Selfie Instructions for Guys

Ever seen someone who looks like something else? Maybe a person looks like a shark or a meerkat or an owl… Well, I recently had one of those encounters. Kind of.

The other day I saw a guy whose head & neck looked like a penis. An uncircumcised penis. Normally I wouldn’t embellish upon something that a person can’t help, but this guy’s hair cut emphasized the similarity so I feel like he’s embracing it. Which means it’s fair game for me. And I haven’t been able to forget it since. He was like a walking dick pic and who would I be if I kept that information to myself???

I feel like I should take this opportunity to share with men how we, women, feel about dick pics. Well, at least how I would feel if I received one. I’ve had too many friends tell me that this is an epidemic for those dating online and I think there needs to be some guidance on the topic. Luckily, I’m happily married and he doesn’t feel the need to remind me what it looks like when we aren’t physically in the same room together. But if he is quietly contemplating it, here’s the deal:

Guys, it’s not a compliment for someone to tell you that you look like a penis. I feel like that needs to be made clear. Boys are always trying to get anyone and everyone to look at their penises! I’ve had the chance to watch how this plays out with Roman and learned that it essentially begins at birth. He’s constantly saying, “Look at my penis!” as he runs butt-ass naked through our living room which, by the way, has 8 floor to ceiling windows. #werethebestneighbors.  I had to resort to telling him that the dog might think it’s a worm and bite it if he doesn’t put underwear on…

Don’t get me wrong: I appreciate a good penis as much as any hetero woman or gay man. But, let’s be honest, they were built for function. Like a furnace. A furnace is essential to the comfort of a home. It should be well built, in the typical furnace shape, placed in an inconspicuous location, and big enough to do the job. But if everything is “normal”, no one needs to know about it before inspection time and it stays behind a closet door in the basement and everyone is happy.

Guys- don’t lead with your furnace!

Let me put it into perspective. Imagine you’re looking for a house. A “forever home”. You go to the real estate app, you put in your requirements. And there it is. The perfect house. You scroll through the pictures. Outside of the house, front porch, furnace… WTF! That’s odd and out of place. Or maybe you see an online listing with just one picture. You love the outside of that house. Below the picture is the number for the listing agent and the promise of more information. You call the number. You have a lovely conversation and arrange a showing. Five minutes later you get a text. It’s the agent! And he’s sent you a picture of the furnace. Uh…

But that’s what you guys do!

Now, if you have an unfortunate micro-penie or it’s shaped like a teardrop, maybe list that in your disclosure. That way, potential buyers know upfront what they’re getting into. If not, we’re good.

Slight tangent alert: is there any type of penis disclosures for people who “court”? Like the Duggars? Cuz if I’ve saved myself for marriage, which I totally did (shut up), and I chose a husband with a teardrop-shaped micropenie, which I discover on my wedding night when it’s too late… I’d be pissed.

I can’t think of any instance when I was dating that I thought to myself “I’m gonna pop my foot up here on the counter and take a pic of my vag and send it to this guy. That’ll hook him for sure.” Because God knew what he was doing when he put lady and man parts where he did. Obviously, it was the 11th hour on the 6th day and he was tired and over this thing so he just clopped some leftover clay together and stuck it on.

I don’t think God intended for us to put our faces down there & stare at it when he settled on the design. Eve said, “Hey, Adam, sorry about that whole tree/snake thing. How can I make it up to you?” And Adam said, “Weeeeeeell….” And God said, “facepalm””. Guys don’t care how weird their penises look. They just like them because they do cool things with it and think that women should be just as intrigued.

But they look like something my kids bring home from art class. Like the clay sculpture of a narwhal my daughter brought home when she was in kindergarten. By the time I saw it the horn was missing, it was kinda wonky, but she yelled, “LOOK! Look at my masterpiece!” She was so proud so I bragged on it. Then she said, “Take a picture!” So I did. And I posted it to Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat cuz it looked like a penis. And everyone hit the “wow” emoji because they were hilariously appalled by it.

You guys are so proud of your penises. “Honey! Come here! Look at my dick! It looks like a narwhal when I flex it! Look! It’s dancing! Take a picture!” Why? Women don’t do that. Women don’t say, “Hey, babe, look! My vag looks like that clam we saw on Nat Geo. Look. And when I flex it looks like it’s trying to close its shell. Look! Take a picture.” No! Women don’t do that! Because, for the most part, we don’t wanna take a picture to commemorate something that isn’t beautiful. And to qualify as beautiful, it almost always involves sparkle either literally or figuratively. Does it sparkle guys? No? Then chances are, it isn’t attractive. Functionality isn’t enough!

It’s why we have the bedazzler- to beautify the functional things in the world. Trucker hats- bedazzle ’em. Blue jeans- more rhinestones please. Our vages… That’s right, guys. It’s called a Vajazzle in honor of the marriage between the bedazzle and the vagina. Like all great unions, Kimye to commemorate Kim & Kanye, TomKat to commemorate Tom Cruise and Katie- never mind. Not a good example. Brangelina to- ok, this isn’t working out the way I meant it to. Anyway, it’s a thing.

For those of you who don’t know, the Vajazzle is another way for us women to pamper ourselves under the guise of doing it for you when you complain about another $50 spent at the salon. If a man manipulates a situation to his benefit, he’s a sociopath. If a woman does it, she’s just good at being a woman. We’re pros at this. We will swear it’s for you. “How DARE you suggest that I WANT to spend $50 to lay on a table for an hour while I get GLUE poured on my lady parts with sparkly rhinestones meticulously placed in gorgeous, intricate designs. How DARE you! I do this for YOU.” No we don’t. This is totally for us. Because guys don’t understand the beauty that is the sparkle.

