Tuesday, January 31, 2012

5 things I know for sure...

As a graduate student in counseling, one of my main jobs, homework, or whatever you want to call it is to know who the hell I am.

Knowing how you are, who you are and what you believe are essential to being a good counselor. Why? So you can separate yourself from you client and make sure your values, and your beliefs aren't being forced on another.

As I started to think about who I am, my neurosis kicked in and I started second guessing everything. Do I really think that? Do I really believe that? Is it really part of who I am?

So, I am starting small and building my way to certainty. Here are five things in life that I really believe beyond a shadow of a doubt.

1. Write thank you notes. For a lunch. Because someone did you a favor. For no reason at all. Buy plain, white thank you notes (this is another story, for another post) and give handwritten thanks.

2. Tip well. I may be biased because I have spent years in the bar/restaurant industry scathing over bad tippers, but the bottom line is this...these people get paid $3 an hour to wait on you hand and foot, with a smile. They really do want you to enjoy your food, your drink and your experience. They are trying. So show them you appreciate it. And yes, I believe, 20% is always the rule. Even when they suck. Chances are they know they sucked, probably because people have been stiffing them all day, and a good tip may just turn their attitude--and their day--around.

3. One of the keys to a happy relationship is...saying thank you. Yes, it's true. I have learned this from my boyfriend. He says thank you for everything. Because I washed the dishes. Or because I listened to him vent about a bad day. Or because I told him he looked handsome. And now I do it too. Those two little words go a long way. It's nice to feel appreciated.

4. Go to Paris. Remember when LC didn't go to Paris because her loser boyfriend (was it Jason?) asked her to live with him for the summer? Here's the deal...the good guy, the nice guy, the one who's worth a damn...will tell you to go to Paris!

5. Forgive. Always forgive those who have wronged you. Take all the time you need to plot the revenge you will never take, be pissed off, or sad, but at some point, when it's right for you, make peace with it and let it go. Harboring hate or resentment really only hurts you.

That's all for now. Maybe next week I will be sure about five more. What things about life do you know for sure?

Monday, January 30, 2012

a to-do list

A few friendly suggestions of things I have enjoyed lately and wanted to share...

read this:
The Fault in Our Stars, John Green

Um, hi. This book is good. I'm discovering that all of John Green's books are. But this one in particular was just... a must-read. It's about a girl with cancer. Which is just about as sad as it sounds. But so worth shedding a few tears over.

watch this:
Downton Abbey

My mom gets annoyed by my incessant insisting on which shows she should be watching. But after I finally persuaded her to watch just one episode of Downton (english accents! amazing costumes! Maggie Smith!) she was hooked. And I got to say "I told you so." Win, win.

listen to this:
Voyageur, Kathleen Edwards

I love a good female singer. And Kathleen Edwards' CD does not disappoint. Full of great little ballads, it's the perfect music for Mondays, I think. Plus, it's produced by Bon Iver's Justin Vernon... need I say more? Favorite track: Empty Threat.

wear this:
Matte top coat

I was sporting some sweet matte green polish last week and the compliments were rolling in. As of late, you could call me obsessed with all things matte, so I was pleased to find that my fingers can get in on the party. With this top coat, you can make any polish matte....winning!

What are you loving right now? Please share!

Friday, January 27, 2012

tag, you're it!


Happy Friday y'all! It's finally the freakin weekend and we could not be more excited. A few days ago, P!nky from P!nkPers!stence tagged us in this little survey, and we thought we'd kick off our weekend with a few fun answers to these questions. I know y'all are at the edge of your seats to learn more about us... so here you go!

Do you have a nickname? Explain what it is and why.
Annye: Well... my family has always called me Annye Bugs (no clue how that started), Tumbleweed (I was a clumsy child) or Willow (I was an emotional child, too). And because of the unique spelling of my name, literally everyone calls me Anye (like Kanye) all the time--and they all think they're the first ones to come up with it... but I've actually been called Anye my whole life, way before Kanye West was on the scene. Oh, and my friends from college call me Turkey Monster (not sure why...). I love a good nickname.

Jena: My mom has called me Jen for forever. If anyone else calls me that I cringe, but it's okay when my mom says it for some weird reason. Peanut was another nickname of mine for a long time. I was a very small child, always the shortest in my class. My close friends from high school call me Lene´ (Pronounced Lanay), which is my middle name. Ah, and since I do have odd spellings in my name, once someone pronounced my name "Gina Leeney"--and my boyfriend thinks its hilarious, so that one has stuck with him.

