Commercial Easter: Anyone Else Just Realize How Weird It Is?

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I wanna talk about Easter.

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It’s a weird holiday. I’m not talking about the bigger, religious aspects of Easter here. I’m talking about the bunny who wants to be Santa Clause, plastic eggs filled with money, and Cadbury deliciousness. When you grow up, you contemplate this whole commercialized Easter thing and as you do, you realize just how much it really doesn’t belong anywhere in the realm of logical-ness. It’s maybe even a little “Alice in Wonderland Down the Wormhole”-y? Now don’t get me wrong–I cannot wait to have kids and totally play up the hallmark part of Easter to its fullest. But let’s all take a moment and really let it sink in as to how kooky commercial Easter is.

I’m not writing to educate you on where the commercial part of Easter came from, but here is a link to all the info on the odd, and somewhat chaotically nonsensical origins of where it supposedly may have come from: Easter Bunny Origins (Rabbits, fertility, and hermaphrodites all bundled up into one, colorful straw Easter basket—you’re welcome)

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 We will start on a positive note. Obviously the best thing about hallmark Easter that needs absolutely no explanation for where it came from or why it exists is REESE’S PEANUT BUTTER CUP EGGS.

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  Now, moving on to why commercial Easter can be pretty bizarre and even a tad bit creepy.

1.)    The Easter Bunny.

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He wants to be Santa Clause way too hard, but it’s just not panning out for him. There could be $100 bucks in that toy egg he’s trying to push on me, but it’ll never make him the reigning supreme of all holidays—Christmas. Nobody is stealing Santa’s spot—who do you think you are, Jack from The Nightmare Before Christmas?  You’re out of your league, bunny. Not to mention the most obvious, freakish detail about the Easter Bunny: he lays eggs? What? Anyone who has ever owned a pet rabbit knows that the only egg-ish shaped things a bunny is laying is its turds—and by the thousands. And guess what? No prizes inside those “eggs”.  And rabbits are the least kid-friendly animal! They hop around impregnating every thumper they can get their little paws on. AND the mall Easter Bunny is the scariest damn sight in the world—admit it, you still have nightmares about the 7-foot-tall hare that smells like soured Cadbury eggs and tries to sit you on his lap with those sweaty faux fur gloves.

 

So let’s face it: in reality, the Easter Bunny is really just an olympic running harlot who has irritable bowel syndrome.

 

2.)    Peeps. f1127481288fb74e271fb0836ed4df76 You’re eating a treat that is shaped like a baby animal. You can’t even use denial to your advantage like you can with scrambled eggs because it looks just like a little chick. The Peep even has these black eyes that have an infinite, unmoving stare on you as you debate whether to bite its head off first or stick it in the microwave to laugh at it when it blows up.

 

3.)    The Eggs.

If they are real, boiled eggs, it sucks because there is absolutely no chance that there is going to be anything awesome inside of them other than a yolk. However, if they are the colorful plastic eggs that open up to reveal treasure, this leads me to the next frightening commercial Easter tradition…

 

4.)    The Hunger Games (oh, I mean The Annual Easter Egg Hunt)

[Insert melodramatic music from the Heavens here]  It’s a cutthroat, bloodthirsty sport that is the annual Easter Egg Hunt. Children of all ages scour the countryside (or the house, backyard, wherever said Hunt has commenced) to find plastic eggs with the promise of something fantastic inside! Candy, money, toys, PRESENTS!!!!

While it’s full of excitement, it is a pretty odd addition to all the other strangeness that is commercial Easter traditions–mainly because it’s so full of an insatiable lust for violence and glory. Even the most kind-hearted little kid will go all apocalyptic survival fighter in the name of finding the most eggs in the Hunt. No one is your friend and everyone is a threat. It’s like you just jumped into Lord of the Flies and only one can emerge as the Mighty Holder of the Eggs.

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Soon, you’ve forgotten all about the prizes that await you in those little plastic oblong circles and healthy, fun competition is lost in a hazy afterthought. Your sights are focused on being the best, and capturing the most eggs of anyone there, which will make you the MASTER of the Hunt this year. There is no worthier title.

