Pizza Review – Dolly’s Party Bus + Casey’s

Now it’s been a few days since I have graduated from the Holy Land referred to Iowa City and moved back home with my parents. I’ve had a lot alone time to think back on some memories that filled my last weeks of college and I think one of the last best days we had as a friend group was our finale party bus. We took a Dolly’s Party Bus to Cedar Rapids to a tavern in the middle of nowhere, driven by a reckless bus driver constantly making us wonder if this would be our last trip… but we made it. Throughout college, we have made party buses a staple in our career, so going into our last one, it wouldn’t have been complete without a pizza review.

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Though I have already done a Casey’s Pizza review in the beginning of my review game, this was the only place that we encountered that day that had pizza so it was a no brainer. This review would be the last edition of our Iowa City pizza tour, an end to an era, so I had to include some footage from our party bus. Iowa City pizza, you won’t necessarily be missed because now I’m back in Chi-town full of good ass pizza, but here’s to a great senior year and an incredible end to four years of fun at Iowa!!! Enjoy.

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Pizza Review – Marquee

 

Last week, Jimmy and I went on a last minute pizza review to a place that I’ve been DYING to try – Marquee Pizzeria in Coralville. And you know what, I am really upset that it took me up until my last three weeks here in Iowa City, to try it. Much different from our other pizza reviews, Marquee is a sit-down restaurant and it was incredible. Marquee is located off-campus in Coralville in the same area as 30hop, Trader Joe’s and Scratch Cupcakes. The vibe inside Marquee is so fun and nice, it makes you feel like you’re not in college campus restaurant mode no’ mo. Great, hip decor all over, you do not want to miss out.

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Oh, the pizza you ask? AWESOME. As mentioned before, our pizza reviews have been covering fast-food single slices of pizza so this trip was a step-up. I ordered the classic margherita pizza with tomato, mozzarella, basil, as Jimmy ordered “The Falco” with tomato, red onion, breadcrumb, garlic, basil, pork sausage, and parmigiano. Both pizzas, unmatched. We sat at the bar as I enjoyed a refreshing Aperol Spritz and Jimmy ordered the Evil Twin beer. Both of age (Jimmy, 22 and I, 21) we drank responsibly while we waited for our pizzas and watched highlights previewing the NFL Draft. And I apologize, I did not get a picture of Jimmy’s pizza because I was so eager and excited to dive in, better luck next time.

The service was great and the workers there were so friendly, I cannot wait to go back to try more of the menu. Marquee Pizzeria did not disappoint and I can finally come to terms to back up the hyped feedback I have been hearing about this place. Marquee is definitely at the top of our list of places we have done pizza reviews thus far, so I highly recommend.

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Gas Station Taquito Review – Kum & Go

THE REVIEW YOU NEVER KNEW YOU NEEDED

Cheetos, toilet bowl cleaner, and taquitos: all things you can pick up while making a quick pit stop at Kum & Go gas station. This lovely gas station chain can be found in 11 states across the country but in Iowa City, it is home to many late night pizza runs and Sunday Scaries cures. One night out, we stopped at Kum & Go as Kristen and I hoped to do a pizza review, but unfortunately the location we stopped at didn’t have any pizza. We had to settle for second best: taquitos. Much to our surprise, the taquitos slapped (see slang definition below). As I said many times throughout the video, I wasn’t mad about the outcome.

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Shoutout urbandictionary.com

Check out the newest Iowa City review brought to you by yours truly, Kristen and I. Make gas station taquitos great again, I guess??

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JADE ROLLERS – One question: WHY?

What’s up with these jade rollers?

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Set the scene: you walk into your neighborhood TJ Maxx ready to blow your last paycheck on those marked down DEAL$ and head over to the makeup and beauty area. You spot three racks full of jade rollers. What are these? Why are there so many?

My mom recently bought me a jade roller after seeing my sister use this utensil to roll around her face. Keep in mind that my sister is always trying out the newest face regimen and spends an arm and a leg on facial products, but using this, she looked like an absolute fool so naturally I needed to try it.

