Career Crisis

Full disclosure: I’m going through something right now. A career crisis. And it’s affecting everything else in my life. Not in a good way, either. I wish I could say, “This career crisis has done wonders for my marriage! And my kids, they can definitely tell I’m happier with being miserable for 8 to 10 hours a day. I’m such a better parent.” Unfortunately, I bring less exciting news. I mean, it’s exciting because I don’t know how the journey will play out but it’s not “yay” exciting. Not yet, at least.

The problem is that I don’t know how to fix it. I can’t be the only person at this stage of my life. There have to be more of me out there (scary, I know. But also FASCINATING, right?!). I feel bad for feeling this way. I have a career. I have a career that allows me to help financially provide for my family. But I’m spending days of my life performing work that doesn’t fulfill me and what I know I’m capable of. Unfortunately, my mom wouldn’t let me major in Super Hero-ness in college. SO it pretty much ruined my life. Thanks, Mom.

I’d love to pivot into something else but I don’t know how the skill set from my current career translates into something else that would prevent me from having to start at the bottom again. I’m in that unique situation that I’m sure a lot of us are in. We have bills. We have expenses. We have responsibilities that dictate we bring in a certain amount of money. I don’t want to have to tell my kids that they can’t do sports or participate in a certain activity because we don’t have the money. I’ve been there before and it’s no fun.

Part of my problem is courage. In all honesty, I have zero confidence in my ability to float doing what I love: entertaining people. Friends here and there (and everywhere – oh, come on, I had to. It RHYMED) have told me I’m “entertaining” but that doesn’t translate to carving a living out of it. I know I can do it. I know I can stand on a stage and kill it. But I’m scared. And I keep making excuses: The Open Mics are too late, they’re too far away, I don’t know for sure it’ll be funny. If I can just get that first attempt under my belt, maybe it’ll be ok. But that first step is the one that makes my feet feel like cement.

I need to bring myself out of my comfort zone. Worst case scenario, I get booed. Maybe a tomato thrown at my face. (That still happens, right?) I can recover from that, I think? It’s no worse than going to work at an office and having people point out your faults. Is there a cry room I could go to at a local college in case I need it?

Ok, how about this: let’s do this together. Let’s all face a fear. Get out of our comfort zone a little. Then find my Facebook page (www.facebook.com/atleastimpretty) and let me know how it goes. Or leave me a comment below. I think we’ll all be pleasantly surprised. Anyway, if we fail, at least we’re pretty!

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Killin Life 20 Minutes at a Time

Twenty minutes. That’s just about all the time I have for anything in my life. Am I alone in that? If my family wants me to cook, it better take twenty minutes or less. Do I need to look like a goddess? We’ll see what I can do in twenty minutes. Cuz that’s just about the amount of time my kids will give me before things start melting down.

It really is the perfect timeframe to target when I’m trying to accomplish something. Fifteen minutes is super unrealistic. Even I know that. Thirty minutes? OH EM GEEE! That’s SUCH A LONG TIME! But twenty minutes. In the words of Goldie Locks, that’s juuuust right!

So I decided recently to make it my mission to scout out anything that will make my life even more awesomer in twenty minutes or less and for as little money as possible. (Cuz if I’m broke I can’t buy the makeup I need to transform ma face so it won’t matter how long it takes.)

In the three days that I’ve been on this mission I’ve discovered three dinner recipes that should take than twenty minutes to whip up.

Recipe #1 was posted to my Facebook page At Least I’m Pretty by a member of ma pretty posse, Rita. She didn’t provide a name for the recipe so I’m gonna name it Pomegranate Wine Spritzer. And it goes a little something like this:

Pomegranate Wine

Ginger Ale

I don’t know how much of each goes into it but I’m guessing it’s just a splash of ginger ale. Like a drop. Juuuuust a drop. Easy, delicious appetizer. Thank you, Rita!

Recipe #2 is more of a main course. Evermine.com shares the following super simple, delicious Fall sangria recipe:

1 bottle of red wine, 2 cups of apple cider, 1 chopped apple, 1 chopped pear, and 3 cinnamon sticks.

