The moment I accepted my life was a beautiful, chaotic, sometimes a little-messy-but-always-entertaining circus was the moment I felt a true release.

There's no sense in fighting the madness, but I've picked up a few tricks to keep the show going along the way.

I hope they work as well for you as they have [and still do] for me.

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Welcome to the Circus: Formerly Known as The Sassy Steel Magnolia

Posted in circus

I’m baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack and I’m bringing you the pull up a pallet and sit Indian style on the floor next to me moments of what I like to call …. My Beautiful Circus.  [Formerly known as The Sassy Steel Magnolia] I know you’ve heard this from me before.  I’ve disappeared from the blogosphere and then reappeared with a renewed spirit.  I change things up a little and then every few years or so go through a re-launch.  I don’t have a great excuse for it, that’s just how us creatives roll.  We don’t follow the books, we write the books.  However one thing always remains true….

If you love something, set it free. If it comes back to you, it’s yours forever.

That’s the relationship I have with my writing.  It’s been this back and forth, love and hate, Argentinian Tango relationship ever since I can remember.  Next month marks my 7th year blogging.  SEVEN YEARS, PEOPLE. That’s a whole lot of key strokes we’re talking about.  Man, seven years I’ve been talking to you (some of you) and at least 5 years for a majority of you.  Thank you for sticking with me on this journey!  You were a part of my Circus before you even knew about it, and it was time for me to make it official.  Side note: For the email subscribers, I hope the migration to FeedBlitz worked and you guys are getting this update.  Fingers crossed on that one.

Now for why I’m back.  It’s simple: Regardless of how full of life my days are, I can’t help but notice something is missing.  Then I realized it was the blogosphere that was calling my name.  And it’s been whispering in my ear for the past few months.  I’ll admit, I’m nervous to show my face around here again.  It can be a bit intimidating and down right frightening on the path of vulnerability with these things….but there’s a reason I’ve been drawn back to the interwebs, and I’m here until that reason presents itself!  Buckle up, kiddos.

So why the name change? In the past year and a half or so I’ve noticed my happiest moments are when I embrace the good and the bad at the same time – read: the messy and the beautiful – instead of trying to fight or over analyze either side.  Referring to my life as a Circus has been the best way to make it from day to day with a smile on my face the majority of the time.  Each day is truly a new, unpredictable show.  Sometimes the monkeys get out of their cages and run loose, sometimes the main attraction oversleeps or tears her costume, often times the clowns are up to their usual tricks, the elephants still always make me smile and yes there are days when it seems like the whole damn tent’s about to come tumbling down.  No matter what though, there’s always a new show in the works for the next day – another chance to do over or do even better from the last.  And that is how I’ve come to live my life.  And that is why the blog has landed on a new name.

So……..Welcome to the Big Top!  I’m happy you’re here with me.

love & magic,

Jennie B

What I Learned from Running

I ran a half marathon on April 27th.  Did I mention I was in training since January? No, probably not. I was nervous about the whole situation. Like really really nervous.  I have never been that big of a runner.  I signed up because both my sister (who IS a runner) and my brother were both running and I didn’t want to be left out. <— I’ll get to that part a little later.

On a whim at 1:30 in the morning on December 31st, I signed up for the St Jude Country Music Half Marathon. It was a solid three and a half months of training…..and let’s just say I picked up a few more things than tighter legs muscles along the way.  Obviously I didn’t mind the health benefits, but what I didn’t expect was the life benefits. Bonus!

And so here it is: My top 5 life lessons I learned from running:

1. Humility is the stuff dreams are made of.  Because nothing puts you in your place faster than passing slower runners going up the bridge, with a slight chip on your shoulder……..and next thing you know a 60 year old man zips past you like a Kenyan rock star. Lesson.learned.

2. Fake it till you make it goes a long way.  Have you seen the movie What about Bob?  It’s one of my favorites. Bill Murray at his greatest.  In the movie he repeats a mantra to himself over and over and over – I feel fine. I feel great. I feel wonderful. – it helps him do little things like leave his apartment in the morning.  Welp, I repeated that mantra on nearly every training run I did. Over and over and over.  When I was hurting, when I was half asleep, when I was on a roll – my mantra was there, pushing me through to the end. Because sometimes you need to fake it until you make it to that last mile. I feel fine. I feel great. I feel wonderful. 

