Sunday, January 18, 2015

25 things I've learned in my 25 years.

In a few short months I’ll be turning 26, so I decided to mark my quarter of a century here on Earth with some nuggets of knowledge. I am fully aware that by the time I’m 50 (or even 30), I’ll look back at this and laugh at how blissfully unaware I was, and I’m sure my 70 year old self will say I was just a naive dumbass, but nonetheless…! Below are 25 things that I’ve learned to be true in my 25 years of living: 

1. Keeping a good manicure can do wonders for your self-esteem.

2. Being genuinely kind is easier said than done, but so so important. Try harder.

3. Music heals.

4. Sometimes a good joke isn’t worth someone else’s feelings, so think more Ellen, less Tosh. 

5. It’s always good to have something to look forward to. Whether it’s a vacation 8 months out or a coffee date in an hour, it counts.

6. Someone is always going to be better than you at most things. Go ahead and get over it.

7. The batter is usually better than the finished product, so always leave some in the bowl for licking. 

8. Sex is good for your marriage. Lots of sex is really good for your marriage. 

9. Going outside your comfort zone, however far, usually ends up being a good thing and a great memory.  

10. Dogs are kids too. (sorry real moms) 

11. Let’s be honest, honesty is not always the best policy.

12. Family is the most important thing, really the only thing. And friends are family too. 

13. Marriage may not be a job, but you definitely have to work at it. 

14. Take care of your parents, they took care of you. 

15. Some of the greatest conversations take place around campfires.

16. Falling in love with a fictional character is totally acceptable. Just realize how much of a wreck you'll be when they die. 

17. It's okay to cry for no apparent reason. It helps me all the time. 

18. Food (and alcohol) bring people together.

19. If you get angry when you don’t eat, then eat. If you get grumpy when you don’t sleep, then sleep. Your loved ones will thank you. 

20. High school days are not the best days of your life. (Neither are college)

21. Don’t judge others. You’ve probably been there done that, or at least thought it. If you haven’t, then your best friend has. 

22. Money can buy happiness but that shit is expensive (and short-lived) so be careful. 

23. Sometimes you just need your mom. 

24. Dinner always taste better if someone else cooks it. (so does breakfast, so does lunch)

25. Don't be stingy with compliments. If you like something about someone then you need to tell them. They may need to hear it.

26. Faith will get you through. 

Okay, okay…yes I know I said 25!! I couldn’t narrow my list any more than I already had (originally had about 40 things- yeah I’m a fountain of endless wisdom over here). Item 26 happens to be the most important to me, and has kept me sane in moments of madness. If you take nothing else from this list, take that.

Stay tuned for the 50th year version. 

#27. You're never too old for a cookie cake and princess balloon. (me on my 25th b-day)

Friday, January 16, 2015

Dreaming of the PNW.

Lately, I’ve been on this kick. Let’s call this kick: The Pacific Northwest. Have you been there? If not, drop everything (except your phone because you’ll wanna take pictures) and go there immediately. We went there about 8 months ago and I still catch myself daydreaming about it. It’s this place of mystical-magical-ever greenness that should only exist in some prehistoric dinosaur heaven but it’s right here on Earth, and it’s just waiting for you to see it. Confession: Sometimes I get so caught up on the South (and all things Tennessee) that I forget there are other places in the United States. Spectacular places. 

Taylor and I visited the PNW this past year in May kinda on a whim, we wanted to trade in our annual Florida beach trip for something different. Thanks to a friend, we had a general outline of places we wanted to visit, things we wanted to see, but little did I know that I’d fall in love. Dramatic? Yeah, well this place will do that to ya. Everything was dramatic from the vastness of the mountains to the richness of the evergreens. 

Our first stop was Seattle. I feel it important to mention that upon arrival to the West Coast I was sick…very, very sick. I was feeling the worst I had felt in years, and I still loved every minute of our vacation, which says a lot. We spent a couple of short days in Seattle doing the touristy things like visiting the Public Market Center, going to the aquarium and drinking at breweries. Seattle was about what I expected: chilly and rainy but cool. 