Mix it all together in a pitcher and throw it in the fridge for a few hours and voila! All done. If you want, you can get super fancy and rim your glass with a mixture of sugar and cinnamon. Cuz who doesn’t love a good garnish?!

For dessert, I give you recipe #3. If you search Pintrest for Fall cocktails you may come across southyourmouth.com’s Wicked Autumn Apple Sangria. It’s a white wine based sangria. All you have to do is dump 1 cup of vanilla vodka, 1 cup of sugar, 2 cups apple cider,1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice, 2 honeycrisp apples, 2 pears, 1 orange, and 2 bottles of dry white wine in a pitcher, stir it up, and put it in the fridge for a bit (if you can muster the self control). The fruit should be cut up, just FYI. You won’t get the juicy yumminess if you don’t. And that just WON’T do.

So, there you go. Pretty simple and less than 20 minutes to assemble.

I feel like my life happens in 20-minute increments. Anyone else have a 20-minute life hack?

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Diary of a Day Dreamer

Hi, I’m Erica and I’m a day dreamer. {And in unison I hear, “Hi, Erica”}. Most of my day, since my memory began, has been spent thinking of crazy scenarios that would never happen in real life but I feel that I should be prepared for… you know, just in case. I used to think that the zombie apocalypse was one of those scenarios but now I’m convinced it’ll happen soon, like maybe tomorrow, or Saturday. Although, I really hope it doesn’t start on a weekend. Chances are, I’ve had a glass of wine or two and won’t be able to accurately assess the situation. So maybe Tuesday? {Thank you, TWD. Now I’m prepared for it. I just need a big stick, a crossbow, and a pointless character like Carl to keep me safe.}

Anyway, this “what-if” day-dreaming is really starting to get in the way of my doing great things, like sitting through an entire episode of Ice Road Truckers without zoning out and realizing I have no memory of how that truck got passed the lake with the crack in it. Or finishing my ice cream before it gets all melty.

The problem is it’s AWESOME to contemplate these “what-would-happen-if” situations. I don’t WANNA stop it. Let me explain. Imagine you’re sitting in your kitchen and you wonder (perhaps out loud to your unsuspecting husband), “Hey. What would you do if you were sitting here one morning drinking your whisky coffee and Richard Simmons just walked in? Would you be mad that he just walked in uninvited or would you be like, ‘That’s my wife’s spirit animal, Richard Simmons, in my kitchen. Mi casa es su casa, Ricardo!’ What would you do?” In my mind, I need to be prepared for the day this happens. My husband, on the other hand, just drops his head, shakes it in disbelief, and walks away wondering why he chose me. BECAUSE I’M PREPARED FOR LIFE!

You need another example? Good. I have plenty. What would you do if you were drying your hair with your favorite hair dryer and out of the corner of your eye you notice something in your room. You look over and notice a Yeti in your house walking toward you. (The monster, not the cup. That’s a different “what-if” situation.) Should you be scared? No! He just needs your hair dryer. And my GAWD is that mane of his luxurious. You hesitate a little because you know that all that drying will kill your hair dryer, but hey, it’s a Yeti. So you strike up a deal. A hair dryer for a selfie. He gladly accepts and even gives you a rock-on sign in your pic, which is odd because you didn’t even know he knew about that sign. You post it, it’s validated for authenticity and you become a millionaire. BOOM. Then you hire Mary Kate and Ashley’s manager and become a BILLIONAIRE. All because a Yeti broke into your home to use your hair dryer.

The useful application of this superpower of mine is that I’m literally prepared for ANYTHING. I’m an expert at this now. Along the way I’ve met friends who are just as good at this as I am. Remember my college roommate?

What “what if” scenarios are YOU prepared for?

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What It’s Been Like to be Me in 2016

2016 has been the craziest year since 2011 when I got married, had a baby, and purchased our first home. This year hasn’t been that crazy. I’d say it’s been cray. Not cray-cray. Just cray. Like a wolf in sheep’s clothing (or like Steve Buscemi dressed in a Taylor Swift skirt and crop top), it didn’t start off indicating the whirlwind was a-comin. Quite the opposite. We finally finished a 4-year renovation. Phew!  Now we can sit back and enjoy it!

