair share of debauchery. I knew most of the bartenders and bouncers and was no stranger to the happy hour that turns into going home at 4am with a doughboy. (Even those are trash now, called OBoy’s and tasting worse than a frozen burrito.) HOW-EV-ER, once I hit 25 I got sick of exclusively going to the bars every single weekend and was looking to expand my portfolio of fun adventures. I dabbled in a kickball league (if you spit out your coffee while reading this trying to picture me existing in an athletic environment pls know that I did this exclusively for my boyfriend and we broke up mid-season and I was so relieved to not have to go anymore…but an effort WAS made), local hockey games, comedy shows, plays, game nights, and tubing–river in the summer, snow in the winters. And I can’t recommend it enough. It’s easy to get stuck going to the same bars you’re comfortable with and getting fuzzy on the deets, but there comes a time (or at least with me specifically) where it started to get a little embarrassing to be getting older and still drinking like it was college. Sure, these are the years to get after it like a bunch of boozehounds, but also know when it’s time to start suggesting new things for the friend group and also potentially mix it up and meet new friends! And not for nothing, I believe booze was incorporated in every single one of those other activities. But as long as it’s breaking up the “let’s black out and dance at the bar and see what guys try to smooch us” monotony, then it still counts.

6. Explore Solo Dolo. Don’t feel embarrassed or weird about doing things that you want to do on your own. As you can tell by the fact that I do the majority of my activities alone these days, I’ve gotten much more comfy with it. I wish I was as into it back then. I remember the first Boston Marathon that I was living in Boston for, I had no one to go check it out with. So I just went. I took the train in and walked around Copley Square and took pictures and felt the palpable energy of the crowd. I definitely cried a little because I was lonely and couldn’t drum up a friend to join me, but it’s a memory I still often think about. It was one of the first few marathons post-bombing and it was a little scary to just rock out on my own after knowing what happened in 2013, but the atmosphere was so positive and uplifting and then I met up with my sister and her co-workers and got trashed on a Monday, making true Bostonians proud. I think I stopped myself a lot in my twenties when it came to doing something on my own because I felt like everyone was judging me for being a loser. I’ve seen itty bitty teens stop in a grocery store, prop up their phone on the shelf and do a TikTok dance. No one is judging you for being solo, and as a matter of fact, we should all be redirecting our judgment to the TikTok generation cause that shit is embarrassing. Grow up and do your weird TikTok dances in the privacy of your own home like I’ve learned to do.


How I’m coping with Netflix pulling a Ticketmaster for the #LoveIsBlind Live Reunion. #LIB #LoveIsBlindReunion #holdmusic #CharleeisUnbothered

♬ original sound – The Salty Ju

5. Don’t be a jelly belly. This is something I’m DEFINITELY still actively working on, but I can always recognize when I’ve fudged up with it pretty quickly after the fact, so self awareness is key. Everyone is in different seasons of their life and that starts to become more and more apparent in your mid to late twenties. You’ll have friends who are single, friends who can’t find their footing with jobs, friends who are living at home (yes the last three are referring to yours truly), friends who are getting married, friends who are having kids, the whole damn spectrum. Don’t be jealous of other people’s milestones. Support them, be happy for them, and hope that eventually your time will come. This is a little bit of a twofer for me personally because not only was I a little bit envious of everyone’s happy celebrations of love or baby or buying a home, but I’ve also typically been toeing the poverty line. And these big ole celebrations cost a lot of money! Showers (baby or bridal), bachelorette weekends, weddings in a different town where travel and hotel are required, that shit definitely adds up quick when you’re going paycheck to paycheck or having to ask your parents for a handout to make rent that month. There were times when I just plain couldn’t justify spending hundreds of dollars on a bach weekend, but there were other times when I probably could’ve made it work but I was being a bitter little betch. That’s on me. There’s a couple of life stage celebrations from my early twenties that I definitely regret missing out on because I was being a brat and didn’t want to be flexible to make it happen or I felt like I couldn’t take time off from a job that I’d just started since I was perpetually job hopping for a solid decade. So the bottom line is prioritize your friends and their special occasions. Show that you’re happy for them and you care about them and that you’re not green with jealousy because when your time rolls around (God willing) you don’t want people being like thanks but no thanks, ya dirtbag.

4. Say YES to all theme parties. I’ve always been a big booty big ole lover of themes and costumes. And as someone who had to abruptly stop celebrating Halloween because she was no longer in a relashe and had aged out of the Halloweekend bar scene, I long for the dress-up days. Shouts to my group of gal pals in Saratoga who were always down for a group activity or a costumed extravaganza. Though I’m very much not a fan of “girl gangs”, preferring to have deeper connections with each of my friends and bonding one on one, giant squads are GREAT for doing silly things. I loved that time in my twenties when any whisper of an occasion could turn into a themed banger. One fall Mercury was coming out of retrograde and my friends organized a galaxy-themed party to celebrate. After I went to Hawaii and wouldn’t stop hanging loose in everyone’s grill piece I planned my own birthday party around a floral shirt and backwards hat I had brought back to the mainland. When I was FRESH out of college I invited friends over on a night when my parents were out of town to watch the Winter Olympics and dress up as a country. So this little tidbit isn’t necessarily a “do better at this, younger Ju” piece of wisdom but more so a “cherish these goofy ass parties because they end and then it’s depressing” note. I can no longer just gather with a bunch of chicks to paint pumpkins, decorate a gingerbread house, or hit the town in Halloween costumes. This is probably also why I cried about the lack of participation from my mom and my sister on my “wigs night out” birthday last year. (Check out my birthday blog if you missed that sob story.) I miss these moments! I don’t miss the inevitable drama that comes with having a large girl group who gets sauced every weekend and talks smack behind each other’s backs. I DO miss rolling deep in Hawaiian shirts and backwards hats and sharing lots of giggles and photoshoots. In retrospect, this is probably why I’ve never had a large circle of friends for very long because I like to stay on the outskirts of the dramz but dip in for the funz. I also can be somewhat of an instigator because I love goss more than life itself (except when it’s about me.) So sue me. Jk pls don’t. Bottom line, every young girl should have a party crew on standby in her twenties.

3. Go on actual dates (So you’re not 31 going on your very first date with a boy). UGH this one is rough because the apps pretty much ruined dating over the past ten years. I remember when Tinder came out I was a junior in college and thought it was HIGH-larious to download and ask random boys how many pushups they could do. I never actually took it seriously and I used to just get drunk and surf through, much like I would get sauced and smooch boys at the bar then tell them to have a nice life. I guess that doesn’t constitute dating. Who knew. So, after being the kind of girl no guys looked at romantically in high school, moving onto a hookup culture college, and then having the apps take over didn’t really set up a dating environment for me. I didn’t go on a proper date until I was 26 and at that point I had already been working with the guy and texting him every second of every day for about 3 months, so it wasn’t really what we would call dating because I think by the end of the night we were both already all in. And then by the time we broke up for good after years of on and off, I was already in my thirties and had never dated. I’m very set in my ways at this point and forcing myself to do small talk with strangers to find a life mate is enough to make me want to saw both of my arms off with a butter knife. So, young, fun, hard crop-top wearin, 22 year old Ju: GO ON DATES. Learn how to socialize with men in a normal way and I don’t mean by exploring their tongue with your tongue after a tequila shot and then scampering into the night keeping your virginity firmly intact well into your twenties. Maybe if I had seen what was out there in the low pressure days, I wouldn’t be so turned off by the notion of networking to find a huz in my older years.

2. Figure out what you enjoy and keep it as a hobby, apart from work. We’re getting to the end of the list and these last two are very recent realizations. As you might’ve assumed after reading #8, I was dead set on finding a job that I was passionate about and really truly loved. I always figured, you spend the majority of your life working, 40 hours a week from 20-65, you should probably enjoy that job. I spent MANY years chasing that. And then after two whole years of unemployment, a desperate thirst for ANY job happened and I decided it was time to throw in the towel on that far-fetched dream. Sure, there are people that love their job. But I could argue that they’re the minority. Most people do a job to make the money to live the life they want. All of the jobs that I had that I truly loved, paid me in actual dirt. Like if they could’ve gotten away with turning my position into an unpaid internship, they would’ve. I literally couldn’t afford an apartment on their salaries and as an extra junk punch, they were also in an industry that likes to lay off employees every few months just to keep things spicy. Now I work for the state, I’ve got job security, ample time off, and I’m not asking my parents to help me pay rent every month (yet…the way inflation is going, I’m not ruling it out.)

Moral of the story: a job is a job, and it’s probably going to suck. Learn to deal with the suck to afford the things you want and do the things you love as a hobby to stay sane. I love writing these little blogs, I love making little stupid social media videos, I love walking around cute little towns and taking pictures like an amateur iPhone photographer. A few weeks ago I stayed up past my bedtime, completely schnackered writing hot takes on what celebrities wore to the Met Ball and then woke up the next morning to edit it and finish that monster blog to meet my own deadline of posting it by 9am. Do I get paid to do that? Absolutely not. And honestly, if I did, I probably wouldn’t love it so much. It would become a job and therefore it would lose its luster and become another boring task to complete. Do you see a pattern here? Work is stupid. Figure that out MUCH quicker and find the things you love, then put your energy into that in your free time. And if you stop loving it, find something new to love. Cause that’s the only way I’ve learned how to justify spending hours of your life doing a boring job. Also, PERHAPS the hobby will open doors for new opportunities or cool people to meet! (Still waiting for that to happen as I actively join every writing Zoom class or group that I can afford. Will report back in another 10 years if there’s progress.)

1. Give a new place AT LEAST a year before moving away. You know how hard it is to stay living in a place when you have no friends and you still have to use a GPS pretty much every time you drive somewhere? Supes hard. It’s WAY easier to just skedaddle back to the place you know where you still have a few friends to grab drinks with at your regular spot and it’s comfy and feels like home. I’ve got a real flight mode tradition when something stinks and it usually kicks in around 8 months. A year really isn’t a long time if you think about it, it flies by. But when something is awful, it feels like forever. So whenever I’ve hated a job or hated being lonely and uncomfortable where I was living, I’d kick it into gear at that 8 month mark that I needed to make a change. Realistically, if a job stinks after 3 months it’s not going to get better. Living somewhere new on the other hand is quite the opposite. It takes FOR-EV-ER to put down roots in a new place. And I’ve never really had the patience for that because a year or more is a long time to feel out of place somewhere. When I lived in Boston, month 8 rolled around and I hated my job, could barely afford my apartment, and had a couple of friends living there that were mostly busy doing their own thing or in different life stages than me. So I made the decision to split and head back to my comfort of Saratoga. The *minute* I made that decision and got the ball rolling, I started to become friendlier with my co-workers, even hanging out with one outside of work. That was the first time I realized it really takes a LONG time for people to warm up and things to start happening when you’re the new girl in town. Luckily, I didn’t have to remind myself of that lesson when I moved to New Jersey, because once you march through the hellfire that is switching everything (car, license, insurance, etc.) over to a different state, you’re not as tempted to move back home so quickly. But it is important to note that I didn’t make a real new friend until well into my second year of living here. And I am proud to say that I use the GPS less and less and have really started to build a life for myself here. It just takes WAY longer than my impatient ass can handle.

BONUS: Go to therapy sooner. I’m only adding in this last little chirp to my younger self because I talked about writing this blog to my therapist this week. It was my first in-person appointment in a whole year and I could’ve kicked back on that couch and talked to my homegirl Jill all damn day. Unfortunately, she’s a professional and she told me to get the hell out at the 50 minute mark. But before my rambling was cut short, I shared with her that it’s some real rich shit that I think I’m in any place to be writing a blog that gives my younger self advice when I’m zooming with her weekly crying about how I’m so lonely and stuck looking back and romanticizing the past and never feeling happy, etc. etc. And J-Money said, “Don’t you think that seeing me every week and talking about these feelings and thoughts that you have and trying to be better and work through them is exactly WHY you’re in a position to talk to your younger self?” BOOM. And that’s why you go to therapy, folks. To feel like a superior human being. Just kidding, that’s not the *only* reason, but I cannot praise therapy enough. I think every single person should be required to go. I wouldn’t be exclaiming that we need a new plague every time I have an interaction with an insufferable human if we were all in therapy talking about our traumas, working through big feelings and learning how to stop being a*holes. So, I wish I went the second I stepped off campus. I wish I had the Jillybean with me through ALL the job hopping and moving all over the Northeast and the changing of friend groups. Because having her as my constant for the last five years has been amazing, but I would’ve loved even more years with her. EVERYONE could benefit from therapy, and staying consistent with it, especially in your twenties which is such a weird time of finding yourself and feeling lost and confused. A sentiment my therapist was able to confirm for me as she had many patients around my age at the time I started seeing her. Feeling heard and seen and having someone want to learn about all of your experiences and feelings and be there for you to work through them is a powerful thing in some pretty crucial life development years. Even if that means paying them for that service. MONEY WELL SPENT! Ok now I’ve rambled too much about therapy and this is why I need a 50 minute cutoff.

So there you have it. I started writing this 32 year old to 22 year old real talk blog around my birthday but as it turns out, it all started flowing out of me when I took a road trip back to Saratoga, which was where I lived for the majority of ages 18 to 30 (with stints in Syracuse and Boston mixed in.) While I was on my way back to one significant place from my past, I passed by another on the Marist College Class of 2023’s graduation day. And as I came up on Exit 18 for New Paltz/Poughkeepsie under overcast skies spitting rain, it felt like I could literally blink and put myself right back on that final grey drive over the Mid-Hudson bridge into adulthood. Also rain AGAIN? Really? Is it a 10 year God smites the grads thing? Hope the administration wrote a similar blog to themselves from 10 years ago and their advice was to move the ceremony inside at the first whisper of inclement weather. Anyway, back to me painting the scenery of my meta light bulb moment. As I drove past Po-Town feeling incredibly nostalgic, scream-singing Taylor Swift and tearing up a little bit, just like I was a decade ago as I peeled out after the most sopping wet and disappointing day, it hit me. I may have thoughts and words of wisdom for 10 years ago Ju, but the truth is I still don’t really have it figured out and you know what? I don’t know if anyone actually does. Hindsight’s always going to be 20/20 and all we can do is seize every experience, feel all our feels and learn from our mistakes. And of course…go to therapy and try to be the best version of ourselves.

Salty Stories

Thirty-Two Out of the Blue

*Editors Note: This is a disgustingly long blog and I certainly didn’t intend for it to be this lengthy but about halfway through I realized writing out my experiences (good, bad, and ugly) was more cathartic for me than anything else so I’m gonna let it rip anyway. No offense taken if not a soul reads this. I also learned in a memoir class last winter that everyone’s story is unique and worth telling, and you never know who it might reach. So, YOLO.

I’ve been going through a rough season of my life. I’m calling it a season, even though it seems to have lasted much longer than a season because I’m hoping that if I say it enough, we’ll get closer to those dead ass leaves of sadness and loneliness falling off and a new season will bloom. Metaphors, BB! As a side effect of these challenging chapters, every time my birthday rolls around, I tend to hyperfocus on the fact that I’m another year older (greyer, fatter, & wrinklier) and yet have not gotten to where I pictured myself to be at this age. As it turns out, pointing out your failures on a celebratory day, does not create a let’s pop off party atmosphere unless you count pity parties as real bangerz. For several years in a row now, I’ve ugly cried on my birthday. It has become somewhat of a new tradition. Expectations are high for the day itself (how it’s celebrated, who is willing to celebrate it with me, what makes the day special, who I hear or do not hear from, etc.) and I blame my mother exclusively for this. I was raised with a great deal of hoopla for my birthday, coming down the stairs in the morning to a custom poster that she or my sisters made, flowers, balloons, themed decorations, fanfare at school, family dinners at my favorite restaurant or fun parties with friends, gifts, and desserts. In my college and post-college years, my birthday became the unofficial kickoff to summer and was rung in with a big ole Beer-B-Q full of lawn games, wieners & sunshine. Soon after, the social media era shuffled in full blown Instagram collages from all your besties. And then once I started moving around and making different friends (losing lots of friends) and becoming a real adult, that all stops. It’s a cold, harsh day when you don’t stumble down the stairs to a fresh birthday poster complete with curling ribbon. (Peep my birthday celly’s through the years below for a little taste of the spoiled life)

Once I made it past the quarter century epic boozy scav hunt, I started to be coy about my birthday, making it seem like I’m easy breezy and don’t care that much, but really just wanting someone to plan something fun and cool for me. JUST CELEBRATE ME AND PRETEND I’M NOT INSUFFERABLE, GAWD. Welp, that pretty much only works when you have a significant other who loves you so much that they’re willing to smother you to death with birthday affection and festivities. Or in some cases, not even then because perhaps your boyfriend buckles under pressure and feels like he doesn’t really know how to plan things and pretends you’re out of pancakes so he couldn’t make you breakfast and then takes NyQuil before dinner because he has a sniffle and doesn’t even notice when you’re literally choking from a raw veggie tossed down your throat by a Hibachi Chef who should have his veggie table play certification revoked. Just you know, as a general example of how things could maybe go on a birthday as an adult, definitely not based on real events and certainly not the reason I’ll never do hibachi again for any sort of celebration.

So, I’ve got sky high expectations for the day (again, thanks a lot, MOM) but also for my life in general. I think you might have realized from reading this blog, I’m a real judgmental and snarky B. I mean, you can’t give yourself the moniker “The Salty Ju” without being saltier than movie theater popcorn. But what you might NOT realize is that as quick as I am to dole out harsh judgments for everyone else, I’m even quicker to hammer on myself. Although it may seem like I’m constantly yapping about myself and my accomplishments, that’s something I force myself to do in order to look at the positives and how far I’ve come instead of harp on the things I haven’t achieved yet. And guess what? Life is a balance of both. There will always be moments that will make you want to sob your eyes out and give up, and moments that make you feel overjoyed, grateful, and fully present. I think the goal here, is to get to a place where the joy outweighs the sads.

First order of business: I’m going to actively try NOT to cry on my birthday this year. WE BREAK THE TRADISH AT 32. (*Hopefully*) I’m also going to cut myself a break. Three birthdays ago I was unemployed and living at home with absolutely no clue what was next other than that it had to be getting out of my parents house and standing on my own two feet again. Two birthdays ago I could afford my own apartment (on unemployment, shout out to the govvy on that one) and was able to swing a trip to LA for the occasion. And on my last birthday, I could afford a two bedroom apartment (UPGRADE! Shout out to my stable state job that I got on my own merit after grinding and interviewing for 2 years) and I was able to adopt a dog to give me all the birthday smooches. So maybe I didn’t have any friends to take me out on the town, but I also picked up my life and moved to a completely new state without knowing anyone and work remotely the majority of the time. Overall I’ve pushed myself out of my comfort zone and put myself out there more in the past couple of years than ever before. And that’s certainly something worth celebrating. But, I also can’t call myself a #NoFilter blog without revealing the dirt as well. I hate that we only see highlight reels in this social media generation. So here’s an unfiltered peek at what made me a blubbering mess in my 31st year and what brought me joy. My wish for my 32nd year is more smiles, less tears, and honestly when I look at the breakdown, I’m already on the right track.

Things That Caused Waterworks:

The movie Dog with Channing Tatum – it has a happy ending and yet I was laying on the floor with Charlee SOBBING every time this dog so much as whined. Netflix series From Scratch – I was unwell from this one, literally didn’t know if I could pick myself up and go on from a fictional television series yet somehow I found the strength to stop scream crying and move on with my real life. Shockingly for how much my eye sockets leaked throughout, I still would recommend it. Hulu’s Tiny Beautiful Things…it’s one of those messy series where you don’t really want to root for the main character because she’s such a disaster, but ooh baby this one snuck up on me as a real doozy. These are the three things that stick out that I cried an abnormal amount to. Like, these meant for entertainment pieces of art produced an alarming amount of sadness and tears for me, which is why they’re being listed. There were many other shows, commercials, movies, books, etc that made me tear up a normal human amount that was appropriate for the circumstances.