You're stranded on a desert island. What 3 things do you bring with you?
A: Chapstick, a good book, Ryan Gosling (all for obvious reasons)
J: My dogs Buddy and Belle, a good book and my friend Tricia. She would make it all sorts of fun.

Would you rather eat sweet or salty food?
A: Sweet. Hands down.
B: Annye, your crazy. Salty all the way.

Are you a heels or a flats type of girl?
A: I don't like to pick favorites. Gimme both!
B: Both. Some days are heel days, others are most certainly not.

Describe your perfect day. What does it entail?
A: Waking up to my mom's biscuits and gravy, spending the day in a body of water (i.e. pool, ocean), drinking copious amounts of margaritas, and being surrounded by my favorite people.
J: Right now it's waking up to a good cup of tea and my boyfriend cooking breakfast, piddling around Dickson Street and having a beer or glass of wine way too early, and then spending the evening playing with his son. My ideal perfect day would involve all of these things, my family and friend Tricia (who all live too far away), and a beach.

What's your worst habit you'd like to break?
A: Biting my damn nails. Ugh.
J: Being so scatterbrained. In one week I managed to get a car towed because I didn't have a parking sticker, lose my house key for a day and a buy a planner for 2011 instead of 2012.

What's your favorite animal?
A: Hmm.... It's probably sad that I have to think about this. I find corgi's really cute, though.
B: Dogs, hands down.

What's your favorite type of accessory? Earrings? Shoes? Scarves? And why.
A: I'm notoriously bad at accessorizing, but I will say I wear scarves a lot.
J: I share in Annye's lack of ability to accessorize, but I wear scarves a ton, too. They change your look for very little money and with very little effort. My new favorite accessory, however, is an old, broken gold watch I stole out of my dad's dresser drawer.

If you were famous, would you rather be a movie star, a singer or a reality TV star? Why?
A: I would like to be famous for not doing any of that. The idea of "celebrity" doesn't enchant me all that much. How about... just being good looking and awesome? Got that in the bag.
J: If I am famous I want it to be because I wrote a damn good book.

What made you start your blog?
A: I was inspired by a late night conversation on a trip to Hilton Head Island with Jena, and the fact that I didn't feel like there was a place where anyone was dead honest about how hard it is to be in your twenties sometimes.
J: Ditto to Annye. And I'm a big believer in sharing experiences. It's what got me through one of the darkest times in my life, just knowing someone else went through something similar and made it out the other side happy. There exists such a power in people being honest.

What's one thing that we should know about you?
A: I hate cheese. Like.... loathe the stuff. In fact, the idea of eating raw cheese makes me want to vom. I will eat it melted (on pizza or as queso). But something about hunks of raw cheese just really repulses me. And don't get me started on how terrible it smells....
J: When life gets me really up, really down or really confused, I drive for a good hour, usually to this state park near where we live, belt it out to the terrible pop country that comes on the radio and enjoy Arkansas' beautiful scenery.

We'd love to hear your answers to these questions! Hope everyone has a more than fabulous weekend.


Thursday, January 26, 2012

poll of the week: what do you really think about valentine's day

Last week we wanted to find out how seriously you take your parents opinions on your significant others.

Here's what you said...

None of you responded that your parents opinions don't matter at all. I think it's safe to say they'd all be very proud of you :) Is it true what they say, parents know best? In this case... I think it's safe to say that many of you think so.

With February quickly approaching, this week we wanted to get your take on Valentine's Day. Let us know how you feel about this holiday for lovers below...

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

weird things about getting older


Just a few things that have weirded me out lately:

It's weird that I'm officially old enough where my best friend lives in another city, like... permanently.

It's weird that I go into an office every morning at 8:30 a.m. and often don't emerge until after 4:30 p.m.

It's weird that being an adult does not mean we have control over the things or elements in our life that change.

It's weird that next week will be my second year at my {big girl} job... It's really been that long since I graduated college??

It's weird that I'm attempting to take up running, because that's what I envision healthy, responsible adults do with their time. Says the girl who hates to run.

It's weird to have grey hairs(!!) at twenty-three.

It's weird that it's 2012 and 1990 was over 20 years ago.


These are seriously things I think about. Ha. Deep thoughts, I know.
What's weird to you about getting older?