Is $50 too much to spend to put some party in our pants? Absolutely. Will that stop us? No. You had us at “-azzle”. Women love to sparkle. Then we come home, go to the bathroom to check out the results and yell, “Honey! Come here! Look at my vag, it sparkles! Look! If I flex, look! It looks like a disco ball! Take a picture.”

Just kidding. That never happens.

 

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Rompers are Assholes

Rompers. I love them. They’re super cute, super comfy. It’s a one-&-done fashion choice, much like a dress. If I could wear rompers to work, I would wear them every day. Every. Single. Day.

They do, however, have one design flaw.

Saturday my hunky hubs and I went to dinner with some good friends. One of those rare kids-free nights. I was so excited because I bought a new romper a few weeks ago that I hadn’t had a chance to wear yet. It’s beautiful. White with navy blue embroidery, flowy, and ethereal with a plunging neckline. I knew that plunging necklines and alcohol sometimes equal a peek-a-boo boob so I was extra cautious by covering the nips with some band-aids. Prollem solved!

We Ubered to the restaurant.

Side Bar: if you are EVER in Atlanta and hungry, go to Nuevo Laredo. Order chorizo.  Doesn’t even matter how you deliver it into your belly. Just a side of it- delicious. Chorizo quesadilla- delicious. Cheese dip with chorizo dumped in it- delicious. You get the idea. If you’re thirsty, get the Cadillac margarita. Bam. Mexican food heaven. Ok, back to the night in question.

It was a Saturday evening, around 7pm so there was a fairly lengthy wait. We ordered Cadillacs, grabbed some chips and salsa, and waited patiently for our name to be called. Interesting tid-bit of info: it was unexpectedly windy. Given that I hadn’t accounted for weather behaving like a pissed off two-year-old, I kept having to ensure adequate coverage up top. No worries. After the first almost-exposure of indecency I was aware of the need to brace my chesticles each time the wind blew. Preparedness. Boom.

Eventually our name was called and we sat down, continuing our fun like civilized people, at a table. However, soon enough, nature came a-callin’. I excused myself from the group and naively ventured to the bathroom, unaware of the battle I was about to endure.

As I entered the stall, I remembered that I would have to completely disrobe. Not a problem. It’s a thing with rompers. You can’t just pull your pants down like you can when you’re wearing… well, pants. You can’t just pull your dress up like you can when you’re wearing… you guessed it! A dress. You have to reverse your dressed state from the top. Usually a non-issue for the other, less fancy rompers that I have. However, have you ever tried to take off a shirt by shoving your arm through the neck hole? It’s like trying to dance with an octopus. Or trying to break the embrace of a python. All the while trying to be as graceful as possible because a) I’m in a bathroom stall where, at any time, someone can come in and see my plight through the unusually large cracks in the bathroom door.

Slight tangent alert: Really? Why even have doors on the stalls if I can see right through the cracks? God and everybody know I’m in there. Not just because they know it’s occupied, but because they can see me. ME. Like wave at me and say, “Hi, E! How’s your mom n them doing?” FIX THE CRACKS!!!!!!!!

Ok, back to it. B) I’m trying not to rip my romper with my elbow. ALSO, there are long, decorative ties on my sleeves that I’m trying to keep from getting dirty on the floor AND trying to keep from landing in toilet water. As you can tell, I was a mess.

I eventually wrangled that python, did my business, and made it back to the table after what felt like a few hours. But we learn the best lessons in our darkest hours so here’s what I took away:

ROMPERS NEED A BETTER EXIT STRATEGY!

Could we please have a trap door? Or maybe the buttons that baby onesies have? Is that too much to ask? Maybe there’s a better option, I don’t know. But I can’t be the only person to experience this unfortunate event while just tryin to look supes cute in a romper!

Suggestions anyone?

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How to Pivot Your Life Awesome

Pivots. I need one right now. Life is all about the pivot (please tell me you say that word in your brain to the voice of Ross Geller on Friends). How you handle a change in trajectory can determine positive from negative, good from bad, electric chair candidate from hero. But it can mean taking your life from blah to infinitely better.

I haven’t always handled the pivot well. Maybe I’ve watched too much Snapped? Too much 20/20? Nah. Whatever the reason, I resist change. But I’ve learned that sometimes change is the nudge I need to get to a better vantage point for life. A higher plateau from which to shoot my arrows at the people who nee observe life.

My parents’ divorce, the tragedy that almost cost my dad his life and forever changed the way he exists in this world, my own divorce, getting out of my hometown, rising above rumors and reputations, financial struggles, juggling a career, a new marriage, and a sick baby, unexpectedly renovating a house, blending a family… I’ve experienced all of those things. Struggles are everyone’s constant. They are always around the corner lurking like the uncle that none of the kids are allowed to be alone with (there’s one in every family, right?)

“Uncle Gene is the BEST! He gave me candy!”

(Slaps the candy away)“Nope, Uncle Gene is a weirdo. Stay away from Uncle Gene.”

But struggles aren’t life’s somehow personified way of kicking you down. They’re just life. Mostly for me, self-inflicted. I can admit that. But so what?

Pivot.

