Monday, December 17, 2012

Merry Christmas from the Family!

Yes, I will shamefully admit that I am the type of person who loves to dress my furry children in people costumes.  They say that's why dogs bite people....haha!  Anyway, this last weekend, Jeremy and I had our folks over to help us eat up the leftovers from our annual Christmas party.  Since Mom loves a good photo op, we asked her to take our picture with the dogs in their "reindog" antlers and tiny little elf costume.

I've always loved those calendars and books filled with hilarious photos of people's pets dressed in themed costumes.  Many people have used their pets to earn fortunes that way.  I'm sure you've heard of Zelda the bulldog and Boo the teddy bear Pomeranian.  After our experience with this fun-filled Kodak moment, I understand why those artists earn the big bucks.  I'm also left wondering how they get their pets to sit still long enough for the camera to flash.  Are the pets Photo shopped, drugged, etc.?? 

Getting Barkley, Cash, Cooper and Charlie to sit still for five seconds was like wrangling pigs!  After multiple takes, this is what we ended up with......Merry Christmas from our family to yours! 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

December 6th - Tshirt

Okay, so my quest to put up a daily picture for a Christmas countdown may have been a little over ambitious.  In any case, here's my first entry.  I couldn't find any cute Christmas
t-shirts to wear on Christmas day, so I decided to make my own.  I have become addicted to iron-on letters.  It's not quite perfectly straight, but it's homemade from the heart.  What do you think of my PINK tee?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

I'm Dreaming of a PINK Christmas!

So I've decided to do a daily "month of December" blog and guess's already the 5th day in.  (Oops)  I'm going to take a photo of something I've done each day to celebrate the season. 

Now you ask me, "Why a pink Christmas?" and I respond, "Do you not know me but at ALL?"  Pink is my flair.....glitter is my lifeblood! 

And so I tell you, it WILL be a PINK Christmas this year!  ; )  

*** (Pink snowflakes are falling here even though the high is in the 70s this week.)

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

I Bleed Pink

original artwork I created with melted crayons,
proclaiming my lifelong motto
Pink is more than just a color.  They say it's an attitude.  I say it's a way of life.  That's why I've chosen it as the namesake of my blog, inspired by a quote from my all-time favorite movie, Steel Magnolias: "Pink is my signature color."

I don't know what it is about the color that resonates so deeply with me.  It just makes me happy.  I suppose it's a tad bit cliche for a self-proclaimed girly girl to adore the color, but so be it.  I am obsessed--and always have been.

I enjoyed a Saturday alone a few weeks ago, and while surfing Pinterest, I couldn't help but notice all the pink baked goods.  It inspired me to bake something sweet and pretty, so my  dog, Charlie and I headed off to the grocery store to pick up the ingredients to bake pink heart-shaped cookies stuffed with cheesecake filling and fresh raspberries.  YUMMY!  They turned out tasty as ever but not quite as pretty as the ones on Pinterest.  Damn Pinterest for setting impossible standards.  In any case, I felt like I had a productive day, and my family and friends enjoyed the treats. 

Since my home away from home is my office, I felt the need to decorate in a way that expressed my creativity and blocked out the grey drab of the cubicle walls.  Pink and zebra print envelop my workspace, along with photos and my original paintings of my other obsession: shoes!

When I move into Jeremy's house, I get a whole room upstairs all to myself that I can decorate as I please.  I have assured Jeremy it will be so girly, no man will ever want to enter--thus making it my "girls only" room.  It will be my music room/art studio.  I went to Home Depot last weekend and picked out the pinkest can of pink paint I could find!  I have already started painting the furniture.  Next up: the walls!  I'm sure that when it's all said and done, it will either look like A) a bottle of Pepto Bismol exploded or B) a flamingo threw up in there.  But you know what?  It will be my new happy place.....a place where creativity is born.


Saturday, October 13, 2012

The "Mane" Event

A recent visit to the beauty shop got me wondering, "Do women really have the right to choose?"  In light of the upcoming election, you may be thinking I'm referring to a woman's right to choose regarding the topic of abortion.  No, I'm not talking about the issue of pro life vs. pro choice.  We talk about things far more shallow than that on this blog.  The issue that I'm referring to involves a woman's hairstyle.  You know--the mane event.  Notice it's not called the man event.  So why do men dictate or influence how we choose to wear our hair? 

Please don't for a second think of me as a liberal feminist for posing this question.  In fact, I'm far from it.  I just feel a little perplexed at my boyfriend's negative reaction to the news that I had, once again, decided to chop off my hair.  We all know that most men love women with long, flowing locks, but let's face it--not all of us were blessed like Rapunzel or you know, Jennifer Aniston!  We have to do best with the hand (or more appropriately in this instance) the hair we've been dealt.  Men just don't seem to understand that not every woman can grow her hair halfway down her back and have it look as though she stepped out of Glamour Magazine. 

Besides my awful nose, I've inherited baby-fine, limp hair from the gene pool of my family.  It's okay--I've learned to live with it, and I'm forever on a quest to locate the "holy grail" of volumizing hair products.  They must exist--glossy magazine ads indicate that other women have stumbled upon them.  Thus far, I'll I've been able to successfully do is disappoint myself, lighten my wallet, and amass a stockpile of useless products that go under my bathroom sink to die.  As I've gotten older, I've determined that some of us (myself included) just weren't blessed with enviable heads of hair...but by golly, I'm going to cut and style my tresses in a way that best suits the hair I was given.