Giving $20 to a Facebook crackhead scamming me for Taylor Swift tickets. Not one of my finest hours and since it was a particularly low point, I’m obligated in full transparency to share my tale so that we can laugh at it after the fact. Obviously I desperately wanted tickets to Taylor Swift’s Era’s Tour, like every other human on the planet. I’ve never seen her live in concert, I’ve been a devoted fan since I was 16, I’m probably on my last leg of super fandom with her and I loved that this tour is a highlight reel of her career, so to speak. Natch, with things that I want so desperately, it all had to go to shit when she crashed Ticketmaster and allowed all of the scalpers in the world to scoop up her tickets and put them back on sale for quadruple the price. Since I’m not willing to drop a down payment for a house to sit in nosebleeds that were initially valued at $80, I accepted the crushing of this dream. UNTIL, a Facebooker posted in the Asbury Park Neighbors group (which I had only joined for apartment hunting purposes) that they were selling a couple of tickets. I inquired via private message how much and where they were located. They were selling the tickets for $200 a piece (unheard of), sent me a screenshot of the stadium layout and the seats were good, then asked me to send my email so they could transfer them from Ticketmaster and the full amount. Obviously, I’m not stupid and I would never just send a stranger $400. I told them I’d pass because there was no way to do this in a fair way. The next day they messaged me again asking if I was still interested. It seemed weird to push someone to buy tickets and there were certainly red flags here but I’m also hopeful to a fault. And on the RARE chance that these were actually legit tickets and I passed up the opportunity to have them, I knew I couldn’t live with myself. That’s why I set a budget of $20, something I’ve blown on far worse things to find out if it was a scam or not. The back and forth leading up to the exchange of money was full of “??” and grammatical errors and was somewhat erratic. I ignored it. The Zelle username was a completely different name than the Facebook profile, different gender, and the email was a third different name. I didn’t ignore it, I laughed at it and said wow this is probably a scam. I was strongly advised by my two friends who I was with at the time of transaction, not to do it. And yet my stubborn when I set my mind to it, hopeful that there’s actually good people in the world ass hit send on that Zelle transfer anyway. And wouldn’t you know it, it was very much a scam and I IMMEDIATELY felt like an idiot. I was fully prepared to insert screenshots of the entire exchange below for extra laughs but the scammer ended the exchange with “Your Papa” (his dirtbag calling card I presume) and deleted his Facebook profile probably so I couldn’t report him, thus deleting the message thread. I cried for the rest of the day. Since then, I have entered multiple radio and social media contests, followed a Twitter account that sells LEGIT tickets and check third party sites regularly to see if the prices have come down. As of publish date, I will not be seeing Taylor Swift live this year or probably ever.

My wig party was cancelled. Last year’s birthday was a real doozy of snots and cries. I had planned to go home so I didn’t have to be alone on the big day, and have always wanted to do a Bachelorette style night out with funky wigs (it has been on the bucket list for ages.) So I recruited my sister and my mom, we all ordered Amazon’s finest wigs and planned to go to the local pub and look like idiots and share some laughs. This plan fell through probably because my sister never had any desire to put a colored wig on and go out in public but also because she has a lot on her plate right now with two little needy grubbers AKA children. And I handled it like a champ. If by handling it like a champ you mean having a tantrum fit for a 4 year old and crying so hard that my mom asked if I should be on medication. It can only go up from here, folks.

Dating. I have for the first time in my life joined a dating app, it is as grim as everyone says it is, and yet I forced myself to at least go on one date from the app to dust off the ole cobwebs. Believe it or not, ya girl has never dated. I’ve had exactly one boyfriend and I met him through work. And ya know what I realized? Ya girl does not WANT to date. Swiping through profiles of men that are doing their absolute best to market themselves and they still look like disasters? No thanks. I’ll take organically meeting, forming a crush, texting all day everyday and building the basis of a friendship THEN finding out your red flags and deciding I’m already too far in to reject you over looking at a profile and seeing all of your red flags proudly displayed ANY DAY OF THE WEEK AND TWICE ON SUNDAY. Dating apps are not for me. I also don’t want to kiss strangers. I’ve been there. I dabbled in the making out at bars after a brown-out phase of my life real hard in college. I smooched a lot of strange. And I usually regretted it the next day. I’m too old for that shit now. I do not want a strange man’s mouth near mine. And as it turns out, that’s exactly what men want after they buy you dinner. So after a first date off of Hinge where I learned the gentleman in front of me was my age and has never lived anywhere other than with his parents, I took a breather from Hinge. And then a friend of mine set me up on a blind date, and on the second date, when I realized that I absolutely did not want a smooch from this individual, I bolted to my car and sobbed the whole drive home. And that’s it for me on dating, y’all! Call me an Old Maid because I will absolutely die alone probably wearing a hat.

My first ever interaction on Hinge. ‘Twas an omen.

My shower going cold every single day this winter. I pay an ungodly amount in rent to be having hot water issues. And yet, after getting 2 new hot water heaters, a third larger hot water heater, having a plumber come, changing the shower head, having the hot water heater adjusted, having an electrician come, and finally having the faucet taken off and dabbled with, the conclusion that my apartment maintenance came to was “we don’t know what the problem is” with a heavy side of “we think you’re making this up.” Nothing like being gaslit about my hot water sitch! I have hot water for exactly 10 minutes. And then it’s freezing cold. Guess who takes a 15-20 minute shower? This girl. So for an entire winter, I’ve started my day RUSHING to get the conditioner out of my hair or finish shaving in ice cold water. Many tears were shed, which actually helped as they were warmer than the water coming out of the shower head. Please pray to the apartment Gods that I find something else by July 31st because I cannot do another year of the shivers.

Not having anyone to watch Christmas movies with. Christmas is my favorite festive holiday season and I love getting in the Christmas spirit by decorating the tree, walking around looking at twinkly lights and of course, watching every trash hometown holiday movie that I can get my peepers on. This year hit extra hard that I had no one to share the joy of roasting Hallmark movies with. It’s like how can I even enjoy a spontaneous Christmas singalong at a hometown pageant if I have no one to look across the couch at and burst into laughter while simultaneously cringing out of my skin?

My ex-boyfriend coming back into my life, apologizing for blocking me, saying he’ll never do it again, telling me I’m his best friend and basically family at this point then a couple months later telling me to fuck off forever and blocking me again. I mean this one seems pretty self-explanatory (sorry but also not really that sorry for cursing.) Nothing like having a soft spot for the only guy you’ve ever loved and letting this exact scenario play out on a seasonal cycle for the past three years! Why? Feel free to scroll back to the aforementioned “hopeful to a fault” personality trait. I’m a work in progress. But also, the whiplash from being pulled in for a warm hug of comfort, ease, and best friendship when you’re in a place where you don’t really know anyone else to suddenly be dropkicked off the top of that rollercoaster? Big fat tears are pretty justified, so this was one of my more legit boohoo’s. And for those of you reading who are like damn, she really went there…

Having no one that lives nearby to take me to a colonoscopy. No one wants to have health problems, it’s always going to suck to have procedures done or not be sure what’s going on with your body. But I’ll tell you what, it definitely makes the situation a milli times worse when you have to calculate the price of taking an Uber home post-butthole examination. Realizing that in order to not Uber home while coming off of anesthesia, I’d have to as a grown adult ask one of my parents to drive 5 hours to take me to the procedure was a tough moment. Even tougher was how stubborn I was about trying to do it by myself and getting halfway through the fasting day before finally calling it knowing that even an over the counter cough medicine makes me ill-suited to operate a motor vehicle and there’s no chance I would’ve been able to get myself home afterward. I snotted all over my plain cheeseburger, chicken sammy and medium fry as I attempted to re-nourish my body and also work through the feeling of having no one to call. (Of course if you’re a loyal reader, you’ll know I had a lot of big feelings about this particular issue and ended up writing a blog about it to laugh away the tears.)

Anytime I had a whole weekend by myself with no plans. I think what’s so interesting about life is how everyone is in a completely different place. Anytime I would text my sister and say I’ve got a wide open weekend to fill with everything Netflix has ever produced, she’d quickly reply that she was jealous. To a mom with two young kids, that is the ULTIMATE dream of a weekend. To a young(ish) single gal, it’s boring and torturously long. I know, I know, you get the point, I’ve got a real case of the lonelies. You try moving to a different state as a grown up and making grown up friends who have time to hang out and also have similar interests as you…YOU WON’T. There were many a weekend (mostly in the dead of winter) where I saw those two free, uninterrupted days as something to get through. Sometimes I slept more to fill up the empty time (I realize that is basically the pure definition of depression) but shout out to our Mother Earth for going into meltdown mode lately because the mild weather this winter meant many more beach trips when there was nothing else to do.

Constructive Criticism. After two years of non-stop rejections, I thought I had grown thicker skin and could get down with any critique to be tossed my way. I learned that was not the case when I took my first ever month-long humor writing course. After introductions were made in week 1, I realized that I was way out of my league. I felt like a kindergartener who stumbled into a college course. Everyone else was more experienced, the jokes they pitched were all hilarious, their drafts were crushing it effortlessly, and when it came time to read mine it felt like everyone was like you can go shave your back now. They weren’t, but I had a bad case of imposter syndrome and rather than getting energized by this class to start kicking ass and getting published more frequently and move my way up the ladder to websites that are harder to get accepted at…I crumbled and wah wah’ed about how I have no business calling myself a humor writer. Apparently people who are *good* humor writers, go through SEVERAL drafts and iterations of a piece, getting feedback from all sorts of people before even submitting. YIKES am I amateur hour. Even the feedback that I gave, the instructor of the class would completely contradict. So I’m not even good at that part! Naturally, I’ve handled all of this really well by avoiding writing satire since then.

Giving my dog a bath and barely surviving as she clawed at me in fear. I have a small bathroom and I weigh twice as much as my dog so I was really confident I could give her anxious ass a bath on my own. I figured you gotta fake it til you make it (much like I faked being a comedy writer for the past few years) and if I was strong-willed enough to hold my dog down in the tub WWE style, we’d make it happen. After just shutting her into the bathroom caused her to have a full blown shaking-like-a-leaf panic attack, I knew I was fucked. What ensued after is a nightmare that I never want to relive again. What followed was bringing her to Petsmart every week for a month after that for “happy visits” to “let her walk around the grooming area, get treats and get comfortable with the idea” which is code for tipping a chick each time who never actually gave my dog a damn bath. I finally found a groomer who’s up to the task of working with my melodramatic little woofer who howls and shakes while being hosed down but is perfectly content to splash around in a dirty puddle like it’s her own little spa oasis. I learned my lesson here. Also that scratch hurt like a bitch.


Somehow convinced myself that I could conquer Charlee’s debilitating bath anxiety. It..did not go well. #DogMomFail #ThatsGonnaLeaveAMark

♬ Oh No – Kreepa

Getting told by a Walmart tax guy that I owed $1200 and another $400 to him for telling me so. Again, when something is shocking and a real tearjerker in the moment, often I am able to take a step back and find the absurdity in it for some laughs. Having my most expensive tax return come from a blue tent across from a Subway in Walmart checks all the boxes for a highly entertaining blog. And I can laugh even harder now that I’ve actually received my tax return, it was the opposite of what this jabrone told me and a fraction of the cost for someone who’s not a complete quack to do it.

Finding out what egg freezing costs these days. My biological clock started ticking so loud I couldn’t ignore it when I hit 30. So by 31, I felt it was time to ask my Gynecologist what she thought. She handed over some pamphlets for specialists that do egg retrieval and freezing procedures and told me to call and find out more about it if I wanted to. She also reassured me that the average age that women are when they have their first child has increased over the years and she’s delivered many healthy babies to women in their forties. Isn’t it some ripe shit that women were created to dry right up, with their most fertile years and healthiest shape for child bearing occurring in their early twenties. EARLY TWENTIES. I didn’t have sex for the first time until I was 23. I literally was PASSING MY PRIME PREGNANCY YEARS the first time I even did the thing that makes a baby. And don’t get me started on how men can reproduce until they’re 6 feet under. Robert DeNiro just had his 7th child at 79. BARF ALL OVER ME. Hey, let’s make men immature and not really looking to settle down until late thirties/early forties and women dried up old cactuses unable to make a baby at that same age. MAKES PERFECT SENSE. Anyway, long story short I waited an entire year to call that specialist because I was afraid to know the truth. And the truth hurts: “The current cost for one cycle of egg freezing at our center is $7,150 plus the cost of medications at a pharmacy which can be between $4,000 – $8,000.  The first year of storage for the eggs are included and after that you the fee is $750 per year.” So even if I had a kewl $15K lying around, I’d also need to cough up another $750 for every year that my eggs sit in some laboratory’s Frigidaire chest. Can’t I just toss those bad boys in my own freezer free of charge? I’ve got the perfect spot in between the Trader Joe’s hash browns and the thing I got at a craft fair that you shove into your cleavage to cool down when you’re a sweaty betty.

Things That Made Me Smile:

Watching Charlee run full speed off leash. It’s a good thing I had so many open-ended boring weekends, because I decided to unleash (pun intended) my inner Cesar Milan and train my dog to be let out into the wild otherwise known as the beach. Starting with a 20 ft leash that in hindsight was a pretty stupid purchase (I was going for a baby steps approach) because it gave me a bitchin leash burn when she took off running and I only used it one time before just switching to trial and error. Working with her on something and seeing her not only get better each time with her listening and recall but watching the happiest dog in the world let it rip full speed after a flock of seagulls was rewarding AF and gave me all of the smiles. Although we’re still working out the kinks and can’t walk the beach when it’s crowded (too many people she MUST say hello to), and after an incident jumping on a Hasidic Jewish couple and terrorizing them in what some may unfortunately categorize as a hate crime (she truly thought they were playing and she’s sorry), I promise we HAVE made major progress.

Watching Charlee learn to love the ocean. There will be many dog-related joys here because THAT’S WHY YOU GET A DOG…to smother it with unconditional love and think everything it does is adorable and perfect. When I brought Charlee to the beach for the first time a month after I adopted her, I walked her closer to the water and she immediately backed away as if the ocean was trying to swallow her whole. I get it, as someone who has recently become too scared to swim in the ocean, I wasn’t going to force her to be a sea lion. But I knew I wanted her to be comfortable at the beach because it is the place I visit the most and so each time we worked on off leash training, I got closer and closer to the water. And each time she got more and more comfortable until she was letting it touch her feet. Last weekend she graduated from a wet paw to a full head dunk and I nearly cried tears of joy. MY BABY IS ALL GROWN UP! Look at her frolick her face off in the sea. Bitch will be surfing by end of summer, mark my words. (Yet still afraid of baths…makes total sense.)

Forming a VIP dog park circle. All it took was about 8 months of small talk with my neighbors in the dog park every night after work and one power outage in January to form a VIP dog park circle. If I’m going to be involved in anything, obviously it’s going to get a stupid nickname. The power went out, I was too scared to sit in the dark in my apartment, so my neighbor started a group text asking if I wanted to meet at the dog park and the rest as they say, is history. I made two besties that I don’t have a whole lot in common with other than dogs and I wouldn’t have it any other way. They’ve been more willing to hang out, talk, or listen than any of the other casual acquaintances I’ve made since I moved here. They even witnessed my vacation from sanity when I wire transferred money to an obvious scammer while we were all taking a nice long mental health walk at the beach and then broke down in tears afterward. And guess what? They’re still my friends! (For now.) We’ve laughed, we’ve I’ve cried, we’ve talked shit about the weirdos at the dog park, cause nothing bonds humans like hot goss. I’ve been envious of Charlee’s ability to make friends wherever she goes, but in this case, homegirl helped me out and it made a huge difference this winter to have pals to lean on and get me out of the apartment to socialize.

Spring Training Redemption in Florida. When I was 23 at my very first full-time job working side by side with my dear ole sis, we came up with the grand idea to take a long weekend in St. Jetersberg to watch that toight ass play in a Spring Training game. Realistically, my dad wanted to go and we invited ourselves and made it about Jeets. I hadn’t even earned vacation time yet, so I asked my boss if I could use sick time instead and he approved. Then I went to Parade Day, did Irish Car Bombs from what I can only assume was a dirty glass and got Mono. (I know, I didn’t even get it from a solid Irish tongue sesh.) Unfortunately for all, I didn’t know I had mono, I just knew I felt and looked like death, so off to Florida we went. I thought it was a little sus that I got off of a 3 hour flight and then felt so drained and exhausted from sleeping on said flight that I put myself down for another 4 hour nap and barely had the energy to get dinner. Yet we soldiered on. On day 2 we sent photos of the gang grabbin mad sting rays at the Clearwater Aquarium to my mom and her reply was “Julia looks rough.” Understatement of the century. Shoutout to my dream team for pulling a Weekend at Bernie’s to get me through the weekend. This year, I finally got to run it back without a contagious disease ravaging my body and making me look like I went a few rounds with Mike Tyson. Although I missed my twin dearly, it was banger of a redo as I attended 3 games, nearly sizzled the skin off of my upper knee to mid thigh region, and got clocked with a softly lobbed ball by Yanks player DJ LeMahieu. Don’t call it a comeback, call it a glowup. (Also used real vacay time, cause I got plenty of that to go around now.)

The Year of Ballparks. This is somewhat piggybacking off of the last one, but still counts as it brought me joy this year. My dad always tried to take us to a ball game whenever we visited a new city. Since I’ve been to most of the parks in the Northeast, I suggested to my dad that we start mixing it up and visiting new ones to add to the list. Of course I was quickly humbled when we sat next to a woman at a Yanks spring training game and she told me she was on her way to Miami for opening day because it’ll be the grand opening of their “new park” and therefore it was one she hasn’t visited yet. Naturally she has been to the rest. But now we’ve got a father/daughter goal and boy do I love a damn checklist. This year I added Citi Field, Citizens Bank Park, Baycare Ballpark & Cool Today BallPark to the list of parks I’ve seen a game at and in a month I’ll tack Wrigley onto that. I also annoyed every single IG follower I have by never letting a “baseball hot dog selfie” bit die and for that I am truly grateful. But seriously though, there’s absolutely nothing better than a beautiful day, the crack of a baseball bat (preferably when the ball isn’t heading toward my body), an ice cold beer, and a juicy wiener. I’ve gone to games with different friends and family each time and it has been one of my new favorite fun activities now that I live within train distance to the city and decided to become a Mets fan because who doesn’t love an underdog story and also because I spent 3+ years getting Mets superfan facts spit at me all hours of the day and night and it would be a shame for all of that to go to waste much like my prime child-birthing years did.

Sunrise at the beach. Simply put, I am a #1 fan of the sun waking up at the beach. Whether I’m taking a walk with the dog or biking the boardwalk, there’s no other feeling that matches watching the sun rise over the water and seeing all of the different variations of colors. It’s the same every damn day and yet it’s a unique view every time. Now all I gotta do is get that beach apt and I can watch that big fiery tamale ascend into the sky until my eyes fall out of my head.

Being the cool aunt. This year my niece has been all about declaring that she wants to come live with me in my “compartment” when she gets older. And I take that as the highest compliment. I’m cool Auntie Juj who lives on her own near fun things at the beach. Watching her live it up on her first shore vacation here was fun as hell and I love that through a 5 year old’s eyes I’m giving off cool roomie vibes. Of course I told her Auntie Juj doesn’t do roommates, but we’ll cross that bridge when she runs away from her parents house for the first time and I take her to Bar A for Beat the Clock.

Climbing a donut wall meant for toddlers. My second favorite thing about being an Aunt, other than having street cred and being able to tell the kids to get away from me when they’re being annoying, is doing things that are completely geared toward small children and pretending it’s all about them. I can assure you that as the below video was being taken, my niece was whining the entire time that I was ruining her day and she was over rock climbing and just wanted to go home and I HAD to climb the donut wall. Tough shit, kid. I went from not knowing how to clip my harness and getting one step up on a bumblebee before crapping myself and giving up when I first got there to scaling this entire wall of do-do’s. GROWTH. Also it was super fun and if anyone wants to lend me their child for a Saturday so I can work on getting up a level 3 without looking like a real creep, I’d appreciate that.

