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Facing Fear

Stop waiting for "Big Events" to change your life

Want to be happier? Stop waiting for Big Events

I’ve made a lot of big changes in the last three years.

I bought a house with my boyfriend. We got engaged, then married. I quit a really great job to work for myself. My husband and I decided to have a baby (arriving July-ish).

I feel like I’m finally honing in on happiness.

But you know what? While my happiness is related to my Big Life Changes, it’s not just the house or the marriage or the job or the baby that are making me happy. It’s more that these things granted me an “excuse” to make changes I’ve thought about for years.

Let’s look at quitting my job.

When I left my full-time gig a year and a half ago, my reasoning was pretty straightforward. I wanted to build a freelance writing career, and planned on having a family in the near future. Hence, I craved … Read more

Thinking about fostering a dog? Here's everything you need to know.

Should You Consider Fostering a Dog?

A little over a year ago, we took in our first foster dog.

I’m a huge animal lover, and if you follow me on Instagram, you know our Mexican street dog, Patsy, is my constant companion. Fostering seemed like a nice to pay it forward: taking in someone else’s future four-legged bestie until they finally found each other.

Of course, fostering wasn’t completely selfless.

By fostering, I figured I could get that lovely puppy endorphin rush without having to actually talk my husband into getting another “forever” dog. Plus, fostering perfectly fit into my original Hey Eleanor premise: Doing one thing every day that scares me. Fostering a puppy, then eventually letting them go seemed particularly challenging. (newsflash: it was!)

We’ve currently fostered nine dogs in some capacity. There’s been lots of laughs, lots of tears, and lots of doggy messes to clean up, but in general, I’ve enjoyed … Read more

Body issues, be gone! | What I Learned While Pregnant in a Bikini

What I Learned While Pregnant in a Bikini

It happened at Square Lake, circa 1989.

I was seven or eight. I noticed a women out of the corner of my eye– just a normal beachgoer I’d never met before. There was nothing notable about her, except for one little thing: she was probably 8 months pregnant and wearing a blue string bikini.

To me, a kid who really never spent much time around pregnant people (my brother is 18 months younger than me, so I don’t really remember my mom being pregnant), I thought this was incredibly strange. Maybe even embarrassing, like accidentally seeing a nip slip or something (I live in America where nipples are apparently obscene).

I diverted my eyes, and casually went back to building my impressive sandcastle. I remember being baffled at the time: you can wear a bikini while pregnant?! Why on earth would you want to show off your fat belly? Also, … Read more

Why Do We Always Think of the Perfect Thing to Say After the Fact

Why Do We Always Think of the Perfect Thing to Say After the Fact

Why do we always think of the perfect thing to say after the fact?

I’ve spent the last 72 hours agonizing over this. Like tummy-ache, head in a vice, can’t-turn-my-racing-brain-off kind of agonizing.

It all started with an email. A producer from Minnesota Public Radio asked me if I’d like to be on Kerri Miller’s Friday Roundtable discussion. These are where Miller (a beloved radio host with the best voice on the planet) has an hour-long conversation with “three smart people.” I’ve done this show before, and left walking on a cloud of cotton candy and Smarties. Go me! When we recorded this time, I started out as one of these three smart people.

By the end of the conversation, I didn’t feel that way.

Our topic was books we’ve lied about reading. The premise: a lot of people have guilt about not reading the classics, or having never … Read more

What it's like to get Lasik eye surgery

What it’s like to get Lasik eye surgery

Raise your hand if you like people touching your eyeballs!

And nobody is raises their hand. Because eyeballs are weird and eww-y and don’t anybody touch mine!

My friend Diana told me she’d been considering Lasik eye surgery for years, and finally mustered up the courage to go through with it. Since she’s so hilarious and a great storyteller, I asked her to share what happened. Here’s what it’s like to have lasers pointed at your eyeballs.

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When did you start wearing glasses?

I got glasses when I was about 8. I hated the feeling of them on my face, and I got teased for it. So basically…this was not great for me. I started wearing contacts as soon as my parents would let me, going into high school.

What do you love about glasses? What annoyed you?

I have no love for glasses. My favorite thing … Read more