Category Archives: fodder for our memoir

when best friends text

Emily and I text one another. A lot. (BFF Rule #8 entitles us to such practices) Here are some of the more entertaining ones as of late because we are desperate for content and this is Emily’s finals week and nothing (not even that video of Taylor Swift getting scared by Ellen Degeneres)  makes her laugh harder than this. Presented context free because that is usually how they are received.
  • Listening to “Someone Like You” by Adele turns me into a crazy person.
  • Sometimes I want to wear Timberlands in a non-ironic way.
  • He was beautiful. I’ll probably write a poem about him later.
  • I have cough syrup in my purse…it has 10% alcohol content.
  • I got approved for a credit card. I’M GOING TO BUY EVERYTHING IN SIGHT!
  • Whenever I visit my hometown I can’t help but play a dramatized “where are they now?” slide show featuring my high school friends in my head.
  • So there I was, cracking up at the Justin Bieber Macy’s commercial…
  • I want Matt Lauer to hold me. He has big arms.
  • That girl is so 2- dimensional, whereas I am like 100- dimensional.
  • When I have to be at work super early and there aren’t a lot of people out I listen to Muse and pretend i’m walking through a post apocalyptic urban environment.
  • Sometimes when I get bored at work I daydream about The Hunger Games.
  • Do you ever get sensitive to how people order you in emails or facebook messages? I always notice the order.
  • I just ate a small package of gummy bears way too fast and almost threw up, like a five year old.
  • I told myself I wasn’t going to wear makeup all week and I haven’t. Well, to be honest I’m out of makeup which made making that statement fairly easy. I’m the laziest feminist around.
  • Speaking of our generation, I just did some really creepy stuff on Facebook and the internet.
  • Come Clean by Hilary Duff is an anthem for our generation.
  • I need validation concerning the last text I sent you.
  • Sometimes when I drink water I get a headache. Like my body is surprised or something.
  • “Gossip girl is effing awesome” I want to put that on your tombstone.
  • Life is boring without unhealthy habits.
  • He and his desert boots are dead to me.
  • I just ordered black and purple headphones. A homage to my youth.


  • I already decided this morning (again) that I dont want to make any new friends ever.
  • Eyeing boys in coffee shops is like our thing.
  • Sometimes when I see tweets and pictures on facebook over the holidays where people are reuniting with their high school friends I get really emotional like when I see pictures of soliders returning from war.
  • Good morning, Taylor Swift got bangs. that’s all
  • Shoot, I just have a lot of feelings I want to turn into lyrics. Poetry isn’t the same, it’s not as catchy. I want my feelings to be catchy
  • Sometimes I give myself pep talks where I say things like “Emily, you’re a grown ass lady, you can’t wear sweatpants to trader joes, put on some damn jeans.”
  • Footloose was a great movie.*
  • You gotta know when to step it up and when to retreat into your bed in your matching pajamas.
  • Boys who are into Jane Austen make me nervous, also Christian boys who brag about having read Redeeming Love.
  • Do you think anyone has ever made a joke about Rahab being a JericHO, you know, because she was a prostitute?
  • I think I have emotional tourettes.
  • Let’s just acknowledge that we both spend a lot of time thinking about the inner thought life of celebrities.
  • Half of my counseling advice is just telling people how an episode on TV ends.
  • Maybe on my way home i’ll stop by the mall to smell Wonderstruck.
  • I bet we think about Devon Sawa more than most people.
  • Do you think if I strategically position myself on campus and read  A Severe Mercy i’ll get a boyfriend?
  • What do you know about nuclear launch codes?

* I will give context for this one- it was over a week after we saw Footloose. Listen, some movies just really stick with you, okay?!



Filed under emily, fodder for our memoir, katie

shrinking the limitless

My favorite medical condition is called synesthesia. There are a lot of different manifestations, but a common one is being able to see letters in specific colors. I have a friend who has it and will answer quickly and confidently that the letter a is red and m is green. Not surprisingly, most people with synesthesia don’t mind it at all, in fact they see it as a gift.