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You asked your mom for one of those nice “hand-weaved” Easter baskets this year—you know, the one with the solid handles: great for grip, and even better for splinter and slice. Last Easter, you had one of those typical pink and white baskets with the waxy plastic braided handles. But now…now you’ve wised up. Two scars on your right arm and a weird bone spur popping out on your knee from a violent downhill tumble that pigtailed-bitch Ashley B. caused 365 days ago has wisened you up. Little Bobby Smith isn’t going to walk away the Hunt Master again this year…

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Happy Easter to everyone: whether you are shelling out the chocolate, hiding the eggs, or on standby as the medic at the annual easter egg extravaganza, make sure you’re having an amazing time and enjoy this quirky holiday full of color.

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Healthy Lifestyle? Oh, do you mean, HELL?

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I’m 28 years old.

I’m not here to complain that I’m old, but I am here to complain about the natural, unpreventable truth that with age comes some serious physical change.

I was a chunky kid with a mullet who turned into a woman about 20 years into life that didn’t have to worry about physical anything. I could eat like a man, never work out, and still wear a size 2. I never needed more than 5 hours of sleep a night, could do a keg stand with the best of them, and if I ever felt bloated, I’d just skip a meal one day and be back to normal.

And then comes this cruel joke known as “The Late Twenties”.

Over the last year, my metabolism has decided to take a vacation—maybe even indefinitely. I moved up north with my hubs, so the year-long arctic winters don’t help with the whole scope of changes, either. Now, I’m ten pounds heavier, I’m wasted after one Yuengling Light, and I have to use grown up Olay brand firming cream for more than just my occasional pesky cellulite pop ups. And forget spray-tans to appear svelte—that stuff just makes acne and weird ailments materialize on the skin now… “What the hell—is that a pimple on my kneecap?”

Ten pounds doesn’t sound like a lot to you? I’m 5’2”—on a GOOD day. Even three pounds feels like twenty on me. Yes, I’m aware there are other people that have it way worse, but I’m complaining about my own woes today. #shortpeopleprobs

So after I watch 90’s teen movies and eat the last block of cheese and pack of popcorn in the house, I decide I have to change my lifestyle habits. This is tough. I’m prideful…I want to be able to say that I can do whatever I want and embrace myself as I am.

We all know that’s a lie. It’s not happening. I don’t hate myself, but my vanity is still important to me, so if that means I have to chug down poop green drinks and barely survive a Jillian Michaels workout video, I WILL DO IT!

 

We try to be positive about the idea of a healthy lifestyle, but for now, I’m gonna say out loud what we all secretly feel about it: HEALTHY SHIT SUCKS! Oh yeah, I would totally rather have this spinach smoothie than that slice of extra cheese pizza. Oh sure, I would absolutely love to go to the gym for an hour instead of taking a nap. LIES! You know it, just admit it to yourself, and then we can go back to pretending like we really enjoy gnawing on this acai berry root.

 

I try to start eating healthy and even that screws me. More fruit equals less teeth enamel so now I gotta start using the infomercial elderly people toothpaste. I try to start working out like a beast and that’s a total mindf*** because not only can I not walk for three days after, but the scale doesn’t go down—it goes up as the semblance of muscle that I’ve never had in my life begins to appear.

 

And man, the whole health kick really turns you into a crazy person, doesn’t it? Suddenly, you’re screaming at the tv, “NO, Jillian Michaels, I CAN’T do just one more set—I CAN’T FEEL MY LEGS ANYMORE!” and then, the juicer gets it, “THIS FISH OIL AND RHUBARB SMELLS LIKE ASS!”

*Jillian doesn’t play*

Sacrifice is a hard thing.

However, I’ll admit, it is working.

 

But I do—and always will—draw the line at sacrificing coffee, vodka, and pizza.

 

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a date with a beet-kale smoothie and Hip-Hop Abs.

Take A Peek Into My Author World…

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Happy Thursday, everyone! I just wanted to share a little bit of author-ness with you this morning, and bring you into the really cool world of what I am so fortunate to do for a living. I just wrapped an incredible and in-depth interview with Dr. Joyce T. Strand on her blog, and I had such a good time doing it! Check out this Q&A as I talk about author-ness things ranging from my books to the impact YA fiction has on the reading world.

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WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY: Author, Tabitha “T.R.” Freeman

Q: You have written and published the young adult Ghost Story trilogy, Princess series, and young adult contemporary fiction books. What makes your books more relevant to young adults? Why did you choose to write for young adults? Or would you say that your books are about young adults but applicable to readers of all ages?