Ps. Last day to vote in last week's poll! Do it.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

first lesson from the dali

Via Pinterest

Fortunately or unfortunately for you all, however you want to look at it, I am going to be sharing with you things I learn from a book I have to read this semester, The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living. It is a compilation between the Dali Lama and Howard Cutler, a psychologist. It's about how to find happiness, which the Dali Lama believes to be the purpose of our existence as humans. Sounds like a good purpose to me.

Here are a few noteworthy points (I think!) from the first two chapters:

1. A life purpose of finding our own happiness may seem a bit self-centered, right? Not really. Happier people tend to be way more giving, compassionate and interested in others than unhappy people.

2. Many psychologists believe each of us is born with a genetically influenced baseline of happiness. No matter if we experience a life changing event, say losing a limb or winning the lottery, eventually, we return to the state of happiness that preceded it. Keep that in mind when you think, "Oh, only if I had a new car..." or "If I only had a boyfriend..." It may change how happy you are for a period of time, but not forever. So invest in INTERNAL happiness, rather than external.

3. If we have a genetically predetermined disposition for happiness, it doesn't mean that's the only happiness we can reach. We do have the power to influence our level of happiness. But it takes effort.

4. Pleasure and happiness are not the same thing. Think big picture. Buying that new top you can't afford may give you pleasure...but it could harm your overall happiness when you are experiencing financial stress. Same with that extra martini, piece of cake, or whatever. Don't get me wrong, experience pleasure every once in a while, but moderation is key.

5. Happiness is largely our state of mind. How we look at our life. It really is about being satisfied with what we have. That's not to say be complacent, but when striving for more...think about what you are striving for. Take the Dali's outlook on cars, for instance...he says if you live in a place where cars are common and needed to get around, then sure, have a car. But just an average car because others may become jealous of you and your possessions. The author challenges him at this, saying, a nice car would bring him happiness and if it bothers someone else, that is their problem, not his. The Dali replies that he is wrong. Measuring happiness isn't about the action in itself, but about the larger result that it has. Think pleasure v. happiness. I, for one, feel that I think about others for the most part. But this seems slightly unfair. My job, my money, my car. But, he is the Dali Lama after all...so maybe there is something to his way of thinking. Maybe happiness really isn't self-centered after all, requiring we think about how our decisions affect others.

What do you think about the Dali's thoughts on happiness thus far? Would you give up that black Range Rover you've been dreaming of since you were 15 for the greater good? Do you think it really would make a difference? How do you define happiness?

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, January 23, 2012

mistakes happen

I was reminded this weekend how much it sucks to make mistakes. For once, I was not the one making the mistakes, just witnessing them from afar. Though it should be noted that I've made plenty in my short lifetime, and I'm sure there will be plenty more.

The thing about life is that it's basically unheard of to get through it (let alone college) unscathed. In fact, I'd go so far as to say it's even sort of boring to be safe and not do anything wrong. At least, we could never be friends because part of being friends is swapping stories and if you don't have any to share you'll just make me look bad. And we can't have that.

I've woken up plenty of mornings and groaned, whhhyyyyy? Why did I do this, why did I say that, why, why, why. That's the worst. But then you get out of bed, brush your teeth, and move on with your day. Say some apologies if need be. Sure, it sucks to have done it, but you can move on. We all can.

In the moment, it's hard to see that. It's hard to get over the embarrassment of having done something wrong, having other people witness that, and having to apologize for your own behavior. And for me, it's hard to witness someone I care about realize this.

Alas, we all must do something wrong from time to time. I think that's when we grow the most. It's the times when we're down and out that really force us to take inventory of our lives and make some changes, hopefully for the better.

So basically what I'm saying is this: Mistakes happen. They suck. But you don't. We're all human. Next time, take a page from Ms. Taylor's book and just pour yourself a drink, put on some lipstick and pull yourself together.

Hope your weekend was full of mistakes and learning curves ;)


Friday, January 20, 2012

confessional friday

Confessional Friday. Read our dirt then dish your own!