Day two and three consisted of Portland, Oregon. Some of my favorite highlights were from Oregon: The Grotto, Mt St Helens, and of course more breweries. The best part about Oregon though was the absolutely beautiful scenery. If you ever want to immerse yourself into complete appreciation of God’s handiwork then take a drive through Oregon’s forests. It’s unfathomable to see nature’s creations there and not believe in some sort of higher power- it’s just that grandiose of a landscape. The waterfalls and trails we explored through the Mt. Hood scenic loop were breathtaking. I don’t know why or how, but seeing things like that bring you back to yourself, back to reality, and I don’t mean the housewife kind, but the kind that makes you laugh harder and love stronger. 

We spent the next couple days driving down the scenic highway 101. You could make a vacation out of driving down the Oregon Coast alone. The evergreens reach all the way out to the ocean as if they are dying to jump into the deep blue water. It was so different from any coast or beach that I had ever seen before, but in such a good way. It’s hard to pick a favorite moment from the trip, every day literally seemed more breathtaking than the day before, but the night we camped beachside at Coos Bay was probably my favorite experience. We were nestled right up against a sand dune, tucked under some evergreens with the ocean at our back. I remember watching the sun set over the ocean that night and thinking that nothing could be more perfect than this moment. 

The furthest south we went was the Redwood Forest. It was almost eerily breathtaking. I kept expecting a velociraptor to run by and eat me at any moment. I’m sure that really makes you want to go visit ASAP but seriously that’s how much of a prehistoric vibe the Redwoods emitted. We also camped in the Redwoods National Park, and that was my second favorite experience of the trip. Waking up beneath something so big can make you feel so inconceivably small, but it also has a way of weighing everything out to help you understand what’s important in life. 

The drive back up to Seattle was filled with more beautiful sites and a couple of hotels to even out the “roughing it” we had been doing. By the time our departure flight came, I wasn’t ready to leave. Usually a week away from home and reality is all it takes for me to be ready for the routine of every day life, but not this time. I was like a kid in a toy store (I always liked toys more than candy) and I was convinced that there was more to be seen around every corner. But alas, a vacation is a vacation because it lasts only for a limited amount of time, and our time was up. 

I recommend visiting the Pacific Northwest to anyone and everyone. If you need tall trees to ground you or mountains to lift you, it will do it. Hell, if you just need a good drive with good music or a good brewery with good beer, it’ll do that too. I’m convinced that God spent just a little bit more time on that corner of the country, when you go see it, I’m sure you will to. 

Thursday, January 1, 2015


New year. New you. I say bullshit. Not because I don’t believe in reinventing yourself or starting over blah, blah, blah…but because I don’t think you need the start of a new year to do it. Sometimes I make resolutions but most of the time I don’t…why lie to myself? I actually did keep one of my resolutions from last year: wear more lipstick. Talk about some high standards. 

I feel like we should have daily resolutions. Sound exhausting? Yeah maybe, but that’s a more realistic route to becoming a better person. So i’m going to start 2015 the way I ended 2014, with daily personal goals that have realistic limitations.  

I want to become a genuinely happy person, to the point where people are happy when they are around me. Just being friendly and having good manners will get you so far in life. However, people who know me know that this won’t happen in the first hour (or possibly two) of me waking up, so don’t even try. I will work on the being mean when I’m hungry thing though (no promises there either though). 

I also want to be content, but not in a nonchalant passive way, just in a way where I'm aware of how truly blessed I am. I have an amazing husband. A loving and caring family. A great career. A roof over my head- with cute decor to boot. No serious health issues to speak of. My life is so damn good. I don't want to stop striving for more though, and I probably won’t stop having diva moments from time to time. I’m sure I’m not the only one who complains about having the lack of funds to fly to NYC at a moment’s notice or setting out on a yacht. I mean those damn Beverly Hills rich kids do it and they're just reality stars...I could be that. 

I want to be the best wife I can be. Which will mean different things on different days. I just need to remember this in the moments where my husband may be acting less than perfect (shocker, yes it happens from time to time). We’re all human, and tit for tat will get you nowhere, even though it can be fun. 

There are several small things I am continually trying to work on like keeping up with friends that are now scattered all over the country, being healthier (one day I will overcome the dollar menu but that day is not today), and maybe lowering my overall bitchiness a notch or two, possibly my sarcasm too for that matter. Like I said earlier, I have realistic limitations. 

I always think other people can say what I’m thinking better than I can, and in this case that person is Tom Ford: “I believe in living life the way you want every day, and if you do that, you don’t really need to have New Years resolutions.” 

Happy new year y’all. Remember to focus on the important things, like keeping your lipstick game strong.