An Unfiltered Look at my Entryway

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Yesterday Jeremy and I were sitting on our couch and facing the door to our apartment, and it occurred to me just how much of our life was currently represented by the debris in our entryway. Since yesterday, even more life has happened, making our entry way admittedly messy, but authentically so. Did I want to clean before photographing? Desperately! But that would have negated the time spent (or lack of time spent) flinging our coats off and casting off our boots because our radiator is hyperactive. It would have fed into the social media perfection machine. To clean would be to edit, to cover up the life that hides in the small moments. And my title promises that this is unfiltered, and it’s not clean either. 

A Fair and Balanced Account of Valentine’s Day as a Holiday.

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Yesterday my Facebook feed was abuzz with adorableness on Valentine’s–people publicly declaring their love and celebrating their flowers. As a manifestation of how old and mature I’m becoming, many of my friends posted pictures of their new Valentine’s–little babies covered with smooches, or pregnancy announcements clad in pink and red.

And honestly, it truly was adorable. I enjoyed it. I clicked the like button many times! I was happy it was Valentine’s Day!

But I was also a little bit cognizant of how much I would have hated my Newsfeed on Valentine’s Day five years ago–in the most cliche way of course. And though it was cliche and perhaps unnecessarily bitter, I don’t want to delegitimize the loneliness one single girl can internalize while scrolling through a Facebook Feed Full of Love.

So, remembering my former self, I decided to chronicle my 2015 Valentine’s Day here, where people actually need to CLICK to see, to choose to imbibe this particular love potion.

I’m glad I don’t have to grow up yet.

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This is the kind of post that internet trolls say mean things after. Because this is a post about my blankee.

Yes. I am 23 and 1/2 years old, and I still have a blankee. I still love my blankee. I brought my blankee across the country to be with me in Chicago. Sadly, it doesn’t look very blankee-like anymore.

It used to be soft, pink, and have embroidered hearts on it. 

The embroidered layer has worn away and got tangled in every successive wash (I wash it once a week, with my whites)

Recently I’ve noticed that you can kind of tie it together and it will take on another shape, if you’re feeling more “stuffed animal” that night.

Here it is: my (other) constant companion, my pillow, my comfort object. It’s not like I carry it around with me wherever I go. I can go weeks without it. I’m not dependent on it; I just like it.

No one has really understood my Linus tendencies. My dad sold his blankee to his parents for a nickel when he was 6, and he keeps offering to do the same (to be fair, he’s teasing). And I’ve had too many ex-boyfriends really misunderstand the blankee–sometimes in a very mean way. And to be honest, I didn’t blame them. Most of the time they were harsh about my blankee, I thought, Maybe they’re right. Maybe it’s time to get rid of it. 

Those of you who know Jeremy and I well know this story already, but allow me to give you some insight on the type of man that Jeremy is for those who don’t know him. One night during our courtship, Jeremy and I were returning from a late night thing, and I was floppy-useless-tired, so Jeremy tucked me in. Unfortunately, I had left my blanket exposed, so he tugged at it and asked what it was.

I grimaced, bracing myself for the ridicule that always comes at the exposure of my biggest vulnerability. But he didn’t mock or scorn or tease.

He said, “Tell me about it.”

So I did, and he just laughed in an ever-endearing way, and said, “If anything, this just makes me like you more. Sierra Robinson: Scourge of the dating world–Blanket Owner.”

First of all, how can you resist a man who calls you the scourge of the dating world, and second of all, how could you not immediately fall in love with someone who loves you for your most tender, most vulnerable secret? It was the 2nd time in our relationship that I knew I wanted to marry him. Maybe someday I will blog about times 1 and 3.

I promised I would put my blankee away when we got married. Jeremy never indulged in this idea.

Every night without fail, my Jeremy Man fluffs my pillow, straightens my sheets, says “Legs!” which means I have to snap my legs into place for optimum tuckage, and swaddles my sheets around me. Then, every night, he sends me off into dreamland by finding my blanket and tucking it gently in between my arms and underneath my chin. Right where I like it.

And even though we are living such a grown-up life–married, in a Chicago high-rise, with big-people jobs–I am glad that he didn’t make me grow up all the way.

The Redesign

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“Don’t put too much pressure on this next post,” Jeremy wisely counseled last night after correctly reading my body language. Sometimes it is downright irksome that he can read my thoughts before they are corporeal or even conceived. To him, I’m not just an open book—I’m an open book with big print, Braille underneath, and pictures on the side.

I Don’t Hate This City.

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So… carting around four ridiculously over-packed suitcases, a backpack laden with more reading material than a small library, and a purse that could fit Bambi in it across the Orange Line of the Chicago trains was awful…Or it would have been if it wasn’t so gosh darn exciting. 