  1. After I got off work last night, I thought to myself, "I want to spend money." So it was either go buy a new outfit or go out for drinks with the girls. One mass text later, martinis it was!
  2. I love that my friends are only one mass text away from happy hour :)
  3. Overheard at martini night: "I thought happy hour ended in 10 minutes. Phew. That was the scariest thing that has happened to me all week." --truer words have never been spoken.
  4. Drinks, appetizers and at home by 9 on a school night? This working girl thinks that's a great night out. As I said last night, my younger self would not be impressed.
  5. I don't think it's a coincidence that all of my "confessions" have been about drinking with girlfriends. That kind of says a lot about my life right now. I'm okay with that
  1. Today is the first day all week I made it to work before 10 a.m.
  2. I had no clean underwear the other day so I just didn't wear any. No worries ya'll, I had jeans on.
  3. Annye and I discussed grammar last night over martini's. The Oxford comma started a whole group discussion. I don't know whether to be proud or embarrassed?
  4. I had my first day of graduate school this week and I have never felt more excited on a college campus. Plus, I actually can't wait to buy my books and start reading. What is happening to me?
  5. I ate fried potatoes of some sort every day this week. Twice with ketchup and three times with a combo of bacon and sour cream. Is it odd this is actually a point of pride...
  6. Okay, I have one more...every time we post our Friday confessions, I sing that Usher song to myself..."These are my confessions..." ring any bells, anyone?
We hope everyone has a lovely weekend! Do something you love!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

poll of the week: do mom and dad's opinion count?

Last week, we asked about where you stand on your religious beliefs. To start, we'll share our own experience with church.....

I've was born and raised in church. Every Sunday, my family was in a pew. Outside of church, we prayed together daily. It's just always been a part of my life. I went to high school in the South, where religion is present and nothing to be ashamed of--depending on your beliefs of course. Then, I went to a really liberal arts college, where religion was not present and no one talked about it--unless it was about how they didn't go to church/believe. Coming from my background in the South, going through college, you could say I definitely got lost. But in the end, I think I ended up stronger for it. Now, my beliefs are my own. Take it or leave it. I don't feel the need to "evangelize" to others, because who I am and my relationship with the Lord is my own. And I believe that your relationship is your own--who's to say which is right or wrong? From my past experiences, people on either side of the spectrum of beliefs are too quick to judge and push their own thoughts down other people's throats. That's not for me. I'm still learning and growing, and I suspect I will be for a long time.

As a kid, we went to church on some Sunday's. Some year's we were the people that went on Easter Sunday and others we were the family that was there pretty consistently. Either way, I wouldn't consider myself to have had a religious raising. We didn't pray before meals after it wasn't adorable for us to say "God is great, God is good and we thank Him for our food" anymore. When we faced a problem my parent's didn't quote the Bible or tell us to pray about it. I know my parents both believe in God, in the Christian sense. My dad reads the Bible and tries to follow it. My mom's philosophy has always been slightly more simple--i.e. be a good person. Religion was present, but it didn't define who we were as a family.

I think the way my parents were about religion is something I have inherited. Beliefs are personal. And when it comes to sharing those said beliefs, I think walking the walk is more important than ever talking the talk. I respect that people believe they are to go tell it on the mountain, but I'm with Annye, that's not for me. One of my favorite quotes in reference to Christianity is this: "Your life is the only Bible some people will ever read." I think that is really powerful. And true.

For my beliefs personally, I'm in the minority or our voters. I have certain beliefs, but I am willing to guess they may change. Not to say that I am easily swayed, but I am still very much exploring. And it's not until I've taken the time to explore that I can feel convicted in anything. Moreover, I don't know if I will ever have a set of beliefs that can be defined within one religion. I know I believe in certain things--some Christian philosophies, some Buddhist, and some I will call "common sense."

When it comes to beliefs, I think the most important thing to think about is respect. Respect for the fact we all have the right to believe whatever we want to and no one else has to agree or understand it. I think it's a hard thing for people to do because of the conviction they feel--but remember, that other human being feels the same conviction you do. I'll compare it this, for lack of a better metaphor...remember when that asshole kid told you Santa Claus wasn't real? Don't be that asshole. (I am in no way saying religion/God/gods aren't real here!) Let people believe what they want until they do or they don't based on their own experience. Sure, share your thoughts on the matter, but don't try to destroy something that someone holds dear.

And here's what y'all had to say...

This week, we want to hear about how you weigh your parent's opinions on significant others. Do they voice their opinions to you? Is it important for you to gain their approval? We're curious!

Thanks for participating y'all!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

drama, rama

Via Pinterest

This past weekend Annye and I went out together with our lovely group of girlfriends. Cue cute outfits, red lipstick and high heels.

A few hours later you could also cue a few too many drinks, singing at the top of our lungs and well, a disagreement between friends.

