July is almost over and we recently had an amazing week long vacation to Florida. The first chunk of the week was spent in St. Augustine with my parents and brother and sis in law and the latter half took Loss and I to Orlando. This isn’t going to be my trip report and filled with a zillion photos (that’s still to come) but to cover the result of all of it.
By having a week to not worry about our home, work and other normal responsibilities, it opened up room to in my brain to get inspired. Between the beautiful beach and sunrise we woke up super early to view (and admittedly nap again after I saw it) to the beautiful smiles on my friends faces, I’m inspired. My heart is full.
There are people around me who are taking risks, testing the waters of what they dream, they’re creating and making the world around them better. I am inspired. And that’s not just people who are right here, in a ten mile radius.
I’m feeling like things are possible. I feel the explosion of inspiration about to hit. I’m not sure what will come from it, but it’s time. I can’t wait. I’m so thankful for a time to slow down, take things in and see what comes of it.
So it has happened: my 30th birthday has come and gone. It was pretty cool, nothing too over the top. My day was a Friday off work with Loss and a few of my favorite things: a trip to a photo booth (a birthday tradition for us), a free Mellow Mushroom pizza, diving face first into a cake and spending my normal Friday morning WPRK radio block relaxing & nerding out with Orlando Tourism Report (thanks for the shout out, Ken!). It was an awesome day that started a chill long weekend.
I’ve got a dinner in Orlando and a little party with my family later on this month that I’m looking forward to as well. In the end though, I’m the most excited to get to spend time with those I love.
Has 30 changed me? Not that I can tell, except for one a tweak to my life’s mission statement: I’m done worrying about what others think.
This is showing in a few areas of my life and it’s pretty awesome. I recently purchased my first bathing suit top that was neither a tankini or one piece and I feel amazing in it. I’m no skinny Minnie, that’s for sure, but I’ve got the confidence to rock this thing. We’re headed to the beach soon & there will be some pictures of it soon, don’t worry.
I’ve adopted #EverydayGlitter as a part of my routine. I realized throwing on a little glitter in my make up makes me happy, so why save it for special occasions? I’m bringing that stuff out everyday, if it’s even just for a little bit.
Also letting my ally flag fly and being a little louder about it. I’m supporting and learning more everyday about the people who don’t subscribe to a black and white stance on sexuality and gender. It’s time to accept everyone has some good in them and they shouldn’t be judged and put down simply because they are different from ourselves or what we see as “normal”. I mean, what is normal anyway? Sounds pretty boring to me.
These are not new concepts by any means, but it’s time to share them with no regrets and no worries. It is what it is and I’m on board to continue to grow and evolve a d become even more of the woman I’m meant to be when all is said and done. Got an issue with me? Check it at the door!
I like to paint every now and then. It destresses me and helps me calm down. I get into moods where I just have to create. When those moods hit, I typically head for the acrylic or watercolor paint and go to town.
I enjoy sharing my work with friends and family and have a tendency to pass it out to people who are positive and compliment the work. One of my proudest moments, as far as creating is concerned, was arriving at a friend’s house hundreds of miles away and they had multiple pieces I had painted and drawn hanging up around the house, it’s the best feeling.
I tend to not have the fanciest tools or have the best techniques and I’d probably embarrass a “real” art student, but who cares. I do this because I enjoy it and because it makes me feel good. It’s also kinda fun and sometimes a little scary looking at a finished piece and figuring out the subconscious meaning behind it.
There’s something about being a little more crude and unprecise with my work and playing with styles that brings me joy. My heroes in art vary from Andy Warhol to Jean-Michel Basquiat to street art wondertwins, Os Gemeos. I don’t worry about staying in the lines, unless I’m working on an abstract inspired piece with nothing but lines and patterns on top of the various colors. So much truly depends on how I’m feeling at the moment. I don’t often use words in my paintings unless the piece calls for it to truly express what it’s trying to say. Generally speaking, words mean a quote inspired what I had to paint. The “Love is Love” painting I created recently is the most wordy work that I’ve done probably ever.
So that’s a little peek into my artsy world. There’s often not much better than just going to work and finding something complete in the end, even if I don’t always know what it’ll be when I begin. Here’s to self expression!
