the cat story.


Hi there! I need a laugh. Do you need a laugh?


(Quick sidenote: I’m giving you a name because I need a visual. It’s part of my process. So, shh. No more questions, Matilda.)

I digress.

(Another sidenote: It truly bothers me that I tend to write quick, quirky sentences rather than paragraphs. But like…THERE REALLY AREN’T ANY OTHER WORDS. I CANNOT DEAL. My old English teachers are dropping like flies over these life decisions. I mean, isn’t it bad enough that I dependent clause the heck out of everything I do–WHY THE MADNESS. IT’S BEYOND EVEN AN ARTISTIC STRETCH AT THIS POINT. When is enough enough? I know these were the questions you had, Beatrice, so have no fear–I’ve asked them. Rest your soul.)

So story time. Once upon a time, there was a little teeny-bopper named Mandie. And let’s face it, she was an idiot. An overbearing, crazy, pee-your-pants-laughing sort of 20-year old. (Yes, she was 20 at the time of this story–a fact not overlooked by the MUCH OLDER/WISER version of the 20-year-old-in-a-onesie. This current 24-year-old is merely a name-bearer–a new and improved version of the crazy child– who has gone to extreme PR measures to leave all traces of 20-year-old Mandie in 2013 WHERE THEY BELONG. We don’t need that kind of negativity here, 2017.)

So the NEWLY turned–might I add–20 year old had this onesie. It had sock monkeys for feet and SOMEHOW WE ALL THOUGHT IT WOULD TURN OUT OKAY. One cold January night the girl was in a homework-evading mood and thought it would be fun to shove, quite literally, her cat into the onesie and zip her in. You know how 8 year olds shove baby dolls up their shirts and walk around like, “MAMA, I’m having a baaaaby.” Yep. That’s what was occurring at much higher levels of creativity, hyper-activity, and pure stupidity.

Poor Marshmallow.


Her life has never been easy.

Unfortunately, the 20-year-old onesie-loving, cat-loving freak didn’t think about slippage. Yep. The cat began to slip slowly down the leg of the onesie, which the 20-year-old thought was HILARIOUS. So the 20-year-old, cat in semi-tow, hobbled out to the living room where her parents were casually watching the news and started laughing so hard, trying to tell them what the sitch was that all they knew to do was stare in confusion and start counting regrets like WHAT ARE YOU TRYING TO TELL ME, CHILD, AND WHAT IS THE BULGE IN YOUR PANT LEG. AND ALSO, IS THAT A ONESIE.

(Before I go any further, I must admit that this 20-year-old had experienced small issues with bladder control in situations where laughter is present…yeah…she’d peed in almost every house of every friend she’d ever had…because…yeah…this one was a laugher. And EVERYTHING was funny.)

Before any coherent sentence could be formed, the 20-year-old–who had been laughing UNBELIEVABLY hard about such an UNBELIEVABLY stupid situation that she couldn’t even stop the urge–there was NOTHING to be done. The floodgates were unleashed.

And Marshmallow, still in the leg of the onesie, was absolutely DRENCHED. In…you know.

YET SOMEHOW THE LAUGHTER CONTINUED. And the girl now is hobbling to the bathroom, drenched cat in tow, leaving a trail of YOU KNOW WHAT behind. Marshmallow was wiped down with a bunch of Wet Ones and the zipper on the sock monkey onesie soon-after came into a little accident, which I’m pretty sure was God’s nice way of saying, “Girl…no. I do this with love.”

And now, I tell this story to friends who are having bad days or to prove to people who THINK they’re awkward that uhm…I’VE HAD THIS TERRITORY DOWN FOR YEARS. Don’t even mess with me. I came to play.

(Final sidenote: Yes, the cat is fine. The trauma wore off years ago and she even now lets me pet her sometimes, but any move toward torso-level AND SHE IS GONE.)

So to all you kids out there, it’s all fun and games with your sock monkey onesie until someone throws a cat in and zips it up. WHEN THAT HAPPENS, DROP EVERYTHING AND RUN TO A SAFE SPACE.





“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single twenty something in possession of a degree must be in want of a job.”-Jane Austen

Okay. Jane Austen with minor tweaking by Mandie Russell. But if she were alive, I have every confidence that Jane Austen would be like, “I feel you, bro.” Because if she were alive she, too, would say things like twenty something and bro.

I digress.

314 days ago (Quick shout-out to Google for doing that math for me. You rock, guys.) I graduated with my BA degree in Journalism and Mass Communication. And also a minor in french, though the only thing that has come in handy with that minor is the ability to say, “Voulez-vous in limonade?” And the only reason that came in handy was because I worked at Chick-fil-A. Not that I used it while working in the kitchen. But it was a mental confidence booster as I bug-searched Romaine lettuce, knowing that I could offer lemonade to customers in a foreign language. Could the high schoolers do that? Pfft, doubtful.

That was all the comfort I had in my pastor pants and tiny-ponytailed world. The struggle.

These 314 days have flown by: I’ve gotten more sleep, stalked more people on Facebook, drank more coffee than in the previous 4 years combined, and worked on…growing out a pixie. I mean, please, take something off my full plate because I literally can’t even. I’ve had interviews and volunteered and walked away from some opportunities that weren’t for me. The past 10 months have really taught me a lot of life lessons, but that’s boring.

