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I have had “get a tattoo” on my yearly “to-do” for quite some time. At first, it was a “I want another tattoo!” and then after I lost my brother, it became part of what I felt I needed to do to cope with the situation. Tattoos have always been more than just a fashion statement to me. When I was younger, they were a way for me to finally start to love my body, something I’ve always struggled with, and over the years, they’ve become a way for me to document what is going on in my life. Now, that being said, not just anything goes. I got my last tattoo, the blue butterfly on my wrist, on my honeymoon, and it was to commemorate the new phase in my life and the loss of my maternal grandfather.
Butterflies may seem a little, well, flighty, but for me, they are so much more than just whimsical and pretty. Butterflies are the end result of painful, life altering change. A process that takes something plain and a little gross and turns it into something weightless and free. When I lost my younger brother, it broke a part of me in a way that I am still working to understand. It changed me, and while I am still “me”, I’ll never again fully be the person I was before. This tattoo is just a visible symbol of that change. Now to the less cerebral part of this little adventure. This is my 6th tattoo and I will say by far the most painful. I have tattoos on either side of my ribs, on either side of my lower back, and on my wrist, and none of those were even close in terms of pain. By the time we were finishing with color, he was holding my foot steady while he was tattooing, and as soon as he let go, my foot would start involuntarily shaking. As painful as it was, it was one of the best tattooing experiences I’ve ever had. My artist Robert was fantastic; he worked quickly and efficiently, and he was really great about giving me breaks when I needed, making sure I was as comfortable as possible, talking through my design from size to placement to color, and never once making me feel like I was being annoying. I LOVED working with him, and I really hope I get the chance to do so again.If you are in the Tallahassee area and feel the need for some ink, be sure to check out Monument Tattoos. They have some incredible artists, and they’ll make sure to match you up with the best person who can best help you execute your vision.
As of 3:22 this morning (that’s right 3:22 on 3/22), I am 31 years old! Though I am warming to the idea of being securely in my 30’s, most days I still don’t feel like this new age group fits quite right. Today however, I am taking a break from the hand wringing and soul searching to simply enjoy all of the love and well wishes that have been coming my way; and to celebrate the journey to this point I am going to share some of my more interesting life moments with you.
- My role as “Mother Pig” in my preschool production of The Three Little Pigs. That’s what happens when you’re taller than all of the other kids in your class. My job was to kiss my piglets fondly on the cheek and send them off into the world. This much to the dismay of one of my cast mates younger sisters. As I gave her the farewell peck, her little sister angrily shouted from the audience “Julie kissed my Amanda!” Pretty much the highlight of the play.
- The tattoos and piercings that I decided on later in life should have been no surprise for my mother. When I was three, I desperately wanted my ears pierced. They figured I’d wimp out after the first earring went in, but (as my mom has told me countless times) though my eyes welled up and my little lower lip trembled, I defiantly turned my head to that they could pierce the other side. Also a foreshadowing of my tendency to dig in my heels when I want something.
- I went through a phase during middle school where I was obsessed with the Babysitters Club series. Specifically I was a huge fan of the artsy Claudia Kishi who, like me, favored funky accessories and had trouble with spelling. I had to wear a uniform to school, but I stockpiled quirky thrift store accessories and wore as many of them as I could at a time.
- I’d always loved fashion and I’d been sketching princess dresses for as long as I can remember, but it was my very first sewing class that I took in 10th grade that really solidified things for me. I made my homecoming dress that semester, and I knew from then on that I was destined for design school.
- One of the reasons my hair color changes so frequently is that I’ve had to dye it since I was 13. You see, the women in my family start going gray early, and that’s when my class mates started noticing so my mom let me (finally) do something about it. Trust me; you’d get bored with brown and blond after a few years, too.
- My senior year of high school I participated in a fashion show in which all the garments were constructed from toilet paper. It was sort of like the Project Runway “Unconventional Challenge”, but before Project Runway even existed.