Seeing colors is great, but the best type of synesthesia is personification, where letters and numbers have their own personality. One patient says, “T’s are generally crabby, ungenerous creatures. U is a soulless sort of thing. 4 is honest, but 3 I cannot trust. 9 is dark, a gentleman, tall and graceful, but politic under his suavity” While I definitely don’t think I am lucky enough to have personification synesthesia, I think that certain words have their own sort of onomatopoeia, they sound like the feeling they are trying to convey. For instance, classic sounds crisp like the first bite of an apple. Felicity sounds whimsical and smells like lavender.

Though there are a lot of great words out there (circadian, cacophony, and zealous to name a few), I often find myself disappointed with the words I have available to me. It gets a little monotonous that the same words describe the same things when it seems like what we are really trying to say is just beyond that. As great as words are, more often that not they fall short. I feel like there is a word that will encompass the things I am trying to say but I just don’t know it yet. Stephen King sums this up really well, “The most important things are the hardest to say. They are the things you get ashamed of, because words diminish them – words shrink things that seem limitless when they were in your head to no more than living size when they’re brought out. But it’s more than that, isn’t it? The most important things lie too close to wherever your secret heart is buried, like landmarks to a treasure your enemies would love to steal away. And you may make revelations that cost you dearly only to have people look at you in a funny way, not understanding what you’ve said at all, or why you thought it was so important you almost cried while you were saying it.”

The Eskimo have at least eighteen different words for snow, we have one. To them it isn’t just snow it can be fine snow particles, soft deep snow, or my favorite, fallen snow floating on water. I like to think that the language we speak in Heaven will be a lot closer to the fullness of the Eskimos. When we see something, perhaps some beautiful aspect of creation, we will know exactly the word to describe it and maybe even see it in color too. Until that day, I will continue to struggle with my own inadequate words and leave you with the words of Annie Dillard, who is great at making due with the words we’ve got.

“I sip my coffee. I look at the mountain, which is still doing it’s tricks, as you look at a still-beautiful face belonging to a person who was once your lover in another country years ago: with fond nostalgia, and recognition, but no real feelings save a secret astonishment that you are now strangers. Thanks. For the memories.”

“In making the thick darkness a swaddling band for the sea, God set ‘bars and doors’ and said, ‘Hitherto shalt thou come and no further.’ But have we ever come that far? Have we rowed out to that think darkness, or are we all playing pinochle in the bottom of the boat?”

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bff rules

If you haven’t realized it already, the basis of this blog is a friendship. The reason we started ‘but first, coffee’ is so we could keep sharing thoughts, ideas, and New Yorker profiles on Rahm Emmanuel over longer distances than we are used to. Sure, we didn’t need a blog to do this, but it helps us feel connected to one another.

Recently, Mindy Kaling (who we love and admire), posted a list of BFF rules on her blog. It is a manifesto of sorts, a list that defines her relationship with her best friend in the entire world. Mindy’s list includes some extremely important rules, such as “I must try to like your boyfriend 5 times,” and “I can borrow all your clothes.” We got to talking and realized that without realizing it, we had an unenumerated list of our own that we ought to make official. Ms. Kaling inspired us to not only to do this but also officially dub this week our first official bff week in preparation of being reunited in Chicago this weekend. SO, we present our bff rules:

  1. Your wine* is my wine in all situations. If we are at your house, pour me a glass of whatever is on your counter. If we are out, I will take a sip of whatever you ordered without asking.
  2. You have to watch all the same TV shows as me and speak casually about characters as if they were our friends.
  3. You have to make me go shopping and be patient as I mope around the store complaining. Furthermore, make me try stuff on. A best friend should intimately know the shopping strategies of the other friend and act accordingly. Example, Emily should say to Katie “You aren’t allowed to buy any more black or grey things” and Katie should lovingly point out to Emily that she always has 3 of what she just picked up to try on.
  4. I can talk to you on the phone while going to the bathroom.
  5. You have to always be honest and tell me when I look good but realize that sometimes I just feel bad about myself and that is OK (I.E. you have to say “Your hair doesn’t look greasy at all but if you want to shower before we go I understand”).
  6. You should support me in everything, like if I hypothetically wanted to make up a secret twitter account where I could post cryptic song lyrics about my mood then you would agree to help me come up with a name.
  7. Anything I text you is private and you aren’t allowed to tweet it without my permission. Besides, we are the only ones who think it is funny.
  8. Furthermore, I am allowed to text you whenever I want about whatever I want. You have to respond to at least every third one.
  9. If I want to get to a Taylor Swift concert 8 hours early to stand in line hoping Taylor herself will come outside and hand out backstage passes, you are required to be right by my side through the whole thing.
  10. I will always help you with the household chore you hate the most.**
  11. If we are going to dinner together you have to know that even though I say I don’t know what I am in the mood for that I already have a very specific place in mind and I need you to guess what it is. You have to play this game with me every time.
  12. You have to hate all the same people I do in the same specific way. (I.E. “Yes, you are right. Her hair IS too long. I never want to talk to her)

