Who I am

On a June afternoon in 2008, I sat down to pen my first post on write meg! I was 22, a recent college grad, and desperately searching for a creative outlet after taking a newspaper job in my hometown. Though I enjoyed my work as an assistant editor, I missed school — and the freedom and joy of writing poetry and reading all day. (Seriously, that was my life. And they actually gave me a degree for it.)

Four and a half years later, I’m still at it — and loving it. I “outed” myself as a blogger to my real-life acquaintances years ago, and that knowledge helped move me from an assistant editor to a real-deal one — and earned me a newspaper column. This blog is my “home” on the Internet — and the vessel through which I’ve met countless friends (like you!).

Honestly, I can’t imagine my life without blogging — even if, over the years, it’s changed and grown. After getting sick a few weeks back and not posting for a few days, my dad asked if I could ever see an end to the site. Thinking for a few seconds, I shrugged. “I don’t think so,” I said. “I don’t know what I would do.”

And I don’t.

As I welcome long-time friends and new ones to write meg! (hi to Story of My Life readers!), I’d like to introduce myself — in all my frizzy-haired glory.

In no particular order, I am . . .

• A writer. Having penned my first “novel” on a bunny named Carrot in second grade, my world is strung together by words. Writing is a daily meditation, a form of therapy, a salvation. It’s the way in which I present myself — and the lens through which I understand myself and the world. I can’t not write, and I couldn’t ever stop being a writer.

• A reader. Couples nicely with the first one, eh? My purse feels way too light and weird without a paperback in it. My blog was initially born of my desire to talk about what I was reading, and my reviews are an important part of write meg! But more than the reviews? I love just chatting books with y’all. Reading is a daily ritual as important as sleeping or eating. I make time for it — always.

• A girlfriend. It took years, tears and many a dud relationship to find Spencer, my own princely scientist, but I feel grateful every day for his presence in my life. Whether we’re watching “Downton Abbey” (I converted him!), traveling, hanging with my family or wandering around Southern Maryland, our time together means everything to me.

• A Marylander. I’m incredibly proud of my small, Old Bay-scented state — a place I’ve called home since birth. Our proximity to Washington, D.C., often means we’re combined with other residents of the metropolitan area — but I’m happy to be a true-blue Marylander. And sorry, our state flag is totally coolest.

• A daughter. And a sister. Over the years, my mom and dad have morphed from parents to friends — and I feel fortunate to have a strong bond with them. My little sister is my best friend, confidante and cheerleader — and someone I’m proud to know.

• A baker. I’ve developed a reputation as the Cupcake Lady — and can’t show up to a summer party without the popular Key lime variety. Baking is very Zen to me, and I totally stress bake. If something bad has happened, I’ll probably show up with angel food. It’s just my way.

• A traveler. My parents started carting my sister and me around the U.S. as kids, showing us the wonders of everywhere from Williamsburg, Va., to the Grand Canyon. London is my absolute favorite city — a place I’m so obsessed with seeing that I visited three times in five years. But I’m also pretty fond of California, especially San Francisco and Yosemite. And, you know, just about everywhere else. I’m not really picky. Hand me a plane ticket and I am gone.

• An iPhoner. I’m shamelessly addicted to technology, friends, and my iPhone — last year’s Christmas present — is surgically attached to my hand. I’m trying to get better about tuning out, even going so far as to put my phone on the other side of the room, but hearing the “ding!” of an email is enough to send me scrambling. It’s bad.

• A photographer. Since buying my first “big girl” camera in 2010, I rarely leave home without my Canon Rebel. I grew up posing in front of my mom’s lens, but it took joining a photography club with my mom, meeting Spencer and making my own camera purchase for me to really get hooked. I’ve learned so much in a short time — and can’t wait to document all the exciting life events to come! For now, I settle with slamming y’all with photos on Wordless Wednesdays. And I’m all about Instagram, too.

• A Diet Coke drinker. Despite my efforts to quit in the past, I’m addicted to my morning diet soda. If a cup of coffee happens to be left unattended, well — I might partake. But nothing beats the refreshing zest of a Diet Coke. My officemates report they know I’m in the building when they hear the crack of my can — a habit five years strong. I’d say I’m not proud of it, but that would be a fib. (And okay, I never really tried to quit. That was a beautiful daydream . . . once.)

• A dog lover. My golden retriever is a riot and a half — and such a good buddy. He’s our second family dog, behind my dear girl Roxie, and I believe a dog squeeze can cure what ails you.

• A friend. Though my circle of buddies as grown admittedly small since entering the working world, I really value the friends in my life. Though it might sound odd, I hope I’ll someday be described as someone who had a friendly word for everybody. And I really treasure my blogging connections. You make my world so much warmer.

