introducing…lessons in wedding planning

Welcome to a new segment in this little blog of mine. I’m choosing to call it “lessons in wedding planning.” You see, it turns out I know very little (okay, pretty much nothing) when it comes to planning a wedding. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t mistake it for a simple process. I suppose I just never knew how involved, how emotional, how “let’s just go to Vegas” this whole process truly is.

With that said I’m learning things as I go, all while trying to have fun! See the exclamation mark! Fun! Yay! I’m choosing to blog about my lessons and adventures because I’ve always had fun (there’s that word again) in doing so.

Without further ado, here’s Allie’s first lesson in wedding planning.

  1. Locate and download a planning checklist from Pinterest. Also, Pinterest will become your best friend over the next few months. It is critical that you have this checklist; otherwise, you will forget that you need things like “save the date” invites. I’ve never used Pinterest as much as I have in the past three weeks.




Cheers to you, Pinterest. I love you dearly.

More lessons to come…




A lot has happened since May. For starters, this blog should probably have a name change. I’ve known “Adventures in Solitude” for so many years now. I can’t imagine calling it anything else. However, my adventures are no longer in solitude. I have a partner, someone to explore the unknown with.

And I’m happy. Finally, right? About damn time, I’d say. I’m also getting married. Me, married. Like a bride.

I would love to get back to blogging. I would love a name change for this site. Suggestions welcome.

See you soon.


When I first moved to Chicago, I was a nanny. For three years I took care of a little boy, Noah. I cared for him deeply. I didn’t always have the easiest relationship with his mom, Michelle. She wasn’t the most reliable employer, but I loved Noah, so I stayed. Eventually I got offered a full-time position with my bookstore job, so I had to leave.

Before I moved back to Texas, I ran into Michelle at a doctor’s office. We talked for a bit and arranged for me to spend an afternoon with Noah. It was so great seeing him. Only a year and a half had passed, but somehow he had grown up. I loved talking to him and hearing about his life.

I realize years later that I could have kept in touch once I moved. It wouldn’t have been difficult. Yet for some reason I didn’t. It’s strange how things occur to you too late.

As I was preparing to move from Michigan to Chicago, I found Michelle on Facebook and decided to send her a message. After studying her page I discovered that she was ill. She had been ill for a few years and was in and out of the hospital quite often. I wrote her to say that I was moving back, I’d love to catch up, and that she was in my prayers. I never heard back, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t make me a little sad. I had genuinely wanted to see her, but I understood if a.) too much time had passed and/or b.) she had too much going on.

I deactivated my personal Facebook account over a year ago, but since I’ve taken over social media for my job I decided to search for her using my work page. She hadn’t been active for over a year, and I felt a knot in my stomach. I then found Noah’s page, and it was there that I discovered that she had passed away. I sat, completely numb, for a few minutes. She was only three years older than me. She had two boys. Why?

Since discovering this news, I’ve been debating on contacting Noah and reaching out. I’ve enlisted the advice of my mother, my friends, my boyfriend. Their words are all the same-what harm could it do? Yet I’m scared, of what I don’t know.

I see Michelle’s face everywhere. I do double takes, only to realize that the woman I think is her doesn’t resemble her in any way at all. I don’t know what this means. It used to happen with my father. If I’m being honest on occasion it still does. I see my grandmother, too. Maybe it’s only natural.

But why Michelle? Is this a sign that I should reach out to Noah? To tell him I’m sorry and that I’ll always be here to talk?

I wish I had the answer.

whiskey, words, & a shovel

This past week I was introduced to a new poetry collection. It’s actually the third and final volume. In a way I’m always pleased when that happens, because I get to look forward to reading the earlier works.

This collection hit me hard. It gave me all the feels, for many different reasons. Love is a central topic throughout, but it is the poems dealing with loss, self-doubt, and heartache that affected me the most.


the beauty in breaking

is that when you rebuild

you’ll be stronger than before


best days

the best days of your life

are hidden behind

the worst moments

you’ll eventually

survive through


I could quote more, but instead I’ll say to simply check out the book. It doesn’t matter if you’re a fan of poetry. It is a breathtaking collection. I’ll also leave you with this, which in my opinion is one of the simplest yet most romantic poems I’ve ever come across.

strange love

i hope you find someone

who falls in love with the strange

that lives within you


What more can we ask for?


happy anniversary, baby

Ten years.

That’s how long it’s been since my 21 year old self packed up my life and moved to Chicago, IL, where I knew no one, save for a woman named Dee whose apartment I had stayed in while looking for my own. I’d love to track her down and buy her drinks for taking me out for my 22nd birthday and the numerous pep talks that were had over the first couple of months.

I have no doubt that there were many people who thought me crazy, friends and family included. I still have someone in my life, someone close to me, who will never understand why I chose to move. I’ve come to accept that. I could blame my father, since he had only been deceased a little over a year. Many years ago my mom declared that it was a manic decision. As much as I hate to admit it, that’s probably more likely. Here’s what I’ve come to realize. If it was a manic decision then thank you, mania. I’ve never regretted my decision. Plus, do I need a reason? Do I need to look back? I jumped in. I survived.

I’ve been told many times that I’m brave for making the move. I don’t do well with compliments, so I usually mumble something incoherent and change the subject. However, since I’m typing and not speaking, I will admit this. If I were making conversation with a new acquaintance and happened to be hearing my story from their lips, I would think them brave.