Recently, one of my friends from college days has started offering life coaching services and sent out an email looking for folks to work with for 4 comped months. I’d researched life coaching for some writing that I did last year and I had always been interested in what a life coach could do for me. So, knowing what I did, I replied to the email and told Anna that I was very interested in the 4 sessions with her.
A few weeks later, we had a phone conference for our first hour session. Up front, she gave the description of her services, stating it was not therapy and to try and focus on one area or goal for our times together. After a little discussion, I narrowed down my focus to be find ways to be more productive and motivated.
Just like anyone, by the time the everyday work of being married, working, and just plain adulting can be overwhelming sometimes. After being married for two years (in a week!), I feel like we’ve gotten quite a bit of things figured out, which is awesome, but I need to make sure that I myself am taken care of as well. Whether that be dragging my butt to the gym or not feeling bad about taking time to do somethings for myself, it’s all a part of the balance that I need to work on. Add to that the tendency to shut down when I get overwhelmed (such as if there’s a pile of clothes to put away, if it seems to be too much, I just don’t and avoid it).
After talking to Anna and following the way she was guiding, I came to a realization or two about being positive and keeping things flowing in an optimistic, uplifting way. It’s a simple concept that is sometimes hard to remember, but positivity is a key. We also discussed desire statements and saying them to myself daily to keep the reminder of where I am and where I’m going fresh in my mind. I admittedly haven’t been the best at saying these to myself twice a day as she suggested, but I do look at them every so often and repeat the thoughts to myself. A little bit at a time, right?
So that’s a nutshell of what month one has brought. We will have session number two in a week or two and I’m interested to see where else it will lead. I feel good going into the experience confidently and open mindedly and am proud to have a friend who is also able to help guide people in this way.
Here’s to month two!
If you’re interested, you can reach Anna and read some of her content through her site, Heartbeat Hive.
I’ve made note before of how much I love Turner Classic Movies and the #TCMParty fun on Twitter but this year, my love for classic film has gone to a new level. Attending the TCM Big Screen Classics events throughout this year has been an extension of my TCM love and super awesome!
We attended some of the Big Screen Classics last year but lucked out and a friend passed along a link to purchase a year long pass for 2017’s film series. So, for $50 each, Loss and I have access to view 14 films this year on the big screen! Buying a pair of these passes was one of the best ideas I had in December of 2016.
Each film is opened with a short intro from a TCM host and is also punctuated with that same host sharing a few more tidbits about the film. It’s pretty much what you’d see while watching prime time TCM films, but there’s something extra cool about seeing Ben Mankiewicz on the big screen (I’m super stoked to see my girl Tiffany Vazquez show up before the film next month!).
So far this year, we have seen Singin’ in the Rain (aka my favorite movie ever ever ever), An Affair to Remember, All About Eve, North By Northwest, The Graduate, and Smokey and the Bandit. Next week brings Some Like It Hot and thinking of Jack Lemmon’s face on the big screen just makes me excited (drag or not..he’s a classic film crush of mine, I mean, have you seen him in The Apartment? Perfection!).
I know some bigger cities have cinemas where they show these films on the big screen on a regular basis, but here in Chattanooga, we rarely have older films showing on the big screen. Thanks to TCM, this is possible without a two hour drive and I super appreciate it.
And did I mention the perk of having a built in date night every month that’s already payed for? Yes please! Thanks for helping me nerd out and get some special time with the hubs as well!
June has just started and it’s the most rainbow colored month of the year. Yes, June is Pride month and I am beyond excited to celebrate this year.
As I wrote about after my March visit to Orlando, I spent time with friends in the LGBT community and got to spend time in their very welcoming clubs and learned that there is more out there than my small town upbringing.
While in Orlando, I got to experience my first drag show and have since taken to loving the amazing RuPaul’s Drag Race show and have been binging all the seasons I can get my hands on. There’s just something so amazing about these people who find their inner voice and creatively channel and share themselves. These queens carry themselves with so much confidence and femininity, humor and glamour- I can’t help but love them.