How about you? Do you and your bff have rules? Make sure you let us know what they are. Also, happy bff week!

*$8 Cabernet, duh.

**Emily: doing dishes, Katie: making her bed


Filed under emily, fodder for our memoir, katie

the new girl

About a couple week ago, Annie Stamell tweeted the following:

Living with 3 dudes is either going to turn me into a huge tomboy or I’ll be awesome & know the secrets to everything.

My thoughts, exactly.

In my case, turns out its a mixture of both of these scenarios. Ok here’s some background: Three weeks ago I moved to Chicago (The Windy City, ya’ll! I’ve made it!). However, I didn’t have a a home yet so my dear friend Jeff offered me an air mattress and a room err… ‘nook’ at his house. I wasn’t TOO worried, however, because I figured I had a pretty good idea of what living with Jeff would be like. In college at the University of Missouri (Go Tigers!), in a magical slum land called East Campus, Jeff and I’s houses backed up to one another. Jeff would frequently stop by with wine and/or diet coke, I would cook, and he would comment about how my wardrobe of leggings and oversized flannel shirts made me look like the most recent victim of a horrible breakup. And thus, a friendship was born.

Despite knowing Jeff, I had a few concerns about living with him and his two roommates.

  • Bathroom rights. I grew up with 4 sisters, OK? Sharing a bathroom with 3 boys in their 20s is a terrifying thought. Am I right?
  • Looking less like Zooey Deschanel in “The New Girl” and more like this chick.
  • Being “that girl who lives with boys.” Come on, you all know what I’m talking about. I’m moving to a new city here and I have lots of first impressions to make.

Even though some of these concerns were FOR SURE warranted (boys are just dirty, ya’ll), I learned some valuable life lessons from Jeff, Matt, and Luke:

  1. Giving someone a place to sleep is often the greatest act of kindness you can extend. These boys always have people staying with them: college friends, grad school study partners, stray family members…you name it. I was always sharing the living room with someone new, which I absolutely loved. I made a ton of new friends, heard stories, and bonded over the fact that whoever was staying there was briefly homeless like me. These boys were incredibly gracious about who they let stay with them, which is a trend I will carry with me to my new home.
  2. Sometimes silence is the best mode of communication. Real talk: I’ve lived with girls my entire life. And something about girls is that they do not shut up. Ever. We feel the need to verbally process everything, talk through our days extensively, and discuss the color of that one chick’s bridesmaid dresses late into the night on a Tuesday. Not so with boys. Besides a 2 sentence synopsis about how their days were, I often got no information about their coworkers, boss, or their long commute. At first I tried to fill the silence, but then I just embraced it and started cooking for them instead. One Saturday early into my stay Luke and I watched football (in silence) for about 6 hours. Then after that we were friends. Just like that.
  3. Passive Aggressiveness is not the way to get what you want. Girls, stop being passive aggressive towards your roommates. It will NOT have the desired effect. Something I learned from the boys: If someone has something you want, just ask them. It’s that simple! Who would of thought that a straightforward “Bro, you owe me 20 bucks for the electric bill. Pay up.” would work? I know, its crazy, really.
SO, I didn’t become complete tomboy (although whiskey and football have become staples in my life) and I didn’t figure out the secrets to everything (just some things), but I did have the best time. Maybe that is why I moved literally a block away from the boys. Hey guys, can I come over and watch football this weekend? I’ll cook.

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Filed under fodder for our memoir, katie


I spent a few days at my grandma’s house this week which always brings back a wave of childhood memories- this is one of them.

The summer I turned six, my grandma taught me how to spell Mississippi.

“M-I-crooked letter-crooked letter-I-crooked letter-crooked letter-I-humpback-humpback-I”

Grandma grew up on the banks of the Mississippi River in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. There’s not too much to do in Cape so most visits of any length always included several trips to the river.

