Tag Archives: birthday

Putting the Pep in Peppermeister

This is the kind of magic that happens in my craft room.

While my best friend, Jenn, is the woman behind the nickname Jules, my husband, Peppermeister, is the man behind this blog.

Here’s how he first won me over, complete with a mustache-themed shirt.

Last February, he tried to explain how great WordPress was, and how I should use it as a vehicle to start writing again. I knew nothing about blogging, but then I read a hilarious WordPress blog and thought, “Oh. Well. This could be fun.”

And now here we are, a year and a half later, Peppermeister begging me to write him a birthday post. I mean, he just won’t shut up about it.

“I mustache you to give me the greatest gift you ever could. A blog post,” he said last night.

Please note: That last paragraph is all lies.

Except for the part about his birthday, which is today.

How do you do someone named Peppermeister justice? This is the man who texted me on Friday to say, “Want to know what the best part of making chicken tacos is?”

And then followed-up with this picture:

How do you measure up to someone with whom you once had this conversation?

“She’s going to be home in 5 minutes,” I said, hanging up the phone. It was June 2003 and we were a month into dating, cuddling on the couch of a friend’s apartment. My friend let us hang out there because Peppermeister and I both still lived at home [with our parents].

He loves this picture. …Ahem.

“Great,” Peppermeister replied. “That gives me 3 minutes to convince you, and 2 minutes to do it.”

“Two minutes?” I answered, raising my eyebrows.

“Yeah. I thought we could do it twice.”

How do you write a post for someone who cordially invites the dog onto the couch, complete with trumpet calls? Or tells you you’re “pretty” and “svelte” every day? Or convinces his whole family, after stubbing his toe on a boat in the Bahamas, that he was bitten by a shark? Or plays a mean harmonica? Or finds fulfillment in teaching cognitively impaired children?

Well. You don’t. You just give him another funny t-shirt, bake some cupcakes and hope he doesn’t realize you didn’t clean the bathroom he could do a lot better.

Gawd, I’m getting sentimental in my old age.

P.S. – In case you’re wondering about Peppermeister’s [former] band, they’re called Echo Movement and they’re on the Warped Tour again this summer. We lurve them and you should, too.

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For the Woman Behind “Jules”

Indeed.

Well, apparently if you were born in either July or October, I like you. Have you ever noticed that? A plethora of birthdays in any given month? If not, did you notice I just used the word plethora? You probably did, because it sticks out like a sore thumb. It’s like a lot got all dressed up for a dinner party, and since it didn’t know anyone, it bought a really fancy bottle of wine from the Hamptons so it could make conversation brag about its summer home.

Anyway. My point is that you’ve already seen a post about my bloggy BFF’s birthday this month, and now today is my real-life BFF’s birthday (next up: First Husband’s birthday on Sunday! Told you).

I’ve mentioned Jenn several times before, and you’ll hear from her directly soon. She has finally succumbed to many months of what I like to call WordPressuring, and will guest post right here on Go Jules Go next week. You won’t want to miss it, and now that I’ve put it in writing, she can’t get out of it.

Happy birthday, Jenn!

I think of myself as her everything.

There’s so much I want to tell you about our 12 year-longstrong friendship. Jenn once said in a brilliant piece of writing, “Of all the reference sections in the world, Jules had to walk into mine.”

I’m pretty sure my life didn’t begin until I met Jenn, when she came to work alongside me at a little, independent bookstore in northern New Jersey. She was older, wiser, fiercely smart, hilarious and musically gifted. I was 18 and worshipped her instantly.

I could tell you more about those scandalous memoir-inspiring early days, or about the time we almost died, on a road trip lost in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

“Squeal like a pig!” Jenn quoted Deliverance, laughing, as we wound through the middle of no where, right before her new Honda Civic hung off the edge of a cliff.

Savannah, circa 2002. Five days from near death.

But then I thought of something. Something small, but maybe really big, too.