Though I've often had dreams where I've been the central character in a Pantene Pro V ad, I have always woken up to reality that I'm just a short-haired kind of girl.  I have a long face and an almost giraffe-like long neck, and short hair just looks better on me, and it happens to suit my personality.  Though my style has varied a little over the past decade, I always seem to return to the reverse-angled bob, which I must confess, I believe Victoria Beckham stole from me as I was rocking that style long before she had even shed the pseudonym of Posh Spice.

Though people have often asked me in the past who cuts my hair and my mom has reassured me countless times that it's always been her favorite cut on me, I have tried to grow it out---if nothing more than to please Jeremy.  While he prefers me tan and blonde, God created me a pale brunette.  When I pulled into his driveway yesterday, he reaffirmed his position that he had always hated my short hair.  I reminded him that the repeated bleachings last summer had taken a toll on my hair that I had been trying to grow out for nearly a year.  I really did give it the good old beauty college try.  I avoided the salon (save for the occasional trim) and even took biotin to help it grow.  It just didn't work for me.  Maybe had I forgone the bleach in favor of my natural brunette coloring, I wouldn't have needed to chop it off and start the growing-out process (yet AGAIN). 

While I may never fully admit it to Jeremy, I just may never have long hair again.  My high school days are over, and my hair is half as full as it was back then anyway.  Besides, in addition to the fact that I don't have the type of hair it takes to make men swoon, I also don't have the time it takes to achieve the look.  And it does take time.  We all know it's true--Truvy said so in Steel Magnolias:  "There is no such thing as natural beauty."  Women have to work at it.  Only celebrities have the luxury of carting around a personal hairstylist as though he was a chihuhua in her Louis Vuitton.  Us "regular folks" have to do it ourselves.  And until a magical hair genie pops out of a shampoo bottle and grants me fuller, thicker hair, I'm just gonna have to continue with the hairstyling ritual I've developed over the years.  Backcomb the $#*+ out of it and spray, spray, spray!  After all, every true Texas girl (despite her hair type) longs to have BIG hair.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

I HATE the Gym

I have finally come to the conclusion that I can no longer eat junk food like a college student and process it with the metabolic rate of a 5-year-old.  After growing a tad bit soft around the middle (despite the scale readout, which remains the same as the day I graduated high school), I have reluctantly decided it's time to re-join the gym.  Yes, I said "re-join" in, I was a member for a month or two before, but I quit.  It was much easier for me to "quit the gym" than for Chandler Bing in one of my favorite episodes of "Friends."  Poor Chandler ended up going to the bank to cut them off at the source and ended up with a joint checking account with Ross.  (See, everything in life really does related to an episode of "Friends!")  In order for me to quit, I just have to quit going.  Maybe there's something to be said for that monthly fee automatically deducted from your paycheck.

The gym downstairs in the basement at work really is a nice, state-of-the-art gym, and it's located right by the exit to the garage, so there really is no excuse to skip.  Although forgetting my gym bag and workout clothes has lately been my most-used "excuse."  Whenever I pass the gym for the exit to the parking lot, I sometimes feel a small pang of guilt--but it's usually silenced by a detour to Tappy's Frozen Yogurt on my way home.  Then the guilt that returns is two-fold.

Well, I finally committed to another membership and have gone a grand total of three times in the past two weeks.  I tried yoga and discovered it was far more difficult that I expected.  I'm not flexible AT ALL, so the instructor's direction to bend over and touch my toes left my arms hanging awkwardly in the air far above my bare feet.  I did enjoy the 10-minute rest period at the end of the workout where we laid in the dark and focused on relaxing.  In fact, I thought I might be unable to drive home immediately after the class for fear I would fall asleep at the wheel!

When it comes to going to the gym, it is my belief that there are two types of people in the world: 1) those who admit their hatred for the gym and only go out of necessity and 2) those who declare their love for the gym (and who are coincidentally what I believe to be full of $#!%).  Let's face it--no one likes to go to the gym. Anyone who says otherwise is either showing off or is clearly in denial.  I feel like a hamster on a treadmill, and all those weight machines give me sore muscles the following day that I didn't even know I had!  Now every time I unwrap a candy bar, I'm left looking at the wrapper wondering, is this Snickers REALLY worth 40 minutes on the treadmill?! 

The fact remains that I love to eat.  It's seriously one of my favorite past times.  While I've been blessed with a high metabolism, I'm kidding myself if I think it will last forever.  The day it slows down is the day I'm in trouble if I don't jump start some healthy habits now.  That's why I decided to re-join the gym.  Like I said, I'm still just starting out, but hopefully, I can ultimately view it as a necessary life change that I will need to maintain forever--unlike a yo-yo dieter who tries Weight Watchers to lose 30 lb. for a high school reunion then falls off the ice cream wagon and returns to old habits soon thereafter.