In the past few months, I wrote about how Katy Perry’s experience growing up was the story I needed to hear. In a nutshell, she grew up really conservative, found this whole new world that’s out there of the LGBT community and that experience has changed her life so much for the better. Her experience is very similar to my own and being shown that others have been there as well is what I needed to become more bold. It might upset some people that I know to say this outloud, but I agree and take the role of an ally to this community. That’s just how it’s going to be- it’s time to stand up for what I truly believe in.
RuPaul has done more than just offer up hours of a fantastic reality show for me to devour, through hours spent listening to him and his bff Michelle Visage on their podcast, What’s the Tee?. The more I’ve listened, the more I’ve learned about Michelle and how she relates to the LGBT community as a straight, married woman with kids. She speaks very openly about becoming an ally and standing beside all of her friends in every and any way that she can.
With June being Pride month, I want to come out as an Ally. I want to proudly say that I support and love and stand behind all of the LGBTQ+ community. While I don’t know even a quarter of it all yet, I am proud to call myself an Ally and want to do good for all of my friends and people I’ll never even meet who want nothing besides the rights seemingly everyone else has been alotted and allowed. My goal is to spread love and acceptance, happiness and friendship.
I’m here to be an Ally and I’ll shout it from the rooftops. We have to remember: Love is Love is Love is Love and I love you- June or July or December or whenever.
Just up the road from Chattanooga, right across the state line in Georgia, is my favorite local tourist spot, Rock City. Loss and I usually visit around Christmas time to see all the gorgeous lights throughout this historical park but I also jumped on the opportunity to visit with out of town visitors recently.
Our friends, Jen and Kevin Fox, came through town on their way to Pigeon Forge and we took a visit to Rock City. I was so stoked to hang out with the Happy Living couple and show them our gorgeous city and its neighboring areas (you know we had to visit the Chattanooga Choo Choo before they headed on, too).
As always, Rock City didn’t disappoint and I loved getting to laugh and laugh at Kevin’s corny jokes as we walked down the winding rock paths. Of course, we had to stop to take a few photos throughout and just had an awesome time.
If you’re going to be in the North Georgia/Chattanooga area, I highly suggest a trip to Ruby Falls. Where else can you see gnomes, lots of rocks and a fairy tale land? Yep, right here.
One other thing is for certain: Loss and I can’t wait to have more Sunday Fundays with the Foxs!
Bonus fun: You can check out the vlog that Kevin & Jen did while we were at Rock City as well…my laughter makes a cameo in quite a bit of it…Also, the Sprite joke is mine, Kevin is just borrowing it. You’re welcome. =)
As if being on a Disney podcast wasn’t enough, I’ve found another place to spread my Disnerdery across the internet!
Recently, I started writing a weekly column for Diskingdom entitled Vacation Kingdom Know-How. Each week I’m looking at a way to save time or money (or both) and hopefully make your Walt Disney world vacation a little bit better.
So far, there’s been an introduction post and this week’s post on planning apps and I’ve got some ideas for the next few that are exciting. The posts go up on Sunday, so keep an eye out or follow along on Twitter and Facebook for updates when there’s new content.
Also, if you’ve got any ideas for a column or hints for saving time and money at Disney, feel free to pass along your ideas- I promise I’ll give credit where credit is due! More than one brain is better than just mine!
I’ll close out with quick props- thanks to Jessica for coming up for the name and to Roger for running Diskingdom and letting me write! One day maybe I’ll be as impressive as Derek Burgan and his Saturday 6…Nah..not possible.
Things have started making sense lately. Issues and concepts I have had difficulty with in the past have started clicking and my world view is truly becoming my own (I think it has to do with the return of Saturn I previously wrote about). In the process of this growth, I have been pointed the direction of pop singer Katy Perry- hear me out on this one.
I mentioned in my March Tunes post about non stop listening to “Chained the Rhythm”, thanks to randomly hearing it when visiting the Parliament House in Orlando. After multiple listens to the song (and I mean literally on repeat), I went ahead and added Ms. Perry to my list of people I follow on twitter. A day later, she posted video of her speech at the Human Rights Campaign Gala. I watched it and cried. She had the answer I was looking for- you have to step out of what you were raised in.