Why are people using these roller-things and what “benefits” come out of it? According to this InStyle article, jade rollers help boost blood circulation, reduce swelling and help those expensive skincare products get deeper. Increasing the circulation can help smooth out lines and wrinkles but also reduce the puffiness of the face, so basically when I’m getting old my skin will be flawless after a few jade rolls to my neck rolls at the age of 21.

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So I tried it. Over the course of two weeks, I’ve used it multiple times and to be honest, I don’t really notice a difference. I don’t know what the specific protocol in which ways to use it for the best results or how often to use it, but I can say that using this nifty gadget is soothing and fun despite the squeaky noises that come from knock-off one. Personally I like to use my jade roller straight out of the shower or before bed to make me feel like I actually know how to properly take care of my skin.

You know what, I get it. Jade rollers look fancy, are pretty and are fun to use but I’m still waiting on my perfect skin results and I hate waiting. The best time to whip out the jade roller: when you have a case of the Sunday Scaries hungover after a long weekend of consuming cheap college campus alcohol, a nice jade role to your forehead and cheeks make it seem like you have one thing in your life under control. Get after it and try out jade rollers yourself, but I’m still not 100% sold on the rejuvenation and I don’t have the patience so yes I will absolutely keep using it.

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My friends and I on a Sunday, all crowded on one couch to binge cheesy movies not looking forward to Monday.

Pizza Review – HY-VEE + BONUS orange vanilla Coca Cola

Coming back at you live in Iowa City with a pizza review post spring break. Now that everyone is done “working on their SB bods”, it’s time to get back at the pizza review game before people start to “get ready for the summer bods”. Barf.

After bickering back and forth with Jimmy on where to go next for pizza, he kept pushing that we go to Hy-Vee, the grocery store, for their pizza. Naturally I said no right away, but his persistence finally worked as him, Sydney and I headed out there today to test out Jimmy’s so-called “theory”.

Enjoy this week’s pizza review with a *BONUS* review by Jimmy on Coca Cola’s new Orange Vanilla flavor that the NCAA has been brainwashing you to try during March Madness.

Warmer weather is coming and that will be fan-fricken-tastic for the pizza review grind. Godspeed y’all let’s have a great week.

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Pizza Review – With an *almost* DII Athlete

 

From Chicagoland, I mainly grew up eating thin crust pizza but I sometimes dabbled in deep dish pizza game on special occasions with my family. But as I got older, I realized that pizza could go above and beyond your regular thin crust cheese pizza on a Friday night. Ever heard of the place Lou Malnati’s?? That’s what I thought.

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Deep dish is a science, and typically you either love it or hate it. Too much sauce, not enough sausage, not cheesy enough, whatever, you get it. There are so many intricate ways to approach perfecting the deep dish pizza but I firmly believe that the world be a much duller place if it wasn’t for deep dish pizza with a side of ranch.

I’d say Lou Malnati’s, Giordano’s and Gino’s East are the big three deep dish chains of Chicago and every person has their own opinion on each. However, in my apartment at school, you’re either a Lou’s or Giordano’s person. Personally I’m a Lou’s person but I would eat any deep dish pizza that life throws my way.

For Valentine’s Day, my sister and roommate’s mom graciously sent us a total of six frozen Lou Malnati’s pizzas (#blessed) and the consumption of deep dish pizza in my apartment has been on another level lately. So this week we decided to have a pizza night to make the Lou’s frozen pizzas and review them. Dave Portnoy reviewed Lou Malnati’s when he was in Chicago back in August, and after poorly pronouncing the Malnati’s about 12 times he gave the pizza a score of 8.2. Not bad.

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Though the frozen pizzas aren’t as great as the actual pizza eating in the restaurant, they’re still very good for making pizza at home. Jake McCann and I decided to take on a pizza review of Lou’s frozen pizza and it was a lot of fun for my second review. Enjoy the video above with or without a nice refreshing Michelob Ultra!

Pizza Review – Falbos and Casey’s

Iowa City: Home of the Ranch Girl and average pizza

Inspired by the electric Dave “El Pres” Portnoy and his pizza reviews on Barstool Sports, my friends and I have been meaning to do our own for Iowa City. Though Iowa’s Barstool account already made some of their own (with George Kittle, so jealous), we wanted to try it out for ourselves and see if we could handle the pizza judging first-hand.