The topic of the argument is not important to this post. What is important, however, was how we handled it. Don't get me wrong, politeness was pretty much out the window, there was steam coming out of ears and voices that could probably have been lowered an octave or two. (Although it did take place in a really, really, loud bar.) But it all came from one strange place--love.

No friendships were ended. No hard feelings were had. We disagreed. We all felt passionate wherever we stood, and well, despite a little heel stomping, we seemed to respect each other for that fact.

Rewind to my high school and even college years and this evening would have unfolded into much more. I think, not because I was awful or I had bad friends, but simply because as you get older (I realize I am only 24, so take my wisdom with caution) you start to appreciate that people are different from you. They bring a different perspective to the table. Listen to their side and you may learn something. Maybe your opinion won't change, but maybe you'll take the time to understand why someone feels the way they do. Perhaps you'll begin to learn that although you may not stand on the same side, that other person has the same right as you to be standing.

As a CASA volunteer, they pose interesting questions at training. Could you show respect to a person accused of child abuse? Now it's not about whether you respect their actions, but could you show them signs of respect? Shake their hand? Listen when they speak? Look them in the eye?

Some may say no--they don't deserve any respect. And, well, maybe they don't. But what if you took the time to listen and found out they were abused as a child? It's how they were raised, so it's how they raised their children.

Let me of course say, I think child abuse is an awful crime that should be punished. But, I also think that taking the time to figure out why someone thinks its acceptable is key to a solution much greater than just punishment--ending the cycle of abuse.

All this to say I am grateful for a group of women in my life who are opinionated. Who come from different places and bring different perspectives. Women who I may or may not learn from. Women who I may or may not teach. But women who respect one another enough to listen.

Monday, January 16, 2012

inspiration from mr. king himself

images via: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

"If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward."
-Martin Luther King, Jr.

Today's a great day to reflect on how fortunate we are to have been preceded by amazing people like MLK, Jr. and other trailblazers who have paved a path for humanity. We've come such a far way, but I can't help but think about how far we still have to go...

Friday, January 13, 2012

confessional friday

1.     Most exciting thing that happened all week? The return of One Tree Hill for its last season. Yes, I still watch the show. Yes, I love it. I am not ashamed.

2.     Speaking of TV, am I the only one who feels like she watches every show on TV? Here is what a typical week looks like for me (in no particular order): One Tree Hill, Gossip Girl, The Bachelor, Revenge, Modern Family, Happy Endings, Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, Parks & Rec, Jersey Shore, Downton Abbey, Pan Am. Sick! That’s a lot of hours in front of a TV.

3.     So I started my diet! Woo! But I still have not started the other part of my resolution—prepare to run a 5k. I agreed to do it with my sister and aunt and of course they’ve both begun and are being total rock stars. Meanwhile, I’m still searching for motivation.

4.     According to my horoscope, today is the most romantic day of the month for moi. Here’s what it says…“One standout date night will be the highly glamorous night of January 13. It's due to be a quite an evening for magical love.” To which I say, look out boys!

5.     I don’t find Disney movies charming anymore. There is nothing I would like to do less than re-watching Beauty and the Beast in theaters. And I truly don’t understand paying $10 to watch a movie I could probably recite every line to. Sorry I'm not sorry, Walt.

1. I actually enjoyed a networking event last night. It could be because my boyfriend was there and there were free appetizers and wine. But, maybe not?

2. I typed an extra '0' when making a payment on my credit card from my checking and nearly wiped my checking account clean. Technology-1, Jena-0.

3. Instead of freelancing more or using my graphic design skills to make a little extra dough, I have instead decided to pursue bartending. Yes, a few nights a week I will be slinging drinks, getting hit on my men who can barely speak, and arguing with said drunk men over their bar tab totals. I honestly can't wait. No computer screen, no deadlines, and uh, cash?

4. My boyfriend made a fabulous meal this week for the two of us. I bought the groceries. I have no guilt about this arrangement. To other 21st century couples, I say, amen.

5. I just had to google 'What century are we in?' to be sure it was the 21st. I haven't finished my coffee yet, okay?

What are your confessions, ladies? Happy Friday!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

poll of the week: where do you stand on your religious beliefs?

Hey y'all! Welcome to another installation of what we like to call.... Poll of the Week--where we ask all the hard questions and you tell us what you think! :)

Last week we asked your opinion on kissing strangers as the ball drops on New Years Eve. Here's what you said:

No one voted that it was sick, so that's great! The majority said it was totally acceptable--well aren't we scandalous. Twenty-first century girls! We stand {almost} united in the fight to smooch strangers.