But I think that was the low of this Chicago experience so far. Everything else has been wonderful–from attending church in an old Elementary school that looks like P.S. 118 from “Hey Arnold,” to a Starbucks and Chipotle on every other corner, to all the secondhand smoke (I secretly like the smell…), I have to say Chicago rocks. I am feeling very optimistic about my summer and just hope that Jeremy falls for this city as quickly as I have.

The best part about this city though–unequivocally the people. This is not Brusque Manhattan or Too Laid Back L.A. People have a healthy sense of “rush” here, but they can also spare a moment to help a brother out. My favorite instance of Chicago Niceness:

Our first night out on the city, Jeremy and I decided to hit up a Thai Restaurant on Rush Street, because, you know, we basically take Thai with our oxygen. We left with leftover souvenirs, which Jeremy carried in his right hand, holding my hand with his left. 

As we walked home, we crossed a jovial-looking old black man in a suit (there are black people here!), and as he passed he addressed Jeremy and said, “Son! Son! Where did you get that thing hanging off you there?” Jeremy and I exchanged confused looks and looked. 

“This?” Jeremy asked, holding up the bag of Thai food. 

“No,” persisted the man, twinkling. “That other thing. Where can I get one?” 

We hunted for a string hanging off Jeremy’s coat, but we were thoroughly confused. Finally, I noticed the old man, amused by our confusion nod slightly at me. 

“Oh!” I said. I couldn’t help it. I squealed. “You mean me?!” I twinkled back.

 He nodded and said, “You make a lovely couple, I gotta get me one of those.” said the old man to Jeremy, moving on with a grin. 

Friends, it was just delightful to start this journey out with an unsolicited compliment from a stranger, and I promise there was nothing creepy about our new, never-to-be-seen-again friend. But it got me feeling the glow of this windy city. I think we will be just fine here. 
This is our little apartment. We’re used to “little” with our apartments, so we actually like it a lot.  

This is the beautiful view from our apartment. Which car is your favorite? 

Our generously-sized closet. When you only pack 1/6 of your wardrobe, you’d be surprised how much mess you don’t make.
This is us at the airport. For all you Instagrammers, you may have already seen these pictures. Mostly, I just need to know what you think of my “Chicago Hair,” because sometimes I worry that Ombre is too wild for me.  

I’m just mostly thrilled by the prospect of a $9 sundae. No really, these were magnificent. 

If you can see the chocolate in this picture, you win! Actually, if you can taste the chocolate in this picture, you win. Which means, I win. 

I’m a chocolate fan like the rest of them, but my hot chocolate was so rich (Literally steamed milk with four squares of Ghiradelli’s chocolate mixed in), I had to throw in the towel. Luckily my sweet-toothed sweetheart was up for the task. 

Mandatory Skyline Picture.

Because none of the other pictures really proved I am in Chicago. 
PS: I am feeling uncomfortable about having 69 followers. Will someone please be my 70th?

This is My Cork.

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I wish I could bottle moments, memories. Not like putting them in a Pensieve. This is different. Because if you get to bottle the moment, rather than put it in a shallow basin, you get to give that cork a satisfying yank for the release of the bottle’s content. You get to let the moment you bottled wash over you like a caffeine fix when you open up a Dr. Pepper. You get to put your bottled moment on the shelf, and it looks pretty. I wish I could bottle this moment, so I can have it for always. As a novice writer, and non-bottle beverage drinker, this post will be my cork. 

Very recently, I was having a moment–a different kind of moment, an italicized moment. Not the kind of moment that you bottle up. You’ve had them too, so please don’t judge. Just a moment where Finals week because a grim, impossible reality, and life becomes too insurmountable to do it all. And even if you have a very good track record of pulling it all off in the clutch, in these italicized moments there seems very little possibility of it happening this time. And every time I realize that I can’t possibly do it all, a little bit of self-hatred creeps into my soul.  For the Type A, medium-smart but very driven girl, not being a prodigy has been something that has been very hard for me to cope with. My whole life.

So I stumbled to Jeremy, shame-faced, because I’ve had one or two of these little meltdowns this week (IT’S FINALS, OK?!). And I cried. I just cried because I really don’t think that I can possibly do it all. And even though Jeremy has heard it all before (in the last 24 hours), he didn’t sigh. He didn’t get frustrated. He didn’t tell me “Yes! Yes you can, Sierra.”–which I would have hated during the moment so I am glad he didn’t. 

He said,

“I love you whether you can do it or not. I love you the same if you get a C or an A. I wish you loved yourself that much.”

I heard it, but I didn’t really hear it. “I know, I know you love me. But I just… Why can’t I be a prodigy?”

And Jeremy looked at me. I watched his expression–I watched his eyebrows sink into soul-reading concern. I felt his thumb slip beneath my eyes and snatch my tears. Quietly, ever so quietly, he said, 

“Sierra, don’t you get it? You’re a prodigy to me.” 