3. You are your own best cheerleader. During the race there’s of course 30,000 of your closest friends running along side you, but when it comes to running – you’re running by yourself. It’s awesome on the race route all the people that were there cheering on the runners. So awesome. But where were they on all those 6 a.m. training runs?? Sheesh.  And so I learned real quick, I was the only one who was going to get me from one mile to the next. I began congratulating myself at every single mile on every single training run.  And it wasn’t just in my head, oh no, we’re talking fists in the air Rocky Balboa style. There was no half assing that one, kids. I made it a point to be very clear to myself how proud I was to make it through these small steps along the way. It made a huge difference in my runs…..and in my life.

4. Stop comparing yourself to others. You don’t know how long that person was running before they shot past you.  You aren’t out there to set a world record.  You barely even call yourself a runner! So why the heck are you (read that as….why the heck am I) comparing myself to every runner around and second guessing everything? That doesn’t make much sense now does it.  Keep your mind in your own yard and focus on yourself. That’s all that matters.

5. Not wanted to be left out of a picture is a silly reason to run 13.1 miles.  (especially when you brother bails 2 weeks before the race)

marathon photo

but it was worth every minute of it.

A baby changes everything.

Posted in beauty, circus, fAith

me and bean

More specifically, this baby changes everything.

Long before she came into this world just one year ago today, she was destined to alter all who came in contact for the better.

I call her Bean. She is my goddaughter.

And she has changed everything.

Happy 1st Birthday, sweet girl. May you continue to change the world for the better every day.


Auntie Boo

hi, it’s me again.

I’m sure you’re surprised to see my name in your inbox or reader. To be honest I’m a little surprised I’m putting it there. It’s been a while. (almost 7 months to be exact) Many have asked (some repeatedly) why I stopped writing. I can’t really answer that question.

Well, I can but maybe at a later date and time.

Regardless, here I am back at the ssm. And while I’d rather not discuss the absence at this time, I will however mention why I’m back. It’s part of a cleanse I’m doing. It’s called the Clean Program.

Today is Day 7 (of 21) for me.

No, this isn’t some crazy water and lemon juice only situation, or a twelve step intervention over here. It’s a legit 21 day program where I eat two liquid meals a day and one solid meal a day of natural, basic foods. The goal is to push reset on my system, get rid of built up toxins and help rebuild my intestinal system. (TMI, yet??) To fully follow the program, it encourages release of emotional toxins as well. Mediation, Yoga, Exercise, and turning to a creative outlet such as art, music, writing (heyo!), or any other hobby are strongly encouraged to reap the full benefits of cleansing body and soul.

Annnnnnd that’s what lead me back to you. Hi. Again. This time I’ll be doing things a little differently. No weekly posting schedule, no facebook or twitter pages for the ssm (take a gander, they’ve already been deleted), nada. Just me and my sometimes chaotic, but always lovingly entertaining circus of a life.

Now, having said all of that, I need to go start cooking and preparing foods for my lunches this week. Clean week 2 of 3 starts tomorrow. #forabetterlife


jennie b

p.s. it feels good to be back.

music snack *that’s who I am

Posted in circus, life, Music Snack

I haven’t heard this song in years. Driving home from work Monday I happen to flip from CD player to Radio and then it happened. Thanks to 96.9 the Wolf, my speakers went straight to full blast and I was singing Jessica Andrews at the top of my lungs in 2.7 seconds flat. It was a moment. Me and the Don Holt and this song. A precious moment which according to the honks & waves I received, a couple of others enjoyed on their commutes as well.

The second verse is the best:

So when I make a big mistake
When I fall flat on my face
I know I’ll be alright
Should my tender heart be broken
I will cry those teardrops knowing’
I will be just fine’

Jessica Andrews – Who I Am

Granted that whole I’m a saint and I’m a sinner part ain’t too shabby either. It’s a true story.

What can I say, sometimes I’m clueless and I’m clumsy. 😉

xo, jennie b


When you need a little more than a smile or a cup of tea to get your week in motion, the Sassy Starter will be here every Monday to get your wheels turnin’ in a classy – sassy – fabulous sort of way

music snack : mad season

Posted in circus, Music Snack

Here’s that Matchbox Twenty song I rambled on about a while back. Such a great song.

And quite timely, might I add. Enjoy!

Matchbox Twenty – Mad Season

I’ve come undone …… in this Mad Season.

Well said. Well said, indeed.


The Music Snack comes out every Wednesday to put a little rhythm in your week. Requests are always welcome, so don’t be shy!


oh how I’ve embarrassed thee, let me count the ways

Posted in circus, freedom.

I’ll be the first to tell you that I make an idiot out of myself on a regular basis. And by regular, I mean daily, albeit hourly. It’s not purposefully done, no sir, it happens most times without me even realizing it until after the fact. I’m that good at it. Really good.