This week, we want to get your take on religious beliefs. No, we don't want to know what you exactly you believe... but instead where you stand on those beliefs. Does that make sense? Tell us how strong your beliefs are and whether or not you find it your duty to share with others. We're curious to see how many of y'all have it figured out and how many are still searching--no judging here! Next week we'll tell you where we stand. And if YOU feel so inclined, please elaborate in the comments!

Love y'all!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

twenty things for twenty-somethings

just a few things for the twenty-somethings....
  1. know how to budget. not that you'll always use it. there will be times when you have to pick between eating and a cute outfit. it's okay to pick the outfit.
  2. find a cheap bottle of wine you love. just for sanity's sake.
  3. skim the news. if you're old enough to vote, you are old enough to understand what's going on in the world.
  4. {vote}
  5. write thank you letters. it's polite and your mother will be proud.
  6. know what you believe in. and why.
  7. stand up for what you believe in.
  8. use your words. u r an adult. spell like it.
  9. wake up in time for brunch on the weekend. you can sleep when you're dead.
  10. don't say you can't cook. anyone who can read a recipe and has been in a grocery store can cook something.
  11. it's okay to have one bad habit. everyone needs a vice and nobody's perfect.
  12. find a mentor. someone who you respect and admire. take them to lunch. ask for their advice.
  13. be kind. be humble. be grateful.
  14. call your grandparents.
  15. set goals for yourself. achieve them.
  16. don't be afraid to be unpredictable sometimes.
  17. wash your face.
  18. don't worry about the quantity of friends you have. quality is where it's at.
  19. invest in your own mental health. find a way to blow off steam or a really good therapist who will talk you through it.
  20. be selfish occasionally. now is the time to put yourself first.

Monday, January 9, 2012

shit guys say


By now, I'm sure we've all seen the Shit Girls Say videos (I believe there are two episodes). Hilarious, I admit. Have you also seen the spin-offs? So far I've seen the Shit White Girls Say to Black Girls. Shit Black Girls Say. Shit Girls Say to Gay Guys. and I'm sure there will be more.

To which I say this: we get it. Girls say a lot of shit. I'll be the first to admit that I've been known to say about 80% of the phrases in question. Not denying that.

But my biggest question is this.... what about the Shit Guys Say? I think guys say just as much shit as girls. I could write for days about the shit guys have said to me, my friends or just in general. When they want to be, boys can be just as amusing as girls.

So I propose we start a new blog section entitled, Shit Guys Say. Have anything funny that we should include? Please send them our way!

With the help of my friend, here are a few things that guys are welcome to stop saying any day now....
  • Any use of bro, brosef, brah, dude, man.
  • I look nice every day of the year, but nobody wants to take my picture. (not naming names, but i do actually no someone who said this once)
  • Snap!
  • I got this.
  • I'd tap that.
  • Update your fantasy team?
  • Gotta check my fantasy team.
  • That's two points for my fantasy team.
  • No homo.
  • FTW
  • Make me a sandwich.

I'm sure there's a lot more where that came from. And don't forget to share anything we may have missed!

ps. sorry for the prolific use of the word shit. :)

Friday, January 6, 2012

spilling it

Every Friday Leslie of A Blonde Ambition and her fans link up and share confessions. {Reminds me of the "It's okay if..." feature in Glamour--and I always happen to do a few of the mentioned.} So Annye and I will be joining the party and spilling our guilt. Join us!

1. I was supposed to start a diet this week, but instead decided I was going to allow myself another week of eating crap. And boy have I been eating crap. Must. Stop. Indulging.

2. I have never enjoyed being single as much as I am right now. Part of me thinks there’s something wrong with me.

3. I have been counting down the hours until the Cotton Bowl game tonight. I will be cheering on the Hogs from the comfort of my couch and I couldn’t be more excited.

4. At least twice a day, I scroll through my Facebook newsfeed and think, “These people are crazy.” I’d hate to know what people think about me on there.

5.  I went and played bingo in the retirement community up the road from us last night. It’s sort of a monthly tradition we’ve started. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t look forward to it and it wasn’t the most fun I have every month. 23 going on 72 right here.

1. My maintenance man came this morning to fix my shower and... a) I had just gotten up. It was 8:45 a.m. b) I answered the door with dry shampoo in my hair, i.e. giant gray spots atop my head. c) I haven't washed my hair in two, or is it three? days. 