January, February, WHAT????  We relaxed for 3 months. THREE months. As I’ve ranted about before, I came home one day to my hubs telling me he found a realtor!  Yay!  “E!  It’ll be awesome!  We can get a house with a basement!” He says.  Sounds so simple.  Like if Miley Cyrus and Ryan Lochte had a baby.  That baby would be “simple”.  Only it wasn’t as simple as a Michte baby.  At all.  It was stressful and complicated and scary!  Like if Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton had a baby.  Chelsea Handler.  That’s their baby.  I’ll name those 3 months my Chelsea Handler months.

Now, the next 2 months are a blur. All I know is we sold our house, made 2 offers that weren’t accepted, and 1 that finally was. It felt like a lifetime, waiting til closing. Closing day was INSANE.  We closed on both houses in one day. And we moved. On the same day. Closing day. Ugh. Now we can rest!  LOL, I’m so silly.

Nope. Three weeks after we moved we went on family vacation. Which isn’t really vacation. It’s just uprooting your life and transplanting it to another location. I mean, it was fun and all. But NOT a proper vacation.  Most of it was spent trying to keep the kids from destroying the sea turtle nests.  No pressure.  Oh, and we came home to packed boxes.

The proper vacation happened 4 weeks later. Yes. Time for rest. Sunday through Thursday of couple-time. Oh, it was lovely.  Then back to crazy for August. School started, meaning my tiny little man started kindergarten. WHAT? Nooooooo. It’s bad enough that Bella is in THIRD grade!  Dam. “They” tell me that this isn’t optional. Life can’t pause. Yeah, well “They” are pathetic a-holes.  I DON’T LIKE IT!  (Ooooh, now I know where Roman gets his tantrums from) Ugh.

Little did I know that while I was out living ma life lika fool, tryin to keep a job and 2 kids alive, a storm was a’brewin’.  Anyone out there have family members that think they’re the long lost Kardashian?  Maybe they are.  I mean, it wouldn’t surprise me.  Maybe they think they’re famous, only they aren’t, and they get pissed when people don’t treat them as though they’re famous, because they aren’t, then they get pissed and play the victim when you stand your ground and then the overreact by cutting off all of your communication but not before calling you names that even YOU wouldn’t use, among other, worse things… maybe.  Just hypothetically speaking.

In summary, this year’s been crazy.  I’d be ok if 2017 is super boring.  That would be ok with me.

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If I Were President

Last week I posted a letter to Hillary Clinton. I received a few responses suggesting that I should be president in 2020. I don’t disagree. I’m pretty awesome. But I’m pretty sure that there are lots of reasons why I wouldn’t be the best option. So I guess I’m a shoe in.

But it got me thinking. What would it be like if I really were president. It would go something like this:

I think I’ll run for board of directors at the local rec department. Yay! I won! Fuuuq, I won. Guess I gotta figure this thing out. I’m killin’ it! Uniforms ordered, check! I think I’ll run for something bigger, more important. Like PTA president. Nah, I cuss too much and drink whisky. Ok, so maybe not that. Wouldn’t wanna class up tha joint so much that I make people feel inferior. Go big or go home, right? I’ll run for Commissioner. Of something. Hmmm… which one doesn’t have anyone else running? I’ll take that one. Done!

Somehow I’ve lasted the entire term without getting impeached and ousted. That means I’m amazing. Now I should run for something super important. Like Senator. Hey, Hillary did it. I can totes do anything she can do, but better. But I can’t even get more than 12 people to read my blog on a given day… hmm.

I think you get the idea. If I were to win something like the presidency, it would only be because I’ve Forrest Gumped my way all the way to the top. I mean, I guess it’s possible. But imagine all the gray hair and wrinkles I’d have by the end! No thank you. I have enough of those on my own. Bad news, I still need to figure out what I wanna be when I grow up. Besides Darren Knight’s BFMF (Bella just taught me this. She said it means, “Best Friends Maybe Forever”. Looks like she might have a sight fear of commitment).