I'm in this for the long haul.  So until they invent a pill that allows women to eat WHATEVER THEY WANT WITHOUT GETTING FAT, (which, ironically, is every woman's biggest wish), I'll be that hamster on the treadmill, sweating to stay in my current-size jeans.  I can still most likely be persuaded to meet you for frozen yogurt afterward, though!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Skating to the an "Oldie"

A couple years ago, a friend and I decided we were going to take up roller skating as a way to get exercise that didn't involve A) the boring old treadmill or B) a weekly commitment to the dreaded gym.  Now I'm not talking about rollerblading--I'm talking about old-school, 4-wheels-with-a-stopper-in-the-front roller skating.

After all, I was close to achieving pro status as a kid, and the exact same roller rink I visited on a regular basis still happens to be located almost exactly 5 minutes from my apartment.  Since my once-cherished white, pink and purple skates Santa Claus brought me for Christmas were long-gone and would never fit my size 7 feet anyway, I was on a quest to locate the perfect pair of brand new skates.

I decided on a pair of killer black derby skates, which are just like roller skates--only they hit below the ankle like regular shoes.  To this day, one of my biggest fears (no lie) is falling and breaking my ankle--thus, having to forgo wearing high heels.  For me, life would be unthinkable in that condition!  As a result, I concluded that an ankle-baring derby skate would allow for "give" if I happened to trip over a small child and fall flat on my face.  Since ankle injuries seemed less likely and they were super-cool looking, I dropped the $70-or-so bucks on a brand spankin' new pair.  I was so excited!

I discovered on my first outing that re-learning to roller skate would be a bit of a challenge since I hadn't attempted to do so in about 20 years--literally.  I'm happy to report it's probably the cheapest form of entertainment one can find this day and age that guarantees a good time (and sore muscles, too, I've recently learned).  I was shocked, however, when I was asked to sign a waiver before I was presented my wristband indicating admission to the rink.  As it turns out, anyone over the age of 18 is required to sign a waiver, ensuring the roller rink won't be sued, should said person fall and break an ankle or a hip.  Ah, lawyers...they always find a way to spoil the fun--and make you feel geriatric at a mere 30 years old. 

It was a tad off-putting to be discriminated for being too old to enjoy my favorite childhood past time in a totally risk-free environment, but I understand the ways of the world have changed.  One signature later, I was off to change into skates and lock up my shoes and handbag in the same lockers we used as small children.  Looking around the rink, nostalgia overtook me-as did the familiarly faint smell of giant pickles from the snack bar.  The place hadn't changed much, except for the new brightly colored carpet that replaced the hideous orange carpet of the early 90s.  Plus, I was cool again--I brought my own skates!

The baby learning rink in the back was my first stop as I became re-acquainted with the foreign wheeled objects on my feet.  It was like a scene right out of Bambi.  I can imagine I must have looked like a baby deer learning to walk to all the happy-go-lucky kids and their onlooking parents.  Not so much like "riding a bicycle," roller skating wasn't so quick to come back to me after a 20-year absence from the activity.  Maybe I should have started with a glass of wine to calm the nerves; however, at this point, it was too late to turn back.

I mustered up enough courage after a few laps on the kiddie rink to make my way to the "big" rink (which, I must admit, looked a tad bit smaller than I remembered as a kid).  My fear kept me from taking off like a bullet.  Instead, I had to ease a bit more into it.  After all, I had a lot further to fall than I did as a 10-year-old.  Kids shot past me as I got my bearings, leaving me to feel like the "old person" I used to weave in and out of as a roller-skating champ some 20 years ago.

After a few laps, I felt more assured that I knew what I was doing, and it all started coming back to me.  The music was different--as was the scenery from an older woman's perspective. I found it ironic that the once-craved snacks from the snack bar seemed to entice a gag reflex rather than a rumbling stomach.  But all in all, it was like I was a kid again.  Only my sore muscles and heavier breathing indicated I didn't have the endurance that once came so easily as a child.  Did I mention getting older sucks??

As the music blared and kids whirred past, I was reminded of the countless birthday parties and random Sunday afternoons my childhood friends and I had spent at the Interskate roller rink, clad in colorful Lycra skating outfits we adored.  I used to feel like a United States Olympian as I twirled and turned in the center of the rink where the more "experienced" skaters showed off their tricks to the addictive thumping beat of songs from New Kids on the Block, Milli Vanilli and Michael Jackson.  At this point in my 30s, however, my main objective was to stay upright and not worry about crushing a small child. 

It really was a thrilling experience returning to a place where I had once felt so alive and free.  Though the music was a little different, with the same old wooden floor I'd circled hundereds of times and the God-awful floor-to-wall carpeting, it felt for a second like merely days had passed, and I couldn't help but smile.  And despite the waiver I was required to sign that indicated otherwise, I really was a kid again...and I had finally returned to pay a visit to my old stomping ground.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Say No to the "Snedge"!!!!

Ah, fall is in the air.  With the temperatures dropping from 102 to the 80s in the past couple of days, I am reminded that my favorite time of year is upon us (or so I'd like to believe).  After all, Texas weather is unpredictable.  I'm told that our days of 100-degree highs are over, but we shall see.  Dallas weathermen and their forecasts are about as reliable as a politician in delivering on his campaign promises. 