- When Andy and I started planning our wedding, he was the one who insisted on the big 200 person affair. I wanted to elope or go to one of those all inclusive BnBs in Savannah that only accommodates 30 people total. Ultimately, we had the big ceremony because he told me I would have to be the one who told his mother if we went with my option. Andy was also the one who wanted to have the big cake (I’d suggested cupcakes), but he wanted something at least three tiers tall. And yes, I still mock him for every single bit of this 🙂
- My friends affectionately refer to my style as “sparkle fairy hippie”, and though most days I am completely confident in my choice of glitter sneakers and flower crown, occasionally I worry that other people just think that I am straight up weird. I mean, they’re not wrong, but still. When I was in Savannah last month, I had a hostess give me what was probably one of the nicest complements I’ve ever received. She told me she loved my flower crown and that I looked like a walking SnapChat filter. Completely made my day.
Obviously, there are many many more stories, some of them you guys have been around for, but I’ll stop here and just say that you guys mean the world to me and I am so grateful that I have gotten to share another year of my life’s journey with you. Happy Wednesday!!!
I know that today is supposed to be all about couples, hearts, flowers and candy, but I want to get touchy feel-y for a moment and talk about the most important relationship you’ll ever have, the one with yourself. As someone who has had some serious self image issues her entire life, I know that the inner voice we all have can be a real bitch sometimes. I’ve said some truly horrible things to myself, things I would never say to another person, and that’s pretty messed up. It’s taken most of my adult life for me to start to love myself, and it’s a struggle some days.
Looking in the mirror, I see a chubby secretary/part time bookkeeper that is almost 31, doesn’t make as much as her husband, and defends herself with sarcasm and self deprecation. That’s only part of the story, though; I’m also a sparkle fairy hippy with an ass that won’t quit, a group of friends and a husband who think I am wonderful, and some serious baking skills. Whenever I start dwelling on the former, I force myself to start listing things that fall into the positive category. All of that is to say this: don’t let your relationship status dictate how you feel about today. You’re awesome and you deserve something special, even if you have to buy it for yourself. Below is a Me-intines Wish List, and remember the words of the incomparable RuPaul: “if you can’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?”
- Magic Wand Earrings – Catbird
- Sweet Plumb Bombshell – Victoria Secret
- Donuts & Coffee Milk Chocolate Bar – Compartes
- Jilted Vice Lipsitck – Sephora
- Eberjey Colette Chemise – Anthropologie
- Lace up Ballet Flats – H&M
- Orange Blossom Natural Perfume – Thorn & Bloom
- GBBO Innuendos Wall Art – Oh My Frame
- Sweet & Vicious: Baking with Attitude – Amazon
Happy Valentine’s Day!!!!!
Category: About Me
Alas, this weekend was not a three day weekend for me, but I did get to spend plenty of time with some of my favorite people, so it was still a pretty great weekend. Since we only had Ben and Karen here for two days, the bulk of our time was spent hanging out and visiting with my other brother in law and his wife at their place. We did manage to make it out for brunch both days and take a walk around Cascades Park located downtown.
Saturday morning we went to one of my all time favorite local spots, a vegan place called Sweet Pea Cafe. They had my favorite green tea sugar cookies and my new favorite cookie, red bean filled green tea sugar cookies. I wanted to get a few extra to go, but they were sold out. We actually made it up and out of the house pretty early on Sunday, so after grabbing breakfast at Canopy Road Cafe (another local favorite), we made our way to Cascade. The early hour meant we had the place pretty much to ourselves. Cascade has a cool kids area, so Karen and I spent some time squishing around barefoot in the sand. The boys decided to keep their shoes on, but they did join in when it came to playing with the old school water pump and jumping around on the play logs. Since the park is located downtown, one side runs up against the railroad tracks. We did get to see an empty freight train later on in our visit, but I forgot to take a picture, distracted by the elaborate tags is boasted. It may be illegal, but I think graffiti artists are doing them a favor by sprucing up the old cars. Even though we’d already had breakfast we decided to stop in at The Edison for a drink (and key lime pie). The restaurant is housed in an old building that used to be owned by the electric company, and the owners have given a playful nod to its origins when it comes to decor.