Tabitha Freeman: My books are picked up by readers of all ages, which I think has become a general norm for the YA genre today. I always knew the YA fiction genre was what I wanted to focus on because that’s when the true bibliophile blooms. At that teenage/young adult age, you’re shaping into who you’ll become and trying to figure out what that means—and it’s the time in our lives when we read books that one day will be something we look back on and remember…not only for the story itself, but those books also tie us to certain moments in that really important stage of our lives. There is no better memory trigger! The magic of it is infinite, especially because when we pick up the same book we loved when we were 15, we have a completely different experience reading it when we are 30 or 40 or 70.

 

As far as my books being more relevant for young adults, I try to take myself back to when I was reading at that age and what books shaped me. I try to cover subjects that are pretty standard of life (i.e. heartbreak, grief, prejudice, faith, etc.) but in a way that isn’t standard—a way that will reach out to a younger reader. A way that says “Hey, you might go through something like this—just like the character in the story—but it’ll all be okay in the end. Life moves on and you will, too.” Hope is the reoccurring theme in everything I write, which is something I believe we all need to see in any stage of life.

 

Q: Reviewers praise your character development across all your books. How do you create engaging and memorable characters?

TRF: I write what I know—or who I know, rather. The human character is so fascinating and complex, and as a writer, that provides an infinite canvas for stories. I try to include several pieces of relatable personalities in my characters—traits and situations that make readers go, “Ah hah! That’s what I would do!” And I also try to create characters that teach readers a little something about themselves in an almost inner-combative kind of way…a character that initially pisses the reader off with a decision that doesn’t seem right, only to have the reader change his/her mind and say, “Wait, this mistake is relevant. I might have reacted this way, too.”

Q:  What makes COYOTE CREEK “not your usual love story” and “a fresh new love story?”

TRF: COYOTE CREEK is centered on two people who are in seemingly inescapable, heartbreaking situations that make them hate life. You would think that misery loves company, right? Not in this case. This love story is unique in that it uses the raw definition of real love. Real love brings out the best in two people. The love story in COYOTE CREEK evolves because these two people both look for sunshine in the dark together. That’s not a tale we see very often.

 

Q: Why did you decide to use “interview format” for BECOMING A PRINCESS?

TRF: I released BECOMING A PRINCESS after GHOST STORY and BROKEN GLASS, which are really heavy reads. I wanted to give my readers something easier and a little more light-hearted and fun. I chose the “interview format” for B.A.P. for a couple of reasons. The first was to draw in more self-proclaimed “non-readers” and I truly believe the easier readability of the format really achieved that. The fan base for the PRINCESS series is completely different from the fan base for my other novels and I find that incredibly neat. The second reason I chose the unique format was because I wanted to write a story that developed characters, setting, and theme all within just a dialogue. This was a challenge for me as a writer and I had so much fun doing it, and I think—and hope—that this resonates with the reader.

Q: The Ghost Story trilogy books are set in Scotland. Does this setting enhance the Ghost Story plots? How do you use setting to tell your stories?

TRF: Setting is everything! Scotland—the Orkney Islands, specifically—was a character in itself for the GHOST STORY trilogy. Scotland is not only beautiful and full of rich history and culture, but it’s also a place of mystery and enchantment. This was a setting that allowed me to help the reader smell the sea and taste this new air as the main character, Eleanor, is catapulted blindly into an unknown world. This is what setting should always be—one of the main characters.

Q:  You explore the darker side of life in BROKEN GLASS, a book many reviewers site as “well worth the read.” What inspired you to write about an attempted suicide and experience in an institution?

TRF: Life is “normal” until it’s not. That’s the reality for all of us. That is Ava Darton’s story in BROKEN GLASS. Her life is much like most of our lives and in a second, she is absolutely shattered beyond recognition. How or where can you find hope in a hopeless situation like Ava’s?

 

Inspiration for the suicide attempts in Ava’s story and her new life in an institution came from the fear I think we all have inside of us—the fear in knowing that Ava’s reality can happen to any of us. That fear that there is no end to the depths we can fall.