Speaking of politicians, I am so ready for this election to be over--but I promise to steer clear of talking politics on this blog.  After all, they say you should "write what you know," and my knowledge about shoes, fashion and cosmetics far outweighs my knowledge of the political arena.

While I am sad to say "adios" to my dozens of colorful, strappy summertime wedges, sandals and open-toed heels, I look forward to boot season and colorful-sweater weather.  I don't know what it is about fall, but it's always been my favorite season.  The leaves start to turn, and there's a certain crispness in the air.  Now is the perfect time to shop for summer clearance items, and I highly recommend that you do take advantage of the amazing deals.  My mailbox is overflowing with coupons and store mailers, and, while thumbing through the summer-inventory sales and several fashion magazines over the past few weeks, I couldn't help but notice the upcoming trends for fall and winter.  One of them perplexes me, and, quite honestly, scares me a little bit.  It is none other than the wedge sneaker.

Don't get me wrong, I love a good wedge shoe.  But this compilation of a wedge heel and a sporty sneaker in one is just plain goofy-looking.  And they're everywhere!  The salesgirl at DSW had on a pair, they're in all the fall catalogs--I've even written copy for a few of them.  I just don't understand the concept.  Have fashion footwear designers completely run out of ideas and resorted to strange mutations to standard designs for something new and fun? 

I don't know--it just reminds me of some bad fashion trend held over from the early 90s.  Frankly, these "weakers" or "snedges" (hey, if the fashion industry can use such words as "jeggings" and "shooties," I can coin my own fashion terms) are just plain U-G-L-Y!  They look like something you'd sport if you were preparing for a trip to the moon.  I honestly believe Justin Bieber is somewhere behind this scheme.

Nevertheless, fashion trends come, and they go (thank the Lord!).  So while I won't be jumping on board a NASA-funded trip to the moon in this season's "snedges," I'll applaud your courage in wearing the strange shoes (and will most definitely make fun of you behind your back at the hideousness of your fashion sense).  I guess at the end of the day, I must remember--to each her own!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

"Dyeing" for a Change

This morning, it took me a moment to recognize the reflection staring back at me from the mirror.  It's only been a few days since I darkened my summer highlighted-blond locks to a rich, fall reddish auburn hue--although, when it comes to hair color, change is nothing new to me.  What can I say?  I get bored easily.  My hair color changes like the weather in Texas.

The quickest and easiest alteration you can make to your physical appearance for the sake of boredom involves a supply of chemicals and a little bit of bravery (or simply the former and a good stylist whom you trust completely).

As someone who's seen my share of hair color chemicals over the years, I've also experienced plenty of hair emergencies.  Any woman who has decided (after margarita number 4) to change her hair color at midnight after a trip down the grocery store boxed hair color aisle can appreciate my not-so exaggerated use of the word "emergency."

Maybe we all should have paid better attention in elementary school art class when the teacher explained the basics of the color wheel.  Unfortunately, accidentally achieved pink hair cannot be expunged simply by putting on more brown dye to cover it.  (Lesson # 2--never call your boyfriend in tears, looking for moral support after a hair-dyeing experiment gone awry.  Lesson #1 was to withstand the desire to color your hair while under the influence of tequila.)

Yes, I've had every hair color under the rainbow--many of which were purely accidental.  However, I must say there's no such mood elevator quite as effective as freshly dyed locks that turn out drop dead gorgeous.  It instills confidence and makes you feel like a brand new woman--assuming that others even notice the difference.  I can't tell you how many times others have looked at me after a drastic change and said, 1) "there's something different about you..." or 2) absolutely NOTHING!  So help me God, I'll kill you for not noticing something quite so drastic as a blond head gone red overnight because, let's face it--a professional dye job doesn't come cheap!

I guess ultimately, it doesn't really matter what others think about my color, though.  I know my boyfriend and dad prefer me as a tan blond even though I am a natural brunette (I think, at least.  It's been a loooong time since I've seen it!)  If you know anything about me at all, it's that I'll do what I want!  And if I feel fabulous, that's all that counts.  One  thing I can tell you for certain right now is that I feel like a brand new woman, ready to take on the world.  Oh, and in case you were wondering--redheads (in this current moment) really DO have more fun!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Peanut Butter & JELLIES!!!!

A wave of nostalgia swept over me as I recently visited several of my favorite shoe stores and encountered rows upon rows of jellies sandals.  As a child of the 80s, I had my fair share of "plastic wear," and I sported it like the fashionista-in-training I was.  I guess we should have known then the pains I was willing to undertake for the sake of fashion.  I wore those things until my ankles bled and Mom made me toss them out.  It broke my heart when she insisted I stop wearing jellies, but I guess I understand her point of view at my now more mature age of 31.  It's difficult to stand up when you're sliding around in your own pool of muddy sweat.  Ok, so they didn't make for pretty feet, but I sure felt like a princess when I wore them.

To this very day, some 26  years later, I can still remember my most favorite pair.  Nonnie took me to Payless Shoe Store and I picked out a solid (no-holed) clear pair with an allover white lace print.  They reminded me of Cinderella's glass slippers.  What more could a little girl want in a shoe?!  I was devastated the day my dad ran over them with the lawnmower and cut them in half as a result of my leaving them out in the middle of the yard.  As a kid who grew up out in the country, there were no fashion runways to prance down, so I spent a great deal of my time barefoot in the backyard.  A part of my soul mourned the loss of such unique and beautiful jellies--and I never again saw another pair like them.

