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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I Resolve..

Posted in legacy, life

..to loose weight, exercise more, stay organized, blahdi bladi blah..yea, not so much. Nice ideas but how many people actually make it past Valentine’s Day with their unreasonably long list of “New Year’s Resolutions”? And then there is the guilt that sets in because you didn’t stick to your resolutions and next year, next year you are going to do so much better. I’m one of those people who tends to make a list and not stick to it. But this year I’ve decided to do something a little different. I’m not going to make a list of things. No, this year I am making one and only one resolution.

I resolve — to do something I’ve always wanted to do, but never could muster up the courage.

That may sound easy at first, but I’m talking about something big for me. Bigger than big. HUGE. Something that’s always been in the back of my mind but I’ve never followed through before. You know, one of those things you’d put on a Bucket List. Something that you have to park your fears, inhibitions and hesitations at the door and just…go.

I’m not quite sure exactly what it is yet, but I know it’s gonna be BIG. And I am holding myself to it. I figure that putting all of my energy into one really awesome thing is way better than scattering it amongst a few little things here and there. Right? Right!

I got the idea from my Momma, who went on her first cruise this past November. At 62 years young, she boarded her ship after flying to Barcelona and took a week long cruise up the coast of Italy. Not bad for a first timer, huh? Did she have reservations about it? Of course! But…she did it…she parked those reservations with the valet, went on the crusie and had the time of her life.

Celebrity Century Cruise Ship        Momma and Gladiator

Sometimes you just have to let go and GO. And that is my resolution for this year. One big thing that’s been lingering on my list for a while. I’m going to do it..this year..2010..the year of Jenn.

I’ll let you know how it works out 😉

A Rope of Hope

Posted in life

A few weeks ago my friend Casey over at A Five-Leaf Clover and I were talking one day about how much we share with the world in our blogs.  She wrote an incredible post where she admitted to waking up crying one morning which is what has empowered me to share something with you. I’m going to tell you about it not because I want you to feel sorry for me, but because I know some of you have been in similar situations or slumps.

Here is my confession — For the past few months I have been in a dark place and gradually got worse. I was more than grumpy, I was straight up tired of it all and wanted to change but just didn’t know how. 

I believed things would be ok eventually. It was just running down the dark hall way to get to the light at the end of the tunnel (for lack of better phrasing) that was the hard part. I was stuck in the friggin tunnel. And I hate tunnels – metaphorically AND literally.

This is something that started a few months ago and no matter how hard I tried to ignore it – I just wasn’t happy and I couldn’t stop crying. On the outside everything seemed ok to most people, that’s because I learned how to smile even when I was falling down. But on the inside I was not ok and I knew it, I just didn’t know how to make it stop.  Does this mean I have been depressed all the time and never smile? No. It just means that there’s been a cloud hovering around me that no one else would’ve ever known about, and it’s time I called the cloud out. I’m willing to bet that most of you have been there before, you find yourself restless — in a slump — with nothing really to point your finger at for the blame.

Spiral Staircase

It’s a darker side to being a woman that is often not discussed in mixed company. If we talk about it we’re often perceived as being overly emotional, losing our marbles, can’t get it together, unprofessional, weak, completely off our rocker .. the list goes on and on. (feel free to slide in your favorite one)  BUT it’s real and sometimes, sometimes it just happens.  It doesn’t mean that we fall down the spiral staircase, hit the floor, breaking both our legs and just lay there. No. It just means that sometimes we slip down the spirals, we eventually catch our footing, stand up and climb back up the stairs. Sometimes all we need is a little piece of rope .. of hope .. to get things going back in the right direction.

So – why now? Why am I telling you about this now? Well, that is because I was handed a rope to help pull me back up on my feet this past weekend. If we’ve chatted in person you know that my ultimate goal is to write a book. And yes I’ve had a few jump starts here and there over the past few years. Chapters laying in different corners of my room, ideas strewn out on post-its and such. But finally – finally I was delivered the Big One.  The perfect idea for my book and exactly how I wanted to send the message that I am trying to send. It started when I woke up Saturday morning after crying myself to sleep the night before. It was just there and it was all I could think about. I woke up Sunday morning with even more ideas.