Entering my Shania Twain era. On a real whim, I happened upon a pair of acid wash, high waisted, mom style jorts (the tag said mom, I SWEAR.) They fit like a glove and were on clearance for $11 and without a doubt were the item of clothing I treasured most this year. Everything tucks in nice and tight, my bits are very conservatively covered, and most importantly, my sister HATED them and roasted me the hardest for buying them. Which only made me want to wear them around her even more. Get me a Dodge Caravan and a box of Hamburger Helper because I’m a 90’s mom in these shorts and I’m not afraid to admit it. If the waistline on a pair of jorts doesn’t hit the bottom of my bra from now on, I don’t want it. Say it with me now, LET’S GO GIRLS.

Christmas in NY. There’s a reason so many songs, movies, and books are written about Christmas in NY. It’s MAGIC. I’d never been able to make it to the city during holiday season, mostly because the season lasts about 5 seconds and I’m busy spending all of my money on getting gifts for other people. Also, I was never conveniently adjacent to the big Apple. This year I finally got to see the Rockefeller tree which hailed from good ole Queensbury, I watched light shows and looked and window displays and literally gasped at every block when there was a new tree or decoration to take pictures of. I may not have had anyone to watch Hallmark movies with, but Christmas in NY made up for that in a big way.

Finishing a puzzle. Again a real depends on how you look at the glass moment. Was I sad about not having people to socialize with on the weekends? For sure. But was it also satisfying as hell putting the last piece of the puzzle in as I ripped through a new 500 piecer every weekend? Hell yea.

Hearing Grayson finally learn how to say Jujy. How can you not love a tiny little voice taking attendance of everyone at the dinner table once he’s finally learned how to say all of their names? Since his yappy older sister did all of his negotiating for him, he really didn’t need to learn how to talk as early as she did. So we’ve had a slow simmer waiting for him to learn words and it was music to my dang dong ears when he finally nailed “Jujy.”

Getting buzz lightyear with my sister and taking 100 Snapchat’s with stupid filters. Don’t know how it started or why, but every time my sister and I are tossing back adult bevvies, we’ll open up Snapchat and see what’s cooking in the weird filter department then sit there and fire off 16,000 photos to take them all for a test drive. Slays every time.

Touring the Jersey Shore house solo dolo. Driving down to Seaside I was on a mission to buy a future guido his first Shore Store onesie. I didn’t anticipate being completely overwhelmed in the store and lurking for far too long. Luckily this gave plenty of time to be talked into a private tour of the house from Shore Store Danny’s childhood BFF, who assured me it wasn’t weird to do it by myself and understood the assignment to snap 100 pics of me doing so. $10 well spent. It wasn’t a coincidence that I was wearing my mom jorts, or leopard.

When the children accepted my child (the dog) and stopped being terrified of her. Banner day for me when the sight of my dog didn’t illicit shouts of terror from Mackenzie. Took a solid 5-8 months but we made it to the other side and all of the children get along now (mostly) so looks like we’re going to keep them all.

Seeing whales frolicking in the water off the beach. If you missed it, I paid $90 for the shittiest whale watching experience of my life and I’ll never let anyone forget about it. What I should’ve done was walk the beach every single morning because guess what hangs out at the beach? FREAKING WHALES. Got my peepers on a pack of blubbers just having a grand ole time one October morning in Belmar and what a way to start the day! I turned around to say DID YOU SEE THAT?! And realized no one was near me and I was talking to my dog.

Wall Murals. That’s it. That’s the tweet. I love the shit out of a painted wall and I’ll never stop getting wide-eyed and running toward one for a selfie. Thankfully Asbury Park pops out new ones on the reg, and most cities feature an array of them because the world loves an Insta moment!

Getting Published. After crying from my humor writing class and feeling like I was the charity case of the group, I did manage to get published from a piece I worked on in that class. This made me happy mostly because it’s based on a real running list that I keep in my life. Here’s the satire version that seasoned comedy writers thought was funny. If you want the real version, you’ll have to wait until I croak as my sister has strict instructions to release it at my funeral like it’s the latest edition of Lady Whistledown. I want my funeral to be ABSOLUTE mayhem of people wondering if they’re on the list and finding out as they’re mourning me that I actually hated their stinkin guts for some minor (or major) inconvenience they caused in my life. PS if you’re wondering if you’re dead to me…you probably are.

Flower Hangs with Cin. Tulips, Sunflowers, what have you, if I’m able to appreciate fields of colorful flowers with the woman who taught me to take an abundance of flower pics everywhere you go, it’s gonna be a great time.

Pulling off the Thanksgiving charcutes masterpiece. I felt a lot of pressure to perform when my sister went on and on about her new friend Kim and how she makes the most bangin charcutes boards that look like an influencers and then asked me to step up and create one for Turkey day. I bought all of the bougie meats cheeses nuts and crackers Aldi had to offer and then almost buckled on the day when I realized I’d be happy as a clam to shove salami into my salami hole straight from the package and didn’t know a thing about presentation. BUT TEAM WORK MAKES THE DREAM WORK. Gotta love cousin Ray Ray, Aunt Wendy & my sister for all stepping up in the time of need and accomplishing this beaut. The men were not allowed in the room as we tinkered with placement and barked at them to keep their hands away until we’d properly photographed it. Honestly we made everyone terrified to even eat off of this board and that’s the sign of a true success.

Going back and forth with a Facebook cr33p bartering a price for my feet pics. Facebook taketh and Facebook giveth away. I should’ve known I’d be scammed for Taylor Swift tickets after taking such pure delight in an exchange about selling feet pics after I posted a pair of wedges for sale. I posted the breakdown at the very end of my One Year As the Jersey Ju blog, so I won’t repeat content. But I did really love dabbling in the foot game and even went so far as to consider joining Feet Finder as a supplemental income. Mostly because I want to live at the beach and that shit ain’t cheap, yo.

Going to more comedy shows. Wanna know what combats the sads? Going to see professionals who have made their sads into hilarious jokes. I love standup comedy and I was able to see a handful of shows this year, including a local basement show that I took my mom to where we got called on and both immediately tried to burrow into the ground to make the attention go away AND a preview of someone’s taped special in a Vegan bakery with an *intimate* crowd. I’m basically Lorne Michaels now.

Charlee acting like the mayor of the beach, visiting with everyone, shaking hands and kissing babies. May we end on the greatest joy and source of laughter and smiles in my 31st year. My perfect angel baby pup. My first month with her was such a tear-filled nightmare and I specifically remember telling my therapist, “I adopted a dog to enhance my life and she’s currently making it worse.” Sorry, Charlee. Thankfully she only wreaked havoc for a month to make sure I was really going to keep her. And boy am I glad I did. She’s the most social butterfly I’ve ever known and the beach has become her favorite place to greet the masses. We can’t walk the boardwalk without people stopping to tell her she’s like, really pretty, and at the end of our visit to the dog beach people know her by name and are offering to dogsit her if I ever need it. There’s a reason that homeless drifter wanted to keep her around and I bet she’d make a killing for me if I ever decided to panhandle. Obviously I’d never stoop that low if I needed quick cash, I’d just hit up Facebook marketplace with some well-lit shots of my tootsies. But anyway, back to my dog (not to be confused with my dogs), she’s a ray of sunshine that has connected me to so many people this year and I don’t know what I’d do without her.

For anyone who has gotten a lengthy birthday text from me slobbering them with compliments and how lucky I am to have them in my life, you can blame Bob Saget dying unexpectedly and EVERYONE saying what an amazing and great guy he is and how he always told people what they meant to him and how much he loved them. WE NEED MORE BOB SAGETS IN THE WORLD. We also need to stop waiting until people die to tell all these great stories about them. So henceforth, I’ve declared the birthday rule. Make people feel special and loved on their day of birth, not their day of death when they’re already a ghost and can’t talk back. Kthxbye.
Salty Stories

Death & Taxes at Walmart

“The Only Two Certainties in Life are Death and Taxes…and you don’t want to have either event occur at a Walmart.” 

Benjamin Franklin, probably

This is a cautionary tale for tax season. A real ‘do as I say, not as I do’ number. And seeing as the general public isn’t as neurotic as me trying to file their taxes before February is over, I’ll be able to save a few of you from thinking the very thought that struck me just a few days ago. And that thought was: should I file my taxes at Walmart? You most certainly should not. And this is why.

I’m a big believer that any Joe Blow can file taxes. Most people fire up TurboTax on their own and if they don’t, they’re just paying someone to enter the numbers from their W-2 into the very same software. Taxes are stupid as hell. They’re in that grand scope of things that I probably should’ve learned something about in school rather than spending several years studying geometry or memorizing the periodic table of elements. Guess how often I’ve used the Pythagorean theorem in real life? I’ll take NEVER for $1,000, Alex. (RIP) And as with anything that I have no knowledge of, I’m happy to pay someone else to do it for me…minus the happy part. The year during Covid when I was unemployed and living with my parents, I took a stab at doing my own taxes and upon answering their little pre-screening questionnaire I was informed by the Turbo Robot that I’d need to purchase the “Full Service” version in order to file. So like everything else in this cruel, cruel world…FREE was a big ole lie. And thus it was back to paying an older gentleman who knows how to enter numbers into a computer hundreds of dollars to type in those lil numbers and tell me that I owe more numbers. Yay! ADULTING!

So, as my first full year in New Jersey comes to a close (and my accountant being a New Yorker), I thought it was time for a fresh start. Last year I had to file federal, New York, and New Jersey. I owed all three, thanks for asking. You know what’s fun about moving out of state mid-year after collecting unemployment and also having an un-taxed side hustle? NOTHIN. NOTHIN I TELL YA. I also had to find a way to send all of my secure documents to my accountant in Central NY who told me email was cool. I know how Nigerian Princes steal your identity, my guy. After googling “secure portals” and texting him a password to access the docs, then paying him and all branches of the government all of my monies, I told myself 2022 was going to be my year. THE YEAR OF THE THICC TAX RETURN! How many times have you read this blog and cackled out loud when I declare that things are looking up for me? Be honest.

For reals though, I was super financially responsible last year. I paid off my student loans, bought out my car lease, managed to hang on to my state job, and hustled as a marketing maven on the side for straight cash, homie. And after the harsh realization that when you don’t have taxes being deducted from a self-employed paycheck, you still have to pay those…I PRE-PAID taxes. That’s right, baby! On four separate occasions last year I cut the IRS a Monsters Inc check. All signs were pointing to a meaty tax return and I was very excited to see those dollar signs cha-ching in front of my very eyes. Did that mean I was willing to pay a lot to file that return? Absolutely not. So when faced with the challenge of finding a tax guy here, I thought, wait a minute…don’t they have a jabroni stationed in the front of Walmart for all of tax season?! If it’s good enough for the people of Walmart, it’s good enough for me! And let me be clear, as I dive in to the stereotypical creatures of Wally World, this is very much coming from someone who loves shopping at Walmart. Those rollback prices *speak* to me and anytime I’m popping in for coffee creamer or dog food, I often find myself perusing the clothes department and leaving with a little treat for myself just for being alive and finding all of the deals. (DISCLAIMER: Even though I’m a woman of the people, I still feel it is my duty to warn you to never go to a Walmart on a Friday night. It’s House of Freaks up in there. I don’t know why Friday night specifically is the “don’t feed them after midnight” crowd but once you happen upon it one time, you’ll never want admission to that circus again.)

Now that we’ve established that I’m not above Walmart, let’s just go ahead and say what we’re all thinking here…there’s no way a tax professional doing business in a pop-up tent 10 paces away from the front door greeter is going to be charging an arm and a leg for filing the return of any commoner who happens to zip on by with their paperwork. And that’s how I found myself making a 4PM appointment on a Friday to file my taxes at the Walmart on 66. It was a little uppity of me to make an appointment but I was immediately humbled when I decided to sneak a return in beforehand. If you’ve ever had the unfortunate luck of visiting the customer service counter at a Walmart, you know that you will wait in a line of no less than 10 people, there will be 1 cashier, and the 3 people in front of you will most certainly always be wiring money to another country with minimal deets and a heavy language barrier. Bonus points if someone gets off line, asks the cashier if they can use their phone and stands at the front gabbing with their friend about how they’re waiting in line. (Shout out to East Syracuse for providing me with that very special experience.) I got there 15 minutes early and after waiting those entire 15 minutes to return an electric can opener that didn’t work, I rolled up to the tax tent right at 4 on the dot. Which meant nothing, as this fella had absolutely no clue I made an appointment and thought perhaps I took a number at the deli counter and it struck me that maybe I should also file my taxes while I’m here.

I’d like to paint a portrait for you, if I may. The man that was behind this blue curtain was quite possibly the most disheveled creature I’ve ever seen. If you had told me that they went out into the parking lot, saw someone living out there and asked him if he would perhaps like to type numbers into a computer, I would’ve absolutely believed you. He had dirt under his fingernails, bruises also under his nails, was wearing many many layers of clothing and had a real chaotic energy about him. Never judge a book by its cover but if we were to be in the book cover judgin game, this one was a scooch concerning. And instead of my internal sirens blaring, I pulled up a chair and handed him a folder of secure information about myself. Classic Salty Ju. I was planning on asking many questions before we kicked things off, one of them being, “how much is this going to cost?” and then I got flustered because stranger human interaction. The website said filing would start at $70 and seeing a number that low on top of the fact that this makeshift office was stationed directly across from a Subway, I anticipated this would cost $100 AT MOST. So I let her rip.

This chooch pawed through my paperwork, licking his fingers and tossing sheets back at me that he “wouldn’t need” at an alarming speed. He then manically starting throwing them in a scanner. We were about thirty seconds in and my papers were strewn all over his desk, dangerously close to his Mountain Dew and grease-stained five dollar foot long. He wrote down my social security number on one of them like he was adding milk to a scrap grocery list on the kitchen counter. Papers were flying as he fired questions at me–Are you filing jointly? Single? Any dependents? Seems like a touchy inquisition for a stranger to ask right on the heels of a holiday full of “my forever valentines” husband and baby Instagram posts shoved down my throat but ok sir, I’ll play along. Let’s just address all of my shortcomings up front: I’m single, I’m sure you peeped my DOB on my license, and I also rent, so no tax break for being a first time homeowner either. We then moved along to the tapping portion of this little sesh where the man with visibly shaking hands aggressively tapped the enter key over and over and over again. Another couple of shoppers lurked near the tent flap and he told them he’d be with them in 10-20 minutes, which is honestly a quicker turnover rate than the customer service line so look at him showing off!

Then we hit a snafu. “Enter” was not being finger-blasted and now he was looking up a number on his cellphone to call from his desk phone. Yeah that’s right, this folding table was decorated with not only an office-grade printer/scanner combo deal but ALSO a landline! If you’re impressed, feel free to take it down a notch by learning that his corporate office screens the Walmart satellite office phone calls. No answer so he called from his cellphone, which was immediately answered. As it turns out, bro needed to phone a friend. The software wasn’t behaving in the home office square footage portion of the entertainment. Through moral support and some more hammering of the ole enter key, we arrived at the grand finale. And wouldn’t you know…I OWE.

I asked him how this could be possible as 2022 was MY YEAR. The year of the juicy return! (And the return of the Juicy sweatsuit. Coincidental? I think not.) Where shall I vacation on my bonus money?! Evidently I should take a little day trip to the bank to make a hefty withdrawal from my savings to pay the gov. The same gov that’s in trillion billion million dollar debt and keeps porking us with inflation as a big bad recession looms overhead. Do I sound bitter? GOOD. I was beside myself at this little revelation that for yet ANOTHER year of just snaking by on two jobs, I’d be forced to fork even more over. My dude obviously did not care that I was about to turn on the waterworks in a Walmart and felt that this would be an ideal time to drop another bomb on me. He confidently declared that I owe that, PLUS the $500 for his services. Ex-squeeze me, hombre?

You mean to tell me that in 15 minutes of rat-a-tat-tatting, you earned FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS?! The math ain’t mathin, homeslice. And folks, it deserves to be repeated (forever and ever times infinity) that he is at a WALMART. Bananas to his left, cashiers on his right, a blue curtain separating me from staring right into the burner phone storefront. I’m sure there’s an actual business name for this little spot but we all know this is where drug dealers and thieves stock up on their un-traceables. My jaw resided on the sticky floor. I’d been bamboozled. By a very unsavory looking character nonetheless. I told him under no circumstances could I afford to shell out $500 for this ordeal and he phoned his friend again to “see what they could do.” Friend of the program said he could lower it to $400. I’m sorry am I in a furniture store negotiating the price of a sofa sleeper or filing my taxes? If haggling is on the table, does that mean I can call up the President of this godforsaken country and do the same for my return? “Sup, Bides! While you were busy spending all my dough on flying spy balloons over China (yea that’s right, we did it too) and taking face-first diggers off your bike, I was working hard and I deserve about 2,000 buckeroos to take a tropical vacay at a time when my skin is translucent and my mental health is below sea level. Thanks so much, babes!”

Since neither the unpolished turd in front of me nor his slimy compadre on the phone would go any lower that four hundo OR give me a direct line to Pres Biden, I knew it was time for me to get the hell out of dodge. For once I could use my ignorance to weasel my way out of this kerfuffle. I recalled that price was never discussed up front and I imagine he saw my income and got creative with the quote, so without agreeing to anything, I didn’t think he could hold me to it and force me to file. I dug my heels in and firmly told him I wouldn’t be completing any transactions today. AKA I squeaked out no thank you while dripping in a flop sweat. He then told me he could put my return on hold and I could come back closer to April 18th because “it’s not like I was getting any money back anyway, so it didn’t matter when I filed.” Thanks for the reminder, Tax Satan. He also pointed out that by then, their price will go down even more. SCAM. SCAM I TELL YOU. He didn’t skip a beat in admitting that they’re gouging lovely people like myself to do about 15 minutes of work but if you wait it out a little longer, they’ll gladly give you a hefty dissy. He should’ve just outright said: Come back in April, bring me a liter of Cola and a fresh pretzel from the Philly Pretzel Factory next to the Patio & Garden department and we’ll call it even, hon.

I gathered my highly sensitive docs that he already had digital copies of (damn you, modern world), my dignity, and moonwalked out of there and right into the Subway where I got a FL Chicken Parm, Baked Lays and a white chocolate macadamia nut cookie. Just kidding, I shamefully scampered past the receipt checker out to my car where I immediately speed-dialed my parents and cried. They told me to get my stuff–especially my social security number back from this hack and call their accountant. Nothing puts the fear of God in olds quite like my generation handing out our social security number like candy. My hopeful visions of skipping out of Walmart with the promise of an Italian Job level payout on April 18th and a cocky “I took care of it all on my own” vibe were trampled to death by a guy who could be mistaken for a meth dealer but apparently was a CPA. So in conclusion, if you’re thinking about boot scootin over to your local Walmarts for some budget-friendly accounting…maybe do anything but that.

Editors Note: Having my own blog has become an unruly monster of an excuse to demand family and friends take my photo wherever we go, because you never know when it’ll apply to a ridiculous salty story I’ve decided to tell and come in handy. I was stuck on what should be the feature photo for this little ditty when I remembered that in 2019, my family and I went to Walmart at midnight on Thanksgiving in our pj’s to mix and mingle with the Black Friday deals. I knew I looked like a trash panda and therefore said SNAP A PIC CAUSE I LOOK EMBARRASSING. And lo and behold, it was the perfect photo for this blog. I also wanted to make the clear distinction that although I’ve gone to WallyWorld in pajamas on many occasions, I was wearing my dressy sweats when I went last week to file my taxes. Had I gone to see an actual accountant I would’ve worn hard pants. I honestly felt like even sweats had me overdressed for the occasion, but I’m self aware enough to not insult the process by wearing Men’s Christmas punchbug fleece jammies for such official business.