I chuckled to myself a couple days ago when I learned from my mom that my 2 1/2-year-old niece, Tori, has discovered the joy of jellies and their likeness to Cinderella's glass slippers.  I guess you could say the apple doesn't fall far from the family tree.  I swear to goodness, Tori is a miniature version of me at that age, and I must admit--I'm so proud (and a little scared for my brother and sister-in-law!).

I just hope that Nonna (my mom) doesn't mind a little foot sweat so that my favorite niece can feel like the princess she is.  Maybe Mom has become a tad bit more tolerant in her golden years as a grandma.  I can't wait to take Tori shopping and buy that baby girl any pair of jellies she has her little heart set on.  Call it a right of passage if you will.  I just want her to experience the joy that colorful plastic brought me as a child.  Ah, jellies---the greatest invention since sliced bread and peanut butter!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Reality Bites

In recent years, reality shows have become wildly popular, but my question is this:  "are they actually real?"  The answer in a word, hardly.  I find it quite ironic that tapings of The Real Housewives, Big Brother, Survivor, Big Rich Texas, etc. are considered to be reality shows.  The fact is, they are as far from reality as can possibly be imagined. 

Honestly, in what world do teenagers have plastic surgery that's routine as bi-yearly dental cleanings and women shop around the clock for designer fashions that cost more than a year's rent?  Hello, it's not reality! 

Millions of people tune in to these shows weekly to satisfy their cravings for a dose of reality TV for one witness the train wrecks that they are.  I can't even have a lunchtime conversation with my coworkers (you know who you are) without a discussion arising about the latest happenings to one of the "real" housewives of whatever-city-has-disgraced-its-namesake for D-rate publicity.  I don't have much to contribute to those conversations because A) I don't watch those shows and B) I couldn't care less.

I don't mean to get on my "teenagers-today-have-no-idea-what-real-life-is-like" soapbox, so please forgive me, but it must be said that the reason they expect Daddy to hand over the keys to a brand new SUV on their 16th birthday is partly a result of these so-called reality shows.  It's almost as though they feel a sense of entitlement because that's what is portrayed on the sets of these TV shows.

I remember like it was yesterday...the minute the credits rolled at the end of the first Sex & the City movie, my mother's first words were, "You know that's not reality."  Bummer.  I would love to live in a New York City studio apartment and still have the means to drop thousands of dollars on Manolos and Dior on my writer's salary.  But as a real-life writer, I can 100% honestly vouch for the validity of my mother's statement.  While I do have a semi-unhealthy obsession with shoes, I sure as heck don't have the likes of Louboutins or Jimmy Choos lining the shelves of my closet.

Don't get me wrong...I'm all for TV shows allowing everyday folks possessing God-given talents the ability to shine and receive accolades and recognition they would otherwise never receive (yea for The Voice and Project Runway!); however, I'm not about to waste my time watching wealthy, catty women bad-mouth each other while cameras are rolling. 

I also think it's great that certain reality shows help morbidly obese individuals with lifelong eating disorders drop the pounds that present life-threatening health problems and keep them from feeling a sense of self worth.  But sending a group of people to a tropical island and taping them as they duke it out over team challenges in order to determine that last man standing....NOT reality!

If you want to film a true reality show, drop contestants off in the middle of nowhere with nothing but a magnifying glass and a pocket knife and see if they can actually survive MacGyver style.  But don't for a second pretend that they're out there "roughing it" with a camera crew standing ten feet away feeding them McDonalds cheeseburgers between takes.  That's not survival!

Bottomline, for the sake of guilty-pleasure entertainment, reality shows are fine.  But as for passing them off as real life, the tribe has spoken....."reality shows bite!"


Thursday, March 29, 2012

"Google" It!

If I had a nickel for every silly argument Jeremy and I had that ended in the resolve to "Google it," I can assure you I'd be writing this blog for a living as I'd no longer need my day job.  Lately, I've caught myself wondering what did we do before Google?  

In the olden days, if we needed information about something, we had to look it up in the encyclopedia.  Well, I'm sad to say that, just a few weeks ago, Encyclopedia Britannica announced they will no longer print hard copies.  Everything is now digital.  I'm not ashamed to admit that the English/grammar nerd inside of me was a little disappointed to hear the news.

As much as I hated scouring the pages of those massive reference books for information to fill countless school reports, I relied on them all throughout my elementary education.  While one could easily suffer a hernia from carting them around in a backpack, they were filled with all kinds of facts from "A" to "Z"--literally.  I'm really kinda sad to see them go.  I realize that, in an ever changing society that's constantly making technological advances, the time would eventually come for the extinction of these dinosaurs.

It's a shame my nephew (who's nearly 12 years old) will never hear his parents utter the words, "Look it up in the encyclopedia."  He only knows the instant gratification that Google and other online search engines provide.  The other day, I asked him if he even knew what a card catalog was, and he replied, "You mean that big cabinet with all the little drawers?"  Ugh--I'm older than I thought!    