Jenn is the reason you call me Jules.

Eleven years ago, her wonderful boyfriend (now husband) started calling me Jules, as if it would have been unnatural not to. It’s not an unusual nickname for Julie, of course, but before then, only a stray gym teacher or soccer coach ever used it. Jenn ran with it, and pretty soon our tight circle of friends all called me Jules.

After many years of feeling less than, this little nickname made me feel special. I soon hated when anyone else used it. Jules was for cherished friends only.

For some reason, though, when I started this blog, I chose gojulesgo as my profile name. At the time, it was all one word, and my blog name was GoGuiltyPleasures.

Several months in, a couple of new blog buddies asked via email whether I preferred Julie or Jules. I was a little afraid to answer. Who was I to them? Who was I going to be?

But there was only ever one choice.

While I knew nothing about blogging or the friendships I would eventually make, some part of me knew that being Jules here was important. Though [in my naïveté] this blog was originally about solitary writing and portfolio building, it quickly became so much more, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Every time you call me Jules, I feel like a friend is addressing me affectionately. Let’s face it, it’s as awesome as a chipmunk hug if chipmunks didn’t have such teeny, tiny arms.

It’s why my About page and business cards say, “I sense you’re ready to take our friendship to the next level.”

Thanks to Jenn and her belief in Jules, this li’l blog is one of the most gratifying experiences of my life. Jenn has helped uncover the real me in this way and so many more, and I’m not sure there will ever be a birthday gift big enough to repay her.

But methinks going to see “Wicked” last weekend was a good start.

I love you, Jenn-a-fahhhh! (How’s that for the left-hand side of your card?)

For bloggers, what’s the story behind your blog name? To non-bloggers/all, do you have any favorite nicknames (for yourself or others)?

The Greatest Thank You Note of All-Time

Dearest Loved Ones,

While I know it is usually you who expresses gratitude to me, for bringing such light and laughter to your dreary lives [filled with not loving chipmunks and eating calorie-conscious meals], let us take this time to acknowledge my appreciation for all you do to appease me, especially on my birthday.

To my husband, Peppermeister, with your unparalleled taste in spouses: You took it upon yourself to hire a man to put us in a basket tied to a balloon as a “gift.” Even though they have absolutely no control over where the basket will go, or land, I know this is your way of saying that our love will forever defy the odds. And not at all that you want to kill me.

By the way, GoGuiltyPleasures slap bracelets double as balloon weights. You're welcome.

To my wonderful mother, Babs, who finally got it right with her third child: You made a beautiful photo album, capturing the last 30 29+ years of my enviable life, because you felt visitors were not jealous enough of my current coffee table book, The Pop-Up Book of Phobias. Without your loving and watchful eye, these visitors might have left my home feeling like they had the upper hand – all because I serve White Castle and haven’t cleaned behind the TV in two years!

"I despise math, history bores me..."

To my genius father who still has all of his hair: I am willing to overlook those disturbing quotes from my college application essay that you included in the above album. I know that dredging up embarrassing memories is your way of trying to make your other children feel a little better about being constantly overlooked. You always try to be fair that way, even though it’s hopeless.

To my insane triathlon-competing sister: Thank you for wearing the dress I loaned you four months ago to my birthday dinner; you looked really great in it. It’s clear you wanted everyone to see what impeccable style I have, and I’m not jealous at all. But you should know that that one will be out of fashion soon, so you should just give it back. I wouldn’t want you to embarrass yourself.

To my adorable niece and nephew, who take after their aunt in looks: Thank you for giving me hope that someone I know will eventually join a glee club based on his top-notch jazz hands, thus exponentially increasing my chances of meeting Second Husband, Darren Criss. Also thank you for believing I’m famous because I refer to my “blog” as “a super popular website.”

To my completely normal and nice in-laws: I’m forever delighted by the ability of our families to get together without fights, tears or backhanded compliments. It’s like I didn’t even steal your only son away from you. Oh and that gift card is pretty sweet, too. Keep those coming.