Salty Stories

Bend Over and I’ll Show Ya

I haven’t written a probably *too* personal essay in a while and what screams “holiday season” quite like some buhhole talk? As I’ve divulged before in blogs here and there, I’ve had stomach problems my entire life. Self-diagnosed as IBS, I’m either going an alarming amount of time without pooping or I’m having an emergency mad dash before you crap your pants situation. There is no in between. Hence, why I’ve pooped my pants 3 times as an adult. After years and years of trying different pills and powders and probiotics. Eating more fruit, drinking more water…you’ll recall what a big pile of nothing that did for me. Keeping a food diary. Wearing a diaper. Just kidding. It hasn’t gone that far although I have seriously considered it on days when my cheeks never leave the seat. Oh how nice it would be to just be able to go while I lay on the couch or run errands. And then I’m hit with the cold harsh realization that festering in your own poop as an adult is not something to daydream about. So after 30 years I finally decided my PCP telling me to “try to work more fiber into my diet” wasn’t cutting it and scheduled my very first appointment with a gastroenterologist. I was excited and hopeful to find a solution that didn’t involve removing cheese from my daily intake. As a firm believer that life without cheese is not a life worth living, I was prepared to tell any doctor that suggested that right where they could stick that suggestion.

I scheduled my appointment with a female GI (sure, I’ll share my poop stories with the whole world, but talk to a male doctor about them face to face? YUCK.) and made a detailed list of the years of trials and tribs that I wanted to share with this specialist to be thorough and make sure she knew my butthole inside and out to give me a proper diagnosis. Within 2 minutes she had diagnosed me with IBS-C (for constipation), told me she didn’t need to hear all of the things that I’ve tried as this is very common, touched my tummy for about 45 seconds like I was the Pillsbury dough boy and slid over a prescription for Linzess. Big Pharma, baby! Why get to know your patients when you can just push the latest expensive drug that you’re getting a kickback on? I asked if it made sense to maybe do a colonoscopy to rule anything more serious out and was met with a hard no because I’m not shitting blood. Mmmk, doc. Drugs it is. I was warned that these pills could cause cramping and diarrhea “at first.” Not knowing what the scientific definition of “at first” is, I went an entire week spewing out of my blowhole. 7 days and 7 nights of explosive diarrhea. For anyone who’s opinion is “better out than in”, you obviously have never almost busted down your bathroom door Kool Aid Man style to make it to the toilet in time once, let alone every damn night. When I finally got ahold of the nurse (several days of phone tag later), I was told to take a lower dose of the drug. Guess what the lower dose did? The same damn thing. Order up! One more week of Hersey Squirts, coming right atcha! I kept a note in my phone of the happenin’s of my bowels. Here it is for your entertainment. If you laugh out loud at the word diarrhea like my sister and I do, you’ll enjoy. If you’re a grown up who doesn’t enjoy potty humor…what are you even doing reading this blog?

As someone who’s never desired to have a remote office from the commode, it was time to lay down the law. No more Ms. Nice Butthole. (How many times can I insert butthole into this story? The limit does not exist.) I ditched this doc who clearly didn’t give a shit about me and went for a recommended GI. Unfortunately, this one was a man and I was forced to face my fear of letting a male doctor all up in my biz. Obviously I was really desperate for solutions other than taking expensive laxatives on the daily. The good news is this doctor actually did care, the bad news is caring also means a full examination with a side of casj butthole fingering. After some light getting-to-know-you conversation, my new doc showered me with compliments about how I’m too young to be having these sorts of problems. He also added in that I’m beautiful and look just like Sophia Loren. I would’ve preferred a movie star from this decade but who am I to split hairs when I’m being complimented for my youth and natural beauty? And then he told me to pull my pants down just enough so he could have access to my “sphincter” and jammed his digits right up in there. WHAT A TACTIC! Lubricate the patient with a healthy dose of flattery before literally lubricating your gloved fingers and diving right in. So now I’ve got a new life motto: if you’re going to wedge your fingers in my asshole, at least tell me I’m pretty first. Stick THAT on a t-shirt. The downside is that after ole poop fingers finished the exam, he announced “you’ve been pooping wrong.” Ex-squeeze me? Is there a wrong way to poop? Jury’s still out on that. His reply was inconclusive but he did recommend using my Squatty Potty more, which has become a real chore in such a tiny bathroom. Hopefully by my 32nd year I’ll have learned how to poop. He also pressed on my stomach and goes, “hmm, full of gas.” DON’T I KNOW IT, DOC. I’ve had a slow gas leak since ’91. My work from home days are scored by a steady symphony of toots that my dog has learned to sleep through. But I digress…the Doc then shoved me a paper towel and told me I wouldn’t want to go to the grocery store after this and have everyone see it all over my pants. I don’t know what “it” was but mopping up my backside with a Brawny post-plunder while he watched was truly a humbling moment for us all. I was forced to overcome my fear of male doctors and butt stuff all in one appointment. Baby’s first rectal poke was almost as traumatizing as the time my gynecologist gave me a pap smear with my jean skirt still on. ALMOST.

New doc told me to start from scratch with over-the-counter remedies for 2 weeks and report back. So every day I was taking 2 stool softeners, fiber powder 2x a day and Miralax 2x a day. My insides probably looked like this:

True to my Type A personality, I created another list to keep track. This one didn’t have as many “diarrhea” notes but after a few dicey days in my office with a plumbing system created by the original settlers of New Jersey and an incident where I was driving to meet my friend for brunch and dared to sneeze and nearly had a real messy poopsie daisy, it was safe to say the concoction of powders weren’t helping matters either. I’m genuinely shocked I didn’t shart once during this two month period of GI experimental diagnoses. When I went back in for my follow-up, it was clear that the next logical step was to do a colon invasion and rule anything major out. AKA the thing I suggested on the very first day of seeing a specialist. But what do I know. On the spot, my doc suggested the day before Thanksgiving for my colonoscopy. I was weary but he assured me that this was the BEST time to do it as I’ll go into the holiday empty and ready to fill up on turkey. Since he’s the expert, I agreed, mostly just wanting to get it over with. My plan to pregame turkey day with a colon cleanse went sideways when I realized that I didn’t have one soul on this earth to drive me to said colonoscopy and also I would have to make the 4.5 hour trek home for the holidays in the same day. For someone who feels the effects of NyQuil a full 12 hours after taking it, I assumed the hard stuff they give you to go lights out would probably render me disabled. Unfortunately, I didn’t come to this realization until I was halfway through the prep day of fasting. With a belly full of chicken broth, STARVING, and sobbing on the couch because I’m 31 and don’t have a huz to take care of me and my b-hole, I had to reschedule the procedure for a time when my parents could come into town and take me. #RockBottom. I obviously coped by driving straight to McD’s and shoving a mcchicken, cheesburger and medium fry down my gullet as fast as my body would allow. If I could have injected it right into my veins, I would have.

Finally, the day had arrived for the real deal with my dad traveling in to be my escort to this very special occasion. I knew the hell that I was in for as fasting from 8AM to 1PM the last time nearly sent me to my grave. Everyone told me my insides vacating my body would be the worst part of the process. Joke’s on them because that shit’s a walk in the park for me, literally. I’m prepped for a probing on a regular Wednesday by the amount I’m rushing to the potty. The ACTUAL hard part is the liquid diet. As a big believer in three full meals a day and snacks every hour, fasting is very much not for me. I am a shell of a human when I skip my mid-morning snack and have been known to get the shakes or even pass out in the shower when my blood sugar is low. I used to bring snacks into gym class with me in high school. Needless to say, by lunch time I was in DESPAIR. My dad was on his way into town and when I told him not to call me again on his drive as I’ll be putting myself down for a nap because I can’t bear to be awake and not be eating, he reminded me that there’s people who feel like this every day and to put it into perspective. Dear ole dad always knows just what to say to comfort me. Because as I’m considering what Charlee’s dog chow would taste like, my stomach growling ferociously, thinking of starving homeless people really gave me the reality check that I needed. NAHT. I was able to snooze through the afternoon dreaming of hot dogs and cheese fries and woke up at dinner time to begin the real treat, my toxic sludge that would stir up quite the poopstorm. Always looking for a way to make laughs out of a grim sitch, I made a video of me mixing it like a cocktail.

Then I took my first sip of the 64 oz I was supposed to consume over the next hour and the joke was very much over. Opting out of the additional lemon flavor so as not to feel like I was downing Pine Sol for an entire evening, this cocktail tasted like metal and oOoh baby she was thicc. I was not expecting that consistency and almost projectiled it straight across the room. Things started moving almost immediately and I was shocked at how easy breezy this process seemed. That was until the taste of this bevvy clung to my mouth for the rest of the evening and made me the most nauseous I’ve ever been. When it came time to finish that MF’er, I would’ve rather drank actual poop than saddle up for another half gallon of this poison spritz. I gagged down the first few sips of round two and ran to the can at lightning speed. From 10pm until 1am, I was the queen ogre of my swamp, sitting atop the porcelain throne, taking gulps, feeling those gulps immediately blast through me like hot lava and dry heaving into the sink whenever I reached the last sip of the cup. It’s important to note that I’ve never been the gal who could just toss a shot down the hatch without tasting it. Everything takes a spin on my taste buds before cruising on down my throat and I hated it when I was doing shots of warm Svedka in high school and I hated it even more on this particular night. By some cruel twist of fate, the second half of the gallon was like a bottomless mimosa pitcher…if mimosas tasted like lighter fluid. Every time I thought I was pouring the last glass, by pure magic there were 3 more glasses still left. After tossing the last few drops down the drain because I physically couldn’t do it, I crawled into bed, wrapped my shivering body in flannel sheets, only to have to bolt back to the bathroom several more times throughout the night and again as soon as I woke up. And twice more after I showered. And again when I got to the doctor the next morning, clenching the whole car ride there. I THINK THE GALLON PLUS 4 LAXATIVES WAS OVERKILL, DOC.

The next morning I dressed to impress in my most festive sweatsuit. Just because I was about to be violated doesn’t mean I couldn’t stunt on em with a lewk. I requested my father take a before and after pic. It took three tries for him to get my sick ‘fit AND my head in the same shot. It’s important to note that my dad is not here for the nonsense. He’s here to call me a baby bitch and roast me for how long it took me to choke down that half gallon and remind me of my privilege when I tell him I might die of hunger.

Lucky for me, the Home Alone jumpsuit was much appreciated and complimented at the doc’s office. More importantly, it added quite a sassy accent to the paper shorts they told me to hop into pre-procedure. What a fashion statement those bad boys are and tearing a hole in the crack for easy access was the cherry on top.

After the exorcism of my bowels and gag reflex for 12 + hours the night prior, the probing itself was really just a solid nap where ripping farts immediately afterward was not frowned upon. As I recounted the tale later that day to my mom, I told her how embarrassing it was for me when they walked me in my ripped paps shorts through the open waiting area to get to the room where I could eat my little snackie. My dad quickly interjected to share that under no circumstances did they walk me out with my buhhole flapping in the breeze but rather wheeled me out with my eyes half shut. I guess that was some good shit they gave me. Not as good as the paper shorts, tall red buffalo check socks and white high-top sneaks combo that I was rocking. Woo baby, I looked HOT. Again, I demanded Den document this peak babe moment for me so I could immediately upload it to Hinge to lure a lifetime mate and natch dear ole dad left the footwear completely out of frame. Maybe one day he’ll learn that my life is merely lived for others to laugh at me and HOW CAN OTHERS LAUGH AT ME IF IT’S NOT DOCUMENTED PROPERLY?!

So I survived my first butthole invasion and I’m here to share the gory deets for any fellow ladies who also have IBS and have been avoiding getting this procedure done like the plague. If I can do it, so can you. To all you regular poopers, I envy you and your ability to just shit on command. But your time shall come…it might not be for another 20 years, but everyone must succumb to the anal plundering (of the medical variety, I’m not here to kink shame) at some point. As for me, my colon was clean as a whistle and therefore I face the cold hard truth that since there’s nothing “wrong”, I’ll just have to continue with the alternating belly full of rocks and surprise trots when I least expect it forever and ever until I DIE. So the butthole saga continues. And remember, Gentlemen, I am available. 😉 I may not know how to poop, but at least I’ve got jokes!

PS Special shout out to my dad for driving 5 hours through the snow and the rain to put up with my dramatics. And also for picking up the tab on this juicy life-changing steak that I mowed through at record speed. I told you, girls gotta eat!

Salty Stories

A Blubbering Whale of a Tale

Whale hello there! I’ve been chugging away at my New Jersey Bucket List, just trying to earn my stripes as a Jersey Girl and my next big check, my white whale so to speak, was peeping some big booty big ole humpbacks. My affinity for sea mammals begins and ends with my obsession with the cult classic, Free Willy. Ever since 1993, I’ve made it my life goal to become besties with a killer whale, set him free from greedy waterpark captivity, only to call him with my harmonica anytime I want to grab onto his fin for a quick ride or just talk through my hardships while I pet his smooth rubbery back. As it turns out, my life is not scored by Michael Jackson, and orcas don’t make great pets. So, I had to settle for taking a spin on The Royal Miss Belmar to feast my eyes on what guido and guidette whales are cruising around the Jersey Shore.

I had been casually slipping whale watching into conversation for a solid year, hoping someone would think that sounded like a krill-iant time. I had no takers and I finally decided to seas the opportunity and stop feeling so tide down. My sister (who went whale watching in Cape Cod) confirmed that it wouldn’t be weird to go by myself because everyone is looking at the water anyway and not the loser with a fanny pack full of snacks. So I decided to take the day off Monday and have myself a breachin’ time. Alright, I’m done with the whale puns…OR AM I? I found the top-rated whale watching tour in my area and when I went to purchase my ticket I saw the options were: general admission for $55, reserved seating for $85 and a “best view of the house” upper deck seating for $125. I wanted to guarantee as best as possible–within budget–that I’d have a banging view for ample pics and vids. After texting with the company (their only form of contact, big yikes) they advised me that there’s still an opportunity to get good seats with general admission but you’d have to arrive early, whereas the reserved seats are all at the front of the boat. I decided to splurge and laid down that extra cold hard cash to get myself those tip top seats. $95 later, I was ready to see some mother-F’in whales on a mother-F’ing boat.

I got to the marina, circled twice looking for a parking spot and finally found one under the bridge at the train tracks…the furthest away. I was *very* excited for this fancy whale watching experience that I paid top dollar for and kicking things off by emerging like a troll from under the bridge, huffing and puffing on a 10 minute walk to the boat ain’t it. A precursor for what was to come. I was met with the crew upon boarding and when I gave them my name, the Captain started to tell me to follow the rest of the general riffraff but then stopped and went, “OH, you’re VIP.” Yes, sir, I most certainly am. I sit VIP or I don’t sit at all. I’ve never felt more elite than that very moment. I sauntered up to the front of the boat behind my whale watch escort and he pointed to the roped off section and told me to take my pick.

I sat down with a healthy distance from the next group, thinking I was being polite, then promptly said F that and scooted as close to the bow of the boat as I could get, remembering that my sister told me that’s the hot zone for prime peeps. Then I sat in the direct sun for 30 minutes and roasted, sliding all over my VIP seat before the trip even blasted off. I’ve never felt like a bigger dirtbag imposter than when the deckhand came around to collect the reserved flags off the seats that I had accidentally been sitting on top of and I pulled it out of my swamp ass and handed it to him sopping wet. At least I managed to face my fears and ask the couple next to me to take this adorbs pic of me on the bow pre-swass, so the image I curated was very shi-shi even if my slippery limbs couldn’t cooperate.

We set sail and the ocean breeze was life changing for my overactive sweat glands. A woman sat down on the bow of the boat and declared that she didn’t show up early enough to get a good seat so she’ll just make her own. Ope, ok. This was my first indication that my expensive reserved seat meant absolutely nothing. That point was hammered home even further when the boat suddenly turned into a zoo of activity. I don’t know what it is about moving vessels or confined spaces that make people feel like they need to get up and jazzercise but it is downright infuriating. As we were on a modestly sized boat, the seating was similar to a row at a concert or the aisle of an airplane. Every time someone wanted to get through I had to shove my knees up into my eyebrows so they could scoot on by. No exaggeration, I spent an hour crunched in the knees to chest position as every passenger on this boat bee-bopped back and forth because they couldn’t possibly just SIT FUCKING STILL IN THE STUPID SEAT THAT THEY PURCHASED. At one point a guy stopped and stood directly in front of me and leaned over the boat, not only obstructing my view of the water, but putting his butthole in my face. That’s when I finally had enough and stood up to stretch out my legs which had been slung over my shoulders like a continental soldier to accommodate the “I just want to feel how the air is on this side of the boat” general admission crowd and stake my spot for prime blowhole views, not to be confused with prime butthole views.

Was there a ticket option for “I’ll sit where I’m not supposed to and you can’t stop me?”

We were an hour in and still hadn’t seen no stinkin whales and our naturalist (a PhD student from Rutgers) had been eerily quiet on the mic. Knowing that they don’t guarantee a whale sighting, but they offer a free trip if none are seen, I didn’t have a GREAT feeling about it. Finally with the NYC skyline in sight, the naturalist got over the loudspeaker and told us to keep our eyes peeled because 80% of the whales they see are in this area. Why humpback whales would kick it near a large city is beyond me, but I’m no expert. More time passed with no whales and she popped on again to say that we’re approaching a busy shipping channel and the whales like to hang here because it’s deep. Again, an area with tons of big-ass boats cruising through doesn’t seem ideal for a 30 ft whale to sunbathe. At this point the jig was up. I knew these fools had no idea what they were talking about or where they could find us some whales. I had been duped. I mean I could’ve cupped my hands to my face and spoke “whale” into the breeze like Dory and attracted more whales than this crack team could find with all their fancy boat equipment and the eyes of 100 amateur passengers searching the waters. They slowed the boat down and started circling a certain area and that’s when the naturalist nervously announced, “Obviously we don’t know where the whales are on any given day,” to which I laughed and replied out loud “NO SHIT.” But they decided to lurk near the shipping channel hoping to catch one, Chris Hansen style. Since they changed direction to go against the wind and try a different angle, they told the left side (my side of course) to be careful of waves. Not two minutes after I snarked the naturalist, I caught a little sea spray to the face. It was enough spritz for me to decide it was time to sit my ass down.

I wiped off my glasses after taking this silly little splish-splash selfie and no sooner did I put my phone back down that I got full on waterboarded by another wave. I was securely in my seat and looked like I got dunked under water. And then another one hit. I paid $95 for a VIP super-soaker seat.

After getting womped about 3 times, and one particularly spicy wave getting past the barrier of my sunglasses and hitting my eye, making it burn so badly I basically went blind, I decided it was time to find a new location. The boat had now been put in neutral and was rocking back and forth quite a bit, so with my one good eye, this disabled drowned rat hobbled over to the bow of the boat and latched onto what I believe was an electrical post. I turned to the couple who snapped my pic and told them “this is not a fun time.” They uncomfortably laughed, probably wondering why a sea urchin in need of an eye patch was speaking to them. It was at this point, drenched and blind that my sea sickness decided to turn up full blast. The bow where I was clinging for dear life was slapping up and down and we still had yet to see anything other than some crusty old balloons floating on the surface of the water. Don’t need binocs for those! As I tried to dry off and also not throw up or fall over, the naturalist continued to urge us to do her job for her and find us a whale. KEEP LOOKING! THEY’RE OUT THERE! It’s as if she wanted to rub it in that I only had one working eyeball.

We start to creep back to shore, already late for our 4pm return time, when finally the lady who made her own seat on the way there pointed out a whale off in the distance. Credit where credit is due, at least she was pulling her weight cause I was 100% over scouring the sea for a spout. We got all up on that whale and stalked it like their “complimentary next trip if you don’t see whales” policy depended on it. This company was not about to lose another cent. I learned that several people on this boat were on their second trip after not seeing any whales on their first so clearly this is much more common than they lead on. Shocker. We rotated around this whale who was lunge feeding and took turns with each side of the boat having a view. In my fake world brain, I was imagining I’d have a front row seat to whales flopping around the boat and I’d leave with amazing pictures. The reality was incredibly underwhelming. I had finally regained vision in both eyes but 20/20 really wasn’t necessary here. Everyone was crowded around each other, pushing to see, while also playing bumper passengers trying to keep balance. My phone almost fell overboard every time I snapped a picture and every picture that I took was of the water with a teeny tiny glimmer of a whale blending in with the waves. You could never tell when it was going to pop up and when it did (usually not where your eyes were) it dipped back down 3 seconds later. I’ve never been more unimpressed with something in my whole life, but that didn’t stop me from taking 100 pictures and videos of nothing, hoping for the miracle money shot that never came.