So here are 10 lessons/observations I’ve learned as a post-grad that should be passed on from generation to generation. Take notes, kids.


  1. You’re kind of like a little bug, wandering around trying to find some bigger bugs with more beneficial living and working conditions who also offer dental. But what really throws you are the even bigger bugs that are trying to squish your little buggy dreams and so you crawl back to your buggy wasteland and cry and search your buggy internet for more realistic buggy opportunities. (If that made any sense to you, we should be friends.)
  2. Just to clarify: if you say “Just out of college!” it’s like wearing a sign around your neck that says, “Fresh meat.”
  3. Also, companies don’t pay you $3,500 a month to be a content writer for their sites. Unless you’re Amy Poehler or Tina Fey, move along. I’m not even talking about having the mental capacity of Amy Poehler or Tina Fey–I’m talking you must be one or the other. And I’m guessing you’re not, so save yourself some time.
  4. Chick-fil-a pants don’t look good on any one. I’m talking Jennifer Aniston couldn’t make those things look good.
  5. If you interview with someone and they ask to keep your information just in case, go for it. But know that you will not be getting a call until the 1st of never. (Note: No, that’s not actually a thing.)
  6. Long drives and listening to the Beach Boys works every time.
  7. If traveling is involved and you’ve always wanted to go all over the country, you’ll probably take a job despite any red flags. And that’s okay because it teaches you to trust your instinct next time.
  8. Your cat will never talk back to you. Or make you feel better about life.
  9. A full carton of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream doesn’t look like that much, but it is. Oh, it is. And you will go into Pillsbury Doughboy mode, which is never a good place to be.
  10. On a serious note: you can and will get through the “post-grad” season. And you’ll come out knowing who you are, what you want, and how to treat people when you’re in a leadership position. It’s all good, you little professional you.

As you can see, I’m aging like a fine wine. Or at least Betty White.




Story Time: The Water Park.


This is my seester, Abby. She’s fun and crazy in one convenient package. Available only between the hours of 7 am and 5:45 pm as the rest of the day she is in her bed. Unless that’s a weekend because in that case, why would you even try?

Before she was Abby the twentysomething with those forest-green eyes that tell stories for her, she was this full-faced chunker who believed her two older siblings a bit too much.

To say in the least, man.

[Note: No younger sisters were hurt in the making of this story. A little therapy and she’ll be fine. No, really.]

Like honestly…I don’t know why she still talks to us. Or admits we’re related. One little white lie and it could all go away, Abs. Just one.

Anyway, once upon a freaking time…

Anthony was a notoriously OCD little boy when it came to things like: cleaning his room, how tight his belt was worn, and when he took his afternoon poop. And if I’m correct, it was at 2:40 pm. At least in 5th grade.

As you can see, he’s spent plenty of time doing away with that reputation:


…though ironically he’s eating beans here. Maybe it was getting close to 2:40. Idk.

Anyway, now you can find him at your local gym and/or hopping between Georgia and South Carolina and North Carolina…and New York, if we’re honest, blaring Beyoncé and doing some dance he thinks is funny.

I digress.

Mom was thrilled with his OCD tendencies because it proved to her that one of her children was going to be okay because at least they would have a clean house, their pants would never fall down, or she could at least depend on regular bowel movements.

I mean, what more could a mother of Russell children ask?

So Anthony was neat and tidy, but Abby and I on the other hand…were a bit on the messy side. And by messy, I mean that dust bunnies did the Macarena on our floor on a regular basis. Metaphorically speaking. So one day, Anthony decided to do something about our messy room at Abby’s expense and she’s had trust issues ever since.

Because really…the 8 year old is the obvious choice. I was stubborn and awful. Plus he knew I would sit on him.

“Abby,” he told her, “Mom just called and said that if you cleaned your room, she’d take us to the water park!”

Abby’s eyes lit up with excitement, “Really ?” she asked.

(…no, Abby. It’s March.)

“Yes,” Anthony told her, “But you have to clean up your room before she gets home!”

“Okay!” Abby rushed into our bedroom, threw on her green bathing suit, and I…*cough*…let it happen. Because you know…I was curious. And this was kind of funny. And Lord knew I wasn’t about to clean.

Probably twenty minutes later, Mom walked in to find Abby on hands and knees, gathering up all our clothes as quickly as she could and man, could she clean if she thought something fun would come of it. “What are you doing?” Mom asked carefully with the full knowledge that an 8 year old cleaning her room in a bathing suit was not normal, even in our household.

Abby was becoming skeptical, “Anthony said if I cleaned my room, you said we would go to the water park.”

“I didn’t say that,” all eyes were on Anthony as Abby’s eyes lit up with indignant fury.

“You tricked me!”

“But it got you to clean your room!”

And I can’t remember what happened next, but I’m sure it involved Abby stomping off and Mom telling Anthony not to lie to his little sister and to be kind.

Needless to say Abby hasn’t forgiven him for that one yet and yeah, we definitely owe that girl a trip to the water park. It’s on Anthony, Abs.