2. I fell asleep watching How I Met Your Mother last night, for the second night in a row, instead of working on my CASA case, again. 

3. I had the bright idea of taking my boyfriend's three-year-old ice skating last night, he hated it and cried the whole time. Girlfriend fail.

4. My plans for the weekend entail...nothing. And that makes me very happy.

5. I ordered a Venti Chai Tea today instead of a Grande. Sorry savings, sometimes you've got to splurge on the little things in life.

Happy Friday!

a lack of idealism


Have you watched the movie No Impact Man? No? That’s okay. I saw it. It was pretty decent. It’s about a guy and his family who try to live a year {I think} with the smallest environmental impact possible. I’m talking no elevators, no cars, compost piles, local food, etc. It was a little extremist for my taste but I did think it was totally commendable that they would do that.

Despite the strong message, my one takeaway from that film had nothing to do with their lifestyle at all. Well maybe it had a little bit to do with it. But it was a quote the main guy said in the middle of the film, and I’m not sure it would have really stood out to anyone else, but it was very poignant for me. He said…

“There is such a lack of idealism. But I think realism is what got us where we are, you know what I’m saying?”

When it comes to thoughts on today’s world and current affairs, I’m what you would call an idealist. I believe in the power of dreaming and hoping for the best for everyone. I do think it’s too easy to get caught up in the cogs of the machine and loose focus on the big picture. Sometimes things aren’t black and white. Sometimes things are perfectly grey and that’s okay.

The other night Kanye took to his twitter and ranted about his beliefs on the education system in America, among other things. Did you see it? I woke up and read them all from bed. I loved it.

Say what you will about the man, {I’m a devoted fan} but Kanye is what I would describe as a dreamer. He was thinking outside of the box and outlining new and interesting ideas for a completely flawed system. No, they may not work. But at least he was pushing the limits.

When was the last time you pushed the limits or thought outside of the box? I think we could use more dreamers today.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

poll of the week: Is lip-locking a stranger acceptable on New Years Eve?

We asked y'all last week about your resolutions. Here's what you said:

No one voted that they don't make resolutions. I was very impressed. Since you told us yours, we'll tell you ours...

Jena's resolutions:
  • Get my finances in order (budgets & saving!)
  • D0 things I say I'm going to do. (no more bailing!)
  • Invest in me (starting yoga or dance)
  • Get really good at cooking one thing. (besides pasta)

My resolutions are a bit more extensive....

  • Be a redhead (a long time dream of mine)
  • Start our new writing project (Jena and I have something up our sleeve....)
  • Save lots of money (more than a grand would be nice)
  • Put money in a savings account for my niece (investing in her future)
  • Feel and look healthy (lose weight, run a 5k before my 24th birthday, do more yoga)
  • Stop biting my nails (every year this is on the list, every year I fail)
  • Write more hand-written letters (to my grandma in particular)
  • Visit Chicago at least once (I didn't at all last year and that depresses me)
  • Start working on my non-profit (I've got big plans y'all)
  • Wear more accessories (I'm notoriously bad at this)
  • Learn how to whistle (this is the year, I swear)

This week I want to pick your brains about your opinion on kissing randoms on New Years Eve. Is it okay in to get lost in the moment? Or is it totally unacceptable? Let us know below!

And of course... If you've got a good story, please share below! ;)


Wednesday, January 4, 2012

the art of naming things

(Please watch.)

What's your reaction?
Mine was...And why is this controversial? Critics say this campaign in Georgia (The state with the second highest numbers when it comes to childhood obesity--nearly 1 million children) could heighten the stigma toward obese children/adults.

Others believe calling it like it is may help call people to action. This is a real problem. Hence the "Stop sugarcoating it, Georgia" tagline. I happen to be on this side.

I read once in NPR's collection of essays entitled "This I Believe" (a must read, by the way) the beliefs of Eve Ensler (writer of The Vagina Monologues) and it totally stuck with me.