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5 Things I’ve Learned from My Marriage

My husband holds a special record in my life. Our relationship is officially the longest relationship I have ever been in. In the 8 years we’ve known each other, I’ve learned some things. Below is a list of 5 things I’ve learned so far:

  1. I have to compromise. I have to compromise. I have to compromise.
  2. People who snore go to sleep faster than I can find my favorite wine in Costco. And I know exactly where it is. And I get that before I get anything else. So it doesn’t take me long, that’s my point.
  3. His hugs make me feel safer than I’ve ever felt in my life.
  4. Watching him comfort our children makes my heart cry happy tears.
  5. The hard days feel like I’m fighting for the heavyweight championship but the other 99% of the days are wonderful and make it all worth it.

My husband is my best friend. And I love him with all my heart. Unless he’s snoring. Like he is now.

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Divorce-A-Bration

My awesome cousin just got married. He deserves it and I hope he and his beautiful bride have a lifetime of happiness together. I hope their union is the opposite of my first one and much more similar to the one I have now. My hope is that they have the type of marriage that brings laughs and smiles and fun and comfortable respect to each other.

It took me surviving a failed marriage to realize that relationships aren’t supposed to be tragic. Yes, they’re hard work. But you aren’t supposed to cry. (Unless he pegs you with a Nurf gun ball on accident). Marriage isn’t supposed to make you second-guess who you are. (That’s what watching “I Am Cait” is for). It’s supposed to make you strive to be your best for your partner. It’s supposed to make you feel complete.

I never thought I would have a “mulligan” marriage. I don’t think anyone gets married thinking, “meh, we’ll give this a shot. Prolly won’t last long. Next time I think I’ll just go to the drive thru in Vegas”. You get married with hopes and dreams of your future together. You get married with plans for family and a lifetime of memories and having someone to grow old and fart in public with.

The moment that dream starts to fade you grab on to it with all you have and sacrifice yourself to bring it back. The worst feeling is knowing that someone you love doesn’t love you back. Divorce is tragic, crushing, devastating. It isn’t something that should be celebrated. Until…

He kicks you out of the house. With a baby. And takes his girlfriend to his graduation ceremony with his entire family to become a green beret instead of his wife and new baby after you’ve put your whole life on hold for 2 years so that he could follow his career. And draws out your divorce after promising not to just to twist the knife a little more. And owes you a shit ton of money. A person can only take so much before they break.

One day I stopped crying. One day I stopped expecting to get his love back. I stopped looking for that one word to say that would win him back. That was the day I felt free. And you bet your sweet ass that finally, a year and 2 months after I moved out, when our divorce was final, I celebrated. I cried happy tears. One of my best friends, Betsy, even had a Happy Divorce cake sent to my office. And I celebrated with everyone. You’d think I was retiring early after winning the lottery (because I promise I’d come back to the office for that and wouldn’t move to the beach immediately with my middle finger in the air).

I was like the Oprah of Divorce cake, “And YOU get a slice! And YOU get a slice! And YOU, never seen you before but YOU get a slice!” It was over. What began with such promise and hope had ended with no more feelings. I had no more hate for him. I had no more love for him. I was blessed with a beautiful daughter from that wretched union. I got the best of him. And now I’m still celebrating. I’m celebrating my freedom, my happiness, my self-esteem, my family that I so desperately wanted.

So, is divorce something to celebrate? No. It isn’t. But when your life is stolen from you and you get it back, THAT’S worth celebrating.

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Dear Hillary

Dear Hillary,

You almost did it. Twice. You came within arms reach of the position that children, both male and female, all races, all backgrounds, all socioeconomic classes dream of. The most powerful position in the WORLD. And you blew it. {At least we know THAT’S not why Bill cheated}. I’m mad. Not that Trump won. He deserved it. He worked for it. Regardless of whether or not you like the character he portrayed during the campaign. It could very well be who he truly is. I don’t know him. I’m mad that you set us back. Women. That’s right. YOU made it harder for my daughter to rise to that level. YOU made it harder for women in leadership roles to be taken seriously.