On Sunday afternoon I went to the Center for Women’s Lowcountry Women Author’s Holiday Book Signing. I was surrounded by many incredibly talented female authors, including my writing Yoda – who I immediately got super nervous when I saw from across the room – Angie Mizzell. I was humbled to be there, especially knowing I was just beginning on my real book manuscript. It was phenomenal. It helped me take hold of that rope a little tighter and start to stand up a little straighter. I want to be there in a few years. Sitting at my table and signing my book. Right next to Angie. In the middle of the room. Go ahead and set up a Reserved sign for a few years from now. (Granted I haven’t gone over these plans with Angie yet, but I’m hoping she won’t mind I’ve already added her into it!)

So there it is – that is my rope of hope that I’m holding onto. All it takes is one thing to help pull ourselves out of life slump. I know as a woman, as a Sassy Steel  Magnolia that that is just another part of who I am. And just as many of you readers have, I’ve made it through ’em before .. I’ma make it through this one, too .. and any other one that may come my way.

May you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with warm wishes & too much food!  ~besos~  Jennie B.

SSM Mid-Week Music Snack 3

Posted in life, Music Snack

This week’s SSM Music Snack was chosen by our Dating Gal from yesterday, Katie.  I love her selection and the reasoning behind it and the song instantly made me smile.  Sit back and enjoy..

I’m Alive by Kenny Chesney and Dave Matthews

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B56UjiLuWkk

A message from Katie:

Why this song?  Well,  since mid-September I’ve been going to see a counselor every two weeks.  Why?  Well, because I want to.  I firmly believe that mental health is an essential ingredient to a happy, healthy and full life.  Nothing is going seriously wrong in my life, but I wanted to sit down with a professional and see if there is/was anything that I could do to improve my mental game before I embark upon my first career in a new city in January.
Well, Dan the Counselor Man and I have been talking about positivity.  Wow, I’ve never realized until now what an energy drain even one negative thought can be!  So, I’m making a concerted effort to be more positive and thankful.  Come on now, we all have problems/tiffs/bumps in the road, but talk about it with a rationale friend and get that negative thought out of your head!  Dan told me for every negative thought that comes across your mind, you should think of at LEAST three positive ones–even if they are as trivial as saying- I’m thankful to be alive!

So SSM readers- Make a concerted effort to be happy- it’s so much better than being a negative Nancy! After all, we’re alive and well.

Ciao for now,
Katie

The Dating Journey

Have you seen the show Tough Love on VH1?  Season 2 just premiered this past Sunday. (If you haven’t, you might want to check it out, that Steve is one tough cookie.)  The dating game can be quite the adventurous road to navigate and we all need a little help along the way at some point.  And so, in the spirit of the Tough Love Season 2 premier, I decided to call upon a Sassy Steel Magnolia friend of mine, who also dubs as my dating guru, Katie to give our readers a few tips when taking the D-Tour.

I greatly admire Katie for her dating abilities.  She’s been through the ringer a couple of times but always comes out on top and with her head held high.  I call her often to discuss my situations and am always entertained by her stories.  I hope you enjoy reading her tips, as I know I’ve used them through out the years.  As for my married readers, you can sit back and relax on this post .. this one’s for the rest of us dating navigators …..

 

First of all- let me clear the air- I am NO expert on dating.  I am a 25 year old single* female that, while I have gone on my fair share of ridiculous dates in the decade I’ve been canoodling with men, I highly doubt my experience qualifies me to throw in my ten cents on anything.  However, since my good friend Jennie B asked me to give some dating tips, I am happy to oblige. 

Since I am a recent law school grad and successful bar exam taker (as I write this I’m hoping the ridiculously expensive wine my mom bought me for passing the bar exam will somehow make me seem more whitty than normal),  please accept the following warning:

Journey  Dating can be and should be a   journey.  Like life, there are ups and  downs- good times and bad times.  I’ve learned to enjoy the fun times and get through the bad times, but mostly importantly, I firmly believe we should pass on our experiences to our fellow travelers. Hopefully my mistakes can be your lessons learned or my funny stories can lift you up during a dating dry spell.  Please, learn something from my advice, or at the least take away a good laugh at some of the crazy things that have happened to me along the way.