While I do appreciate the convenience of settling a fight about song lyrics or the inventor of bubblegum on the spot with the use of my iPhone, there's something to be said about the mystery of who's actually right.  Well, thanks to Google, that mystery is solved (and I can gloat about being right!)...because there are some things you just can't find in an encyclopedia anyway.

Encyclopedia Britannica
1768 - 2012

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Expen$ive Ta$te

My brother thinks I'm spoiled, and though he may be partially correct, please allow me to explain myself before you pass judgment.  In the past, I had the privilege of experiencing some unique fine dining situations.  In college, I dated a Floridian pastry chef and, with that, came the perks of a certain type of lifestyle.  Whenever I'd go visit the Sunshine State (that is Florida, isn't it?), he used his pull and connections in the culinary industry to wine and dine me.  From these experiences, I may have developed what my mom likes to call "expensive taste," but I assure you it was long before these evenings of 5-course meals out that my appetite for the finer things in life had been whetted--and by the way, my parents also played a huge role in tempting my tastebuds.

In fact, by age 3, I had been to Hawaii--not once--but twice!  While I'm sorry to say that one of my fondest memories of these extravagant vacations was going for a walk with my granddaddy to discover hundreds of dead frogs along the road after a rainstorm, I am not embarrassed by my not-so-humble beginnings.  I know how truly blessed I have been to experience many things most people only dream of--and THAT, my friend, may make me spoiled, but it does NOT make me a spoiled brat.

Unlike the children of Hollywood's richest celebrities, I didn't wear designer clothes on the playground...nor did I receive a brand new sportscar when I turned 16.  Don't get me wrong--I was well-cared for, but I wasn't unbelievably spoiled.  While my parents footed the bill for my five-year college education and sorority dues so I wouldn't be in debt up to my eyeballs resulting from student loans 20 years down the road, I am not oblivious to the sacrifices they had to make to be able to cover these expenses.  I am grateful for everything I've ever been given, but I'm not so spoiled that I feel entitlement to a handout.  I am now out on my own in the real world, a fully capable 31-year-old working woman who is her sole support. 

I've had some tough financial times, and I must admit it's nice to know I don't ever have to worry about my electricity being shut off or living in a cardboard box at the airport because my parents will always be there if I need them.  But I can honestly say it's not their finances I'm most reliable on--it's their unconditional love and support that I'm most thankful for.

I'm very girly, and it's true that I have a great love of food and fashion.  There are times when getting dressed up and going out on the town for a fancy meal is all it takes to make me happy, but I don't expect such luxuries on a daily basis.  It's just nice to experience "richer fare" once in awhile for a special occasion.  Just last week, Jeremy surprised me and took me out for my birthday to my all-time favorite restaurant--Bob's Steak & Chop House.  He even wore a suit! (and looked incredibly handsome).  While his choice of restaurant was surprising, the real surprise was that he was willing to pick up the check at such a place. 

You see, Jeremy and I are two very different people.  Five-star dinners are not his choice of money well spent.  He would be happy eating at El Fenix every single day (I'm dead serious) in jeans and a T-shirt.  While I greatly enjoyed dinner and his thoughtful birthday surprise, I must confess it took just a tiny bit of my joy away when he looked at the bill, paused, and then said he was "crying a little on the inside."  I guess I will just have to realize that he and I will never agree on spending money this way.  Sometimes, I believe the experience is worth the money when he always wants to have something to show for it.  So I'll just have to hit up the ritzy wine bars with my dad--a fellow lover of the finer things in life.  (Come on--where do you think I got it?!) 

I spend most of my hard-earned money on clothes and shoes, but I don't own a pair of Louboutins, and there's not a single garment from Neiman's hanging in my closet.  I enjoy a $40 glass (yes, I said glass) of wine on occasion (usually when Dad's paying!), but I'll drink the $3 bottle of Oak Leaf from WalMart on a weekly basis.  I enjoy fancy vacations to tropical paradises, but I'm just as happy going on a 3-day road trip to New Braunfels in South Texas.  You see, it's all about balance.  There's nothing wrong with occasionally splurging and still being able to appreciate the everyday stuff, too.  That's what truly makes a person "refined"--their experiences in life.  I'm happy to say I've had many that I wouldn't trade for the world--and they've made me who I am today.  So yes, I may shell out big money for name-brand cosmetics, highlights, cute shoes and the occasional designer handbag, but I don't take any of it for granted.  After all, it's just "stuff"....and besides, I already know that the best things in life aren't things.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Aunty = Awesome!

Whether I care or not to admit it, I'm now at the age where people ask me if I have kids, and I can't look at them as if they're crazy because it's a completely legitimate question.  My answer is always, "No, but I have a niece and nephew, and that's way more fun!"

I truly believe that all kids need to have a "cool, fun aunt."  Since I'm not married and I don't have any rug rats of my own, that's exactly what I intend to be.  If you think about it, being an aunt is the greatest thing in the world--you get to spoil the kids rotten and do all the fun stuff without the temper tantrums, terrible two's, disciplining, and diaper changing.