As the whale got closer to the boat (still not close at all), the naturalist chose that moment in time to share that this year in Plymouth a humpback flopped onto a fishing boat out of no where. She emphasized that whale was a juvenile just like this one and you just never know what could happen as the whales are only focused on getting fed. READ THE ROOM, LADY. While I’m on a boat choking back pukes trying to stay upright, the absolute LAST thing I want to hear is that the whale we’re trying to get closer to could just come aboard and launch us into the bowels of the ocean. Did I laugh at the YouTube video of this incident in Plymouth? SURE DID! But I was cackling because I was safely on land and the possibility of this ever happening to me was almost nonexistent. There is a TIME AND A PLACE for sea monsters can kill us without even trying stories. Gawd.

After we spent far too long watching this whale do virtually nothing but eat fish underwater, we found a second whale to creep all up on. This was one they’d seen before. Whale #91 to be exact. Y’all can’t even name your whales?! Come on. We watched him also do virtually nothing but eat fish underwater for another half hour (now an hour off schedule) and I counted down the minutes until I could get back to my seat for the hour ride back and hopefully eat my Ritz bits snackpack to stop myself from hurling. As someone who went on the Himalayan at the boardwalk last month and QUICKLY learned that I’m way too old for rides without getting motion sickness, I’m not sure why I thought being a first mate for the day would be kewl and not stir up my insides. Ya girl may be called The Salty Ju, but she was not cut out for the boat life.

I sat down for our journey back, relieved that we were in the final stretch, and my seatmate turned to me and genuinely said, “That was worth getting wet for!” Uhh, no ma’am. Without a doubt it was not. Did she also get salt water in her eyes because there is no shot anyone could’ve been impressed with what we saw. And as if she manifested that same fate into the air just by speaking it, within 1 second of the boat going full speed, I got the dunk tank treatment again. One little girl was standing in front of my seat with her head over the side of the boat LOOKING to catch waves to the dome and this is why kids are beyond stupid. (PS there was not a safety speech or lifejacket in sight on this ride and all of the children on board were running RAMPANT without parental supervision. Almost made me wish one got tossed over the side on a rough wave to teach those parents a lesson. ALMOST.)

This is it. This is the best whale picture I got.

Obviously there was no chance I was going to sit underwater for an hour and everyone else had already gotten the memo to get the hell away from that side of the boat. Unfortunately, the combo deal of high speed boat and lack of balance pretty much guaranteed I wouldn’t be making any big moves. I was able to essentially run/crawl to the dry half of the bow, lean my body weight into the side and get a two-handed death grip on the edge. Picture “I’m the king of the world” positioning but instead of a majestic cruiseliner gliding slowly through the air, the wind was whipping in my face and I was bruising from the amount my body was slamming into the side trying to stay upright. F-U-N! I somehow managed to “stand” this way for about a half hour. There was no one in sight, as they had all figured out a better way to endure this ride. All of a sudden, the boat went from full speed back to an even more nauseating halt and the naturalist hopped back on the hot mic to tell us they’ve spotted another whale and they want to photograph it for their own records. Oh ok, sure, babes! I guess I’ll just live at sea now while you do research and find another whale to assign an inmate number to. A three hour tour, indeed.

Now that the boat had somewhat stabilized, it was time to try and find a seat since the one I overpaid for I was only able to sit in for about 10 minutes. (In case you somehow forgot I got ripped off hoard.) I went to the inside part of the boat where some of the staff took one look at my about-to-Ralph face and said everything ok? Certainly not, Skipper, thanks for asking! I told them I was feeling a little nauseous and was looking for somewhere to sit. They directed me to the back of the boat, said it was less rocky there and told me to look at the houses on land to feel better. I told them it probably didn’t help that I was sitting in the splash zone and the deckhand goes, I did notice that. SIR, IF YOU NOTICE A PAYING CUSTOMER GETTING BOMBED WITH SALTWATER AND VISIBLY NOT ENJOYING IT DON’T YOU THINK IT WOULD BE NICE TO HELP HER TO ANOTHER SEAT?! Guess not. I thanked these two jabronis for absolutely nothing as they were about as useful as a poopy flavored lollipop and wobbled to the back of the boat, where everyone else had already migrated long before me. I found a seat on the very end and dropped into it, met by an incredibly dirty look from the lady next to me, even though I left ample space in between. Oh, exsqueeze me, is this real estate taken?! God forbid I take your precious buffer away from you for the last 20 minutes of this shitstorm.

My ass hit that plastic seat and I’m about to focus on the shore and take a deep breathe when I’m distracted by the woman two seats down launching into the air and projectile vomiting off the side of the boat like a velociraptor. Not only did I get to see her red puke soar through the air, but I also got to smell it! Then I got to jam my thighs into my brain so she could get by me and probably go upchuck some more. And it was in that very moment, as I tried not to start a chain reaction of vomz, that I decided this blog must be written. The rest of it could be chalked up to a crappy experience, but this horrible day being capped off by moving locations and sitting down in the exact right moment to catch the backsplash of an off-boat gommick?! PURE GOLD. That’s sitcom-quality no good, very bad day right there. There is no other way the experience could’ve ended. After the crew selfishly got their pictures of the whale (that they didn’t even tell us where to look for), they sped us back, making sure to hawk their merch and shove their tip jars in my facehole. Everyone on the beaches waved as we passed by, probably smiling and saying “what a bunch of IDIOTS” under their breathe. But I didn’t care because LAND HO, I finally got off that damn boat from hell. I would’ve kissed the ground if I thought I’d be able to without crashing into it.

This wasn’t the first, nor will it be the last time my unrealistic high hopes for a mediocre activity gets the best of me. The good news is that I’ll always turn my disappointments into entertainment for the masses (family members that read this blog) and the even better news is it wasn’t me who red wedding retched all over the Royal Miss Belmar. I’m proud of myself for going alone especially because if anyone went with me I would’ve had to tell them to shut the hell up because I was so naush anyway, which probably would’ve been less than enjoyable for them. But at the end of the day, I went whale watching and all I have to show for it are 75 identical mediocre pictures of the ocean, some of which also include my own finger. If I ever get the mermaid urge to go under the sea again, I’ll just stick to a Free Willy 1 & 2 dubz feature, pretend my BFF is a killer whale and call it a day.

My hair was straight when I boarded this vessel.
Salty Stories

One Year as The Jersey Ju

For anyone who read the angry novella of the worst moving experience of my life, not only did I somehow make it through that, but it was ONE YEAR AGO! I survived a whole ass year in New Jersey. And let me tell you, after almost dying every time I dared to get behind the wheel in my first few months, I did not think I would live to tell the tale. Luckily for all of us, not only did I survive, but dare I say THRIVED? I dare not. I’m totally kidding. I did not thrive in my inaugural year as The Jersey Ju. I waffled at best. And even though I believe I’ve become a more aggressive driver, and grown thicker skin (just a touch) like the combative people of my new home state…I have not forgotten my roots. And if there’s one thing I’ll do no matter where the hell I live, it’s create a bucket list in order to force myself (and unwilling victims around me) to explore and take a bajillion pictures. Since I haven’t blogged about my life in a hot minute, I decided to chit chat about all the things I’ve done in my first year as a Jersey Girl!

Can we call me a Jersey Girl now? That’s for you to decide and me to find out. I suspect no one truly becomes Jersey until they’ve completed a “locals only” journey of experiences much like Robin on How I Met Your Mother became a real New Yorker. What Maury Povich is to NYC, The Boss is to New Jersey and I trust that as soon as I catch that sweet goatee trolling around Asbury, I’ll be well on my way to being a true New Jerseyan. (Good news I have this hilarious Bruce shirt I got at a boardwalk tourist shop that definitely doesn’t scream BENNY and one can only hope I’ll be wearing it when I see him.) But for now, please accept the fact that I embraced my new home state in bucket list form as a giant first leap to becoming JERSEY STRONG.

Since I am nothing if not extra, I split my list into 4 categories. The first three categories I ripped EXCLUSIVELY from an series that was published when I first moved here where Peter Genovese pointed out *the* thing to do in every county in New Jersey. I furiously scribbled down the ones that were up my alley (wine, food, biking) and then let friends and co-workers add in their own recommendations.

Obviously you have a set of eyes and can see that these two lists remain largely unchecked because both eating and boozing in public require an iota of a social life. I’m fine going out alone when I’m traveling because I’m moonlighting as a work jetsetter AKA #TheCorporateJu. Going out alone because I have no friends to join me?! MORTIFYING. There will never be a time where I’m out solo dolo and do not think every single person in that establishment has turned their chair to stare at me and wonder why I’m such a smelly loser. This is a hump I am yet to overcome and it would be cool if you could just support me in my insecurities here. If you recall, I did boldly show up to Taylor Swift Trivia alone. And it didn’t go well so that really set me back on my progress. Regardless, here’s a highlight reel of the Eats and Booze bucket list items.

Pete & Elda’s (Neptune City) Staring out hawt by ruffling some Jersey feathers…WHAT THEY SERVE HERE CANNOT BE CALLED PIZZA AND I WILL THROW HANDS WITH ALL OF THESE CENTRAL NJ NUTS WHO TOLD ME I JUST HAD TO TRY PETE AND ELDA’S IF I WANT TO KNOW WHAT REAL PIZZA TASTES LIKE. BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. The sauce was weird, the crust tasted like a sweet croissant with flaky pastry consistency and I honestly could barely choke down my normal 2 slices that at a good pizza place I can delete in mere minutes. Sorry, not sorry.

Laurita Winery (New Egypt) is bumpin with events. I attended 90’s night in the dead of winter where I dressed like it was ’97, drove 45 mins with 2 brand new friends only for them to promptly tell me upon arrival that they actually don’t really like 90’s music and we should split. I drove more than I grooved in my overalls that evening so we’ll guh ‘head and take an L there. Still looking for any takers who want to attend line dancing night at Laurita so I can check line dancing off of my master bucket list (much alcohol will be involved.) Hit me up if you want to boot, scoot, & boogie.

Windmill Hot Dogs is the Hoffman’s/Heid’s of the Jersey Shore. If you know me, you know why I absolutely NEEDED to go there. A hoffies hot dog, cheese fries and a medium birch beer is my death row meal and I don’t think I’ve ever gone more than 3 weeks without tossing that five star cuisine down my gullet.* So it was time to see how the Jersey version fared and folks, it was NOT good.

*I just received my routine bloodwork results from my annual physical and my cholesterol was high. Can’t imagine why. My doctor noted that perhaps I’d had a greasy meal or alcohol in the days prior to the test. Uhh…yeah babe. All of the above. She also suggested I eat more leafy greens & legumes. I’ve never laughed harder at a doctor’s note in my entire life. A LEGUME?!

Not only was the hot dog about a solid foot longer than the bun, but this wrinkled ween looked like it was not a day under 100 years old. That dawg was on the rollers for a cool 8 hours just shriveling out of existence yet ironically, not getting any shorter THUS CREATING MY NIGHTMARE OF A HOT DOG. What am I supposed to do with that? Just take a raw dog bite until I hit bun a foot later? Get outta here with that trash. This wiener was so hard to stomach that I did something I’ve never once done during feeding time, I shared. Charlee Girl got to try her first two bites of hot dog (after I bit it off and peeled the skin because I was terrified she was going to die eating it) and you know what? She approved. So at least someone liked Windmill. Wasn’t a total loss but rest assured I will not be returning (sober.)

Alright, now we’re cooking with gas, a list exclusively of things I can do without companions! Although, the most disappointing discovery this year: both climbing activities have been ripped from my greasy little paws. Barnegat Lighthouse AND Lucy the Elephant are currently undergoing renovations and will not be open for climbing in the near future. My legs thank them, my excitement for taking a photo from the inside of a metal elephant trunk does NOT.

Manasquan Reservoir is not for casual bikers who take their beach cruiser out for a stroll as my vagina may never recover from the uneven gravel and overgrown tree roots for all 5 miles of this trail. Also I had Covid when I went so I really deserve bonus points.

Mantoloking Bridge County Park is actually just a boat slip (Thanks, 🙄) and I really wish I hadn’t driven 40 mins with an over-eager pup looking for a walk to learn that. Even Charlee was like this place stinks.

Ocean Grove is the cutest G-D Victorian house beach town and I creeped the HARDEST on all of the adorbs porches and front yard gardens. (I’ve also been touring each beach town with Miss Charlee Pervs and so far Ocean Grove is #1 for quaint views & vibes.)

Thompson Park (Lincroft) became one of my go-to bike routes in the fall except for the fact that I still never figured out how to loop around it and got lost in it more times than I’d wish to admit. One time someone stopped me as I was putting my bike away and asked me which way to go on their bike and the jig was up. I was forced to confess that even though it was maybe my 5th time there I am directionally challenged and shouldn’t be allowed to bike without a GPS guiding me every step of the way. Gr8 golden fall views though.

Visiting Cape May Historic Lighthouse was the byproduct of REALLY wanting to see NYC at Christmas for the first time ever (an unchecked item to come in the next category) but Omnicron taking a giant dump on those plans. I settled for Christmas in Cape May instead and of course had to squeeze in a beach visit for lighthouse views on a freezing December day (after warming up with espresso martinis first obvs.) 10/10 would recommend taking the trip to Cape May regardless of the weather. Their downtown area was beautifully decorated for Christmas, they had lots of cute restaurants and bars to pop into and catching the sunset at the beach was the cherry on top. I took about 15 billion photos in the 6 hours I spent there and *not to brag but definitely to brag* my shot of the lighthouse from the sand has been posted on Cape May Point’s Insta & a random Cape May fan account no less than 3 times. So I am basically a Cape May legend. I mean this was their Christmas social post:

Not sure why they didn’t want to post this Buzz Lightyear selfie with the lighthouse instead, but whatevs. I accept.

Here’s a small sampling of photos I snapped that day:

Holland Ridge Farms (Cream Ridge) found itself a new seasonal sucker in me. A farm full of in-bloom flowers and photo props? SIGN ME UP. Fall gave us a Salty Ju birthday sunflower photoshoot (and a lesson learned that cutting your own sunflowers is basically an arm workout.) And Spring transported us right to the Netherlands with Tulips as far as the eye can see and a full day of Mother/Daughter flower bonding and modeling.

Mt. Mitchell Scenic Overlook (Highlands) has a nice view of New York City across the water (I confirmed this after texting a fellow Jerseyan because I would’ve hated to be the nerd who’s like check out those city VIEWZ and it was a peek at Red Bank or something.) There was also a 9/11 memorial and patriotic flower arrangement that I especially thought was cool as I was exploring it near the 20th anniversary of the attacks. I took about seven thousand pictures for such a small spot so clearly I enjoyed it.

And last but certainly not least, the bucket list that I created from my own brain, the experiences that I decided were vital to becoming a Jersey Girl AKA shit that I wanted to do now that I live 15 minutes from the ocean and one hour away from two major cities.

Eat a Philly Cheesesteak in Philly was my first check off the list at a social media summit last August, and it felt right to kick things off with a greasy food item. It felt even more right that after INHALING this cheesesteak, my boss witnessed a mouse scurry across the floor behind my chair. We were just starting to get to know each other and she got to learn real quick how afraid I am of creatures as I played can’t touch the ground and Usain Bolt’ed right down the stairs and out onto the street without a backward glance. Grateful the rodent waited until AFTER I finished my meal to show himself. Could’ve really ruined the experience at Jim’s South St.

See a show at The Stone Pony, a seedy rock club known for its affiliation with Springsteen. I knew I wanted to see a live show there but the usual suspects who perform there are *much* cooler than I will ever be. So all I had to do was wait for my middle school crush and favorite musician (former lead singer of Something Corporate/Jack’s Mannequin) to swing through. Happy to report I didn’t have to wait long because Andrew McMahon stops at the Stone Pony on every tour. I got to see him stomp all over his piano for the first time in four years and also learn that this historical music venue looks and smells like the basement of a frat house.

Place a bet in AC. Pretty spicy of my job to send me to both Philly and AC so that I could mix business with pleasure and accomplish two items on the BL. Knowing that AC is the epicenter for white trash gambling addicts, I was not all surprised to walk into Harrah’s on a Wednesday afternoon and instantly be smacked in the face by a cloud of cig smoke and a bunch of degenerates placing bets. Other than my tried and true $1 WPS bet at the Saratoga racetrack, I was a gambling virg and wanted nothing more than to have a very main character-esque on a heater at the blackjack table movie scene. I recruited my boss to document this which resulted in walking around looking for the easiest game to play but having no clue what we were doing and eventually asking a pit boss to direct us to a table for baby’s first gamble. He pointed us to craps and said they would explain it to us because there wasn’t a big crowd. They did not explain it but thankfully a fellow gamblin librarian held my hand and told me what to do. Within seconds of a stranger rolling the dice, I lost $10 and was frowned upon for bringing a paparazzi with me to the table. (Peep the pit boss holding up his hand, the universal sign for “cut the shit.”) If there’s one thing that I know about gambling, it’s to always walk away on top. I had a taste of the juice and I needed to finish my glass. So we found the ever-classic slot machine so I could feel the rush of pulling a lever and seeing dolla dolla bills, y’all. And lo and behold, I won $22 on my third spin. It’s a miracle I didn’t quit my job right there, saddle up to this machine for the rest of my visit and yank that lever on repeat with a fag hanging out of my mouth. Instead, I collected my cash (to be spent on a rubbery bagel and a water the next morning) and rode the high of being a winner for the rest of the week. See below for my US Weekly, Stars They’re Just Like Us photo spread.

Also important to note that I talked MAD shit about how boring this conference was going to be because there’s no way librarians get turnt, and then was proven very wrong when I took advantage of the awards ceremony open bar, got fuzzy on the deets, made a bunch of new work friends and stayed out until 1AM. Took me two days to recover. #IssaVibe AC, BAYBEEEE!

Go blueberry picking. Once I found out that the NJ state fruit is the blueberry, I knew that plucking my own was a must to become at one with my new roots. Turns out no one cared to share this experience with me, so I went ahead and did it by myself on the very last day of the season. And it showed. Pickins were real slim. But I got to dress like an actual blueberry, saunter around a farm on a Sunday morning and pick a healthy snack for the beach later. Win, win, win.

Try pork roll sammy. I learned immediately upon moving here that one of Jersey’s greatest and most fiery debates is over a piece of meat. South Jerseyans (and most of Central) call it Pork Roll, North Jerseyans call it Taylor Ham (a brand of pork roll.) It’s basically like calling those things that hold your boogz a tissue or a Kleenex. As a tried and true crispy bacon lover, it was going to take a lot for me to invite in a new breakfast meat…especially one that looks exactly like Canadian bacon. (Yea I got a lot of dirty looks for that, but I stand by it, COME AT ME BRO.) I asked several people how to order my pork roll and practiced it in the mirror so I didn’t look like a noob at the deli and there was literally no reason for me to get so worked up because the second I stammered out “pork roll egg and cheese on a bagel,” the guy behind me ordered a Taylor ham egg and cheese and the owner goes “A WHAT?!” The guy immediately apologized and said he just moved down this way and hasn’t adjusted to calling it pork roll yet. I giggled nervously thinking the owner was just messing with him. He WAS NOT. The owner legit almost kicked this poor soul out of his shop for ordering his breakfast sammy wrong. He shouted, “TAYLOR HAM IS A BRAND, YOU KNOW, SO IT’S JUST WRONG.” And before I could bear witness to a pork roll slapping, my sandwich was ready. I scurried out of there to enjoy my first PR with a side of fisticuffs over the name. I’ve grown to love a good pork roll egg and cheese, salt and pepper on a roll (bagel is too thicc) so I’m glad I gave it a chance.

Find Jersey’s best espresso martini. I got the best espresso teens on LOCK in Saratoga, so it was only natural that I begin the quest for the best in New Jersey. Since spressy marts (workshopping some sassy names here) are all the rage with the millennial crowd right now (may I remind you, I’ve been drinking them since I was in college, trendsetter 4 lyfe) curated a list of the best spots. This was a good start for my list (see below) but I also like to go off the cuff and just order one anywhere I go for a full rating. This bucket list item is checked off because it’s a work in progress. I won’t stop until I reach the top, but trust that I’m working on it every chance I get. Very sorry to report that I got lost in the sauce and forgot to formally review at Wharfside, Birravino, The Shrimp Box or the second bar whose name I don’t remember in Cape May. Guess I’ll just have to go back and get anotha.