She writes: I believe in the power and mystery of naming things. Language has the capacity to transform our cells, rearrange our learned patterns of behavior and redirect our thinking. I believe in naming what's right in front of us because that is often what is most invisible...When I was finally able as an adult to sit with my mother and name the specific sexual and physical violence my father had perpetrated on me as a child, it was an impossible moment. It was the naming, the saying of what had actually happened in her presence that lifted my 20-year depression. By remaining silent, I had muted my experience, denied it, pushed it down. This had flattened my entire life. I believe it was this moment of naming that allowed both my mother and I to eventually face our deepest demons and deceptions and become free...Naming things, breaking through taboos and denial is the most dangerous, terrifying and crucial work. This has to happen in spite of political climates or coercions, in spite of careers being won or lost, in spite of the fear of being criticized, outcast or disliked. I believe freedom begins with naming things. Humanity is preserved by it. {Read the full essay here.}

The child in this video is naming something. His size. He wants to know why he is--fat. Maybe the nicer word is overweight. But sometimes not calling it the politically correct or polite name has a little bit more power. Why? Because if this kid is teased for his weight he isn't called obese or overweight, he's called fat. I'm guessing when he looks in the mirror he doesn't feel big boned or chunky or above average. He feels fat. He is naming what he feels. And for those of us watching, it feels a little bit uncomfortable, doesn't it? It should. It's not a nice word. But its a real word that's used often in the real world pertaining to a real problem.

I side with Ensler on the ideal that naming something--no matter how painful--is freeing. Asking this tough question isn't going to increase a stigma. It's going to help end it.

Take mental wellness for instance. A subject I am very passionate about (and about to study for the next Lord knows how many years of my life). The fight against this stigma is huge. People with mental illness who receive treatment may be ostracized by friends or family. But those who go--name it, and then share it--may help those very people to accept it. Because they've know Susie or Bob or Joe as their baseball buddy, shopping partner, or confidant, not a mental illness.

On the other side of the equation are the people with mental illness who don't receive treatment because of what others may say. But what finally happens when a person with an issue goes to therapy? It is named. Depression. Bipolar Disorder. Anxiety. If you've ever been to therapy you know that is is full of naming things--so you can deal with them.

Think of an alcoholic. What is the first step in recovery? Calling it like it is. Saying you're an alcoholic.

The thing is, there is no shame in naming things...because we all have something to name. It may feel embarrassing, or you may wonder who is going to judge you, but the truth is, it takes a heart full of courage to be able to do it. So, to the kid in this video who asks his mom the tough question, kudos to you. You are brave, you are courageous, you are a hero. Because thousands of kids like you are going to start asking their parents the same question.

"...the truth will set you free." John 8:32

Of course, this is just my humble opinion. What do you all think?

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

big things to come

excuse the photobomb. but aren't my friends beauties?

Hello lovelies! Are we all recuperated and ready to rock in 2012? I had a great New Years weekend in St. Louis with a few of my favorite people. We pretty much laughed our way into the new year. Couldn't ask for much more. {And yes, I did start off my year at the bottom, if you know what I mean ;). If you don't... check out this post.}

On our drive home last night it finally settled in that it was in fact a new year. I've never put much stock into the idea of new year--it's time to make big changes philosophy, mostly because I think you should continuously change and evolve all year long. BUT! This year I really am determined to make it the best year yet. And am looking forward to making a few changes myself.

2011 was just sort of meh for me. Nothing huge happened. It wasn't terrible, but it wasn't great. For 2012, I want big things. I'm determined to have big things. My aha moment in the car last night was this: In order to have big things happen, I have to do big things. I can't settle and wait for things to come my way. You gotta make 'em happen!

I've always known that obviously. But I don't think I always live it out to its fullest potential. That stops now!

I have a whole list of resolutions or goals, as I like to call them. I'll post those later this week with our poll results. Speaking of the poll, have you voted yet? Do it!

Let's make this the best year yet!

Monday, January 2, 2012

shameless promotion!

Hey Ladies,

Since I love all of you I am going to share with you a little something...

Like Maude Boutique's Facebook page and you can enter to win a $50 gift card!

Okay, so it's a little shameless promotion since I work there and handle the marketing and all...BUT, I love our boutique. We really do have unique pieces and great prices. Plus, since we are a small store when it comes to buying online and shipping, you get to talk to me instead of a machine.

You can check out some albums here! As of now for all of you out-of-towners, you can shop through Facebook and we will ship. In a few weeks, however, we will be launching our full online shopping site. So stay tuned for that.

Okay, that's enough promotion. Like us. Enter to win $50.

I hope everyone had a wonderful New Years! I know Annye did! She looked stunning in sequins and red lips. I'm sure she'll share a photo or two and some great stories with ya'll. My new year was welcomed with new friends, toasted with champagne, sealed with a kiss from my wonderful man {and a little dirty dancing} and completed with a hangover.

What did you New Years entail loves?