With all of that out of the way, drum roll please….here they are in no particular order:

KATIE’S TIPS ON DATING

1.   If you want to use a dating website, go for it. More power to you. Your confidence and devotion to love truly amaze me. I’ve had several really close friends meet awesome guys using these dating tools.  However, NEVER feel pressured to sign up for a Web site and certainly don’t force them on an unwilling 20-something female. I’m moving to Atlanta in January and a friend (whom I love very dearly, but unfortunately is one of those-“ I’m dating someone, so all my friends should too” type of people) and I were having a conversation about boys.  She is doing a clerkship in another city for a year, and then plans to move to Atlanta where her boyfriend lives. No shit- this came out of her sweet, clueless mouth- “Katie (that’s me), I really think that if you haven’t found someone by the time I move to Atlanta, you should try Match.com. I mean, I hear that it’s quite normal for people in big cities to use it, you know, less “taboo” for you to use it in Atlanta. Definitely not something to be embarrassed about using in Atlanta.”- God bless her sweet caring heart, and in her defense, I was probably complaining about being single, but my gracious—Do not put a dating website in the context of being taboo or not… EVER.

2.  I don’t care who you are, date different types of guys. Bachelors from The Bachelorette - Jillian I’ve dated them all- seriously every adjective you can think of and it’s opposite. Did all these dates go well…NO MA’AM! Did I learn something from each of these guys?  Why yes, yes I did.  Ladies, it is perfectly fine to be picky, but don’t be so picky you turn down dates with guys that don’t meet what you think of as ideal.  Some of my best dates were with guys I almost said no to.  After a date or two, if you know it won’t work out or that they don’t fit your mold, tell them POLITELY (no need to be heinous), that you don’t think it will work.  Either way- hopefully you’ve gotten some flowers, a few drinks, and a nice dinner from the deal- we all know that never hurt anyone =)

3.  That being said, know when it is time to let go.  NEVER, NEVER, NEVER stay with someone because you feel sorry for them, you hope you’ll develop feelings for them, they are the type of person your mom (or fill in the blank here) thinks you should be with. Life is too short to be with someone who doesn’t give you butterflies or make your heart skip a beat when entering the room.

4.  Before accepting an invitation to go on a vacation,make sure you know where you all stand-i.e. what each other’s expectations are.  Believe you me, NOTHING is more awkward than you thinking one thing, he be thinking another and then find out what each other really wanted/expected out of the trip . . . in the middle of the Caribbean. . . on a cruise ship. . .with 5 days left on the friggin cruise.   Do I sound like I’m speaking from experience?  Because I am.   It doesn’t necessarily have to be as long as a cruise, imagine even a weekend at a cabin, or an over-night wedding trip.

5.  When you break up with someone, I don’t care how much you like them as a person or wanted things to work out differently- do NOT, I repeat DO NOT commit the cardinal sins that one of my ex-s made. I recently had a great guy, a 2ndyear orthopedic resident, tell me he just wasn’t that into me. Fine, whatever, I get that part. I honestly respected him SO MUCH for calling to tell me he didn’t want to hang out anymore rather than him just pulling the “drop off the face of the earth” move.  But seriously, in the middle of the break-up convo this extremely smart fellow commits 2 cardinal sins of break-ups:

The Break Up

  • After informing me he just wasn’t that into me, I told him I respected his decision and was going to run.  He replied, “you don’t have to go, we can still talk a little while longer. What’s up?”Dialogue in my head (I’m far too nice to express this verbally) Listen buddy, you hurt my pride- you just freaking told me you weren’t that into me.  Please let me get off the phone with some dignity intact. Lesson learned: when you are the dumper get off the phone ASAP. The other person does NOT want to make small talk
  • After we’ve had the awkward conversation above in #1, he asks me to tell my dog good-bye for him. Like I’m going to run over to said dog and tell her that!?! Listen buddy, it is MY dog, not yours. You broke up with me- you don’t get to tell her (my pup) good bye. Honestly, I know my dog is literally the CUTEST dog to ever walk to the face of the Earth, but did you like the dog more than me?? Thanks…friend. Seriously?!?

6.  Love yourself for who you are and what you bring to the table.  When you are able to accept yourself- with all your imperfections and flaws (yes, we are human- we ALL have flaws- we weren’t designed to be perfect) you will be better able to love the person who’s right for you. 

7.  I don’t know if you’ve ever heard the song by Evanescence called “Call Me When Your Sober.” If not, it is worth taking 4 minutes to Youtube it or Google the lyrics.  Ladies, if a boy only calls you after he has had a few drinks or after 11PM….take off your Jimmy Choos and run for your life.This boy is NO good.  I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but: YOU ARE A BOOTY CALL! Now, if you realize you area booty call and are fine with that, different story. However, not to be your mom, but you are better than that.  You absolutely deserve a MAN that calls during normal business hours without the aid of his friends Jim Beam, Jack Daniels, or Jose Cuervo.  (notice the distinction , booty caller= boy; man=calls at normal times sans alcohol) Buck up, tell the boy to grow up, and in the words of Evanescence “Call me when you’re sober…PUNK!”