So I must cork these words up and keep them close to my heart, not just on my shelf where they look nice. Because for the first time in my life, I felt capable of being what he saw in me.  And for tonight, and for tomorrow, and for whenever I uncork my bottle: It doesn’t matter one hoot if I am a prodigy to Professors Johnson or West. Because I’m not and I will never be. 

But it doesn’t matter. I am a prodigy to him, as he’s always been to me. 

Maybe I Should Just Go Barefoot.

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It wasn’t the overly-telling suction to my chicken legs. It wasn’t the apparent contour of my booty that I was worried about. You wanna know the real reason I was stressed out about embracing skinny jeans?

The Shoes. 

Skinny Jeans come with the commitment that you must also buy a specific sort of shoe. This just felt like a large fashion commitment. So I was, admittedly, a late adopter. 
I find these shoes REPUGNANT and blister-inducing.
No offense. Image Source
And while I think I have somewhat navigated the world of skinny jeans, I think I am still working out the shoe part (and the sock part for that matter). 
I have come to realize that I am not the best accessorizer of feet. 
I don’t consider myself a “fashionista” but I’ve always considered my style “comfortably cute,” to say the least. I mean, I get compliments on what I wear, so I can’t be a horrible dresser. But recently I’ve had an epiphany. I don’t get compliments on my shoes. I get… comments
It all started in ninth grade. We did this thing called “The Issuing of the Faults,” where everyone went around in a circle and told one another their faults. It was a bonding experience. I don’t remember what anyone else said really (well, Elaine told me I had ugly hands, but whatever), but something that Ruth said stung me to the core. 
Before I tell you, I should probably paint a character sketch of Ruth…. and Ruth, you must understand, I mean this very lovingly and with extreme affection. Ruth wore the Muppets on her clothes. Usually she wore a long-sleeved striped shirt underneath a short shirt and sometimes overalls. All her clothes were purchased at Savers. Truth be told, it was one of my favorite things about her. She was a hipster long before it was cool to dress… like that.
My point is, it blistered when Ruth announced  that she didn’t like my shoes. It was the first time I gave into peer pressure; I bought new shoes that weekend. 
But I still remember these very shoes with nostalgic fondness! 
Here’s the best image I could rustle up.
If you can’t tell, these shoes had a one-inch foam platform, and were cobbled with brown striped suede. They gave me the needed height to navigate the high school halls with dignity. Apparently my dignity was misplaced. 
Years later, my feet are still getting comments, though I am realizing that the bulk of my trouble comes from my sock issues. Jeremy has REAL issues with my socks. 
Most Recently, the comments have been:
  • “Sierra, your socks.. don’t even come close to matching.”–Jared
  • “Jared, haven’t you noticed? Sierra’s socks never match.”–Kristy
  • “Sierra, those are boy socks”–Chloe  (To which, I scathingly reply, “No they are not! I stole them from my mom’s sock drawer.”)
  • “Sierra, you’ve got to stop wearing my socks.”–Jeremy (yesterday)
  • “Are those really the shoes you want to wear today?”–Jeremy (he says this every time I want to wear my beloved moccasins). 

I thought all was fair in socks and war, as long as Burkenstocks or Jelly Sandals weren’t involved. 
But you know what, I have cold feet, so I need warm (boy) socks! And I get ready in the dark, and so I can’t be asked to locate socks that match in the dark in the immediacy of the cold feet issue!
Jeremy told me I needed to purchase these special (flimsy, piece of crap) socks to accompany my skinny jeans shoes. But honestly, I don’t see the major difference between 

and This:
Honestly, you can still see my socks no matter what, but in one pair my feet are cold and the other are not. 

And you know what?! If Moccasins had platforms, I would certainly be buying those too. 

My Husband, the Night Owl (or Penguin)

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Even though Jeremy, without fail, tucks me in each night around 11:30 PM, he, himself stumbles into bed every night between the hours of 1:00-5:00 AM, and some of those nights are late, even for him. He pauses a moment to read some scriptures, and sometimes, if I am lucky, I will wake up when he kisses my forehead. Some might worry about his nighttime exploits. I know that without fail, I can find him on my couch, working on ServeSurfer
What is ServeSufer, you ask? ServeSurfer is an amazingly cool website that connects people with service opportunities within minutes of their homes. It’s an altruist’s dream. It’s an NHS student’s ultimate hook up. It doesn’t hurt if you need a tutor for any subject at any age, either. It’s a website started up by several brilliant (and remarkably charismatic) Stanford grads, and designed and programmed by a bunch of talented computer geeks, of which my husband happens to be a part.

And it launches today. 
Image Credit: Carly Geehr, ServeSurfer Foundation.
I shamelessly stole this from the website. 

I highly encourage you to check it out at, and see all the hard work that has gone into this awesome search tool.

Jeremy and I have been so honored to get to see this project through, and Jeremy has learned so much. I am so proud of him for all of his truly hard work. This project has supported us through our first couple months of marriage, and we are eternally grateful.

But, admittedly, I am also a little excited for Jeremy to come to bed a little earlier.