To my best friend, Jenn: No one gets me like you do. Except for that guy who makes my egg sandwiches and puts way more cheese on them than is remotely appropriate. No, no one gets me like you do. And no one gets me flowers except you, either. Actually, that’s kind of a problem. Let’s talk about how to fix that the next time we get together.

I love that you love me, family and friends. Clearly loving me so much has made all of you better people.

But don’t worry about thanking me for that yet. Christmas is just around the corner.

Love always, or until all that champagne you got me runs out,

Jules

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

What’s the most guilty pleasure-ful gift you’ve ever gotten?

For My Brother: Turning Guiltless Pleasures Into Guilty Ones

He may or may not be enjoying the goodie bags I provided to attendees of my...27th birthday party...at Medieval Times.

Today is my brother’s birthday. I don’t think he reads this blog, but I guess I love him anyway. (He did comment once! Back in July, to let me know he was uncomfortable learning we both want to make-out with Emma Watson.)

My brother’s IQ hovers roughly above the 1.5 billion mark, or more accurately, around the place where he posts pictures like this on his Facebook wall just to confuse me:

Right now he’s wrapping up the last semester of law school, where he’s on a free ride thanks to his disgusting ability to earn perfect scores on all standardized tests, including the LSATs. Though it sounds like we don’t have much in common, whenever I think back on my comedic influences, my brother is there.

Four years my senior, he introduced me to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and DuckTales, which morphed into an Animaniacs obsession. After that, it was repeat viewings of Spaceballs and The Princess Bride (which he could recite in its entirety, with the voices, by the way). We spent countless hours watching Mystery Science Theater 3000, Whose Line is it Anyway? and Amazing Johnathan (who later helped execute my marriage proposal – as part of his show!).

When my brother sent an email to the family saying he wanted “chimichangas and sh*t” for his birthday dinner, my chipmunk heart rejoiced. But just when I thought we were kindred spirits, he sent another email asking us to make donations in his name to WNYC, in lieu of birthday presents.

Because I’d already started gathering gifts Because this guiltless -though typical of him- gesture threw my birthday-loving world off-kilter, I decided to make the donation and then get to work.

In order to make a good balance-restoring gift basket of Guilty Pleasure Wonder for a selfless sibling, you will need:

  • Peanut Butter & Company Dark Chocolate Dreams peanut butter
  • Nutella
  • Candy, e.g., caramel coffee-flavored Werther’s
  • Chocolate-covered potato chips

In order to make a magical balance-restoring gift basket of Guilty Pleasure Wonder for a selfless sibling, you must add:

  • Shamelessness

…and…

  • Chocolate-Covered Bacon!!!

Yes, this is a real thing, and yes, it is worth every penny of its somewhat alarming price tag. Vosges makes Mo’s Bacon Bar, which many learned about a few years ago thanks to the all-knowing Oprah. My wise, caring husband bought me a couple of bars a while back, and my life has never been the same. There are tiny bits of crunchy, salty, melt-in-your-mouth bacony goodness ensconced in some of the creamiest, most delicious milk chocolate I’ve ever tasted. It’s euphoric. Go buy some. Now. I’ll wait. (And if Vosges would like to send me any free chocolate for this endorsement, I guess that would be okay with me.)

My brother claims he’s married to Chocolate-Covered Bacon on Facebook (though lately “it’s complicated”). Chocolate-Covered Bacon even has its own Facebook page:

It seemed only fitting that I present him with a tangible representation of his beloved this birthday season:

I do. Oh-hoh yes, I so do.

And just to be sure the guilty pleasure stars were realigned, I made a guilt-ridden family favorite for dessert (double the cream cheese frosting, thank you very much). Guess what kind of cake it is?

Happy birthday, Bryan! May you accept this post as a staggering donation to the Awesomest Sisters of The Universe Foundation.

What’s the coolest birthday present you’ve ever given/gotten?