It’s scary. I know. The pivot is change. It’s unknown. Sometimes the struggle is more comfortable than the change. At least you know what to expect with the struggle. But I promise it’s worth it.

If you’re unhappy right now with life, look for the opportunities for change. If you can’t find the opportunities, find someone who has the outcome you’re looking for and do what they’ve done. Talk to people. Research. There’s always a way. Successful people aren’t special. They haven’t been chosen to be successful by life where life’s like, “Oh, yeah, don’t mess with Becky. She has good hair so leave her alone.” They’re successful because they’ve used an opportunity to better themselves. Successful people aren’t entitled and they know that. They get shat done for themselves in spite of the struggles. No excuses.

One thing I’ve noticed is that many of my life changes have happened because I felt like I had no choice. Looking back, I always had choices. But it seems like in those situations, when I throw my hands up and let Jesus take the wheel, a la Carrie Underwood, that’s when the pivots happen.

Don’t let Uncle Gene get the better of you. Kick him in the groin and run away. And if you pass your cousin about to eat his candy, smack it out of little Johnny’s hand on your way out the door. And know you’ll be ok.

When have you changed your own trajectory for the better?  Let me know in the comments.  You may just help someone make their own!

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The Joy of Getting Fired

The Joy of Getting Fired

Ever been fired? I have. It was an interesting experience. Can’t say it’s one I’d love to experience again. At the time I was APPALLED! How could I get FIRED? I’m awesome! For any of you who have been “let go” from a job,

{by the way, this is a fancy way for saying you got canned. If anyone from HR ever sits you down and says, “We’re going to have to let you go”, they aren’t freeing you from prison for good behavior. They’re firing you. Freeing you from corporate chains into the prison of poverty. It’s not a good thing… at the time, anyway}

for any of you who’ve been fired, you can attest to the feeling of deflation that accompanies it. Although, at the time I totally knew it was going to happen. That experience, in and of itself, was a bit off putting. However, in context, it was a part of a grander experience that I’ve held tightly to since and I think I always will. And it taught me several valuable lessons. Mostly that it’s never my fault. (Just kidding… sort of.)

I was 22 years old, JUST out of college. I somehow landed a job as a nanny for an Italian family in GENOVA, ITALY!!!!!! for the summer. I’d never been to Europe before. The only real ‘traveling’ I’d done prior to this trip was a 7-day cruise for my 21st birthday with my best friends that involved a 1-hour flight to Miami. This time I was alone. I was leaving my life behind in Atlanta and navigating the world all by myself for the first time ever. It was essentially like taking Mr. Bean and dropping him in the middle of, well, anywhere. Let’s take inventory of the places I’d been up and to this point of my life:

Mississippi
Georgia
Florida
South Carolina
Tennessee

Do you see a pattern? I think I went to Washington, DC once… I was not well travelled by any sense. And I was unleashed on the unsuspecting country of Italy like a hyper squirrel just trying to cross the street.

Before I left for Europe my mom spoke with the couple I was going to work for and live with. Both were judges, they had 5 kids total but I was only responsible for the care of 2 since the others were grown and out of the house. My mom had phone numbers, addresses, pretty much everything you could gather to ensure I wouldn’t get stolen, before the proliferation of the “internets” and during a time when phone booths were still dotting every street corner like hookers at a political convention. It was 2003… AKA The Dark Ages.

My job description was to teach English to an 8-year old and a 14-year old, take the 8-year old to school every day and pick him up, take him to play dates, and some “light housework”. I saw that last part as merely a suggestion. Mostly because I don’t “housework”.

Once I landed, I felt like I “fit in” for the first time in my life. I looked like I belonged. Everyone was laid back and relaxed but animated and nice. The family seemed great. The dad studied law in the US so he spoke English surprisingly well. No one else in the family spoke English but I spoke fluent Italian so it was ok.

He would get maps out and suggest places for me to go and landmarks to visit during the day. Everything was off to a great start.

Not too long after I arrived I realized that the “cute little boy” I was charged with caring for was rotten. He would fake being sick to get out of doing things, like going to play dates. I, not knowing any better, would let him stay home. When his mom got home he would tell her that I didn’t do anything with him. Hmmm…

The dad knew that I REALLY wanted to go to the opera. He landed tickets and asked his wife if she wanted to take me. When she said no, he took me. We had a great time. He explained the story of the opera and told me that even Italians don’t understand the lyrics. However, it was this moment that whatever relationship I had with the mom changed for the worse in a way that I didn’t expect. But it was ok. I was living on the Italian Riviera. No one could make that incredible experience a bad one.

I was supposed to have weekends to myself but that rarely happened. However, when it did I would get on a train and explore. I visited friends who were studying abroad. I met people hiking across Europe with just a backpack. I met Italian business people who had lived in Atlanta at one time. I met beachfront storeowners who danced with me when their favorite love song came on the radio. I met an Italian lifeguard who swept me off my feet.

So one morning when the mom told me she was no longer going to pay me because I hadn’t upheld my part of the contract that involved cleaning (they had a maid, by the way), it was ok. Looking back, I wasn’t very good at being a nanny. But that experience gave me more than that job. I came home after living abroad by myself for 3 months a changed person. I had confidence. I had grand memories that even the best writers wouldn’t be able to describe in a way that would do them justice.

So, yeah, getting fired sucked. But it was just a drop of a memory that was part of a larger experience that I would NEVER trade. Sometimes a bad moment isn’t a bad thing. Have you ever been fired? It’s ok. You can tell me.