On a cold and windy Tuesday in February, somehow Jimmy, Sydney and I thought that it would be a good idea to brave the winter weather just to review some average pizza. And it was a lot of fun. If we had more time together, we would’ve gone reviewing pizza until the sun would come down.

We went to Falbo Bros in Iowa City and Casey’s in Coralville for the today’s two stops. Both pizzas, meh. I only did one of the pizza reviews, and the piece of cheese pizza I got from Falbos was awful and tasted like it was sitting in a concession stand heater all day (trust me I would know). Hesitant at first which kind of slice to buy, I played it safe with cheese when there was a sexy pepperoni slice on the second tier of the pizza oven. Jimmy was the smart one and took the pepperoni pizza, which I still am regretting. Never play it safe, you guys.

After Falbos, we drove to Coralville for Casey’s General Store, home of the great Iowan breakfast pizza, which is simply amazing and full of flavor. Dave Portnoy claims that the pizza is “too bacon-ey”, but what on Earth could be “too bacon-ey”??? Nothing.

All in all, great start to our Iowa City food reviews and I hope to do more, in hopes of improving my food judging skills along with it. Enjoy the video compilation of today’s pizza reviews and I apologize in advance about the loud and noisey wind!!

 

Apple is bringing us a WHAT emoji?

A period emoji is coming to our iPhones in an upcoming software update and here’s why it’s important.

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Steve Jobs watching us from heaven (?) as our iPhones fail us.

A few weekends ago my dad tried to update his iPad from Nam (Vietnam War- for short), probably, and it clearly wasn’t successful because the deal with Apple products is that if the product is out of date with the current software, it will basically go to shit and crash and burn. There’s one way to make sure your customers keep buying your shit. But what my sister and I realized while trying to reboot the iPad was that we are currently on iOS 12.1.4.

12???? That’s soooo many Apple software versions, it’s ridiculous. But what comes with this update besides your usual bug fixes, is the FaceTime bug that really affects your privacy, picking up your audio before you even accept the call and sharing it to the caller.

But every so often, new emojis come with new updates. The last draft of new emojis came in October 2018, so naturally they came up with 230 more emojis to add to our keyboard this year. Just in February was the new emoji list approved by the Unicode Consortium.

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The evolution of the emojis over the years

Hear me out, I was ecstatic when the taco emoji came out because I was waiting for that emoji to come for SO LONG (please no judging), but even when I know where the emoji is it takes me at least five minutes to find that damn smiley with the cowboy hat emoji. But when it’s time to send my mom a cute little heart reply, that takes me at least 30 minutes because I always seem to forget that the hearts are neglected, being put towards the flag emojis. It would honestly take me quicker to send my mom the poop emoji rather than the cute pink heart with an arrow, so mom if you receive a message from me with the poop emoji please don’t be offended/grossed out.

On the recently new approved list, comes ear with hearing aids, mechanical arms and legs, man/woman with probing cane, and much more. Although I can’t keep up with Apple’s emojis, this is really great of them. Over the years, Apple has introduced us to new emojis over the course of six major emoji updates that feature various skin tones, hair colors, same-sex couples, all ages and more. Apple and their emojis are getting with the times focusing on more and more diversity (amazing). I really give the emoji engineers/creators/producers (or whatever the hell they call themselves) props for going above and beyond providing Apple users a million ways to express themselves with literally 8,000 pages of emojis.

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Emoji timeline for early 2019

Along with the hilarious pinching hand emoji that will come our way, is a drop of blood emoji, which is what people are referring to the “period emoji”. Not thinking anything of the new emoji, I thought about how frequent people will actually use the emoji for blood. But soon after seeing a plethora of tweets regarding the new emoji drop, I realized what this emoji could stand for.

The Cosmo article linked in the previous paragraph points out that the bringing of this new emoji could hopefully ending the stigma around menstruation.. because apparently people (men, maybe???) are still weirded out about it? What I didn’t know was that a global women’s right charity Plan International UK, led a campaign pushing for the period emoji to make it easier to talk about periods with others, whether its your friend, sister, mom, partner, whomever.