Like I said, it was a really great weekend and far too short. Hopefully we’ll all be seeing each other in Chicago later this year. It’ll be my first trip to the Windy City, and there is already a mile long list of all the places I want to see.
Category: About Me
I’ve been a bit under the weather this week, thus the lack of posts, but I’ve been spending plenty of time aimlessly surfing the internet. While I was doing so, I got caught up on Pugs & Pearls, which is written by a fellow north Florida blogger, and she had this great post called 73 Questions. It was a lot of fun to read, so I decide to do my very own post for you guys. I also threw in a few old photos for funsies 😉
1.What’s the best thing that happened to you this month? Finished my very first painting outside of class.
2. What is something you’re tired of? Hate. All of this hate fueled violence that has been destroying families and sparking more political posturing. Can’t we all just agree that no two people are going to be completely alike and celebrate the differences that make us all unique individuals?
3. What is something that recently moved you? Finding out that a group of my brother’s friends released lanterns in memory of him. Losing him killed a part of me, and not at day goes by without me missing him. It’s nice to know that he hasn’t been forgotten.
4. If you could teach one subject in school what would it be? Art!
5. What’s your favorite beverage? Blood Orange Lemonade #pretentioussummerbeverages
6. What’s your favorite cocktail? I’m strictly a mock-tail girl these days, but I recently had a Blackberry Sage Lemonade that was life changing.
7. What is your favorite cake? This is a tough one. We’ll go with a tie between Tuxedo Cake and Carrot Cake.
8.What is one thing you still have from your childhood? A bunch of little things. I have a keepsake box that is full of photos and trinkets.
9. What is your favorite movie? Under the Tuscan Sun or Chocolate.
10. What is something you can’t do? Crinkle my tongue. I spent most of 3rd grade trying, and I still can’t make it happen.
11. What is one habit you wish you could break? Overthinking. I can’t just deal with something; I have to agonize over the decision both before and after it’s made.
12. What makes you laugh no matter what? My cats. They are supposed to be these mysterious regal beings, but mine are mostly heaping helpings of flopsy hot mess.
13. What does creativity mean to you? It means looking at things and seeing what they can be vs. what they are.
14. What are your favorite lyrics of all time? “When you’re in black slacks with accentuating off white pinstripes, whoa-o, everything goes according to plan.” Random and fashion based, pretty much tailor made for a girl like me 🙂
15. What is something you’ve always wanted to try but you’ve been too scared to do? Strike out on my own. I’ve had opportunities to leave my 9-5 in favor of working for myself or with other creatives, and I just couldn’t bring myself to give up the steady paycheck.
16. Best advice for your 19 year old self? Stay away from the burgers and the liquor. Your liver is jacked up, and you’ll end up being a vegetarian anyway!
17. If you could raid one woman’s closet, who would it be? Shiva Rose
18. Must have purse item? Cellphone.
19. What did you want to do with your life at age 12? Be a world famous fashion designer.
20. What is something you will not be doing in ten years? Weekly treatments to fix my chronic migraines. Hopefully we’ll have everything under control by then.
21. What is an important life lesson for someone to learn? You’ll spend your life regretting the things that you don’t do more so than the things that you do.
22. What is one goal you are determined to achieve in your lifetime? Make my husband a kept man 🙂
23. Would you ever live anywhere besides where you live now? Absolutely!
24. What is your favorite dessert? I honestly don’t have a favorite; it completely depends on what I am feeling that day.
25. Is there a dessert you don’t like? Pumpkin pie. *shudder*
26. It’s brunch! What do you eat? Vegetarian Sausage and Gravy over Biscuits.
27. Who is your favorite painter? I couldn’t possibly choose only one.
28. Favorite Disney animal? Jack and Gus Gus from Cinderella.
29. What is a book you are planning on reading? I’m currently re-reading several of the Kelly Armstrong books I already own.