Eat crab legs. This one got added to the list after I admitted to my boss that I’d never tried a crab leg because I was intimidated by all of the tools needed to eat it and never want to be stressed while eating. Shouts to my girl Tiffany who was like oh we’re going to getchu some crab legs and I want to walk you through this v. buttery experience. So that’s how I found myself having a big ole plastic bag full of crab legs and shrimp for lunch on my birthday and then going back to the office with butter stains on my dress, smelling like a crustacean. Did it taste like buttery garlic deliciousness? YUP. Did I struggle the most to get even a morsel of meats? Also yes, which is why I don’t think I’ll be a regular crab-eater. If I can’t toss food down my gullet at warp speed, I don’t want it.

Mets Game @ Citi Field. Having been to a game at four major baseball stadiums, but not having checked both NY teams off the list, I knew seeing the Mets at Citi was a must and waiting until they were having a hot streak of a season really worked in my favor. Despite my dad peeling open a nanner on our drive to the train station and almost ruining the day completely with this stench-filled car snack, I’d say my first Mets game was a great success. Even though they lost, they held their own against a top MLB pitcher and I got to see what Mrs. Met is twerkin’ with when they brought in the trumpets for Diaz. Also GREAT game day dawg. WAY better than Windmill’s trash wiener. Next up to round out the Northeast: Citizens Bank Park in Philly.

Nascar at the Wall Speedway. Never even knew what the Wall Speedway was until I switched up my route to work and passed a sign that said Nascar was coming soon. As a born and bred people watcher, I knew this was a can’t miss and just needed to rope someone else into it. Luckily, I made a new friend from the South who was itching to watch cars spin around a track and we got ‘er done. Before I even entered the stadium I saw a gentleman wearing jean cargo shorts and I knew I was about to be in for a real visual treat. Follow that up with a kickoff prayer over the loudspeaker (because, and I quote: we put God before country) and 5 hours of cars driving in circles and spinning out, it was surely a sight to see…one time and one time only. Unfortunately I didn’t do my research and learned when I got there and looked to buy a beer that the speedway is BYOB, so I had to raw dog this night on pure exhaust fumes with no alcoholic lubricant. Fear not, I channeled my inner Ricky Bobby and got through it. SHAKE N BAKE, BABY! I saw a wife lap her husband in a race (who run the world? GIRLS) and this guy pictured below in a wheelchair yelled at my friend and I for standing too close to him. A true Jersey night.

Oh, did you think this marathon blog was done? YA RIGHT. Those were my formal lists so that I could get that orgasmic satisfaction of physically checking a box every time I accomplished something. But OBV I haven’t lived exclusively by a list for the past year. So here’s noteworthy things I did that didn’t come from a list! Honestly if you’re still reading at this point, God Bless.

See a show at Starland Ballroom. This venue has no historical significance and it’s on an old country road across from a VFW (I’m not sure if that’s true or if that was just one of the many jokes my sister and I made when she asked me where the F I was taking her because it looked like deliverance out there.) We caught Breland and Russell Dickerson on a cold wintery night and it was without a doubt the most fun, high energy concert I’ve ever been to. If you ever have the chance to see Russell throw it down onstage, GO. There’s a reason he calls his shows the RD Party. Also FWIW, this venue was way better than Stone Pony–ample parking, space to stand, and multiple bars for booze refueling.

Do a Jersey Shore Vacation fit for a 5 year old. The last time my family and I did a beach vacation was the summer before I went to college where I was fresh off of my wisdoms being pulled (still swollen) and we all wanted to murder each other on day 3 of sharing a rental. So it’s been a minute since I’ve seen the magic of a beach vacay, which I got to do when my niece came to visit. It was her first vacation and pretty much first time doing every single thing we did. We quickly learned that she’s a woo girl in training by all of her excited outbursts for each and every activity. It’s cool when you get to do childish things but no one gives you dirty looks because you’re with a child. From finding treasure in the Metedeconk River (not worth the $25 ticket price if you’re over the age of 5) to almost ralphing on the Himalayan and learning that I’ve finally aged out of theme park rides, this viz was easily the most jam-packed 3 days of activities since I moved here. If you want to see pure baby’s first vacay joy, check out the home video I made like it’s 1993 and I’m Uncle Joey carrying around a camcorder to document everything my nieces and nephews do. Honestly there’s never been a better description of me, so whatevs. Everyone will thank me someday, probably not after wasting 14 hours getting through this blog, but SOMEDAY.

PS save yourself from Jenks Aquarium…I’m not sure we can officially call this place an aquarium as it was giving basement apartment of a guy who lives with his mom and keeps a bunch of snakes vibe. I should’ve known from the second I walked in when they had a guard at the stingray tank and told everyone they could only go wrist deep and only touch the rays that come to the surface. BRO. What stingrays are coming to the surface at a crowded boardwalk aquarium? Ya gotta get your grabbers down there and rassle em up. Amateur hour.

Beach it up at least once a week…even in the dead of winter. Look, you can’t talk a big game about how you’d be infinitely happier if you could just live near the beach and then get here and not take full advantage of that. I specifically chose to live 45 mins away from work so I could be as close to the beach as my bank account would allow and even that hasn’t been satisfying. That 15 minute drive is a real boner kill when there’s people who can just walk outside their home and hit sand. I couldn’t manifest living at the beach harder if I tried. Anywho, I walked, biked, lounged, swam, peeped many sunrises and photographed the beach like nobody’s biz this year and if you don’t believe me, here’s proof of my love affair with all things sandy and salty. (For the elite few who received a Christmas card from me, I wasn’t kidding, I basically lived on the beach like a crab this year.)

P.S. When I went in January and the only other soul on the sand with me was a seagull that was keeping pace with me on a walk, I legitimately questioned my sanity. I also may or may not have cried because that was the terrible day that I got my mugshot NJ license photo and Roz from Monsters Inc wouldn’t let me smile or switch my registration over and my only companion was a damn sky rat on a deserted beach. Real talk though, this was easily the loneliest year of my life so big ups to that salty bitch the sea for being there for me on good days and a whole lot of bad days too. Yup, sure did just personify ocean water like a total looney toon but there’s a reason waves crashing is auto-programmed onto every sound machine…it’s soothing as hell. It’s also super loud and great for drowning out the sounds of an ugly cry, jus sayin. All in all the beach is my favorite place on this earth and is probably the main reason why I’ll be sticking around here for years to come.

Champagne spray on the beach. Seems fitting to address this activity after yapping about how I pretended to own beachfront property all year rather than shoving a beach cruiser into my car and driving into the land of the rich from sketchy Neppy. I paid off my student loans this year which means ya girl is 100% debt free and ooh baby is it sexy to be financially stable for the first time in my life. So I celebrated by tossing on a tutu, buying a bottle of champs & hitting the beach to give myself a little extra in a rap video booze-soaked dance. Best part about the beach in the winter? No one else is there. So I got to take a bunch of champagne spraying videos and sashay around like an idiot without any witnesses. It was a good time until my hands were sticky and frozen so I scampered back to my heated vehicle to regain blood circ.

See the Twin Towers Lights on the 20th Anniversary. As someone who grew up 6 hours away from NYC, I had a very distant perspective of 9/11. I was 10 years old and I couldn’t quite grasp the magnitude of what had happened and instead of observing and shutting my yapper, I decided to ask my parents to take me out to dinner that night to celebrate. Before you can compare me to a terrorist, I quickly backpedaled when I saw the look of horror on their faces and added “you know, to celebrate the people that survived.” I’m not gonna try and dig deeper on what was banging around that middle school brain of mine but it was obviously nothing profound. Regardless, I was able to go to a park in South Amboy that overlooks the NYC skyline and see the lights of the twin towers and talk to someone who had a much different perspective of that day, which really opened my eyes to how people were affected far beyond the site of the attack. It was a very cool night and although my pictures are absolute dogshit, and it wasn’t the clearest of views, it was nice to step outside of my idiot child brain and see the bigger picture. I’d still love to go to ground zero and walk through the museum, so maybe that’ll be on my list for this upcoming year.

Drink out of a stein at Oktoberfest. I always wanted to go to the real Oktoberfest but also didn’t have any friends that could be trusted to control themselves and not die of alcohol poisoning, so I’ll settle for a local version at a biergarten. Mostly, I’ve just always wanted to drink out of a honkin stein while wearing a trendy Euro hat and I feel like the extra I paid to get said stein of a beer that I didn’t even like was well worth it for the photo opp. PROST!

Get solicited for feet pics on Facebook marketplace. This one is really a reward (happy ending, so to speak) for the few, possibly none, that read this entire blog which pretty much turned into a scrapbook of my entire year. It doesn’t surprise me that it wasn’t until I moved to New Jersey that an innocent posting of brand new Sperry wedges catapulted me into the seedy underbelly of foot fetish internet.

And since I’m me and I live for content, rather than immediately blocking my podiatry perv, I played it through.

I’d like to say I’m a comedian who’s committed to a bit, but realistically, if I can snap a well-lit photo of my tootsies in a pair of trendy wedges and cash in on $50 without even leaving my couch, I’mma do just that. As it turns out, my man Tito decided after looking at my profile picture, why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free. What I thought was a tasteful sneak peek (the first one’s always free, it’s the next one that’ll cost ya) apparently was enough to get the job done without exchange of currency.

I’ve changed my profile picture to one with closed toed shoes and going forward, I’ll drive a harder bargain. YOU WANT A SHOT OF THESE POINTED PEDICURED TOES? WIRE ME $100 OR KEEP IT MOVIN, FREAK. DON’T PUSSYFOOT AROUND THE DEAL. So whatdya think? Am I a Jersey Girl yet?

If this ratchet flip phone shot circa 2011 of me in my authentic Seaside Heights Shore Store pinny (personalized with my last name on the back) tells you anything, then yeah I’m JERSEY, bitch.
Salty Stories

Things I Googled In My 30th Year On This Earth

Proving that you do not get wiser with age, you just learn to trust the internet to be smarter so your brain can hold onto important things like every lyric to an N*SYNC deep cut.

We’re closing in on the first anniversary of my 30th birthday. Please send your condolences in the form of straight cash to my Venmo, homies. (@Julia-Giantomasi) Since last year I dug real deep and got vulnerable with all of my insecurities about aging and accomplishments (Thirty, Flirty & Full of Anxiety.) I thought I would keep the tradish alive and bare my soul again. Everyone knows revealing your search history is more embarrassing than admitting in a public-facing blog how many times you’ve pooped your pants so you can bet your bottom dollar I’ll be ousting last year’s edition. I started this piece during a comedy writing sprint (where you write every single day) in February and when I reviewed it for submission, I realized there was nothing satirical about it. I just straight up copy/pasted my Google searches and then roasted myself for them. So in the spirit of making fun of myself no matter how much closer I get to being an Old Maid, here’s actual things that I Googled this year to prove that we don’t need to grow up or even be smart to survive this thing called life, just as long as we have the World Wide Web at our fingertips.

Name of (insert ‘actor/singer/character/title’ as needed)

This has because almost a daily occurrence. As much as I religiously check IMDB to refresh my memory, it’s hard to admit but sometimes I don’t even remember enough to plug into IMDB and find the answers. But at any rate, about 99.9% of the time I can’t remember the name of something or someone in whatever I’m watching at that current moment and I want to fire off a funny tweet about it but I don’t want to have egg on my face for misspelling or mixing up actors.

Natural ailments for memory loss / How young can you be to start showing signs of dementia

Were you concerned when I just said 99.9% of the time I can’t remember something? Yeah, me too. Hence this very real Google search. Seriously did my brain just fall out of my head when I entered a new decade? Is this normal? Should I get an MRI? LMK, because my mom banned me from checking WebMD and I think this is a cause for concern. Also, if your only recommendation is fish oil pls see yourself out because the thought of taking a pill that either smells or tastes like fish makes me want to be braindead for the rest of my life.

What’s it called when you start to fall asleep and have hallucinations?

Turns out this one is “hypnagogic hallucinations” and the cure for it is to be less stressed. LOLZ. Guess I’ll be seeing bugs in my bed or on my walls as I drift off to dreamland forever and for all of eternity. I even started blind folding myself for bedtime (ya I know they’re called sleep masks but let’s call a spade a spade) and what’s fun about that is I now have a prop to rip off of my face when I wake up with a jolt, launch from my bed and yell, “WTF IS THAT?!” (referring to the made up creatures sharing a bed with me.) At least I provide a midnight show for my dog, so there’s that.

Can you mix Sudafed and alcoholic beverages?

It is not recommended, but research shows (2 sudafeds followed by 2 rum and cokes and a bud light) that you’ll probably survive, you just might feel like a real snoozy suzie at the bar. Probably still safer than the time I took my heels off in the middle of the bar on Halloween then proceeded to walk 5 blocks home barefoot.

Things that are cheugy

Thanks, Gen Z, you’re all a buncha judgmental a*holes. If you are also above the age of 25 and don’t care enough to fire up the ole Google to find out what this means, I’ll give it to you straight, it’s a stupid made up word that the youths created to describe every single trend, personality trait and interest of humans in their late twenties and onward. Parting your hair on the side? Cheugy. Using the crying laughing emoji? Cheugy. My ENTIRE persona? C H E U G Y.

Matching your coordinates to your environment? Cheug City.

What’s a BENNY

Welcome to New Jersey, where they created a nickname specifically to insult anyone who didn’t grow up at the beach. Bayonne, Elizabeth, Newark and New York. Let it be known that Bayonne, Elizabeth and Newark ARE IN THE STATE OF NEW JERSEY. These people bully their own! You live 40 mins North of the beach in the same state? L O S E R. Within one month of living in Jersey, I bought a table off of Facebook marketplace and the seller told me that she’s from North Jersey but has lived at the Jersey Shore for 20 years…TWENTY YEARS…and her husband’s family still calls her a Benny. RUTHLESS.


How to make new friends as a single adult

Honestly there were many variations of this search and all of them were equally as weird and sad. No answers were found, yet many cringey efforts were made. 10/10 DO NOT recommend joining BumbleBFF unless you want to feel like you’re courting someone just to have a gal pal to talk Housewives and drink wine with.

How old is someone if they were born in 1970?

The ‘how to make new friends’ search and this search go hand in hand because after joining “meetup”–an app where you can find groups of people also seeking new friends based on your interests, I sashayed into a “Young and Fun in Monmouth County” group. Judging by the title, you’d think it’s a classic group of whippersnappers who are looking to grab drinks and sing karaoke and do game nights, count me in! I RSVP’ed to the new members meet up at a dive bar AND 90’s dance night right off the bat feeling like this was an easy layup for friends. Until I saw the collection of members out in the wild and immediately wondered if there was an age cutoff to “YOUNG and fun.” I doubled back and read the fine print. Members have to be born in 1970 or after. Hence this search because no matter what the decade, math will never be a strong suit of mine. FIFTY TWO. THIS GROUP OF YOUNG AND FUN PEOPLE ALLOWS PEOPLE WHO COULD BE MY PARENTS. NO OFFENSE TO THE OLDS, BUT IF I WANTED TO MAKE SOME FRIENDS IN YOUR AGE GROUP I’D SIT ON A BOARDWALK BENCH IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DAY AND CHAT UP THE RETIREES THAT ARE SWARMING THE BEACH ON A WEEKDAY ITCHING FOR SOMEONE TO DISCUSS THE WEATHER WITH THEM. I WOULD NOT HIT A DANCE PARTY WITH A GENT WHO COULD BE MY DAD AND FEEL ALL SORTS OF UNCOMFY WATCHING HIM GYRATE TO GOOD VIBRATIONS. So as I previously said, meeting people your age in a new city NOT through work? Insert fart noise here.

Crushed the 90’s dance party wardrobe tho, too bad there was no one young enough to appreciate it without readers

How can you see if someone unfollowed you on Instagram / How can you tell if someone blocked your number

Breakups in 2022, man. So many avenues to contact or check in on each other and since I’m probably still Facebook friends with the kid who bullied me on the bus in 7th grade, I clearly don’t have a grasp on what it looks like to cut anyone from social media. Listen, at the end of the day, anyone who unfollows me on social is missing out on quality content–flowers, beaches, sunrises, and the occasional video shaming my dog for being an uncoordinated doofus. Their loss. Quick PSA though: if you are the dumper and you block the dumpee’s phone number for literally no reason, you are a real flesh dumpster. (Say dump again.) I don’t make the rules, I just enforce them. Who made the rules, you may wonder? Taylor Swift, Queen Bee of breakups, obviously.

Was this just an excuse to post the GOAT of breakup song music videos? YUP.

How do you spell Jake Gylenhall/Gyllenhall/Gylenhaal

And speaking of…honestly couldn’t Taylor have shaded a man with an easier last name to spell? November was FRAUGHT with spell checks on this man’s name. He’s one notch below Matthew McConaghey(sp?) as my most googled name for spellcheck.


To ALL of my friends begging me to hang out…I’m booked on Friday night. #redtaylorsversion #swifttok #alltoowell

♬ All Too Well Taylor Swift – TaylorswiftxFolklore

What do you report doctors to when they’re bad?

After seeing a dermatologist who confused me with another patient then proceeded to cut me open and stitch me up with 0 explanation, my shirt pulled up over my head and the door wide open, I was FIRED up to report this doc to the medical version of the Better Business Bureau. Unfortunately if you choose to spend half of your life in school and the other half of your life paying it off, you can pretty much do whatever the hell you want. What a letdown to find out that I couldn’t pull the ultimate Karen and tattle on this doc to the reigning doc association, so instead I used my PHENOMENAL writing skills to blast off a very detailed response to the office’s “how did we do?” survey. Guarantee no one read it, but it made me feel a teensy bit better even if I will forever have a raging scar in the middle of my back from the drive-thru hack job biopsy I received. Whoops, guess I’m still not over it. (Peep a snippet of my scorched earth feedback below)

Boom. Roasted.

Do dolphins rape people?

I actually googled this in 2014 (see tweet below for proof) after visiting a particularly sassy dolphin named Nick at the Clearwater Aquarium. However, I included it in this list because if I hadn’t searched this exact phrase then, I absolutely would’ve this year as I planned my dolphin swim excursion to check it off the ole bucket list. I swam with a female dolphin and she was quite a lovely lady, but I will say out of all the whistles that were blown that day, none of them were rape whistles. So I think we can officially put the rumor that dolphins are feisty rapists to bed once and for all. I cannot vouch for dolphins in the wild so protect your bishop, Glen if you ever find yourself in the open sea.

Everything was consensual here, but tbh I really would’ve appreciated a face smooch. Hand kisses are for prudes.

Iodine smell after Covid

Couldn’t tell you one single thing about iodine except that it’s the word I pulled directly out of my ass after an entire afternoon with a weird chemical smell stuck in my nose a whole 5 months after I had Covid and recovered from it. Google was also like, do you really mean iodine, boo? This one remains a mystery.


No explanation and absolutely no memory of this one. Other than using the interwebs as spellcheck sometimes I just pick a random phrase that I don’t really know the definition of or where to use it but I feel like it might work somewhere in my life. I’m assuming this was for a blog but who knows, maybe I was just trying to spice up my everyday conversation vocabulary, I do declare!

What time does the Super Bowl start?

Honestly throwing the super bowl in a day before Valentine’s this year really messed up my internal clock. It’s never that late in the month, right?! Football is stupid. At least I didn’t need to look up anything associated with that Halftime show because it was TAILOR-MADE for my age demo. Make that lineup into a tour and I’d buy tickets faster than an upside down Fiddy can say, “Go Shawty.”

The girls who get it, get it, the girls who don’t, don’t.

Shocking to no one: I don’t. Another stupid Gen Z thing. When will I stop googling young people phrases? WHEN I’M SIX FEET UNDER, TRICK. Seriously, there’s a reason friends and fam text me and ask me what these sorts of things mean. They know I hate having FOMO and have no shame in my Google game. So if you’re ever embarrassed about searching something on your own, just shoot me a textie text. (This also applies to celebrity nudes or sex tapes. Chances are I’ve already done the dirty work to search such smut and I’m happy to share and keep your browser history clean.)