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Absurd Things I Think About When Getting a Massage

Things I Think About When Getting a Massage

A few days ago, a co-worker won one of those “drop your business card in the fishbowl and you could win lunch for your whole office” things (I know, I thought the same thing! People DO actually win those, I guess!). She was so generous and made sure that all of us had to opportunity to enjoy the delicious pizza along with TWENTY-MINUTE CHAIR MASSAGES!!!! What?! Sign. Me. Up.

When it was my turn I walked into the same conference room that normally houses mundane and verbose meetings. However, for my twenty-minute chair massage it was a heavenly oasis in the middle of the desert where no relaxation is found. Quiet music, dimmed lights… if not for the meeting table, white board, and executive meeting chairs I would have never known it was the same room. I walked around all of those horrible reminders to find my massage chair, said hello to my new favorite best friend masseuse and sat down. For the next twenty minutes I had an internal dialogue with myself that I realize in hindsight may not be normal, but then again, I can’t be the only one. So if you find yourself with the following thoughts during your next massage, know you aren’t alone:

  1. “Oh, that’s nice… wait, did I just make a porn noise?”
  2. “OUCH! IT HURTS SO GOOD!!!! That’s what she said.”
  3. “OMG I think she’s crushing my larynx. Is that what that is? I don’t really know where my larynx is. I’m gonna die not knowing how. What do I tell Janis Joplin and Amy Winehouse when they ask me why I’m dead? Can’t. Breathe. Boutta pass out.”
  4. “She’s close to pushing my face through this face hole! Can that happen? I think we’re about to find out! What would she do?! OMG that would be hil-arious. Could I get workers’ comp? I wonder if I could get a free week off of work. Kind of like in college if you got hit by a bus you get an auto 4.0 GPA. Would I get a free one of these in the future for my trouble? I could deal with that. Would the fire department have to come? I bet that’s happened before.”
  5. “That music. I wonder if my kids would immediately go to sleep if I played it at home. I need to ask what music that is so I cannnnn zzzzzz”
  6. {Wakes up abruptly} “Did I just fart or was that the chair?? OMG please tell me it was the chair. Ugh, not the chair.”
  7. “HOW WAS THAT 20 MINUTES?! I WANT A RECOUNT!”
  8. Really, how am I supposed to be productive after that? I can’t work under these conditions.

Getting a massage is so relaxing for me. But obviously not so relaxing that my crazy mind shuts off for me. How bout you? Any absurdities run through your mind during a massage? Please tell me I’m not the only one.

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8 Things to Buy Your Snarky Wife for Valentine’s Day that won’t get you laughed at or punched

What to Buy Your Snarky Wife for Valentine’s Day

The target audience for this post is a bit different than usual, ok a LOT. As in opposite. So, ladies, read this through and if it applies to you, feel free to forward to your Valentine. I’ll drop the not-so-subtle hints for you.

Cynical, snarky, jaded, sarcastic, whatever adjectives apply to your wife, for whatever the reason, she’s not into sappy, lovey-dovey bull shat. And that can make your job very difficult this Valentine’s Day. As a man, I’m fairly certain that you haven’t put much thought into this fabricated holiday of love. If history is any indication of your behavior in a week’s time, you’ll saunter into the closest convenience store and grab whatever they forcefully suggest you purchase your “One True Love” this Valentine’s Day. Because NOTHING says immortal love like a 4-inch plush animal unnaturally dyed red, a box of poor-quality chocolates wrapped and glued shut in cellophane, one rose with a poo-shaped chocolate where the petals should be, and a card with 2 beautiful people on the front, sitting by the ocean, with words you could never think of on your own, much less write down, on the inside.

I understand her because I AM her. Just because she’s jaded DOESN’T (I repeat, DOESN’T) mean she wants you to ignore this pretend holiday. She still wants to be shown you love her, just not in a conventional way and she definitely doesn’t want a bunch of shat she has no use for. That’ll piss her off. And that’s what you’re trying to AVOID. Roses and a sweet, sentimental card will NOT get her to take off her clothes and beg you to “love her long time”. It will get you an eye-roll, a punch in the arm for being “weird”, or even made fun of. (Again, we want to AVOID this.)

“SO WHAT DO I DO, E??”