According to the Cosmo article, Lucy Russell who is the head of girl’s rights and youth at Plan International UK, and who I want to be my new best friend, makes compelling points about this tiny red droplet. Russell states, “The inclusion of an emoji which can express what 800 million women around the world are experiencing every month is a huge step towards normalizing periods and smashing the stigma which surrounds them,”.

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Instead of silencing young girls about their periods and other menstruation issues, this new period emoji can mean so much more than we initially thought. Although there are probably so many haters shutting the blood emoji and complaining about it to their moms, it’s important to point out the strides that Apple is also taking with this approach.

“An emoji isn’t going to solve this [silencing and euphemism periods], but it can help change the conversation. Ending the shame around periods begins with talking about it,” Russell also remarked.

I’m excited to see the launch of these new emojis that are supposedly coming out in March, as well as the effects of the period emoji. Who said that emojis can’t change the conversations we’re having?? I mean for Pete’s sake, there was an entire movie produced on emojis, see The Emoji Movie, a.k.a a flop that received a promising 7% on Rotten Tomatoes.

*Looking down at my feminist stickers on my laptop* Can’t wait to bombard my sister and best friend group chats with the period emoji until they block me. But not looking forward to having to explain my mom what the period emoji is when she’s not wearing her glasses and misplaces that as a heart emoji to our family group chat.

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See You in TV Hell

The Three Worst Characters to Appear on our TVs:

A Breakdown by Me

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George Costanza is me.

Most of my hobbies and time out of the day revolves around watching tv, or at least thinking about what I’m going to watch next. So, like, I watch TV a lot. Through platforms like Hulu, Netflix, HBO Go, you name it. I can fly through a TV series like people cannot believe, which is such a bad habit but I’ve started to embrace it more so as a gift from God. In another life, I’d picture myself as a TV critic, but for now, a broke unemployed college kid forever living off my parent’s Netflix account will have to suffice.

Nothing is better than getting wrapped up in a new TV show that you can’t stop thinking about, and nothing is better than having awesome characters apart of that awesome show. Unfortunately, some of the best shows ever have the WORST characters. Have someone in mind? Yeah same, I have THREE in mind to be exact.

Carrie Bradshaw is the worst. Pam Beesly is the worst. Oh and, Ted Mosby, yeah he’s the worst too. What an awful game of kill, marry, and cruise. Each of these awful characters somehow work in SOLID tv series, but I don’t think I will ever be able to wrap my head around people continuing to put Pam on such a high pedestal.

Carrie Bradshaw

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Me after Carrie does literally anything.

If you aren’t familiar with Carrie Bradshaw’s work, then brush up on your 90s HBO shows. One of HBO’s greats, Sex and The City is home to the most iconic girl gang. Each friend group has their own Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte and Samantha, and if you don’t, you need new friends. Personally, Sex and The City taught me the importance and power that a great girl-friend group can have, but also that successful women don’t need dim their flame in order to accommodate to men. Through all the meaningful life lessons and awkward sexual encounters in the show’s six season run, the biggest downfall to ever happen to the show and to New York City is infact, Carrie ‘Sex Columnist(?)’ Bradshaw (Bless Sarah Jessica Parker’s heart though, love her).

Now, I admire Carrie for being such a motivated writer in NYC, but her lifestyle is so unrealistic. Writing columns in a New York, Carrie had a kickass apartment by herself, with an amazing closet to store her designer wardrobe that she somehow affords. Carrie had a Mac desktop, consistently dined out and drank with her girl gang almost every night, and above all, she constantly treated herself to a few months’ rent worth of Manolo Blahniks.

HOOOONNNEEEEY WHAT IS YOU DOING??? But Carrie’s spending habits didn’t bother me. HER INCAPABILITY TO KNOW WHEN SOMETHING GOOD IS GOING IN HER LIFE, DROVE ME NUTS. Boyfriend after boyfriend, she ran back to Big. And if you don’t know who Big is, look it up. I could get into a completely different argument about why Big is the biggest tool of all time, but I never understood why she always gave up everything for him. Okay yeah she had some pretty awful boyfriends, but Aiden. Our sweet handsome prince Aiden. Multiple times, Aiden swooped into Carrie’s life and she always managed to screw it up. Aiden literally could’ve gave Carrie the world, but it still wouldn’t be good enough and she run knocking on Big’s door hoping he would commit to her. Carrie Bradshaw is one to have everything going perfect in her life, but thinks “This is too good to be true, how can I ruin it?” CHILL OUT CARRIE, SOMETIMES THINGS WORK OUT OKAY?