• A questioner of things. Though I’ve been out of college for more than five years (!) and done with high school for nine (!!), I try to stay inquisitive. I love learning new things, often devouring books and documentaries on my favorite subjects (like the Dust Bowl), and will always consider myself a student.

• A letter writer. I believe very strongly in the power of the written word — and “real” mail is important to me. As a devout member of Postcrossing and a letter-writer on my own, I love nothing more than a personal note . . . and seeing someone else’s handwriting. In our digital world, that connection is powerful.

So there’s probably more . . .

. . . But I don’t have to hit you with everything in one post. I look forward to sharing more thoughts on books, writing, love and food as we sip coffee (or Diet Coke!) along this crazy path together.


Whether you stumbled upon me years ago or are just tuning in today, feel free to introduce or re-introduce yourself in the comments. Blogging is all about connections — and I’m really happy you’re here.

P.S. I’m guest-posting today about my trip to Wales and the experience of reading I Capture the Castle actually in a UK castle at The Worm Hole. Stop on by!

The dress that changed my life

At some point in the last few months, my style has changed dramatically. For a while I was contributing this shift to a pair of $6 leggings I bought at Target, crediting them with giving me the ability to wear a pair of slouchy black boots with a dress to work. Not too keen on the idea of freezing to death when the temperatures dropped, leggings opened up a new world to me: the world of wearing skirts. In winter!

What I failed to realize? I never would have bought the leggings — or the skirts, or the dresses — without having first purchased The Dress.

The Dress is a deep pink color cut just above the knee, cinched at the waist with a matching fabric belt. It’s a classic silhouette that hugs my curves just enough to be flattering — but not enough to hug some, ahem, areas I would rather not be hugged. Y’all know what I’m saying.

After undergoing a period of intense emotional change and losing a bit of weight, I was feeling ready to embrace something new and different in my life. I wanted new clothes! A new attitude! A new me!

And I got it. Walking around H&M in Annapolis with my mother, I came across The Dress on a random rack, tried it on and, a mere $30 later, took that baby home with me. It wasn’t something I would have normally chosen for myself, which is exactly why I bought it. After years of steadfastly refusing to wear anything exposing my legs, I was ready to let all of that go.

The first day I wore it to the office, I created a bit of a stir. Gone were my baggy, frayed black dress pants — the ones I purchased right after college in an effort to establish my “career wardrobe.” (Some of my fashion choices from that era, just a few years back, still haunt me.) In a dress — and a dress that showed off my figure — I earned appreciative looks from friends and coworkers, gathering up their compliments like sprinkles on cupcakes.

Wearing The Dress to work — where attire is pretty business casual — gave me a super confidence boost. And whenever I want to feel cute, sassy but professional, I throw on this lil’ number with black flats, a chunky black necklace and get ready to take on the world. I love it so much, I’m even wearing it in my column photo at the paper! Basically, it’s my Power Dress.

Do you have a Power Outfit — a certain article of clothing that makes you feel so good every time you wear it? I’ll cull any ideas for a back-up. You know, just in case The Dress ever lets me down. (Right. Like that could happen.)

Everybody’s free (to wear bright red sunglasses)

Looking at a recent photo of me in a pair of bright red sunglasses, my sister did a double-take.

“Who are you?” she crowed, giving me a hard look.

The answer came to me quickly: “Me. The new me.”

It’s true that I’ve recently undergone some changes. I can’t pinpoint exactly when I decided I was completely tired of my old life — mindset, misdirected energy, and the boring clothes I’ve been wearing since college: faded T-shirts with the University of Maryland splashed across the chest; ill-fitting jeans, worn with wear; scuffed sandals into which I’ve shoved my feet for years.

I’ve never been a fashion maven but I’ve never looked ridiculous, either. I generally wear feminine styles and, in terms of clothing, have a little flair for the dramatic. But lately? I’ve been stepping it up.

At least twice a week, you’ll see these little legs in a skirt or dress at work. Gone are my frumpy, baggy black dress pants — the ones I’d wear constantly to the office, hiding my expanding figure. In the past year, I’ve lost enough weight to fit back into all my “skinny” clothes . . . and invested in new pieces. Pieces that are more “me” than ever before. And see that nail up there, the one poking my cheek? That’s green, friends. Green nail polish. Would I have rocked a hue like that a year ago? Doubtful. But now? Let’s go for it.

Emerging from a very “blah” relationship and finally taking stock of my life since this time last year, I’ve sensed such a change in who I am . . . and what I want from myself. I’ve never been quiet, meek or afraid to speak up, but for a while I silenced any part of myself that was ready to step out of my comfort zone. Complacency was the name of the game, and anything that challenged me — as a person, as a writer, as a woman — was squashed. But between traveling, making new friends and strengthening old relationships, writing, bonding and generally living? I’m ready to get silly again. And bold. And crazy. 

All while wearing bright red sunglasses.

And damn if it doesn’t feel good.