Speaking of diapers, it's important that I share a major milestone with you.  At nearly 31 years old, I recently changed my first diaper.  Yes, it's true, and if you know me, you'd realize how huge an accomplishment that is since I swore the first poopy diaper I ever changed would be that of my own child.

Mom says I should be embarrassed to admit that I've never changed a diaper, but being that I was always the youngest and never around kids other than the occasional babysitting job (which I refused to accept if the kids weren't potty trained), I don't think that's unusual at all.  Why in the world would I volunteer to change someone else's baby's diaper?! 

A few weeks ago when my brother and sister-in-law needed a babysitter for a few early-morning hours and no one else was available, I decided I was finally up for the challenge of diapering.  I love my little niece more than anything in the world, so I figured I could suck it up and finally change a poopy diaper.  I would only be alone with her for several hours, and how many times can one kid poop in the morning anyway?  As often as I've seen others change diapers, I figured  it would be a piece of cake (maybe that's not a good cliche to use here since we're talking about poop).  Anyway, much to my surprise, it proved a bit more challenging than I realized.

I laid Tori down on the changing table while trying my hardest to breathe through my mouth.  I must admit I cringed with dread as I undid the Velcro tabs on her diaper.  "This is not so bad," I thought to myself.  She wasn't that messy.  In fact, it looked like round little rabbit pellets.  (Sorry if that's too much info!)  I lifted her legs up and grabbed the wipes, while trying to scoop up the dirty diaper, but a runaway turd rolled out and onto the table.  Ewww!  I tried scooping it up and getting it back in the dirty diaper while keeping Tori's legs extended straight up in the air.  I must not lay the kid back down on the rabbit pellets.  All the while, she was wrinkling her nose and crying, "Tinky, tinky!"  Yes, I know it's stinky, baby--hold on.  Since I only have two hands (I swear, you need at least three for this job!), I had difficulty getting the poopy diaper all wrapped up until after the wiping was done.  As you can imagine, that caused the stench to linger in the air a little longer than either of us deemed necessary. 

Finally, I got her cleaned up and put a new diaper on only to realize that I had it on backward as she whined "hurt, hurt."  Come on, I thought this was supposed to be easy!  I turned it around, powdered her little bottom, and fastened that sucker up as quickly as I could.  Finally, mission accomplished.  I did it!  Now to get rid of the little ball of stink.  All I have to say is, thank the Good Lord for the Diaper Genie.  I opened the lid, dropped it in and Tori said, "Bye, bye stinky Mickey!"  (Her diapers have Mickey Mouse on them.)  Thank goodness I only had to change one diaper that day.  I know the more you do something, the better you become at it, but I think changing diapers is something I'm not so sure I want to achieve expert status in.  I love my niece and nephew, but I think I'm gonna stick to my potty-training rule before babysitting again. 

Once Tori gets a bit older and can wipe her own little bottom, then lookout--'cause here we come!  Tori will have a full day of fun with Aunty Cassie....and I bet there will be a trip to the shoe store, nail salon, and ice cream shop involved.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Writer's Block

As a writer, there's nothing more daunting than a blank piece of paper staring you back in the face.  I'm currently sitting on the couch with a glass of red wine, gazing at my empty notebook, waiting for inspiration to come.  I cut off my fingernails and got out my old Martin guitar, feeling inspired to play and write.  I'm embarrassed to admit how long it's been.  In fact, my fingers have grown soft as a baby's bottom--no more traces of chord-playing callouses.

I brushed off a layer of dust, tuned up my strings and began to practice some of the chords I've known since I got my first guitar at age 9.  And then.....nothing.  Why can't I think of anything to write about?  I'm a writer, for crying out loud!  I do this for a living.

I've had a love of country music for as long as I can remember.  I grew up listening to women lament about lost loves and broken hearts long before I had the mental capacity to grasp such a concept as a mere child.  While I've (thankfully) never experienced divorce or abusive relationships, I find that my lack of "hard living" puts serious limitations on my wealth of songwriting material.

There's a joke in country music that goes like this..."What do you get when you play a country song backward?  Your wife comes back to you, your dog comes back to life and your truck starts up again."  Everyone knows that country music is about heartache.  I think that's why I love it so much--because it tells a story.  Even if, after the song ends, you feel like you need a Prozac, it's still a great song--because it makes you feel what the singer/songwriter was trying to convey at the time it was written.  So there's tons of pressure to write a great song that makes people feel something.  Too bad I happen to be at a loss, thanks to the dreaded "writer's block."  That's why I'm currently writing a blog about having nothing to write about!

Sometimes when writer's block strikes, the best thing to do is walk away and come back to your writing later.  Well, it's been almost a week since I started writing this post and now all I have is short, ugly and unpainted fingernails--and still no new song.  I keep a notepad by my bed in case I wake up in the middle of the night and inspiration strikes.  Usually though, I find that songwriting ideas come to me at the most inopportune times, such as when I'm in the shower or driving to work.  So if you see me on the highway and my car swerves a bit into the next lane, not to worry--I'm probably just in the middle of jotting down a line or two that suddenly popped into my head before I forget it......either that, or I'm responding to a quick text message.  (Just kidding, Mom--kind of).   ; )

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Shamed by a Name

There are certain things I believe celebrities simply should NOT be allowed to do.  One is name their children.  I mean, come on--kids have a hard enough tough time growing up this day and age as it is.  Of course, being bulleyed and teased for your hand-me-down clothing and bowl-cut hairstyle are practically rites of passage.  We all must endure the ridicule at some point and, as a result, come out on the other side stronger individuals for it.  However, getting your you-know-what kicked on the playground as a result of your parents' thoughtless decision and attempt at uniqueness is just downright ridiculous and totally unnecessary.