  1. First up: the card. The card must meet her where she is. If you are the sappy type, get a sappy card but write in funny things to break up the weirdness. Make fun of your own sappy card in a way that tells her you love her AND her snarkiness. She’ll love your originality and authenticity.
  2. Make her a card. Come on, it’s not that hard. Go to Wal-Mart or Michael’s and get some construction paper. Or just raid your daughter’s stash. A piece of construction paper with a heart drawn on the front, folded in half, with a hand-written “I Love You and Your Snarky Ways” inside will go much further than something you would never say.
  3. One option for the main gift (yes, MAIN- as in “there should be MULTIPLE”… trust me. I have lady parts) is something to give her time alone, especially if she’s a mom. I highly recommend a gift card to a blow-out bar or a day spa if she enjoys getting pampered. If she’s not the pampered type, give her a gift card to her favorite store and keep the kids busy while she takes care of bid-naz.
  4. If you’re tight on money, don’t worry. In the words of Wanda from In Living Color, “I GOTCHU”. Look around the house for a basket. Go to Target or another store that has a beauty aisle and pick up the $1 face masks, some bubble bath, maybe a loofa. Purchase said items and place them in the basket with some other fun stuff. (Notice you just read “fun”, not shat). Take the kids for a WHOLE day. Plan a fun day away with them and let her be her at home. Bam. Insta-love.
  5. Plan a day away with her. Create sappy memories instead of crappy, sappy items that mean nothing to her. Where did you go on your first date? How about the first time you said, “I HEART YOU”? Anywhere she’s been dying to go? Here’s a hint: If she’s mentioned it out loud to you EVER, she’s been dying to go. Snarky, cynical women don’t reveal too much unless they’ve been thinking about it for a while. By the time it leaves our lips we’ve made up our minds that we wanna do it. (That’s what she said.)
  6. Unless it’s against her religion and she’s uber devout or she’s allergic (how tragic), alcohol will ALWAYS be a good option. But make it unique. Don’t go to Trader Joe’s and hand her the cheapo Chardonnay. Likely, it will end up broken. After she smashes it with your head. Let’s keep that from happening. Go online or to a wine store and ask. Always ask.
  7. Ghost Tour!!!!! If she likes that sort of thing, that is. But it’s such a different, fun thing to do. It’s quirky, dramatic, and she’ll snuggle in real close when that ghost comes running for you!
  8. Yes, I made fun of the BAD chocolate. However, Godiva = Heaven. If she likes chocolate, she’ll prolly have some mad love in her heart for a $50 box of crack. Trust me.
  9. Bonus: Ok, so I mentioned that she should receive multiple gifts. That doesn’t mean you have to break the bank. If you have one large gift, have some fun “extras” ready. Her favorite wine chilled, her favorite candy on the counter when she gets home, something special that only you know to do.

I know this is a lot to take in (that’s what he said), but just try it out. Even if you just take half of my advice. Or 1/4th of my advice. But please, PLEASE no stupid, sappy cards, plush animals or grocery store chocolates. Happy VD! Ladies, did I miss anything??

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How to Workout with Kids

For those of you who have kids and want to start a fitness journey, or for those of you who just wonder how moms juggle family, work, obligations, AND stay in shape, me too. I’m curious, too. Since I became a mom almost 9 years ago, I think I’ve tried to get back in shape more times than my 5 year old has asked me for gum this afternoon (that’s, like, a LOT of times). You wanna know how many times I’ve been successful? Um… once. But it didn’t last long.

Over Christmas this year I decided I was going to do it again. But for real this time. Each year my office closes between Christmas and New Year so it was the perfect time. I’d be home. I’d cleanse my diet. I’d restart my body. Trick it to think it doesn’t want that massive piece of chocolate cake from the grocery store, like I trick my kids to think that Chick-Fil-A doesn’t sell ice cream on the week days. It’d be so super easy. I even have everything I need at home in the form of workout DVDs. Bam.

Day one was AWE-SUM. It was great. My kids are obviously now old enough for me to reason with.

“Kids, I’m going to be in the basement for 20 minutes to workout. Everyone has snacks and drinks, everyone is good, right?”
“Yes, Mommy! We’re good!”
“OK! I’m going to close the door so that the dogs don’t come down but if you need me, you can come get me, OK?”
“OH KAAAAY!”
“But if you come downstairs, please don’t let the dogs down.”

Y’all, hand to Heaven I got 20 minutes with my Piyo DVD. It was so refreshing and I felt so alive. I was all,

“I got this. This time tomorrow I’ll be down to my fighting weight. Just to make sure I’ll have a smoothie for my after-snack snack.”

The next day was fairly similar.   Got ma fit-nass on (please read that as “own” for dramatic effect). BAM! But… It didn’t last long. Pretty soon, I was getting maaaybe 10 minutes in before Pandora opened her shatty box of cray-zee, Roman opened the basement door to demand I help him put on my gold pants (because he thinks they make him look like Slash), and our 50-lb lab, Georgia, came FLYYYYYYY-ing down the stairs and tackled me while I was attempting to perfect my push-ups which meant I was at the perfect height on the floor for my Chihuahua, Lola, to lick me up the nose. Yes, UP the nose. Her tongue is so long and slender that it actually fits UP MY NOSE.

Then Roman wanted to play the drums for me while I worked out. But I couldn’t hear the lovely Chalene Johnson! I asked him to play quietly but then he started crying because Guns n Roses doesn’t play the drums quietly! So that finished that day. Subsequent attempts were even worse… so I finally gave up. And by “finally” I mean by the third day.

“Oh, I know!” I naively thought to myself, “I’ll sign up for the special I saw on Facebook for the Krav Maga combat fitness classes! Three classes for $20. Done. I’m so gonna rock this. If I pay for it I’ll totally do it cuz I don’t wanna waste money!”

I took the first class on the last Wednesday before going back to work. Class started at 6. I had to wait for my hubs to get home from work to relieve me from my parenting duties so I was runnin’ a little late! Sue me! Weeeell, they very well may. Someone from the studio called me to make sure I was coming. I got there at 6:05. Intense. “Something tells me we’re not in LA Fitness anymore.”

I was the only person in the class who had never done it before. Everyone in the class… EVERYONE had on shirts and pants with the studio logo on it. I busted up in there in a hot pink sports bra, yoga shirt, and bright running tights. Like, have you ever gone to a costume party only to realize you need to stop at the store on the way so you’re walking through Target dressed like a giant poo emoji? Yeah. That was me.

And I was totally lost. Like a female pro bowler trying to be a Lakers Cheerleader. Lost like that. I loved it but felt totally lost. It was a great workout. But I knew that once work started back I wouldn’t be able to make those classes without, at best, being 10 minutes late. The schedule just didn’t match mine.