 

It’s a dark subject and it’s a tough emotional experience to read, but I believe it offers something to readers of all ages. And I truly believe the YA age group can handle this darker kind of subject matter, and in some cases, are much less fragile than much older readers who have experienced more of life. I couldn’t be prouder of BROKEN GLASS, and its continuous success and growing fan base never ceases to shock and humble me. I can’t even put into words how incredibly grateful I am that this story reaches out in such a positive way to so many readers of all ages.

 Q: You have written your books from multiple points of view. Do you have a favorite? Why?

TRF: I prefer to write in first person because that’s when the most intimate story comes out. I appreciate writing from a third person POV because it allows me to write from all angles and the reader gets to see everything going on, opposed to just one view. However, with that said, first person, to me, is not only more intimate, but it is also more relatable to the reader. The reader gets to plop his/herself into the story directly and immediately become “I, me, myself”. The reader becomes the character and is finding things out as they go along, much like with real life. This also allows me as the writer to surprise even myself with where the story goes sometimes.

Q: Do you write purely to entertain your readers, or do you also strive to educate or deliver a message?

TRF: It’s a mixture of both. I always have a bigger message to deliver—but I’m going to entertain the heck out of you while doing it!

Q: What’s next?

TRF: I’m currently doing a lot more blogging, and this is so my readers can get to know me on a more personal level. We live in an age when authors and writers are no longer mysterious because readers desire to know who’s behind the typewriter now. So I’m trying to give in a little to that. I’m also working on three projects: the third installment in the PRINCESS series, a Kieran Bruce Highlander spin-off of the GHOST STORY trilogy, and a darker, post-apocalyptic novel geared towards the older YA crowd of readers.

Q: Tell us about Tabitha Freeman. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

TRF: I’m a loud, dramatic Southerner who married a loud, dramatic Romanian railroader. So, when I’m not writing or reading, I’m soaking up all the hilarious real-life shenanigans going on around me in my Big-Fat-Greek-Wedding-Meets-Moonshining-Smokey-and-the-Bandit-on-Red Bull reality. It’s tons of fun and provides never ending writing material. 

Check out the full article here!

The Night St. Paddy’s Day was Over by 10:56 p.m.

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First of all, let’s go ahead and praise Jesus that I’m still alive and not yet the victim of my mailman.

Moving on…

Today is St. Patrick’s Day—a Monday. Which means those of us that have stupid jobs that won’t count St. Paddy’s as a national “Let’s-Be-Off-Work-Today-and-Tomorrow-to-Nurse-the-Green-Beer-and/or-Whiskey-Hangover” holiday, we had to celebrate this past weekend.

My hubs and I celebrated on Saturday night with some of our dearest friends and I think we all had a reality check when we realized just how different the celebration of our favorite saint becomes when we have to play grown-up. We were home before 11 p.m.

Which, while a tad bit embarrassing to admit, you still get a fun list!

12 Ways St. Patrick’s Day Shenanigans Change When Adulthood Takes Over

1.)    If St. Paddy’s is on a weekday, shenanigans no longer consist of boozing it up in your green glitter face paint until 4 a.m., taking an hour nap, and managing to get to (and easily survive off 2 red bulls) your 6-hour workday at Pac Sun. Now, Boondock Saints on Netflix, Longjohn Silvers, two Bud Lights full of green food coloring, and a 10:00 bedtime is what jigs your inner Irishman.

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2.)    You are so exhausted after work, that you jump on ancestory.com just to see if you have any Irish in you that warrants you to have to surpass an early bedtime in order to have at least one green beer.

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3.)    Wearing green eyeshadow or green socks is enough to make you feel like you satisfactorily celebrated this year…unless you’re a ginger, which means you win at St. Paddy’s Day with absolutely NO effort.

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4.)    Irish car bombs are traded in for Irish coffee or Bailey’s on ice. Or maybe a Shamrock Shake from McDonalds.

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5.)    There is no way in hell you are paying $40 for a full leprechaun get up. Suck it, Party City. I’m on a grown-up, bill-paying budget now.

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No. Just….no.

6.)    Unless you live in Florida, the entire “Let’s Dress Like A Slutty Irish Bar Maid” has lost all appeal. It’s winter time which means you’re wearing pants to avoid pneumonia.

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Now THIS is more like it.

7.)    You order at least a couple drinks that involve a “wake-me-up” mixture (i.e. red bull and vodka, coffee and whiskey…) Why? Because frankly, you can’t remember the last time you weren’t tired, and St. Paddy’s Day is no exception.