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She broke my heart too, Aiden. XOXO

Carrie Bradshaw had such great potential with her big closet of couture, an incredibly entertaining group of girlfriends in the Big Apple, but she threw it all away. For six seasons straight plus two movies. Remember when Big stood you up at the altar in the first awful Sex and the City movie, orrrr???

You know what Carrie? You do deserve that unhappy life with Big, living in a constant state of second guessing yourself. You could’ve lived happily ever after with Aiden and his dog and woodworking masterpieces, he even would’ve built you the most perfect house, but nah.

Ted Evelyn Mosby

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When you know you just suck up the fun in everything.

How I Met Your Mother is one of the best shows to binge, with another underlying theme of friendship. This show is home to Barney “Wait-for-it” Stinson, Marshall (the amazing dorky charming Jason Segel) and one of the catchiest theme songs. Ted Mosby doesn’t deserve a long of a rant as Carrie Bradshaw. But like, his middle name is Evelyn? I know, how awful but it fits him. So, in short, Ted Mosby is literally the equivalent of a male version of Carrie Bradshaw despite huge lifestyle differences. But when things are going awesome for Ted, he has to find a way to make things worse without realizing the effect it has on other people involved. I still can’t believe you ended up with Robin after all, even after everything Robin and Barney went through! Just a selfish troll :/

Urban Dictionary’s definition of the WOAT:

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Also see: PAM BEESLY HALPERT

Pam “The WOAT” Beesly 

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Well guess what Pam? I hate you, sooooo.

You are the cringiest person at Dunder Mifflin, and that includes Gabe. I can’t even think where to start my rant on you. First and foremost, she landed the most perfect man to ever grace our TVs with, Jim freaking Halpert. Yeah I get it, you had some inside jokes with Jim like two times, but what in God’s name made you ever worthy of our sweet Jimothy?

The first few times watching The Office through, I didn’t mind Pam at all but she was never one of my favorites. I vividly remember comparing Office characters with my brother and I remember him mentioning Pam as one of his top three favorite characters and it made me question everything. I should’ve known then that my brother would disappoint the Webster name… Kidding. But I don’t know if it was the fourth or fifth time through of watching the show that I realized, “Hey, so Pam kinda sucks?”

Pam and Roy dated for what, eight years? They were engaged, ready to wed and all that bullshit, meanwhile poor Jim was sitting three feet away from the receptionist desk doting over her daily. In season three, we really should’ve pushed Jim to get a checkup because he was clearly ill with swine flu for being into Pam so much. But then Casino Night happened. Wait, you don’t remember? The whole “Afghanistanis with AIDS” debate, and oh Jim confessing his love for Pam and them KISSING. What a season finale cliffhanger NBC! But the whole next season, Jim leaves (thanks to Pam) and transfers to *Andy Bernard chant* STAMFORD CONNECTICUT, but eventually the two branches merge to Scranton, along with Jim’s new girlfriend, Karen Filipelli. Let the Dunder Mifflin love triangle begin!

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Well well well, if it isn’t Jim, Karen and Pam are all working under the same roof together, but this time, Pam is single. She obviously called off the wedding with Roy after Casino Night. Oh shit. But now that Jim is in a happily functioning relationship with Karen, Pam is all pouty dragging her ugly ass kitten-heel-wearing feet around because Jim’s attention is elsewhere and he’s not wallowing around her desk anymore. This is when Pam gets bad bad and reaches a new level of annoying. Pam is mean to Karen but then is nice to her but then still sticks her nose in Jim and Karen’s business, Pam can’t make up her mind. Blah blah blah, fast forward to a potential job promotion in New York City, New York (the city so nice they named it twice). Michael, Karen and Jim all interview for the job, but plotwist, Ryan gets it. Shit went down between Karen and Jim and they break up. Karen leaves Scranton. Jim and Pam are magically together just in time for Season 4 ‘Fun Run’ premiere, a.k.a. one of the best episodes of the show. Pam continues to be annoying, like doing things like wear her hair down and walking in on Michael while he’s changing getting a little peep show. Dammit Pam!