8.  Always, always, always believe in love.  Yes, we’ve all gone through crappy dates, boyfriends, and break-ups, but believing in the light at the end of the tunnel is what gets us through another day, another love, and another break-up.  

love-words

 So dear Sassy Magnolia readers, I hope this helps you along your journey. If anything, I hope you at least had a few laughs.  Bless your hearts ladies and may you have a heck of a ride on your dating journey, I know I have so far!

 *Note: Single in the context of “I’d have to check the unmarried box on an application because the ‘dating a great guy’ box doesn’t appear on any forms” type of single.  While we have only been dating two months, he is wonderful and to date, has committed NONE of the atrocities of which I speak.

 

Thank you, Katie for sharing your dating ups and downs with us at The Sassy Steel Magnolia.  You truly are a Phenomenal Woman who deserves only the best in love and life!

If you would like to hear more about Katie’s Adventures in Dating, or have any questions, be sure to let me know so I can talk her into making another appearance here at The Sassy Steel Magnolia.  All you need to do is send me a quick little email.  And don’t worry, mums the word 😉

Still a little confused with the dating situation? Maybe need a little more insight? Read this article by Shauna with Mackenzie Image Consulting for help: Dress for the Love You Want.

List of One Things

Posted in legacy, let go, life

Grocery, bucket, shopping, to-do, Christmas, prospect, VIP .. lists, lists and more lists.  It seems these days, we are surrounded by lists.  (Even Twitter now has “lists”!)  Well here at The Sassy Steel Magnolia, we’ve decided to make a little list of our own….

I say we because this list isn’t just comprised of things I thought needed to be on it.  I turned to friends and readers of The SSM for their thoughts and  insights on this one.  I asked the following question:

” What is one thing that you think EVERY girl should do at least once in life? ”

Needless to say, the out-poor of answers proved my suspicions that I was not the only one who had thought about this.  I received answers from all across the board and compiled them all into our own little list just for you.  To make things a little easier, I put them in categories .. if for nothing else to help you be a little more well rounded in life.  And now with out further a do, here is

SSM List of One Things

Well ladies (and gentlemen) there you have it.  The first ever Sassy Steel Magnolia List of One Things.  I wasn’t able to get every suggestion that came in on the list, and of course I decided it would be best to..edit some content to make it appropriate for all ages 😉

So go ahead dolls and print the list out, save it as your desk top, send it on to your girlfriends and all of the above.  I know I’ve got some work to do on a few things listed up there.  I want to say Thank You again to all who contributed in making the list.  You ladies have some awesome One Things in your very near future and I hope you’ll come back and share the experience with the rest of us here at The Sassy Steel Magnolia.

I wish you all only the best of wishes. Happy living and many besos ~ Jennie B

Straight From the Silver Screens

The inspiration for today’s post stems from a few different occurrences.  It is indeed a very true story, and I hope you all are not only a bit romanced yourselves but inspired when you finish reading.

One evening after work, just a few months ago, the romantic comedy What Happens in Vegas was playing on the television.  At the end my roommate laughed as she proclaimed, “See, now that just doesn’t happen.  Stuff like that just does not happen in real life.”  This shocked me, coming from her, because I had always pictured her a huge fan of romantic comedies.  Well, did I have a story for her!  Now I’ve never been one to be labeled a hopeless romantic.  Slowly yet surely I am dropping my cynical shell.  But what I do know is that those types of “that doesn’t happen in real life” scenes do happen..in real life..and I have proof.

I’m going to tell you a story about my sister, Jessica, and a boy from downstairs, Justin.  In 2005 my sister and 4 of her optometry school friends moved into the top portion of a house, while a group of 4 boys were currently occupying the lower half in Boston.  Friendships bloomed as the newly constructed group of house mates began hanging out, playing practical jokes on each other and the such.  Great friendships formed as they were all young and in punch drunk love with life.  Fast forward to the month of March 2006…….