30. What did you read most recently? Quite Contrary by Richard Roberts
31. Favorite solo artist? Lana Del Rey.
32. What’s your Favorite board game? I strongly dislike ALL board games.
33. What’s a city you wish to visit? London.
34. Heels or flats? Flats.
35. Where does one go on a perfect road trip? Up the East Coast and back again.
36. What do you do on a rainy day? Curl up in a large comfy chair, with a book, a fluffy blanket, a mug of tea, and a cat.
37. What’s your favorite exercise? Belly dancing. I wasn’t brilliant at it, but I had a blast.
38. What was your worst subject in school? Toss up between Physics and Calculus. I just couldn’t bring myself to care.
39. What is your spirit animal? I didn’t know how to answer this, so I asked Andy what he thought, he said “I dunno – may be a red panda, I’d say a Pollie (our neurotic orange cat), but it’s nearly the same thing.”
40. What do you usually eat for breakfast? Oatmeal and a veggie breakfast scramble. Gotta at least start my day off by obeying the doctors dietary orders.
41. What do you usually eat for dinner? No clue. Andy and I rarely plan because there are so many unpredictable variables involved.
42. Cooking or Baking? Pffft, baking all the way.
43. Favorite baked good? I make a pretty kick-ass chocolate chip banana bread. It’s comforting and homey. Andy has been known to inadvertently consume an entire loaf over the course of an afternoon.
44. What is something you wish you could be good at? Exercising. I wasn’t good at it even before I got sick.
45. Skiing or Surfing? I’ve never done either, but probably skiing, you get hot chocolate afterwards, right? Plus there are no sharks.
46. First celebrity crush? Taylor Hanson.
47. Most recent celebrity crush? Ryan Reynolds.
48. What color was your prom dress? Blue with black lace.
49. How do you manage stress? Reading, baking, shopping, and eating (although we’ve thankfully almost phased that last one out).
50. What do you do to relax? Lush bath bombs, a foot rub, and a good book.
51. Age when you were first kissed? 3. I kissed my very best friend (at the time) Andrew, my mom has the pictures.
52. Place you were first kissed? Andrew’s family’s house (I think).
53. Favorite fashion trend of all time? Flower crowns, always and forever.
54. Best fashion advice you’ve ever received? “Dress for yourself, screw what other people think.”
55. Trend you would like to see disappear forever? Super short shorts. I don’t need to see anyone butt cheeks.
56. Shoes or Bags? Shoes, I can’t believe this is even a question.
57. How do you know if you’re in love? With Andy, I knew when we’d seen each other everyday for a week, and I didn’t feel a need for “me” time.
58. Television show you’ve binged on recently? Orange is the New Black. Because you have to.
59. Who do you turn to when you’re sad? Andy.
60. Name one thing you’ve learned the hard way? You can kill yourself trying to please someone and it won’t change anything.
61. If you could make a documentary about anything what would it be? People that don’t have human babies but have fur babies instead. You know, crazy cat couples.
62. What is your Kryptonite? A fur baby in need. There is a reason Andy and I had six cats.
63. What are you most enchanted by? The quiet, painfully rich lushness of the mountains.
64. What is your biggest strength? Being able to put myself in someone else’s shoes. Sometimes I have to work for it, but I almost always can find common ground with someone.
65. What is your biggest weakness? Self doubt. Nobody has ever been as hard on me as I am on myself.
66. What are 3 words to describe living in Florida? Muggy, Buggy, & Hot. Clearly I don’t write the tourist brochures.
67. Cutest thing on planet earth? Baby red pandas.
68. Most important advice you’d give your future children? Celebrate and respect the things that make us all “different”.
69. Best first date idea? Coffee with set plans with friends afterward. You meet, talk and have an excuse to leave if things don’t go well. If they do, you can always call your friends and cancel.
70. Favorite type of flower? Peonies and Irises
71. What do you first notice about someone when you meet them? The scientific answer would be “gender”, it’s something we all do subconsciously, but consciously, I immediately find myself gauging someone’s body language.
72. What’s your guilty pleasure? Young adult novels. I am way to old to still be reading them, but I can’t stop myself.
73. Plans for the weekend? Finding Dory, and baking cupcakes.