Breakdown of why Pam sucks:

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Meme content: 10/10

  • She lead Jim on the entire time she was engaged to Roy, so for an eternity
  • She acted so immature when Jim finally moved on and started a new relationship
  • She clearly didn’t know how to do laundry (washed her lipstick in her towels, cmon Pam)
  • She LET JIM CUT HIS TIE ON THEIR WEDDING DAY????
  • She was so mean to Michael when he dated her mom (bad on his part to break up with her on her birthday)
  • She didn’t support Jim’s dreams of starting his new sports company, when Jim supported her through art school, Michael Scott Paper Company, and making up a fake title as office administrator
  • No one is worthy of Jim Halpert

But unfortunately there are many people in my Office Fan Facebook group that still love little Pammy, I just will never be on that slow train from Philly.

Maybe too harsh on these characters? Sure, but it needed to be addressed by me. Great TV shows come with great ratings and outcomes, and sometimes really bad characters, but we cannot let this hate define that show for us. As much as I despise Pam, I could never let her win, resulting in never watching The Office ever again. I can’t even fathom a catastrophe such as that.

Carrie Bradshaw is just a flaw in the show that I can look past because Sex and The City is too hilarious and just simply iconic. Ted Mosby, yes, maybe you ruined the show for me. After all, I wasn’t too crazy about the ending of How I Met Your Mother, so that has a lot going against it for me. But I can rely on the other greats, like Parks and Recreation (Leslie Knope, Ben Wyatt okkkkuuur!) or Seinfeld to never disappoint me.

Gotta go, evidently my Netflix is calling!

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Before surrogacy went all Kimye on us

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It’s not unusual to see people, both in your life and in the spotlight, that are having issues having children. More recently, a process that is becoming very popular is surrogacy. Probably one of the earliest surrogacy introductions to the media that brought awareness to this concept was when Phoebe was a surrogate on Friends, and that was in 1998. Today, a plethora of celebrity couples have utilized the surrogacy process such as Giuliana and Bill Rancic, Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade, and most famous *drumroll please* Kim Kardashian and Kanye West.

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Though I used to despise Kim Kardashian and the rest of her family empire, I’ve GROWN and find them so entertaining. Therefore, I am now a full-invested Kardashian-Jenner stan. But one thing that I always have applauded Kim for was her pregnancy journey. Kim and Kanye had their first two children, North and Saint, naturally as Kim carried, but when it came to their third pregnancy they turned to surrogacy.

For the most part, despite the paparazzi leaking information on the Kimye surrogate during the process, Kim and Kanye had a successful pregnancy with baby No. 3 Chicago and are currently pregnant via surrogate with baby No. 4 due this May. The reason I’m so appreciative of Kim is because she really promotes surrogacy. Whether it’s through scenes of KUWTK show or just Kim’s comments here and there about the process, she talks very highly of her pregnancy via surrogate and normalizes it like it’s not an “unusual” way to give birth.

Womenshealth.gov states “about 10 percent of women (6.1 million) in the U.S. ages 15-44 have difficulty getting pregnant or staying pregnant, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)”. Furthermore, the way Kim talks of her surrogacy process really brings awareness as to how common women have issues getting pregnant and KKW utilizes her huge platform through the show’s bajillion viewers. Bravo, Kimmy.

So why am I talking about Kim Kardashian and surrogacy? Well first off, how much time do you have?? Surrogacy was something that I found normal while I grew up, unlike most kids. Not because of watching Phoebe be a surrogate on Friends, but because my mom was an actual surrogate for her sister.

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My Aunt Joannie and my mom, Flo.

My godparents, Aunt Joannie and Uncle Jim, *SHOUTOUT* struggled to get pregnant for years, but thankfully there was a way to still go about this. Jim and Joannie turned to surrogacy, hoping there would still be a chance to extend their family. Firmly believing that my Aunt Eileen was looking over them, their prayers were answered and they found the perfect way.

