How to Survive Rogue One

My family and I did something a few days ago that we rarely do… we went to the movies! Usually my hubs and I wait until movies are available from the comfort of our own home and have the “lazy man’s movie night”. But we went all out for Rogue One. Given it’s been a bit since we’ve ventured out together like this, I forgot about a few nuances about the movie theater experience. In the event you are weighing the pros and cons of going to see a movie, I’d like to share with you what those nuances are.

  1. Cost – if you’re not in the top 1% of the top 1% of earners in the country, you may want to pawn that vase you had appraised on Antiques Roadshow before you purchase those tickets. And don’t get me started on the food. $4.99 USD for a SMALL BOTTLE OF WATER?????? I can get 32 bottles at Costco for that price! Just keep whispering, “It’s for the babies… it’s for the babies… it’s for the babies.” And hand over that $100 bill. To be fair, in exchange you’ll get a kid’s sized Icee, a small popcorn, and a box of Snowcaps. Did you get nachos? Want extra cheese? Well, that’ll be a kidney. Napkins? Those are free. You’re welcome.
  2. Time Management – Lines are inevitable even if you get your tickets online. Lines, lines everywhere. So be sure to plan for it. Concession lines to order your food and drinks, lines to get your food once you order it, lines to show the 13 year old your tickets, lines to use the bathroom. Lines again so that your 5 year old can use the bathroom for the 6th time in an hour. In my mind I’m famous and, as such, should not be subjected to lines.
  3. People – Ugh. I forget how much I hate being around people until I go to the movies. Remember that movie Crash? The one where Reese Witherspoon’s first husband played a cop? When I saw that movie so many years ago, something happened that caused me to forever lose faith in the classiness of the human race. A woman sat down rightbesideme (yes, that spacing is on purpose because that’s how I felt) in a not-so-crowded theater, reached into her oversized handbag, and pulled out of that Mary Poppins purse a paper bag from Churches Chicken. While the movie was just beginning (the actual movie, not the credits) she tore the bag down the side and rolled it down so that she could gain better access to her chicken wings. Then she- I moved. I have no idea what she did after that. In my mind she made love to those chicken wings without shame, no matter who was watching, and I wasn’t going to be a part of that. But, yeah, I hate being around groups of people. They’re stupid.
  4. My kids – I adore my kids. Seriously. I am in love with them. But I can’t handle going to the movies with them very often. When we order movies at home, they have full access to more than one bathroom. They can move around, they can talk, they can sit on their heads, they can cry because their socks feel funny. None of it matters because I didn’t spend $100 to watch it. I maybe spent $6 if I was feeling frisky and didn’t go with a free option. Today Roman spilled his popcorn, went to the bathroom 4 times, got his foot caught underneath himself and started bawling, sat in my lap, sat in my hubs’ lap, sat in his chair, sat in my lap, back to my husband, then back to me. He wanted my pizza, nope that’s gross, then drank an entire Icee. That’s right. He had to pee 4 times BEFORE he finished the Icee. Then there’s my 8-year-old baby girl. Bella is usually pretty good at the moves. Today, though, she wanted to know who everyone was in the movie, why they did what they did, point out how funny the robot was, impersonate the robot, crunch her chips, smack her chips, argue with me out loud when I told her quietly to stop smacking, and sit with her legs in what I can only describe as an open frog position.

Overall, even with the frustrations, we had a great time. Rogue One is a very entertaining, action-packed movie that the kids and the hubs loved. I love that a strong female character kicked ass. Bam, boys! It moves quickly and stands alone so you don’t have to be familiar with the whole franchise to get the story. So if you can get passed all the crazy out there and afford to sell your first born to whatever theater you prefer to visit, I highly recommend seeing Rogue One.

Maybe I’m impatient and frugal but it’s ok. At least I’m pretty. How do you prefer to watch movies?

How I Feel Pretty

I have a whole blog dedicated to being so “pretty” that bad things can’t affect me. In case you’ve read everything on my site and still wondered what tha hell is going on here, that’s the tongue-in-cheek intent behind the space I take up on the “internets”. But there are many, many days that leave me not feeling so pretty.

I’ve allowed years of my life to pass by me while I live in a fog on autopilot so that I don’t have to feel. Sometimes life’s shat gets stuck on my shoe and I can’t get it off. Now, maybe I’m off base here, but I have a sneaky suspicion that I’m not alone in this. So how do we get our mojo back once the fog lifts and we wake up?

As a girl I dreamed of growing up so that I could BECOME THE BEST EVERYTHING AND THE WORLD WOULD REALIZE MY GREATNESS. I was totally unprepared for the infinite number of reinventions that we have to go through as women. We’re constantly having to adapt and change and it seems like as soon as we get one situation under control and feel comfortable with ourselves relative to our surroundings, life snatches the rug from under our feet. We’re left crying on the bathroom floor one month away from being homeless and destitute and trying to figure out our next move without having to call our parents AGAIN to bail us out.