I realized something over the break. I’ve been going about this “all-or-nothing” for so long… it’s not fair. Not fair to me. So I’m going to do my best. Some days my best might mean I eat 1300 healthy calories and a refuse that break-room cupcake. Some days I may kill those 1300 calories by breakfast. Oops. But it’s about being more aware of my choices and creating realistic expectations for myself.

Do I want my abs to come back to me? Yes. Do I want to take care of myself? Yes. But I also know that with the kids’ schedules, my schedule, and my husband’s schedule, sometimes it’s all I can do to get them in bed before I fall asleep in the hallway on the way back to my room. Step by step, choice by choice, I’ll get where I need to be.

What do you do to take care of yourself?

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Save Hours on Your Hair Routine

You are your own brand. WE are our own brand.  What that means is that every time someone sees us, every time we are heard, every time someone reads something we write the recipients are left with an impression of us. A story of who we are and what we stand for. No, my story is not “Dumb and Dumber”. But I do accept that some people may have the impression that I should be incarcerated for being incredibly awesome and, thus, a threat to society, so…

Think about the brands of your favorite companies. The reputable ones… not the sketchy ones that have the entrance ‘round back with billboards up and down the interstate on the way to the beach. That’s weird. What feelings do they conjure for you just by hearing the company name? That’s their brand. What is your brand? What do people see when they look at you? Is it what you want? Oh, God, is it what I want???

As women, life gets busy and we either forget that people are paying attention to us or just stopped caring. Even if we aren’t paying attention to ourselves, I promise others are. Someone always is. Especially kids. “Mom, you have a strange shaped nose. Did you know that?”  Ugh, yes, I know that.

For example, in my mind I’m an effing glamorous rock star, complete with leather, stilettos, and appropriately worn smoky eye. In actuality today I wore a black sweatshirt I’ve had for 10 years, bright orange and pink running tights, no makeup, and dirty hair. Yes, I went out like that. Have I gone a few days without bathing? Maybe. Is it gross? Yes. Do I care? Meh. I didn’t care until I saw someone I know and she hugged me because she’s super nice. And here I am looking like a biatch because I’m embarrassed to be me.

So, while I want my brand to tell the world that I am edgy, feminine, and a badass protector of all things beautiful, today it says “I’m tired, overwhelmed, and ain’t got time for this shit. Feed me coffee and wine and if you judge me I’ll throat punch you.”

But there has to be a way for us to have both. There has to be a way for us to show the world (including our children) that we DO care about the way we present ourselves to the outside without spending an hour that we don’t have getting ready and all the while still feeling comfortable. Affordable, effortless, and practical beauty. Clothes and shoes that make me look like Mila Kunis but feel like Roseanne Bar. (You know what I mean, don’t you?!)

As the new year is getting underway, I am vowing to uncover tricks to still look fabulous even when I’m on the verge of narcolepsy and share them with you so that we can be fab together, even if your version of fab includes turtle neck dickies and doilies. To each her own. You’re pretty. And that’s all that matters, right? Twenty-minute beauty. I can do anything in twenty minutes (that’s what HE said!!!!)

For my first hack, I would like to share with you the joy of dry shampoo.  Lordy, gurl, it’s ah-mah-zing.  If you’ve lived as I lived washing my hair every morning and sometimes still have greasy hair by the end of the day, then let me give you a little hope: you don’t have to live that way.

Now I wash my hair at night and I blow it out.  A proper blow out.  I don’t just blow dry all “willy nilly” and call it a day.  For my hair type, I use a palmful of mousse and run it through my hair before I dry it.  To wash and properly dry my hair it takes about 30 minutes.  If I don’t have to go anywhere,  I don’t even have to dry it all the way.

Here’s where it gets awesome: the next day, if you notice your hair is greasy, use your dry shampoo.  Spray at the roots at the top of your hair and lift up your hair around your head.  Brush out or run your fingers through your hair and you’re good to go.  At this point I can go a good three or four days without washing my hair.  Ok, let’s be honest, I know I CAN go five.  Is it pretty?  No.  But that’s neither here nor there.

So there you have it.  My secret.  You can spread it if you want…  I don’t mind.

What beauty hacks do you have? Can we share?

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Life’s Bright Side

Sometimes life gets the better of us no matter how hard we try to have it all and keep it all together. I’ve learned to see the bright side of things over the years. That’s really the purpose of this blog: to share the bright side of the sometimes bad side of life. And my bright side is your bright side because we’re all pretty. Here’s a list of my life lessons so far:

  1. Sometimes my son wants to wear my leather pants out of the house because he thinks he’s a rock star. If I don’t let him wear MY pants to dinner out, he tells me I’m mean. And maybe I am. Maybe I’m a horrible parent for that. But at least I’m pretty.
  2. I once got lost in a circle. A circle. Yes, you read that correctly. Sometimes I can’t find my way but that’s ok. Because at least I’m pretty.
  3. I have a very foul mouth and no filter. I would say I try but I don’t. Life’s too short to be someone you’re not. And I’m unfiltered. And pretty. Unfiltered and pretty.
  4. My husband is twice my size. He has muscles for days. On a vacation a few months ago I out ate him in crab legs. And the only reason I stopped is because there was no more to eat. I was still hungry. I don’t know if he was amazed, scared, or disgusted. Maybe all three. Yes, I have weaknesses but at least I’m pretty. For now. Until these crab legs catch up with me and I turn into one.
  5. I oversell things I like. I also oversell myself. I’m hoping it works like The Secret, where I put things out into the universe and they happen? No? Whatever. At least I’m pretty. Well, attractive. Ok, I’m average-looking. Let’s just say I do the best with what I’ve got.
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How to Plan a Party