Can I pop the white bump on my eyelid?

At first glance I figured the makeup artist who had a severe issue with gluing my fake lashes on for a wedding this past fall left a glob of glue behind…then three weeks later when it was still lingering on my eye, I was excited to find out if I’d discovered an inconvenient pimple to burst. Seriously, I think I salivated a little at the thought of embarking on new pimple popping real estate on my face. As it turns out, it’s ill-advised to pop and guess what is still living rent-free on my eye 6 months later? THANKS FOR TELLING ME TO LEAVE IT ALONE, MOM, NOW I HAVE PERMANENT CHUNKY EYE.

Can I get pink eye from my dog?

For those of you who have had the pleasure of knowing me for many years, you’ll know that 2018 was the year I couldn’t seem to stop getting pink eye. I’ve been a ferocious eye rubber my whole life (not sorry bout it, my eyes be itchin) and it turns out itchy eyes doesn’t mix well with touching people’s dirty towels at a spa. The summer I worked at the spa I picked up “the pink” twice and then had PTSD for anytime my eyes watered that I had it again and would immediately started splooging cream into my eyeball as a precaution. It also coincidentally was one of the times in my life I was sans health insurance and that goopy eye cream was EXPENSIVE so I really wanted to get my money’s worth. But I digress, back to the real issue here, my dog licks her butthole roughly 900 times a day. I’d say if her tongue isn’t caressing me with sloppy kisses, it’s cleaning out her nether regions. So when a rogue lick caught me in the eye when I wasn’t paying attention, you bet your bottom dollar I was hopping on over to Google in fear. Happy to report dogs cannot pass pink eye but also it is not recommended to let their tongues grace your moneymaker because they carry a whole lot of bacteria. Whatever. Respectfully, I decline. I didn’t get a dog to not get on the ground with her and let her all up in my grillpiece with smooches.

*Also I refuse to reveal everything I’ve googled since procuring the pooch because the limit does not exist to what I won’t ask the Internet. From “what can’t dogs eat” to “why is my dog dipping her paw in the water dish while she’s drinking” to “how do I get my dog to stop biting me” there is not one thing this dog has done that hasn’t been researched. And boy oh boy it’s a slippery slope, you’ll go from thinking you’re a great dog mom who wants to be proactive and knowledgeable to feeling like you traumatized your dog because you pushed her butt into the crate one time. The great news is I’ve had her for almost two months and she’s still alive and thriving so shout out to me for that. I also rescued her from living on the streets with a homeless drifter so I’m not saying I’m a hero, but I’m not NOT saying it either.

Super Tongue Sneak Attack

Bonus: A behind the curtains peek into the Google shitstorm that occurs just to write ONE blog. Here’s my search history from the night I wrote the Met Gala Red Carpet blog:

  • Does gilded mean gold
  • Are flappers in the gilded age
  • Does the gilded age include the 1920s
  • When is mid century
  • Did cars exist in the 1800s
  • The British are coming meme

Honestly I would feel embarrassed about how LITTLE I paid attention in History (Sorry, Mr. Muench) except for the fact that judging by that red carpet no one in Hollywood paid attention either and they pay people to make them look smart and good so, HA. The Salty Ju would not exist without the power of the Internet (both to answer all of my dumb questions and to publish all of my idiotic words) and I wouldn’t have it any other way! Seriously if an apocalypse happened and I didn’t have an iPhone with 5G in my hands at all times, I would die within 5 minutes and I don’t care who knows it. Onto 31–excited to see what another year of a deteriorating brain and body will bring me 🎉

Salty Stories

Taylor Swift Trivia For One

I exist for the mere entertainment of the general public. These days, if I’m unsure about doing something, I convince myself that if it all goes terribly, at least I can blog the mishap after the fact for shits & giggs. I’m basically a reporter doing research for the blog except the research is endless embarrassing moments that happen every time I interact with the general public. Regardless, that’s how I found myself making the sound decision to show up to a night of Taylor Swift trivia at a local bar in my new hometown. I saw a post on their social media advertising it one afternoon and after quickly counting the 0 friends I can call on to join me for such frivolous activities, I thought, well how terrible would it be to roll solo on this one? As someone who is BEYOND self conscious and thinks everyone is staring at me always whenever I do something by my lonesome (I mean, I am like, really pretty) it has been hard for me through the years to come to terms with what I’m comfy with doing alone. In travel situations I’ve been forced to go to a restaurant or explore a city by myself and in those moments, I’m either taking 900 pictures or I have my nose in my phone scrolling Twitter so I don’t have to look like Steven Glansberg.

I talked myself into it, reasoning that it’s not like I’m eating dessert alone, I’ll have an actual activity to do in trivia so it’s not as embarrassing. I also phoned two friends for confirmation in this decision because I’m nothing if not constantly seeking approval from my peers. They told me to go because worst case scenario it sucks and I can just leave. They clearly underestimated how dramatic I can be. I carefully chose my wardrobe to look cool, effortless, and chic with a touch of Swiftie fanfare. (AKA I dug through my 15 Taylor Swift tees and selected the one that would give off the perfect amount of I Did Something Bad vibes) I added a red lip, for obvious reasons. And as I drove there I had fantasies of walking into the bar, being embraced for my ‘fit and welcomed into a large friend group with open arms to go on to win trivia and 5 new besties. Supes realistic. (This ideal scenario I concocted in my brain is especially funny to anyone who has a vagina and knows just how bitchy and cliquey girls are, Swifties or not.)

Instead, I walked in 15 minutes early, asked the hostess if I could sit at the bar and do trivia by myself–quickly darting my eyes around her to see if anyone heard me…am I yelling?! It feels like I’m YELLING! She told me that was *TOTALLY* fine in a way that only someone who has had the same 100 BFF’s since childhood and couldn’t possibly fathom attending trivia solo dolo could say. MuSt bE NiCe. There was an upper bar and a lower bar and since I’m an awkward bird with a VERY high chance of tripping over my own feet, I beelined it to the closest bar stool. I barreled into it without looking up (I didn’t want confirmation that everyone in fact had stopped what they were doing to turn and stare at me.) This turned out to be a terrible decision as it was right near the server computer so I had basically lumped myself in with the waitstaff yet I was not earning a paycheck and also the door which was 5 inches away from my chair was left open all night. In December. I immediately regretted my choice but it was too late. I had already made awkward eye contact with the bartender when I tried to hang my purse on a hook underneath the bar. As my purse flopped dramatically to the ground the bartender alerted me that there were in fact, no hooks. Hot start.  As I scanned the room I saw that the place was packed with groups of friends and my back was to them all. Something told me I wouldn’t be brought into the fold of one of these wolfpacks as the only person who could see my I ❤ TS tee was the bartender who already thought I was blind for thinking there was a hook where there wasn’t. I ordered a flashy Christmas margarita that would look good on the ‘gram and that’s pretty much all it was good for because every sip I took was full of Pomegranate seeds that I was forced to chew. Strike two.

After an excruciating 20 minutes of nearly choking on pom seeds and pretending to be very interested in a muted TV above the bar, the host of trivia finally made his rounds. He asked if I was participating and when I said yes, he immediately fumbled his entire stack of index cards on the floor. Well lookie lookie here, seems like I’m not the biggest loser in the room anymore. This guy can’t even keep a grip on his flashcards. SO HA! What’s your favorite game, bro? FIFTY-TWO PICK UP?! My internal gloating didn’t get me very far, because I had a real ego check when he told me to write my team name at the top of each card for the three separate rounds. Nothing humbles you more than choosing a team name for a team of uno. The first thing that came to my mind was one of my fave Tay lyrics (that I conveniently made into a tee) “I come back stronger than a 90’s trend.” I hoped that it would be foreshadowing of me dominating trivia all by my lonesome. Stories of my Team of 1 comeback would make their way to Taylor Swift herself who would then pay off my student loans and invite me onstage at her next tour with dramatic “PLEASE WELCOME TO THE STAGE” flair. Or in the real world, I would tweet about my team-naming dilemma and a fellow Swiftie would reply with a far superior team name for my sad ass team… “the 1.” And honestly, it was too good not to steal. So perfect that I then went through and scribbled my previous team name out on each card and wrote in my new one. The trivia had not even begun yet and I looked like a REAL psycho.

Round 1 kicks off and I knew I had gotten got. Not only did I roll through with visions of forming an instant bond with fellow Swifties, but I had SEVERELY underestimated my Taylor Swift knowledge. WHAT AN IDIOT I was. The first question was, “What Taylor Swift song is sampled in Olivia Rodrigo’s album Deja Vu?” Despite being v. knowledgeable on the Oliva-Josh-Sabrina Disney love triangle, I can’t name any other Olivia Rodrigo song than Drivers License and Good 4 U. Neither of those have Tay songs in them. I guessed Trouble, knowing it was dead wrong. Ok just a little hiccup, question two will be MUCH better. Orrrrr NAHT. The second question was what time was Taylor Swift born at? ARE YA KIDDIN ME?! I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT TIME I WAS BORN. In fact, I don’t even know if my MOM knows what time I was born at and it was her vagina I straight wrecked with my 10 lbs of rolls. I started to get swamp pits thinking I just made this big a deal about going to Taylor Swift trivia and I wasn’t even going to get one question right. I wrote down 11:13, mixing Paris Hilton’s favorite time and Taylor Swift’s favorite number. It was most obviously incorrect. Taylor Allison Swift was born at 5:13 AM. WHO THE HELL WOULD KNOW THAT OBSCURE TIME?! Well as it turns out, everyone except for me because when the stupid host read the answers he made a point to say ALMOST everyone got it right. Thanks, dude. By the end of round 1 I was confident in 2 out of 10 answers. I didn’t even deserve to be wearing the I ❤ TS tee but alas I didn’t have a change of clothes.

The bartender could see how distraught I was and asked me how it was going. I told her not well. And then as one tends to do when they’re incredibly insecure, I overshared with her now that I’d gotten her ear. “I just moved here and I don’t really know anyone but I saw this trivia posted earlier and I love Taylor Swift so I thought I’d come by and play by myself just to get out of the apt and do something social…but I didn’t expect it to be this hard!” She gave me a sympathetic smile and asked if I wanted another drink to gently remind me not only that I reeked of desperation but also that she was simply securing her tip, not acting as my therapist. A duo of girls at the end of the bar were also very vocal about the difficulty of the line of questioning and I looked to them with the hopeful wonder of friendship until I saw how blasted they were and decided this was a partnership I did not want to explore. It’s a Thursday night (I’m old) and also I was looking to enhance my knowledge, not shoot myself in the damn leg by hitching my wagon to an equally as dumb team. It’s called strategy.

When the host came around to collect my answers I told him to knock it off with the ridiculous questions. He assured me it would get easier. I told him with my eyes he was full of shit and he admitted (out of guilt) that he didn’t even come up with these questions. His gal pals gave them to him and as soon as I learned that I knew I’d need a Getaway Car to escape this trivia. This jabroni clearly surrounded himself with the type of ladies that analyzed every Tay social media post’s content, date and timestamp like it was a clue to be investigated and NOT JUST A SINGER POSTING A PIC OF HER CATS. BUT as someone who once wrote an entire creepy blog based on a music video about drinking with Taylor Swift, I thought I still had a fighting chance. This trivia night was going to be my End Game because I was about to step into my Reputation era. We were about to find out if this unsuspecting part-time trivia host was …Ready For It

Round two started and I got real serious. I ordered a Guinness. No more fruity cocktails, it was time to buckle down and make my comeback. Look What You Made Me Do, Trivia Guy. As it turns out, Trivia Guy was about to become my Jake Gyllenaal. Not because he was going to bang me for 3 months then steal my scarf but rather because in 10 years I’ll still be talking about this villain to anyone who will listen. He threw in a softball multiple choice question to throw me off the scent of which actor Taylor has NEVER dated (Chris Evans and that’s obvious.) I also knew that she sent ex-boyf Joe Jonas’ baby a present and I think it’s safe to say that my knowledge of Taylor Swift is PURELY pop culture gossip about the men in and out of her life. I would have thrown in the towel on my own after another horrendous 10 questions of which I maybe got 4 right this time, except that Trivia guy swiftly (see what I did there?) made that decision for me BY NOT EVEN COLLECTING MY ROUND TWO ANSWERS. Rock bottom. The writing was on the wall. I shuffled my index cards, pulled my cardigan tight, signaled to the bartender for my check and skidaddled out of there.

The night was like Death by a Thousand Cuts and I was ready to let my tears ricochet. As it turns out, a hobby writer who has published 7 years of Taylor Swift superfan blogs and re-watched her music videos on repeat, critiquing each look, giving a track by track review to each album released HAS NO PLACE AT TAYLOR SWIFT TRIVIA NIGHT.

Thanks for asking, girl. No, I’m not.

I’m sorry too, Tay. Sorry I let you down by not knowing the exact time you were ejected from your mother’s womb or how old you were when you penned your first song and what the title of that song was. Looks like I’ll need to keep myself in check next time I think a night was MADE for me and just sit at home perfecting every cadence to the 10 minute version of All Too Well instead. Cause I’m not fine at all.

Salty Stories

Stay Grounded

Remember back in August when I had a traumatic moving experience and I wrote jokes about it to stop myself from crying about it? Feel free to refresh yourself HERE. Well, ever a magnet for disaster, I’m bootscootin on back to the blog with my latest saga. I had to take a week to process as I went right from this shitshow directly into a 5 hour drive home for Thanksgiving and if we’re being real honest I physically haven’t come up for air between cheese dips and wine in the past week. Now that I’ve finally detoxed, it’s time for y’all to gather round and hear about the time I went to a wedding with my ex-boyf and we almost got stranded at LAX. 

First thing’s first, let’s address the elephant in the room for all the gossip queens. Why would I travel cross-country with an ex? The answer is really quite simple. I’m forever on a budget and I’ve lived with this man before…he is well-versed in my digestive system from hell–which only gets worse when I travel. He’s seen some shit. Literally. He ain’t gonna disown me for stinking up the hotel room when my In-N-Out comes in and goes right back out…whereas I can’t confidently say the same if I were to bunk with another acquaintance. Other than reasons directly related to my b*hole, we actually get along and like hanging out with each other in the way that everyone tells you not to do when you break up. We’re renegades. Sue us. So now that we’ve settled that, let’s point out our obvious differences. Eric is a fly by the seat of your pants guy, I’m a neurotic freak. Also a bonus for me because I knew that I could have complete control over our travel plans like my Type-A ass dreams about. He just needed to show up and take the middle seat so I didn’t have to sit next to a grody stranger. This wedding was two years in the making after a COVID postponement and we were VERY antsy to get on out to California and celebrate with our friends. These days there’s a whole lot of things that can throw a wrench in travel plans so we were just praying that we didn’t get sick, no extra vaccine/testing travel mandates were thrown into the mix and nothing got delayed or cancelled. Thankfully everything went off without a hitch on the way there and exactly according to my carefully constructed travel itinerary where I laid out all of our reservations and even the local weather forecast all in one doc. See? Neurotic. I even emailed it to everyone I know should anyone want to stalk my travels. Our parents appreciated that. I packed 6 weeks worth of snacks and alcohol for two six hour flights that we both slept through most of and honestly if anyone ever wants to fund my plane ticket, I’m a PHENOMENAL travel buddy. My fanny pack was chock full of tissues and gum too.

Immediately upon landing, Eric tried to board a shuttle for a janky rental car company that was not ours and I realized that as much as I needed a roommate who didn’t care if I ripped too many farts, he needed a flightmate who paid attention and had a bomb ass itinerary. I’m guessing he seriously reconsidered that after a full day of being stuck next to me ended in an 11PM PST (2AM EST) ROUSING passenger seat rendition of All Too Well (10 Minute Version) (Taylor’s Version) (From The Vault) where I pretended my cell phone was a microphone and hadn’t quite learned all the lyrics yet so I made noises through the ones I wasn’t confident in. Wanna test your ex’s patience? Scream-sing a breakup song into their grillpiece while they’re driving through the mountains in the dark in a rental car in a state they don’t live in. It’s a G-D miracle I wasn’t fed to the coyotes that night. Instead, I rewarded my phenomenal concert with cheese fries.

Now to the real meat of the story and I don’t mean a double double, no onions. It’s all fun and games until you get to the end of the trip and realize you’d rather saw your arms off with a butter knife than spend an entire day traveling back home. Especially when you’ve gotten a taste of that sweet, sweet, California weather. It was 80 and sunny on the drive to the airport Sunday morning. Having already taken Monday off from work as a recovery day, I suggested (mostly joking) what if we just…didn’t leave today. Mr. ‘I’ll just board a bus to anywhere without looking’ replied, “Ok. Sure.” After confirming that he wasn’t being sarcastic, I remembered that the app told us upon check-in that our flight was overbooked (shocking, I know.) We gave the airline a quick call and as most things with airlines go, if you’re unwilling to make travel changes, they incentivize you with a voucher, but if you’re a couple of NY idiots who just want another day of warm weather…you get nothing and you’ll like it. The airline rep happily changed our tickets for no additional fee (TYSM Covid) to the same flight the following day. To reiterate, United got what they wanted by bumping people from their overcrowded flight but didn’t have to pay a dime for it. This piece of the puzzle isn’t super integral to the story but it’s important to note that we were riding that vacay high and opted for a bonus day. And ooh baby was that bonus day sweet.

Monday morning it was back to reality. After far too many jokes of “should we just never leave?” (in retrospect, we probably shouldn’t have put that thought out into the universe, multiple times) we begrudgingly returned the rental car and got ready for this suckfest of a flight. Both of us had only traveled with carry-on’s, something I wholeheartedly do not recommend for a formal event. My bridesmaids dress alone filled the suitcase and since I’m an obnoxious overpacker, I jammed much more in. The amount of times I sat on my suitcase to zip it in this very short weekend was enough to teach me a lesson about overpacking, but alas it is a lesson I will never learn. We hauled our overstuffed suitcases through LAX, where security noted we were *super early* uhh, thanks for the shade for being organized fliers, hooch. Having not eaten breakfast yet and being 3 hours early for our flight, we went in search of some of the fine cuisine you hear about at airports. We settled in at the Rolling Stone Cafe. Drooling in anticipation of a breakfast burrito and coffee, I placed my order and the waitress immediately crushed my dreams by telling me breakfast ended at 11. It’s an airport, not a McDonald’s…since when are there stringent breakfast rules at a place that lets you get boozed up anytime of the day before boarding a plane. She then doubled down on worst person I’ve ever met and told us they had no chicken tenders either. That was going to be my next order (yes, I’m five.) Finally I settled on a burger and fries—she asked how I wanted said burger cooked and when I said Medium Rare, she fired back, “we can only cook it medium.” Then why even ask? Hangry Ju’s patience was already wearing thin. Eric ordered a chicken caesar salad to which she replied, “we don’t have any chicken at all.” LEAD WITH THAT, HOMEGIRL. “Welcome to Rolling Stone Cafe: Breakfast is over and there’s a chicken shortage so the only thing you can order on this menu is our burger, hockey puck style.” How hard was that?! I’m not saying I should have her job but I’m not NOT saying it either. Obviously the meal was trash. I asked for bacon on my burger and got none but was sure charged for it. Eric paid for a salad missing its main ingredient. McD’s would’ve been a zillion times better and 1/4 of the price. Hot start. (There were certainly no sunset fries there.)

From there we moved on to inject some caffeine in ya girl and found that the only coffee shop had one employee taking the orders and making the drinks. I was hard up for some Christmas in a cup (peppermint mocha cold brew) so I waited the 20 mins to get my fix. Naturally after I placed my order, reinforcements were sent for this poor soul. Finally, we board the plane only to find out we’re in the very last row. I guess when you switch your flight you get the seats no one else wanted, directly in the potty. Noted for the next time we wish to YOLO it up. We get settled in and ready to fly the friendly skies when there is an IMMEDIATE announcement over the loudspeaker that this plane’s left engine was leaking fluids on its travels to LA and they’re going to check things out. If you live on Planet Earth you must understand that if there’s a reference to any plane issue on the left, Phoebe’s left phalange bit is going to immediately take over your brain. 