When you’re blazing a trail you don’t have the option of being lax with rules or playing too close to the line of illegality. It’s not just about the end game. You can’t say, “It doesn’t matter how it happens as long as I win”. You can’t act as though the rules don’t apply. Because when your house of cards crumbles you take all of those you represent with you. You show the world that women can’t win without cheating and riding a husband’s coattails. You tell the world that your politics shouldn’t matter and your track record doesn’t count. You tell people that the making of history based on a trait you’re born with is all that matters. Not true. We made that mistake twice with Obama. Luckily we woke up. Did we swing too far to the right on November 8th? Maybe. But when you swing too far to the left, the universe has to self-correct.

YOU lost. Not because of gender discrimination, not because of anything OTHER than your piss-poor decisions, weak policies, and inability to directly and honestly answer questions that the American people want and need answers to.

As a woman, a former single mom and divorcee, your politics offend me. The whole entitled establishment you represent offends me. I worked my ass off to get where I am. I did it with no help from the government. I knew I wasn’t entitled to anything because of a situation I was in based mostly on decisions that I made. I got myself into that hole and I clawed my way out. Now I make more money than most men. I’m not rich by any means. But now I’m a bit ahead financially and you want to redistribute my money. It isn’t criminal to have ambition. It isn’t criminal to make money. If anything, when I was broke and homeless I had hope that one day I would be better off. One day I’d be on top. (Yep, that’s what she said.)

You preach acceptance but only as long as everyone accepts what you preach. You preach open-mindedness as long as everyone’s minds are opened only to your preaching. It’s easy to agree with likeminded people. It’s something to take note of when someone accepts others in spite of their opposing views. It’s something to admire when someone RESPECTS the opposing views of others.

You’re entitled to your opinion and I don’t dislike you as a person. I don’t know you. But your politics tell me that YOU don’t believe that I have the ability and the fortitude to get by in life without the government’s help. Your politics tell my daughter and me that because we have vaginas we need to hide behind the government. Your politics tell my son and my husband that because of their gender and the color of their skin that they should be ashamed and apologetic for a mindset that they don’t have. Instead, why not lift up the people of America and establish the government to empower its citizens to do for themselves as much as they can? If I’m capable, I should be expected to have certain responsibilities. And if I work hard and get an education and take opportunities as they come, I should be able to have a certain lifestyle without feeling guilty and without the government stepping in and telling me that I have too much.

Maybe I’m jaded from years in Corporate America. But one thing I’ve learned is that sometimes, strong leaders are assholes. Sometimes they hurt feelings. Sometimes they say things that aren’t popular or politically correct.   But they still drive billion dollar revenues. They still create jobs.  And that’s all investors care about. As an American, as a woman, I don’t care if Trump doesn’t respect women. He can’t strip me of my rights. Checks and balances protect what I have. And I’m used to having to work twice as hard for half the reward. It sucks. Big time. But I’m raising my daughter to know that life isn’t fair but that doesn’t mean to stop fighting. If it’s worth it, you have to earn it.

I’m an American. I’m fucking proud to be an American. I love everything America stands for. I love that people have the right to peacefully assemble to protest. I love that Americans have the right to openly disapprove of the government. You have the right to be hypocritical. Remember that the way you feel today is the way a shit ton of people felt 8 years ago. And again 4 years ago.

If you have the opportunity to run again, my advice to you is to listen. Listen to what people are saying and not what you want them to say. Ask questions and observe. Be ethical. If Bernie wants to run from the grave, don’t cheat. If you have access to secrets, guard them. If someone gives you money as a donation to charity, give it to those it’s intended to help. If someone calls you for help, help them. If Bill cheats, cut off his dick. And leave him. Then payoff the debt he left you with, make more money than him, and become the first female president. That’s my plan, at least.

We will have a strong female option one day. And I will vote. And I will cry happy tears when she wins. Not because she has a vagina. But because she has a vagina and she’s capable, and she is gonna kick ass.  Also, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is on right now and I think we can all agree that’s a kick ass movie. 

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