Just last week, Beyonce and Jay Z's daughter's name was released by the media--Blue Ivy.  It got me to thinking...why do celebrities feel the need to torture their children?  I started a running mental list of all the atrocious names I've heard come out of Hollywood.  First, there was Rumer.  Then came Apple and Moses, Jermajesty, Blanket, Huckleberry, Pilot Inspektor, Coco, Phineus, Moroccan and Bear Blu....and the list sadly goes on and on. 

When I was growing up, the name Cassie was unheard of, and I thought I had it bad going through life with a name that no one could pronounce.  Seriously--if I had nickel for everytime someone called me Casey, I'd be retired by now.  Apparently, Hooked on Phonics didn't work for the majority of the population.  Even my college professors couldn't get it right! 

Most of the time, I don't even bother correcting people when they butcher my name--I pretty much answer to anything.  I've had many a phone conversation answering to Cathy Phillips as though I speak with a "lithp."  As irritating as the mispronunciation of my name is and the fact that I rarely find trinkets in gift shops with my monogram, I guess it could be worse.  I could have famous parents and, as a result, be named after a fruit or household item.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Project $$$hopping

I've recently become obsessed with the TV show Project Runway.  In fact, I just purchased Tim Gunn's book about fashion and style.  While I appreciate his charming wit and onscreen "make it work" pep talks, I have cause to wonder what makes a person qualified to ascertain what is and is not fashionable.  Fashion is art--there is no right or wrong answer to the question...only the guts to claim it, wear it and work it, girl!  An outfit deemed stylish by one person can make others do a double take (and NOT in a good way) as the wearer passes by causing onlookers to wonder if that person in fact, owns mirrors in his/her home.  I believe I have seen some of said outfits on the show's models.

Now I think of myself as a somewhat fashionable individual--at least, I try to be.  I am fascinated by all things related to fashion, cosmetics, and of course--SHOES!  I've been employed in the fashion industry for a good part of my post-college career, and I've learned a great deal of fashion industry-related terms that the "lay-woman" probably has never even heard of.  Even though my degree is not in fashion merchandising, it's very interesting to me.  As a result, my style has definitely changed over the years.  I can honestly say I am a recent convert to skinny jeans (much to my sister-in-law's horror).  I used to think the only person they belonged on was Audrey Hepburn; however, as my shoe collection grew, so did my desire to show off my fancy, new stilettos.  Thus, the skinny-jean-wearing began.  I also have stacks upon stacks of wedge sandals piled up in my closet.  I used to HATE them and then one day I decided I was wrong--they are absolutely adorable!  It really is amazing to look at old photos and see how fashion has transformed over the decades.  Some things are still classic while others came and went...but not soon enough (hello, 1980's--arguably the WORST fashion era known to mankind).  In any case, fashion constantly is evolving and even sometimes is recyclable.  Only now, it's "vintage"--and more expensive!  

In order to (as Steel Magnolias' Truvy would say), "stay abreast of the latest styles," I spend hours parked in front of the TV each week to watch Michael Kors, Nina Garcia and Heidi Klum spout off their blunt opinions of the garments the wannabe designers of today have crafted and sent down the runway on tall, gorgeous, (and emaciated) models.  Sometimes I agree with their candid remarks, but oftentimes, I'm stunned at the near verbal abuse of what comes out of their mouths.  I have to say this...Michael Kors, you make great clothes, but my God, your Lifetime Achievement Award does NOT make you the end-all of the fashion world!  (Sorry, had to get that off my chest).  I never know what the judges are going to say.  Even Tim Gunn, who has amazing foresight into what the judges like and dislike, is not always on the same page as Michael, Nina and Heidi.

The beauty of this show is the subjectivity.  While many times, I would never wear what clothing the designers made, other times, I think to myself, "I have got to learn how to sew!"  It would be awesome if I could design my own wardrobe out of scraps of fabric.  The truth of the matter is, I cannot sew...not even a little bit.  I can't even sew a button on a shirt.  There are a few select pieces in my wardrobe that I have "repaired" over the years with a needle and thread, but to see the stitch work would only solidify my point that I am NOT a fashion designer.

Since I crave the stylish pieces that my nonexistent sewing machine could never produce, I must turn to shopping.  I.  LOVE.  TO.  SHOP!!!!  So the result of my Project Runway viewing has become Project Decrease My Bank Account.  Some may find my obsession to be a mere display of profligacy (Jeremy), but to me, it's all worth it.  I may not have a practical time and place to wear those fabulous dresses and ridiculously tall, uncomfortable (but killer!) shoes, but I WILL look stylish if and when I do!  Because Truvy also said, "There's no such thing as natural beauty."

If someone out there reading this is well versed in sewing, I'd love to try and learn a new skill, but until then, I'm off to the mall......