Y’all, I just threw a housewarming party for about 100 people at my house over the weekend. Gasp! Still seems surreal. I don’t think I’ve had a “party” at my house since my 3rd grade birthday when I had 13 girls over to spend the night and my little sister got locked in the closet. And someone gave me a live rabbit. Without asking my parents. And it wasn’t my house (it was my parents’, so…).  But this weekend was SO FUN! Was it crazy? Yes. Could I have been better prepared? Yes. So if you’re thinking of having a party of any size in the future, keep reading. I learned some things that, I’m hoping, will be helpful for you in being prepared and saving money, regardless of the size of party you’re having.

Now, I’m NOT a Type-A person. I’m more Type-Meh. Not because I don’t want things to be perfect. That’s actually WHY I can’t be Type-A about it. I’m a typical perfectionist. If everything can’t be perfect, I don’t wanna do it. If I can’t workout 7 days a week for an hour, I will throw my hands up in disgust and declare my life a failure. (Dramatic, I know. It’s who I am.) But I’m trying to be more methodical, deliberate, and organized in life so that the world sees I DO have work ethic, lol.

I know that not everything will be perfect for the party so I can’t expect anything to be. Remember how I’m an expert “winger”? It serves me well where it relates to stress. I tend to be pretty laid back in these situations given what’s about to happen and figure, “if something doesn’t get done, it’ll be ok.” No one will die, right? I mean, unless I have some kind of crazy poison out on the cabinet listed as punch, but I don’t make poison any more so…. But I do want my guests to have a fun experience from the moment they walk onto my property until they walk off. Or are carried off. I don’t judge.

I knew Pinterest would be my friend. So I started researching party ideas waaaay ahead of time. I made a list of high-level TO-DO’s in the beginning that I kept with me at all times and added more detail as the planning progressed. Here’s my high-level list:

  1. Theme
  2. Guest List
  3. Food
  4. Drinks
  5. Entertainment
  6. Party Favors

I would take a picture of the ACTUAL list and show you but what ended up happening was that I would be at work and have an epiphany and make a note for my list on my work notes. So instead of having ONE MASTER LIST (cuz I supposedly kept it with me all the times, right? WRONG. I lose stuff sometimes.) I had one mommy list and a litter of baby lists. Don’t do that. Halfway through I realized that one thing I ALWAYS have is my phone. Insert list. By keeping my list on my phone it was all right at my fingertips. Let’s review:
Lesson 1: list your to-dos

Lesson 2: put the list in your phone. Unless you’re Amish. Or lose your phone a lot and don’t back it up. Or you’re in prison. But then you prolly won’t be throwing parties. Maybe, I don’t know. I haven’t seen the latest season of Orange is the New Black so I could be missing something. Anyway, back to party planning.

The theme was easy for me. First of all, I wanted the party to be welcoming and comfortable. Not pretentious or stuffy. Also, I LOVE to dress up in costumes. LOVE IT. It’s Christmas time ‘round these parts so I immediately decided on an Ugly Christmas Sweater party. Fun, festive, as unpretentious as you can get. If someone doesn’t wanna dress up or for some reason can’t, no biggie. Let’s do it.  As for decorations that match your theme, Lesson 3: go to Amazon.  Feel free to shop around, but ALWAYS CHECK AMAZON.COM.  Chances are, you’ll find what you’re looking for at amazing prices.

The guest list. For this party, the guest list was simple. I wanted to have all of our friends, family, and neighbors over as a way to say “Thank You” for their support and help with the move. I wanted everyone who has made a positive impression on our lives in our house so we could celebrate them.  That’s what this was about. I’m positive I didn’t include everyone. As hard as I tried not to leave anyone out, I’m sure I did. You know what that means!!!  ANOTHER PARTY!!!

My hubs and I got married in Vegas with just my bestie and her super-awesome hubs. We always expected to have a reception and celebrate with everyone when we got home and things “settled” down. Breakin’ News: “Settled” doesn’t exist. So, in a way, I saw this as our chance to celebrate everything that’s happened over the past 6 years. Our engagement, our wedding, our first house, our babies, our second house, our friends, our new rescue dog, my new shoes… wait. I’m off track again. Anyway, I figured maybe half of the people we invited would be able to make it. I was wrong. All but about 5 families were able to take time out of their schedules during the holidays to help us celebrate. That’s a reason to celebrate in and of itself.

Next up, FOOD. I severely under budgeted. In my Type-Meh mind I assumed that buying tons of food would some how equate to a cheaper per person rate. In case you’re wondering, it doesn’t. I also thought that having heavy hors d’oeuvres would be a good idea. They’re little, they’re filling, and they’re prolly much more economical. Not true on the economical part. So if you’re trying to decide how much to budget for catering a party, Lesson 4: plan on $15 USD per person as an average. Going with hors d’oeuvres can increase that to about $18 per person if you’re using good, quality caterers, which is definitely the way to go. Don’t skimp on the food.