The 4 boys and 2 of the girls took a little spring break trip to Paris.  My sista sista was one of those 2 girls.  I don’t think anyone could have foreseen what would spring forth out of that spring break trip.  Maybe is was being in the City of Love, the lights of the Eiffel Tower, La Vie en Rose, that old Parisian charm, who knows….

Paris at Night

but the Universe, my friends, was allowing it’s plan to unfold as it had so concisely constructed over time.

Jessica & Justin 10-20-2007

What started as a great friendship blossomed, as they say, into quite more while vacationing in Paris.  What many little girls dream about, read about, watch movies about, happened, to my sister, in Paris, France.  I don’t think even Daniel Steele could have written it better than how it all played out.

To make a long story short, on this day, this October 20, 2009, I would like to say congratulations and a very big Happy 2nd Anniversary to my wonderful Sista Sista – the sunshine of my days, Jessica, and one of the best Big Brothers a girl can have, Justin.  May you celebrate many, many more!

So you see, dear reader, that those scenes in movies really do happen in real life.  Inspiration must come from somewhere for it to enter into our dreams and end up on the silver screens.  I tell my sister’s story to anyone I hear laugh and say “that doesn’t happen in real life…” sometimes just to say hey, who are you to say what can and can not happen in real life?!  It just goes to show that you never know what the Universe has in store for you and at any time, plans can unfold before your eyes…that were made for those Silver Screens.

Jessica and Justin 10-20-2007

Sometimes I Just Don’t Wanna..

Posted in life

Remember when you were a kid and your parents told you lil boy tantrum to go brush your teeth, or put on clean clothes,stand up straight, go to bed, or even get ready for school and you just did NOT want to??  I hear my 6 year old self saying “BUT I DON’T WANNA!!” right at this very moment.  I’m sure many of you mommas out there are having visions of your child’s last “I don’t wanna” episode.  Am I right?

Well, now that I’ve moved up a few boxes in the checklist, I still find myself saying sometimes – you know what, I just don’t wanna…I just do not want to…  followed by whatever it is that’s pulling at my mind in that moment.  And then I hear the infamous phrase I had grown to hate “Well, you’re old enough for your wants not to hurt you.” (spoken to me whenever I said I didn’t want to do something)  I had fallen into the mind set that even though you may not want to do something you were still supposed to even sometimes expected to do it anyways.  And that..that is one hard habit to break.  Thank heavens I did!

Don’t get me wrong, there’s a fine line between regular old wants and don’t wants and their conterparts…responsibilities.  I take care of my responsibilities even though I may not want to, but I signed up for them and there you go.  (Case in point: today is pay day.  3/4ths of my check is gone already after paying 3 bills…Wanted to? Not so much. Responsible? I like to think so.)

I’m talking about those days when you just don’t wanna cook something for dinner and you would much rather go out and splurge on sushi for yourself, or you see someone that you just don’t wanna speak too because they really aren’t all that friendly and you have always been cordial before because that’s the proper thing to do, or you just don’t wanna put on a bra and make-up to run up to the corner store to grab a few things, or you don’t want to care so much about others and you want to be just a lil selfish for a bit and take care of numero uno, or you just don’t wanna talk / laugh / smile and be bubbly – maybe you would rather be a gray cloud for a day and get it all out and be that ray of sunshine the next day.  Are you following along here?

SOMETIMES YOU JUST DON’T WANNA!

And you know what..that is perfectly okay. I’ve spent way too much time doing countless things that I really just did not want to do.  I was under the impression that I was supposed to do them and such because I am a woman or I’m from the South or whatever excuse I used to tell myself.  Well, not anymore.  I’ve come to realize that age old phrase that “life is too short” and why on earth am I putting energy and precious time into situations and things that maybe I just don’t wanna do.  That doesn’t make much sense, now does it?! No. Not at all.  Am I talking circles on this one or is someone else catchin what I’m throwin??  Just checking.

maxine house cleaning

And so dear reader, this is my challenge to you in this next week.  Figure out something that you just don’t really wanna do – but always have before and you know the reasons why – and be OKAY with not wanting to do it or even not doing it at all.  (There’s a difference in not doing something that you don’t want to and actually being ok with the fact of not doing it.)  How will I know if it’s something I can go without doing, you ask?  Trust me, you’ll know the difference between wants and responsibilities when the time comes.

And you know what else, I bet you’ll find that it might just do you a bit of good to be a tad bit selfish for once.  Numero Uno comes first in the line of numbers for a reason you know..