I’ve never really cared much for any body of water besides a bubble bath. The ocean stung my eyes and the relentless waves exhausted me. Lakes were dirty and full of unknown fish who might nip at my toes. Pools were alright, but always too crowded. I loved the Mississippi because the one thing you were definitely not supposed to do was get in it. There were the currents and undertows, Grandma would warn, they would pull you right under before you had a chance to think. I used to imagine a great watery hand reaching out to sweep me off the bank into the churning whirlpool that hid just below the surface. I respected it immediately, never letting it do more than lap at my toes. I was content to skip stones on the shore or simply watch it move powerfully onward.

The first time we made boats, I was six. I flew across the country all by myself and was dropped off on Grandma’s doorstep for two weeks of crafts and cultural experiences. I slid down the basement steps on old couch cushions, played Chinese checkers, made a pool out of a wheelbarrow in the backyard, painted birdhouses, and explored caves. But the culmination of these experiences was boat making. In a true feat of ingenuity, Grandma decided we were going to paint pieces of scrap wood to race in the river. I labored over the design for weeks, painting and repainting my boat brighter colors. Finally, after settling on a design and letting it dry for a day we loaded up the car (Grandma dutifully letting me press the button to close the garage door) and headed down to the river.

We stood side by side on the concrete bank, boats poised in our hands as I counted us down.


We threw them as far out as we could. It turned out a six year old and a seventy year old are pretty equally matched when it comes to these feats of strength and they landed fairly close to each other. I followed alongside them giving running commentary until the bank became too rocky.

“I’m ahead! No, you’re ahead! It’s tied…we are tied! Yours is spinning around! I’m winning!”

The whole thing lasted no more than a minute. I craned my neck, hoping to see another flash of my bright pink boat bobbing up and down among the currents but the boats had been swallowed up by the mighty Mississippi. I raced back to Grandma breathless with excitement.

“I think I was ahead at the end!”
“Yes, I thought so too.”
“What happens now?”
“They’ll float all the way to the Gulf of Mexico.”
“How long will that take?”
“A week or so, maybe even a month.”
“Do you think mine will still be ahead then?”
“I do.”
“I think mine went faster because I painted that lightening bolt on it.”
“Yes, I bet that’s what did it!”
“If you want, I can paint one on yours next time.”
“We’ll see…..Do you want to sit and watch the river for awhile?”
“Okay, can I skip stones?”
“Yes, but don’t get too close to the edge. This river has a mind of it’s own.”

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Filed under emily, fodder for our memoir

i’ll have what she’s having

This is one of the best rants I have ever heard. You’re my girl, Liz Lemon!
I don’t want to hurt you. But I’ll tell you what I do want. I want someone who will be monogamous and nice to his mother. And I want someone who likes musicals but knows to just shut his mouth when I’m watching Lost. And I want someone who thinks being really into cars is lame and strip clubs are gross. I want someone who will actually empty the dishwasher instead of just taking out forks as needed, like I do. I want someone with clean hands and feet and beefy forearms like a damn Disney prince. And I want him to genuinely like me, even when I’m old. And that’s what I want.
-Season 4, Episode 17. ‘Lee Marvin vs. Derek Jeter’
Also, if you aren’t watching 30 Rock, then you aren’t living life as its meant to be lived.

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but first, an introduction

“Oh great,” you might be sighing to yourself (while simultaneously rolling your eyes and sipping on your chamomile tea)….”Another couple of ‘Cup of Jo wannabes’ who are starting a ‘stuff white girls like’ blog.”
I have no arguments concerning this statement.

Emily and I (Katie) are indeed starting this blog. Mostly because I need a way to publicly document all of the crazy stuff Emily tells me. But more than that, Emily and I have a deep and unmitigated desire to share our thoughts, ideas, and stories with people. We want this to be a forum where we can do just that.

Just keep in mind that this is (hopefully) not a narcissistic experiment that will fail us in two months. This is for us…so that we can look back on our formidable years of being fresh out of college and remember wanting to have a husband like Lamar Odom and desiring to be seen in public places reading the Atlantic. (Are you still with me?)

That being said…hope you enjoy!



Filed under fodder for our memoir