When I was a flight attendant, the saying went that all of the best flight attendants are “fluid and flexible”. In that world you have to be. Schedules are constantly changing, you’re part of one team and perfectly in synch only to have someone on another crew call out so guess what- you’re now on that crew. And you’re responsible for the safety of hundreds of people, several times a day, that you’ve never met. I was totally unaware at the time how applicable this is in every day life.

College was the first time I’d really ever been away from home. I had a really hard time adjusting mentally. I was a total stranger to myself. I had no idea how great I was at being me so I tried to control EVERYTHING. I think my entire freshman year was spent in a fog grasping at straws that kept slipping through my fingers. I’d lost my granddad to cancer, my family was experiencing issues that I couldn’t fix, and I was torn between being able to make my own decisions and not wanting to let anyone down. But slowly I learned to navigate.

By the end of college I had it all figured out. I was confident. I felt comfortable in my own skin. I remember the cruise I went on with my roommates for spring break (which also happened to be my 21st birthday). It was seven days of fun with my best friends. And for seven whole days I felt pretty. Because I was happy. I look back at pictures and I’m so nostalgic for that experience. The ship was old, our rooms were small, but we didn’t care! We were having too much fun to worry about that. It was my first time on an airplane. My first time on a ship. My first time on a tropical island. I felt so free and happy.

It feels like every time I can say “I feel pretty” it follows that same pattern of feeling free and confident. And it usually follows a time I’ve conquered a “first”. My first tattoo, moving to Italy by myself, realizing I was making a life for my daughter and me, coaching little cheerleaders and hearing them laugh and have fun, all of these things that I didn’t think I’d ever be able to do but I did! And it’s realizing those milestones that I never thought I could do that make me feel pretty. It’s bigger than superficial attractiveness. It’s a feeling. It’s a feeling that tells me I’m more capable than I ever thought possible.

If I’m being honest, I haven’t felt pretty for a while now. I’ve been in a fog. I feel out of control. It’s all my doing. I’ve lost my voice. I’ve lost command of my life. It happens. When you become a mom and a wife and an employee and a boss and a mortgage payer, and a loan payer, and the kids want to play sports and go on field trips, and have growth spurts so you have to buy new clothes again for the child that just outgrew everything last month, and everything else that goes with living, it’s easy to flip the switch to autopilot and let yourself glide through the motions of life with no purposeful intentions to guide your plane to the destination you want.

But then you wake up one day and you itch for something different {hopefully it’s not THAT itch}. You may not know what you need or how to get it. You just now that where you are isn’t where you want to be. It’s time to stretch. Get fluid and flexible again. It’s time to rebrand yourself and get out there.  And remember that it isn’t going to happen all at once.

So, I’m off to put my big girl panties on and make a plan. It just takes one step. No more excuses.

How many times have YOU had to rebrand yourself? Lost count? Me, too.

Thanksgiving Spirit

It’s almost Thanksgiving, y’all. The spirit of giving thanks is all around. To perpetuate that spirit, I’m going to share with you an experience I just had with a lovely woman that, I feel, will leave you all questioning your own giving spirit, wondering what more you can do to be more like her. Sit back, enjoy, and allow this to enable a moment of self-reflection.

As I do everyday, this morning I ordered my Starbucks coffee and breakfast on my mobile app, parked my car inside the lines of the parking space I chose (I’m getting really good at that now; it only took me 2 years!!), and turned off my car to grab my stuff and go inside.

Before I could get out of my car, I heard a “thud” and my car moved! An earthquake! It must be! But, in Atlanta???? I look over to my passenger side to see a lady give me a nasty look as she’s getting in her car. That’s right, y’all. She purposefully hit my car with her car door. Now, I could have done nothing. But that’s just not who I am.

So, all 5 feet, 2 inches of me steps out of my car and walks around to see if my car has been damaged. As I do that, I look over at her and she rolls down her window. That’s right. I witnessed a Thanksgiving miracle. She was able to get into her car! How was that possible when I was parked so closely??? Y’all, she must be in God’s favor. In a minute, you’ll see that’s obvious.

With her window down she says, “You nee ta park in tha lines ness time!” To which I replied, “I did!” and motion to my tire, which is clearly on the correct side of the line.  As evidence, I submit the following two pictures.  The first shows that I AM parked inside the line (I’m the red car, BTW) and the second shows a bigger car that parked in the same space after her with both doors wide open.  Without (and this is the kicker) smacking my car {SHOCKED FACE!}.

parked-car-1

 

 

parked-car-2

 

As she backed away from me and my Chihuahua-esque furiousness she yells, “Happy Thanksgiving, BITCH!” Clearly a nod to my Lola. She’s so thoughtful! Although I’m not sure how she knew I had Lola… she must follow me on Instagram.

Luckily my car’s ok. No scratches. I wished her well as she drove off. Have any of you had holiday encounters that embody the spirit of giving quite like this one?

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!

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?