Chicago holds so many memories. My job at Borders, which was my introduction to the book industry. Amazing people that I’ve met throughout the years and the ones that matter the most here. Cathy Lantz, Ethan Walles, Rebecca Burgess, and Liz Hamilton. Tim Nissen, I still pretend that you live here.

Want to know the best part? I’m not done. I STILL LIVE HERE. I’m continuing to make new memories and meet new people. I’m beyond thankful for the chance to do that.

At the risk of this sounding like an Oscar acceptance speech (best adapted screenplay), I am thankful to my family and friends in Texas for supporting me, thankful to my Chicago family for making me feel loved, and also a big thank you to Chicago. The city itself. You are beautiful, and I don’t get out and appreciate you enough.

Happy anniversary, baby.


Today I’m introducing a new segment to this blog. I’m going to call it, “Charlie Goes Musical.”

Yes, you read that correctly. It turns out that my bird loves music. When I’m home in the evenings, I play DJ with my record collection, sampling genres to see if my blue-bodied yellow-headed parakeet has a personal preference.

His tastes run pretty wide. Which is a relief, since I can’t imagine owning a bird who only prefers to listen to Tori Amos (even though I love Tori).

The first album Charlie expressed extreme enthusiasm for was Ryan Adams and the Cardinals’ “Cardinology” album. It was a proud moment for me, because that album happens to be a favorite of mine.

My heart filled with happiness as I watched my little dude bob his head up and down and sing along to my favorite song.


a need to please

I’m pretty sure I have this need to please everyone. Or at least not disappoint them.

Let me explain. Yesterday morning I left my apartment for work. I locked the door and began to descend the stairs. I heard my downstairs door open, and my stomach dropped. My mind immediately went to Charlie. He’s been hyper lately.

My neighbor, whom I’ve never met before, proceeded to ask me to be more respectful (a word he will use at least four more times) and stated that I “stomp, slam things, and am up at 5am.” He paused and said that he’s “not trying to be a dick,” and in his defense, he wasn’t. He was just expressing frustration. Problem was that I was completely thrown off guard. I had NO idea what he was talking about. I’m the kind of neighbor that if I drop my phone I whisper to my floor, “I’m sorry.” Because I know what it sounds like. I have an upstairs neighbor who gives zero shits about being respectful, to use my neighbor’s word. Never in my years of renting have I been told that I’m loud. I was stunned. When he mentioned that I get up early, I half-whispered, “I got up at 7 this morning.” In fact that’s my usual wake up time, the exception being two days a week when I do wake up at 5 am due to me needing to leave my apartment at 6 am. I ended up just nodding and walking away. I didn’t ask him to elaborate on the sounds, or attempt to explain my work schedule.

Instead I walked to the bus stop in a daze. I had seven minutes until the bus was due, so I called my mom to vent. I repeated everything he said, and when I got to his request about being respectful, my mother hilariously replied, “did you tell him you’re from Texas? You were raised respectful!”

I wish I could say that my mom eased my anxiety. I wish I could say that my best friend Megan made it go away when I called her after I got off the bus. Instead it stuck with me all day.

The truth is that I don’t think he’s completely justified, yet I can’t stop feeling awful about the whole situation. I can’t stand that someone is upset with me, even if he is a complete stranger. And that bugs the shit out of me.

I need to challenge myself to work on it, because I have no doubt that I will encounter many more of these situations throughout life.

tuesday tunes: broadway is dark tonight

Hello, all.

Last night Charlie and I were spinning records and found ourselves jamming to “Dizzy Up the Girl.” Yes, my bird jams. He moves back and forth on his bar and bobs his head until I worry it’s going to fall off.

This record was released when I was in junior high. It’s one of those records that I appreciate more now that I’m older (much, much older). “Slide” and “Iris” were the popular songs back then, and to this day “Slide” remains one of my all-time favorites. But “Broadway” is what gets me these days. There’s just something about it. Lyrics that make so much more sense now than they would have growing up. I’ve seen more of the things that John is singing about, and that’s what has resonated with me the past few years.

Enjoy the throwback.

tuesday tunes: i wear glasses

Good morning, and happy Tuesday!

It feels like years (and it could be, I don’t feel like checking) since I’ve done a Tuesday tunes. I can’t promise it will be a weekly thing from now on, but I heard this song on a Spotify playlist yesterday, and I immediately stopped what I was working on to listen to it. It’s super catchy, and I can’t wait to see what else this band can do.

yoga, interrupted

I’m starting a fitness routine, and I’ve actually been really psyched about it. Getting back into yoga has been a goal of mine for years now, and I’ve been better about it, but I fell out of practice for a couple of months.

It’s worth noting that my previous yoga practice happened pre-Charlie.

I’ll paint you a picture. I’m on my mat, breathing deeply, listening to my favorite YouTube instructor, Adriene Mishler, whom I highly recommend if you are looking to return to or begin a yoga practice. I am ten minutes into the practice, and then Charlie happens. I still have him covered, but that doesn’t stop my beautiful bird from saying good morning. It doesn’t stop him from sharing his thoughts with the building. Really, neighborhood. And as much as I love that bird, in that moment I was angry.

I lift his towel. “Charlie!” I say in my most stern bird voice. “Yoga time=quiet time.” I get a blank stare, then his singing resumes. I attempt yoga two more times, then give up.

I don’t have a solution. It’s difficult to concentrate on breathing when your bird just needs to express his feelings on life.

I promise to update if Charlie and I can come to a compromise.