In her speech, Katy speaks about being raised in an uber conservative household and even performing Christian music. She shared how she broke out of that mindset, “Most of my unconscious adolescence, I prayed the gay away at my Jesus camps. But then in the middle of it all, in a twist of events, I found my gift and my gift introduced me to people outside of my bubble. My bubble started to burst.”
Throughout my life, the idea of LGBT issues had been seen as a no-no in my church background. When I went to college, I had a few friends who were in the community and I spent quite a bit of time with. Even though I loved these people and didn’t see them as different from myself, there was always an issue inside of me when it was brought up at church. My viewpoint was “Hey, I’m not going to condemn you and tell you you’re going to Hell, don’t worry. I may not completely get what you’re doing, but it’s on you”. Basically, I was, in church terms, lukewarm.
As I have gotten older, completed college, grad school and progressed onward in life, I had the same kind of feelings towards the LGBT community. I agreed that they should be able to marry when it came up and I definitely had some opinions that were more progressive than a lot of the folks I knew, but it was never really on the forefront of my mind and I never spoke up. Then Pulse happened.
I have written about how much that tragedy in Orlando affected me and how I was compelled to visit the memorial. I mention in the post covering my visit, I woke up June 12, 2016 scared that my very good friend had been at the club that night. I was grateful that he had not been there. Loss and I laid in bed and read the terrifying reports via twitter and other outlets before getting ready for church that morning. We were both upset at the number of lives lost and I couldn’t imagine being there, waiting and waiting, to see if your loved ones and friends made it out safely.
I wore my bright scarf to church that morning, mainly because I didn’t own anything with a rainbow on it. We sat in the back row and listened to the announcements and prayer requests. The church service was eventually over and not one person had as much as mentioned the Pulse events in a thought, prayer or anything. A week or two before, a policeman had been shot and killed somewhere way far off in the country and we had prayed three times about it. Three.
When I went to Pulse, I wore the same scarf I wore in memory of those people the morning after. It was one of the most important things I did on my trip to Florida.
When visiting Orlando, I saw so much of the LGBT community, saw the way people are so accepting and saw the celebratory nature of the community. The last night of my trip we went to the Parliament House and I had the most fun of my entire vacation. Everyone was super accepting, loving and inclusive. I was told I was beautiful more than once, complimented on my dress, danced with, hugged, smiled at- I was welcome and had an amazing time. I was with a group of people who were enjoying being themselves, taking a second to not take life too seriously and spreading happiness.
In her speech, Katy Perry talked about the inclusiveness she found in the gay community, saying they “were the most free, strong, kind and inclusive people I have ever met. They stimulated my mind and they filled my heart with joy and they freaking danced all the while doing it. These people are actually magic, and they are magic because they are living their truth.”
That night my bubble truly, officially burst and I was surrounded by magic. I can’t wait to return to and live in a city that is filled with so much magic and love and hope.
Saying these words outloud makes me so happy but also scares me some. I am working on not caring what others think as much, but I know some people who I love may be put off by these words due to their religious beliefs. All I truly want to share is compassion, empathy, love and hope. You have shown me much of this in my life and I want to truly spread this legacy- all the way around. I am ready to be an ally for all people and spread the love that is in my heart. Thank you. I hope to make you all proud.
As Katy says in the song,
“So comfortable, we’re living
in a bubble, bubble
So comfortable, we cannot
see the trouble, trouble
When the weather gets warm, I get to rocking dresses. And they’re all I want to wear all summer. There’s nothing better than just throwing on a dress and heading out the door- and I’m thrilled to have found my new fave.
I call this green dress the tiki dress and it was a super random Forever 21 find (can’t even find it on their website) for only $8 (regular price, not on sale!!!) and I picked it up before heading on my Orlando trip.
I’ve thrown it on a few times since returning with a sweater or some sort of cover up since it’s not 80 degrees in Chattanooga- yet.
Big thanks to Staci for taking photos and finding good trees to stand by… like ones with crazy holes in them!
Do you guys have any go to outfits that you can just throw on and go?