I’ve embarrassed myself so many times (as I’m sure each of you have as well), I could not even begin to count them all. I’ve said the wrong thing, said entirely too much, laid my heart on the line, not laid my heart out what so ever, drank a little too much here and there, screamed when I probably shouldn’t have, gotten words/people/places so confused that Webster himself couldn’t have even gotten me untangled, cried in public, had my face turn uncontrollable shades of crimson, thrown a chair (or picture frame, or fill in the blank) across a room, laughed at inappropriate intervals, fallen flat on my face and my ass – literally yet obviously not simultaneously – in public when it was the very last thing I needed to do at the time, woken up the morning after with the moral hang-over from haties. And … 0h my word – I could keep going, but honestly I don’t need to. You get the point. You’ve been there. Right?

The thing that’s taken me the longest to learn is letting go of the embarrassing moments I’ve had in my time. For days, months, even in some cases years, these moments would stick with me ….. and would absolutely horrify me. I would shudder when these thoughts crossed my mind. Thinking to myself, Oh Lord! What was I thinking?? How could I be so stupid?! That is probably the one thing (fill in the blank here) remembers when they think of me. That one last thought, alone, can drive a person mad and cause you to lock a piece of yourself away. (Believe me. I should know.) Some of these thoughts and moments have haunted me since high school.

Correction: some of these thoughts and moments used to haunt me since high school. Much better. You see, once I started letting go of the aftermath, the embarrassing moments — well they didn’t start to slip away, because they’re definitely still happening on a regular basis, but they did lose a good bit of their power, or hold, over me.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s still the initial shudder and groan when I realize what I’ve just done, said, texted, etc. That, like the bright red shades my face turns, will never go away. The main difference is now I see these moments are simply that ….. moments in time. They pass just like all the others and who am I to keep bringing them up over and over again in my head?

Besides, they all turn into solid, entertaining stories eventually. And isn’t that what life’s about in the end – a great story to be told? I like t0 think so. Embarrassing moments and all. *even the ones captured on film……

You can’t take life too seriously. You’ll never get out alive. – Van Wilder

top photo

Sound the alarm if I start to go crazy.

Posted in circus, housekeeping

Opening my pocket-book calendar you would see this past Sunday circled with a bright red marker. No, it wasn’t because of the Super Bowl (Shout out to Eli ~ Hotty Toddy!). It was because another game started that day. The daily game of Did I take my birth control pill this morning? / Am I still sane?.

Yea, that one.

Here’s a little background: I first started on the pill when I was 18. Nothing like knowing exactly when Aunt Rose was gonna come knockin on your door. I had it down to the hour. First couple of years were great, and then I started to slack on the daily intake. I’d skip a week here, go solid for a month or two there, but things started to get so out of whack I stopped.

And then I started again about 2 years ago. To put it nicely, the whole ordeal was totally NO BUENO.

I was given an off-brand because my insurance didn’t cover my old birth control, and let me just tell you – it sent me way off my rocker. I’m talking about I was in a completely different room from the damn chair most of the time. It was not a good situation. As soon as we (my primary care physician & I) realized it was the bc, I stopped. I had become one of the horrifying stories you hear of girls getting on birth control and losing their marbles. That was me.

Last fall, for a couple of different reasons, I decided to give it a go one more time. I got the prescription in October, but I’ll admit I was gun-shy. No person wants to voluntarily buy themselves a ticket on the crazy-train. (especially when the circus is permanently in town to begin with) I waited and waited and waited, and finally this past Sunday, I took myself to Target pharmacy and handed over my prescription.

First thing I checked was to make sure it wasn’t on the Pfizer recall list. I high-fived the pharmacy tech when she told me I was in the clear. (awesome) Twenty minutes later, my name was called and the tiny little packet of 21 pills, nicely labeled Sunday through Saturday were in my hands. When I got home, I looked in the mirror, took a deep breath, sent up a quick plea of please let this be like the first time, and down the hatch went pill #1.

…….and so it begins.

Third time’s always a charm, right?

Here’s hopin.

I know tons of women on the pill who haven’t had any side effects what so ever. I was one of them the first time I was on it! That stupid second trial is what has me thrown off kilter. But as a courtesy I thought I’d give you all the heads up. I only ask you this – If you feel like my cheese is beginning to slide off my cracker, shoot me an email. Send up a smoke signal. Let a Sister know. Sound the alarm if I start to go crazy. That’s it. That’s all I’m asking.

Thank you in advance!

Have a good one,

jennie b

*Just in case you were wondering, the 9 o’clock ramblings post had nothing to do with possible birth control effects – that’s just how my thought process runs sometimes.