In keeping with the laid back atmosphere I was aiming for, I went with BBQ. It was delicious. The kind of delicious that makes you wonder if there’s crack in it. If you happen to be located in the Atlanta, GA area, ‘Cue BBQ is AH-MAH-ZING. I called them up at the Milton location, got a quote, Julie was extremely helpful and patient, answering all of my questions and giving me time to shop around. She even suggested food amounts given the expected number of guests. In the end, there was plenty of food, some left over, and people are still stopping me to thank me for the delicious food and to tell me how much they love ‘Cue. All in, tip included (that’s what she said), it was just over $12 per person. Not bad at all.

For appetizers, I highly suggest Costco if you’re doing them yourself. If you don’t have a membership, find someone who does, someone who won’t steal your money, and get them to buy frozen appetizers from Costco. For $11 USD per box you can get 48 Mediterranean-style tapas and for the same price, 100 assorted appetizers like pigs in a blanket, chicken and mushroom turnovers, and potato puffs. Just pop them in the oven and voila. Well, it felt like “voila”. Easy and tasty, just like me.

Here’s the next lesson: Lesson 5: You’ll need to bake the appetizers about 45 minutes prior to the guests coming over if you are doing them yourself. Luckily, my mom and aunt showed up early because there is NO WAY I could have done this without them. They totally took care of that for me so I could finish getting ready. Next time, I’ll bake them about an hour ahead of time and prepare to either keep them warm in the oven or have a chafing dish ready to keep them warm. Trying to get ready and finish up the details was not something I could do on my own. And as wonderful as my husband was at getting things done, he was focused on the “man things” like the yard.  Another lesson I learned but won’t number: check the oven before you turn it on. My husband stuck the pizzas for the kids (boxes and all) in the oven to keep them warm and I almost burned down our home. Oops.

Drinks. Ah, drinks. I knew I wanted to serve a drink to the adults as they came in.  I found an apple cider mimosa drink that I thought was festive and fun.  Done.  All I needed were champagne flutes.  Amazon.com had a pack of 48.  Done.  Lesson 5: don’t skimp by purchasing cheep champagne flutes.  The bottoms kept falling off and they were really flimsy.  Get the good ones that arrive assembled in one piece.

I was totally lost about how much alcohol to get. So, I did what any self-respecting unprepared female does… I consulted Pinterest. And Pinterest lied. I thought it would be my friend and it let me down. The chart I found stated that for 30 people, you should have 16 bottles of wine, 3 cases of beer, and 5 bottles of liquor. Done. We were expecting about 55 adults and I’m in charge of the wine. I’m gonna knock this OUT. So I just doubled the suggested amount of wine. AAaaand I had about 20 bottles left over. Good news: just like a good casserole, it’ll stay. (Get the Zoolander reference? No? Dam. Oh, well.) I have enough for several more parties. Several. I also made 2 types of sangria (Pomegranate and Wicked Apple) and a pre-dinner drink, Apple Cider Mimosas. Overboard? Maybe. Necessary? Yes. Lesson 6: Include other cocktails in your drink count and for a party of 55 people, you’ll only need about half of what Pinterest says. Cuz Pinterest lies.

Lesson 7: Set up the non-alcoholic drinks and plenty of water. Cuz I forgot. What had happened wuz that I thought my hubs had grabbed them out of my car. He hadn’t. And I was too preoccupied to realize it until guests started asking for it. Oops. Also, make sure you CLEARLY label what is alcoholic and what isn’t.

Entertainment. One thing we did that I think was well received: we had sitters over to help watch the kids. There were only 2 of them for about 45 kids so I just asked them to try to make sure no one gets hurt or hurts the house. Honestly, we could have used a few more people to help them out because I know it wasn’t an easy job. But the parents didn’t have to worry about finding and paying for a sitter and they could enjoy themselves knowing that their kids were safe and right downstairs. If you’re inviting the kids, include some things that are age appropriate for them to do so that they aren’t released into the wild and left to their own devices. We had coloring books, crafts, and movies to keep them busy. And at some point Nerf guns. So we all felt safe.

As for the adults, football, music/movies, alcohol, and A PHOTOGRAPHER. Y’all, if you’re having a party of significance, I suggest getting a photographer to take good, professional pics. Laura Breese in Atlanta is awesome. She used to take care of my babies so I know she’s trustworthy and she happens to take a damn good picture. You don’t have to worry about carrying around your phone hoping to get pictures of everything. Believe me, she captured moments and images I would never have thought to get. She even offered to take family pics for our guests in front of our tree for anyone who wanted them for cards or whatever.

As guests left, I wanted them to have something useful that they could keep as a way to say “Thank you for coming” (that’s ALSO what she said). Since it was a housewarming party, I was looking for something that brought that to mind. I found an antique skeleton key bottle opener on Amazon. PERFECTION. A simple, small token with a practical use. I ordered a box of 50, a little apprehensive that we might not have enough. We were expecting about 55 adults and I wasn’t sure if each adult would take one or if they would take one per family. My biggest fear throughout this whole planning process was that we wouldn’t have enough of something. I wanted to do this right and not skimp on anything. Turns out, we had a good number left over. I wrote a little note to attach to each and boom. Done.

Overall, I measured success by the number of smiles I saw, laughs I heard, and hugs I received.  It was a great night.  One I hope I never forget.  And I’d do it again in a heartbeat.  If you’re reading this and you are one of the ones who came out, I hope you enjoyed it and I can’t wait to do it bigger and better next time. (That’s what she said).  If you’ve read this to get prepared for a party you’re planning, I hope this helps.  Let me know how it goes!

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