I was about five years old when my mom and dad sat down my siblings and I to discuss something serious. Though the memory is hazy now, I do remember my parents asking our blessing to carry her sister’s, my aunt, baby. It was important for my parents to talk of this with my siblings and I because this entire process is a family effort where everyone had to be a team player. The immediate response from us kids were no doubt, a yes. But immediately after the discussion, having no idea what anything coming out of my parent’s mouths meant, I naturally told my older sister Kaylie, that she would have to be my surrogate when it was time I would want kids just so I wouldn’t have to give birth. Unfortunately, I would soon find out that you can’t just choose surrogacy if you didn’t want to give birth.

At such a young age, it was really easy for me to grasp surrogacy despite actually knowing the real facts that I do today. All I knew was that my aunt couldn’t have kids so my mom is carrying it, so I wasn’t wrong? Throughout this miracle-of-a-process, I never knew that this was a rare way to have kids, I just thought this kind of thing usually happened. But because of this, I think it was best that this happened at such an early age in my life because as I was exposed to something so different, I didn’t think anything of it. Not that it was weird or unnatural or whatever, I just thought it was another way to have a baby and you gotta do what you gotta do.

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What people don’t realize about surrogacy is how long and in-depth the process is. It takes months of preparation just for the IVF procedure alone. It consists of meetings with psychologists and lawyers for compilations of paperwork for both the Murray family and the Webster family. Both families would need to come up with their own paperwork in regards to preparation if anything happened throughout the surrogacy, distinguishing that the embryos were indeed Joannie’s, but yet it was Flo’s body that the embryos were put into, so if anything DID happen there would be a fine line on whose rights it would pertain to. But luckily, the surrogacy went swimmingly.

One IVF treatment. Five frozen embryos. One worked. With only a 10% chance of any of the frozen embryos to work, one was successful. And that was all they needed.

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My mom, Joannie and Jimbo at Christmas a few years back. Clearly, Jimbo wrote something that made both of them tear up.

I remember my mom being pregnant and knowing that it wouldn’t be my genetic sibling, but it would be my surrogate sibling and cousin. Surrogacy is such an unbelievable path to life that keeps on giving. Surrogacy gave my aunt and uncle a child when they weren’t able to on their own, and I think that it’s so special that others get the same opportunity through this process.

Though it is rare for most people to experience surrogacy, I fortunately have and it has significantly changed mine and my family’s life for the better. My cousin, James Gerard Murray, was born June 17th, 2003 and he will be 16 YEARS OLD this year. That is so wild to me because I vividly remember meeting him in the hospital that day and holding him all that time ago! Jimbo has known of his surrogacy situation for as long as he could remember and like me, it was normal for him to grasp too.

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Jimbo and his mom all dressed up.

I, myself, have two older siblings + one surrogate brother, whereas Jimbo has three surrogate siblings, and always will whether or not he likes it. And let me tell you, when you have to go around in a circle telling your class an icebreaker, telling people you have a surrogate sibling is a really good one that never fails to spark conversation.

A few years after Jimbo was born, my aunt Joannie still had a few frozen embryos leftover so she thought it wouldn’t hurt to try again, but unfortunately there was no luck.

Though the second time around didn’t work, surrogacy brought the Murray family the light of their life they always wanted. Growing up as a younger brother to me, I had the pleasure of having such a close relationship to him. Jimbo is a remarkable young guy who is wayyyy beyond his years. He’s smarter than the next kid with a heart of fricken gold. Though he is technically an only child he’s really not, his family is big as hell and consists of his mom and dad, Jim and Joannie, my mom and dad, Ray and Flo, Alex, Kaylie, and myself.

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Jimbo + his surrogate siblings

This kid has the world at his fingertips, with the whole South Side and beyond rooting for him, and I don’t doubt it for a second that he won’t do great things.

Surrogacy has impacted my life for the better and I hope it continues to do the same for others. The number of IVF births per year has more than doubled in total within the last decade, which is INSANE. It’s so exciting to see something that is so meaningful to my family become so meaningful for others too.

For more information on surrogacy, head to https://www.hrc.org/resources/overview-of-the-surrogacy-process.

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