We laughed about it but then we realized, when it’s on a fictional TV show and it’s going to finally bring Ross and Rachel together, it’s funny. When you’re about to fly across the G-D country with an engine that’s “leaking”, it’s very unfunny. WHY THE HELL WOULD THEY ANNOUNCE THAT?! To give everyone a panic attack before they’ve even hit the runway? This very much seems like a “you guys could’ve discussed this discreetly before making a public announcement scenario.” Or I don’t know, MAYBE checked things out before putting 200 people on a plane? Just a thought. They continued to make announcements every few minutes, even shutting the plane off at one point to “see if that might help.” I’m no plane expert but I don’t think rebooting it like it’s a 1990’s PC is going to zip up the leaky ole engine. As we’re waiting for the final verdict, I suddenly am about to burst with urine and have to do that very obnoxious thing where you use the plane bathroom before it is approps to do so. I had peed before we boarded but with all this nervous energy and that peppermint mocha coursing through my veins, I had to relieve myself. That bathroom had SEEN some shit. I mean, seriously, it looked like an airplane bathroom after a 12 hour flight to Bora Bora. Toilet paper all over the floor, tissues gone, sink soaking wet for whatever reason. Place was WRECKED. And I don’t know if it was just my breaking point but when the most important part of the plane (I’m spitballing here but the engine seems pretty important) isn’t even functioning correctly and you see the state of the bathroom before anyone has even been in it on this flight, it really puts a sour taste in your mouth to continue on this journey. The pilot agreed. Not because he saw the bathroom looked like a thruway truck stop, but because he was done pretending that it would be chill as hell to fly a broken plane 3,000 miles. He told everyone to get the hell off. He said it nicer, but after finally getting in the mindset to do this stupid trip, we were in no mood to be displaced. Other passengers were applauding the flight attendants and pilot for “making the right decision” and “keeping us alive” as if they were ever going to take off with a bum engine and kill everyone right before Thanksgiving. Let’s relax on calling them heroes. As all the thankful passengers are busy slobbering all over the airline staff, us rational folks are wondering what the hell we’re supposed to do now to get home in time for turkey. I mean they all but gave us a rousing rendition of “Na na na na, na na na na, hey hey, goodbye” but they never told us if they’d get another plane or service this one, or find us connecting flights. NOTHIN. We sat with our thumbs up our butt by the gate waiting for further instruction. I finally asked the gatekeeper what we should do and he told me to hang tight because they don’t know anything. After about 20 mins he got on the hot mic and said ALLLL YOU SUCKA MC’S AIN’T GOT NOTHIN ON ME. JK, he told us to go to customer service. It turns out we were the only two idiots to not know how to do that on our own. As we rolled on up to customer service we were DEAD LAST in line. 

It’s right about here that we both get the *sinking* feeling that perhaps we were being punished for taking a bonus day. We had flown too close to the sun and we were paying for it in a 2 hour customer service line. I’d seen enough Hallmark holiday movies with traveling home for Christmas snafus and let me tell you, ain’t nobody trying to buddy up and find a rental car together and I didn’t see one single Christmas tree farm employee who said he could give us a ride toward New Jersey if we helped him deliver some trees. So THANKS FOR THAT FALSE ADVERTISING, HALLMARK YOU BUNCH OF HOLIDAY TRAVEL FRAUDS. As we shuffled forward inch by inch, employees walked up and down the line SHOVING the virtual assistant on their app down our throats. You know a customer service experience is about to suck BALLZ when they’d rather you AIM chat with someone in Sri Lanka than stand in front of a human being and interact in real life. When one attempt with the virtual assistant ended in “there are no flights until 3pm tomorrow” we decided to try our luck with the 3-D assistant, hoping our pleading faces might help get us into another airport by tomorrow morning. Woo, buddy were we dead wrong. Let me preface this bitchfest by saying that I’ve worked in customer service for many a year. It sucks. Most customers treat you like shit because it’s easier for them to take their frustrations out on a complete stranger than pay for therapy and get to the real root of their problems. I tend to feel as though I’m a compassionate customer having been on the other end of irrational rage and attitude. HOW-EV-ER, I do not tolerate dumb. That’s a whole different ball game and this airport was full of dummies. We get to the front of the line finally and the woman says “What can I do for you?” We very kindly reply, “is there any way that you can get us home as soon as possible.” And she says no. She says there are no flights. None. Zero. You mean to tell me that in this massive international airport, there is not one flight available? We didn’t tell her where we could fly to. We could’ve said we need a flight to Sioux Falls, South Dakota. But she just said no. Really that should’ve tipped us off immediately that she was a lazy MF’er who was probably on the last leg of her shift and would prefer to just tell us to F off than actually help us. But we had no other options according to this twat, so we asked if we could at least get a hotel voucher. Our flight was “delayed” until 5am the following morning and I feel like covering the hotel was the least that these turds could do. She had me read our confirmation number (readily available on my handy dandy itinerary) and told us she texted us hotel and food vouchers. We waited a few minutes, they didn’t show up. We looked at her for more guidance. She stared back at us. Was there any activity in that attic of hers? Hard to say, but no. Considering we went through this exact word for word scenario SIX MORE TIMES. I read that reservation number SIX FUCKING TIMES and she said ok I sent the voucher. And we stood there getting texts and emails from EVERYBODY ELSE and no voucher. At one point she accused us of opening it. WHY THE HELL WOULD WE STILL BE STANDING HERE TELLING YOU WE DIDN’T GET IT IF WE OPENED IT?! I’m getting my 7th email of the day about the latest sale at Bath and Body Works but I’m not getting your shitty voucher OBVIOUSLY THIS IS A YOU PROBLEM. At this point I was enraged. But ever afraid of confrontation and causing a scene, I still kept a low profile with my sass. Rather than using her pea-sized brain to find another way to get us the vouchers, like say, I don’t know, old fashioned PAPER, she told us that the United Virtual Assistant could send them to us and kicked us out of line. I spun around and muttered backward “well you’ve been very helpful” in my bitchiest tone and immediately tripped over my luggage that didn’t spin with me and almost ate shit. Strong exit. That’ll teach her.

We hit the bar to booze off our anger, charge our dying phones and fire up this virtual assistant bullshit again. I don’t know what these third world country employees are getting paid but they better get a year end bonus with the way United is hawking their chatroom services. A/S/L and also CAN YOU GET US OUT OF LAX BEFORE WE BLOW OUR BRAINS OUT?! We picked the one bar in a dead zone where the wifi didn’t reach (natch) but it didn’t really matter because the virtual assistant remained to be as trash as everyone else we dealt with at United. The She-bot informed us that vouchers can only be acquired at customer service. I thought I was about to witness Eric spike his beer off the bar in real time when he received that message. If he did I would’ve gotten on the bar and done an Irish jig around it with my middle fingers in the air. That’s how done I was with this airport. At least whatever holding cell they put us in would be equivalent to a hotel voucher, right? We went back to customer service. At this point the only people trickling in were richies doing pre-check on their way to Hawaii. I spit in the face of their hang loose about to be in paradise demeanors. I just wanted to see the world burn at this point. HOPE IT RAINS THE WHOLE TIME YOU’RE THERE. MAHALO! The United rep who dealt with a MUCH grumpier duo this time around was more helpful in the sense that he didn’t tell us to buzz off. In fact, he had to call his own customer service line just to get us printed vouchers. WHAT DOES THAT SAY ABOUT THE STATE OF CUSTOMER SERVICE IF A CUSTOMER SERVICE REP IS ON HOLD JUST TO GIVE YOU THE AIRLINE EQUIVALENT OF KOHL’S CASH. I sat on the floor and made snarky comments, a skill I’ve honed in my thirty years on this earth.

Another half hour later we walk away with real life paper vouchers. Forty dollars for 2 dinners and a hotel stay with no idea where the shuttle is to get us to said hotel. We meander out and don’t see any signage so we ask where to find the shuttle. We’re met with a buttload of ‘tude. I think my favorite thing about this whole debacle is that every employee that’s supposed to be there to help acts like we’re inconveniencing them. Ma’am I’ve been in this airport for 8 hours wearing a mask that now feels like a damp gym sock on my face and I just want to know how to get to this 1 star hotel for 4 hours of sleep. MY SINCEREST APOLOGIES FOR DARING TO ASK YOU A QUESTION. Once we’re standing at the shuttle stop and we see our shuttle CRUISE on by, we realize that you have to FLAG your shuttle down like it’s a taxi. The hits just keep on comin. At the same time, we’ve got a local news crew interviewing everyone around us about how it was the last day for airline employees to get vaccinated and was there a noticeable difference in level of service. HOW MUCH TIME YA GOT, LADY. Point that hot mic on over this way and you’ll get an earful from the Jersey boy next to me who has a photo of Trump hanging in his apartment. Now we’re cookin with gas. Just kidding. We left her alone and lost our chance at becoming local news viral because God forbid we miss that damn shuttle again. 

By the time we finally got to the hotel we would have already been back home in New Jersey had we not boarded a leaky faucet of an airplane with no left phalange. Jus sayin. We learn that the hotel restaurant accepts our food vouchers and that ONE dinner at this establishment costs $28. Well bend me RIGHT over. I had to go down to the lobby and order our food with the vouchers because we couldn’t use them over the phone for ordering room service. An extra thirty dollars later on top of the $40 vouchers and we had to-go containers with food that tasted like it should’ve been at an Applebees $13.99 per meal price point.

After wolfing our food at the hotel room desk like the animals that we are, we decided it was time to call it quits for the night since we’d be getting just a few hours of sleep before our ass of dawn flight. I had the unfortunate realization as I laid my outfit (the same plane outfit I’d be putting on for the third day in a row) out for my 3AM shower that I was FRESH out of clean undies. I always overpack undies but I also like to switch from day time to night time ‘roos if I’ve had a long day. And this trip was full of long days. Since crusty used undies was not even a little bit of an option, I had bikini bottoms that were never worn as the pool was colder than the ocean and I had the *CLASSIC* Spanx that most girls own yet none admit to ever wearing. (See disturbing visual below.) 

On the one hand, you could actually eat right and work out and be skinny, on the other, much more attractive hand, you could eat whatever you want, never exercise and then when you need to look skinny, slurp all those rolls into a pair of 10 ft long spanky pants that tuck right underneath your nipples. OPTION B ALL DAY ERREDAY, FOLKS. Since I could not POSSIBLY fathom having a TSA scan of granny panties that reach my neckline, I went for the bikini bottoms and I DO recommend. No swass, maximum comfort, flexibility, AND moisture wicking. I might start wearing bathing suits instead of underwear always. 

After 0.0 hours of sleep because I couldn’t stop feeling like bugs were crawling on me and literally googled this hotel’s reviews in the middle of the night looking for bed bug commentary—there were none but I was fully prepared for that to be the next trauma. We arrived at the airport at a ripe 3:30 AM and security wasn’t even open yet. But people were sure lined up! Ah the joys of traveling, where the worst of humanity comes out to play. We got in line and as they opened and we got up to the front, some sneaky little 18 year old ho-ho laying in wait cut in front of us. She then proceeded to pull out her phone and take a selfie and check herself out. Who are you trying to look good for at 4 in the morning, bish? Get the hell out of here. We made it a point to cut her back when we got up to go through the metal detectors. Because we’re a couple of Tom Petty’s and we had ENOUGH. She’s lucky I didn’t strangle her with my control top panties right then and there. Whoever she was trying to look snatched for better feel #bLeSsEd she made it home for the holidays without incident.

We boarded the plane and it was 80% empty. As we walked through both first class and business class with almost no one on board, I started to get excited thinking that perhaps on a technicality (everyone else being more savvy than us and getting the hell out of dodge the day before) I might be able to have my only first class flying experience. Lord knows I’ll never be able to afford it. In my salivating haste I forgot the part where the first class snobs would NEVER allow common trash to infiltrate their section just because there are empty seats and also every airline employee on this earth stinks. We walked back past empty rows to the very last row of the plane where we belonged. And wouldn’t you know, a nice old chap comes cruising on back and joins our pod, rounding out the ONLY full row in the entire plane. The United treatment right up until the very end.

Luckily, once the safety talk started–and we were reassured this was not the same plane with the drippy engine–one flight attendant took pity on us and said we could move up but made SURE to give us a short range of rows we were allowed to touch. WE GET IT, KIND SIR, POOR PEOPLE SECTION ONLY. I laid across three seats and tucked in for a nap with the seatbelt metal digging into my muffin top and my feet hanging off the edge. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say that is JUST like first class. The plane rocked diagonally on the landing, I almost puked directly in Eric’s face and also crapped my bathing suit bottoms (probably would’ve absorbed that shit right up) and the saga was over. We laughed, we almost ralphed, and we got to sneak a peek at the Matthews’ home from Boy Meets World for about thirty seconds before I screamed that someone was coming out of said house and ran around the corner and hid.

Oh, and we also got to see our besties get married. Shout out Kat & Mat, a close second in greatest things I’ve ever seen in California. #WorthIt.

Salty Stories

The Seven Year Itch

Wanna know the benefits of starting your own blog? You get to treat it like it’s your only child and celebrate its birthday like a basic bitch. Listen, chicks get a whole MONTH of celebrations so just LET ME HAVE THIS, alright?! In case you haven’t heard…it’s the 7th birthday of The Salty Ju. I could refer to it as my blogiversary but The Salty Ju is a persona and I may not have suffered through hours and hours of grueling vag-ripping labor to birth her but I HAVE spent the last seven years dedicated to cultivating this brand and devoting more of my time creating fresh content than I have at any job I’ve ever held. SEVEN YEARS. Unpaid I might add. In fact, one could argue that I actually lose money each year because I pay WordPress an annual fee to secure my right to blab all over the internet whenever I damn well please. (My Venmo is open to donations.)

So anyway, you’re probably wondering why I brought you all here. The truth is, I never miss an opportunity to talk about myself and since last year’s Salty Ju Birthday was basically just an appreciation post for making it through 2020, I thought it might be nice to reflect on this past year because even though this blog is inconsequential to everyone’s life but mine, some cool shit happened this year!

Salty Stories, Yo

Exactly 1 year ago, I finally bust outta the ole parents house (perhaps third time’s a charm) and hit the ground running as an independent woman (read: living off of government money and stinking of desperation for a job.) This turned out to be a recipe for SUCCESS for The Salty Ju. It turns out you’ll share just about anything on a blog once you hit rock bottom in life. What’re the consequences going to be?! Part ONE of that was establishing “Salty Stories”, a fun lil segment where I write deeply personal essays that paint me in a real vulnerable light and invite you all to laugh at my misfortunes. IT’S HOW I COPE! And I did a whole lot of coping this past year. Anytime something ridiculous occurred that made me want to cry, or something irritated the shit out of me and made me want to rage my face off, I put it in the blog, baby. Starting with my tall tale of the time an assassin at Supercuts ruined my head for my Gam’s funeral right up to my middle finger to dressing professionally for work, we had ourselves a year in embarrassing story time! Feel free to catch up on any you might’ve missed below.

Hype House, Party of 1

Part TWO of that IDGAF if people judge me mentality came in the form of videos. I’m not going to call them TikToks because that paints a picture that I’m setting up a tripod in public places and doing the renegade to the hottest song of the moment. And that is the opposite of what I spent this past year doing. TikTok may have been the main platform that I shared my idiotic videos on, but considering the fact that I just googled “TikTok dance” just to make that joke, I am most CERTAINLY not a TikTokker. Plus that app is dumb as hell and I still haven’t figured out how to do anything useful on it a whole ass year later. So instead, I’ve downloaded 100 other apps to get the job done. Either way, the key takeaway here is that exactly 2 weeks after moving into my new apartment, I was so excited to not have any judgmental onlookers in my home as I film 900 takes of me lip syncing a song, that I blew a fuse trying to create a dramatic storm effect for a 17 second video (see “Celine Dion Made Me Do It” above for full recap.) And really, it all just spiraled from there. If I thought something was funny, you can bet your bottom dollar I was playing the role of a 1 person non-union film crew to bring that idea to life for your social media screens. I don’t even want to venture a guess into how much time I spent filming myself dancing, singing or making cocktails by my lonesome. Let this be a lesson to all that content creator is a mindset. If you believe it, you can create it! Please enjoy a smattering of me doing my best Spielberg via stupid internet videos this past year. (I can’t post every single video so I’ll sprinkle in a few and you can scoot on over to my Tok for the rest.)


Oops I thought I could do sexy Halloween at 30. #halloweenfail

♬ original sound – The Salty Ju

A year of quarantine as told by Taylor Swift and increased alcohol consumption. #swifttok #folklore #yearinthelife #drinkup

♬ original sound – The Salty Ju

A little late to this trend…probably because I’m a side part lovin’ millennial 😂 #hotgirlshit #loungewearorchastitybelt #onesiesquad #feelinggood

♬ busy doin hot girl ish – Chelsea

Blew a fuse in my apt trying to get the “storm” effect. So this @celinedion duet better be appreciated. #celinedionchallenge #allcomingbacktomenow

♬ original sound – The Salty Ju

Baby’s First Published Piece

After writing a book last year and realizing that not a soul on this earth would publish a nobody’s memoir, I decided to dabble a little harder in the “professional” writing game. Put a little something on the scoreboard, so to speak. I buffed up on writing satire and lo and behold, managed to get published by someone other than myself, sending my big head into another stratosphere. And I’ve had a case of the yips since then. It’s all about balance in life and if I were to end up being published on a regular basis I think I’d just get out of control, so it’s really for the best that these two pieces were my shooting star moments. Maybe one day I’ll strike again but right now I’m busy workshopping some ideas, editing my book, and writing a rambling useless post celebrating the birthday of my blog. Suuuuuper bogged down. Either way, getting published legitimized me (in my own brain) and I casually began to refer to myself as a comedy writer to strangers I crossed paths with. It felt right until I harmlessly dropped it in the interview for my current job and I then had to endure everyone on this planet introducing me around the office as THE comedy writer. When a Zoom call full of librarians stare at you like “oh you’re a comedy writer, tell us a joke,” the title really loses its zest.

Prepare for Global Domination

And LASTLY (if you’ve gotten this far, you a real one) after spending a no-shower Sunday revamping my entire blog, designing amateur graphics via my homeslice Canva and reorganizing all of my content so you can revisit my old classics (you’re welcome), I got an Instagram DM from across the pond. Turns out a kindred spirit ALSO took the time during quarantine to dive into the fiery hot garbage that is the Real Housewives franchise and try out new cities. While I immersed myself in NYC and New Jersey, this gal went for Beverly Hills and upon googling the drama, stumbled upon my little corner of the internet. Once upon a time (before I realized how time consuming it was) I was in the TV episode recapping game. Now that I’ve spiffed up the blog, you can find all of my old TV blogs divided by show under the Television tab! How CONVENIENT! AnYwHo…this was by far the coolest thing to ever happen to me and I promptly screenshotted it to everyone I’ve ever met. If I may quote my new fan from across the world:

I just wanted to say thank you from an Irish girl living in the UK for making me laugh during a global pandemic.

My First International Superfan

Booyah, Grandma. Who would’ve thought 6 years ago as I feverishly jotted notes while watching TV, created an outline before bed and made sure I wrote the recap at work the next morning to publish by 9AM that someone would still be laughing at it this many years later. OI…sounds to me like SHE’S HERE, SHE’S THERE, SHE’S EVERY-FUCKING-WHERE, THE SALTY JUUUUUUUUUUUU, THE SALTY JU.

So, as it turns out the “Seven Year Itch” doesn’t have to just refer to crabs. (This is what I assume the phrase was invented for until we eradicated pubes from our lives.) It was a productive year of shaking things up for your girl and I’m excited to forge ahead into “The Ocho.” If you’re reading this right now or have read, shared or laughed at one single thing I did this past year, I want to just smooch your face off with gratitude. Sure, I can easily cackle at myself and be entertained all the live long day, but having people to share it with and bringing giggles to your life is actually what dreams are made of, Lizzie McGuire style. GRAZIE MILLE!