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8.)    You have an excuse to eat the shit out of those green-frosted sugar cookies that are excluded from your “My metabolism stopped working once I got a mortgage” diet…

9.)    …which leads us into #9—you give up Lent for St. Patrick’s Day. Nice.

10.)  You skip the tanning bed/spray tan just for today. How honorable.

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11.)  You retire your old “Kiss Me, I’m Irish” college t-shirt, knowing that your health insurance won’t cover the medical bills you’ll rack up after that drunk guy with herpes plants one on you at the pub.

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12.) Drinking starts early, which means you’ll be in bed before midnight and that 8 hour sleep time makes you the winner of no hangover for two days this year. BOOM!

Yay, SLEEP!!!!!

Happy St. Paddy’s everyone! I envy those who can still do the 24-hour pub crawls in their green body paint without the promise of back pain and migraines later!

Now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s time to plop a spoonful of green food coloring into my glass of Pinot Grig and do some laundry while listening to Mumford and Sons. Oy oy!

I’m Pretty Sure the Mailman is Trying to Kill Me….

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Listen, it’s not that I’m a paranoid person.

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I’m just a cautious, realistic, and very careful person.

I watch a lot of Investigation Discovery and I read a lot of True Crime books. I’m also a writer, so my imagination is a little more tweaked out than the average person.

In short, I don’t have the desire to be friends with my neighbors. It heightens the chances that I’ll end up on “Swamp Murders”, and that’s just not in my life plan.

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Our mailman lives fourteen houses down from us. How do I know this? Because he told me. I’m not kidding. Are you already beginning to see the sketchiness?

Maybe his behavior is weird because my husband accidentally drew a Crocodile Dundee knife on him at our annual Christmas party last year. The mailman rang the doorbell—I’m pretty sure he only did this because he saw strange cars in our driveway, as he only had junk Walmart ads to deliver. My hubs thought it was a couple of our friends, so he threw open the door with a wildman yell and the blade reared in his hand. (Yes, we have this kind of relationship with our friends, is that not normal??)

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My hubs and his getup when he accidentally greeted the mailman. (Christmas party theme was “Camo-Reindeer”. I guess I’m not the only one with the heightened imagination….

We moved into our rental house five months ago and the Mailman’s (I really have no idea what his name is) behavior started out only sort of weird. Our mailbox is a little metal flip box to the right of our front door, attached to the house. So Mailman has to come up to the front step to deliver the mail in that little box. But Mailman would come to the door and knock, even when he didn’t have mail. I figured this was just to get to know us maybe, since we were new to the neighborhood, but here’s the thing—Mailman is not really friendly or conversational. He just stands there and stares at me with his fat Hitler mustache and thick Jeffrey Dahmer glasses, waiting for me to continue friendly chatter. Which I happen to be good at, but hey, I don’t want to make it a daily routine. I am a dirty writer who lives in sweatpants, no bra, and unbrushed hair for three days at a time. I don’t want to see you, man.

 

So, after about three months of this, I turned into a crazy person, dropping to the floor and army-crawling out of site every time Mailman would knock on the door. And it worked! Eventually, he stopped knocking. Instead, he reverted to coming up to the box and just standing there for a good thirty seconds. Just. Standing. There.

But then, Mailman got smart. I have packages delivered to our house on average about two days a week, and I have to usually sign for them. I’d open the door and get my packages and two seconds after I’d shut the door, there would be a loud knock. Guess who?!

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Mailman is standing there with this look on his face that says “GOTCHA!” and he’s got my stamped bills to be sent out in his hand. He begins to thumb through these envelopes and looks back at me.

“The owner doesn’t pay these bills?” Mailman asks me.

“Wh-what?” I’m completely taken off guard by his nosey-ass question.

“He’s making you pay these bills?”  Mailman continues to intrude. My defensive invisible laser wall shoots up in front of me and my inner Robocop quickly scans the front porch for a stick or rock.

“Uh, of course,” is all I can think to say because I’m distracted by the thought of wondering if the attached-to-the-house-mailbox will rip off easily in case I need to use it as a makeshift weapon. Mailman just looks at me with this weird gaze like he knows something I don’t, or that he wants this to turn into a conversation that speaks ill of the owner of the house.

“HAVE A GOOD DAY!” I suddenly blurt out with a too-loud, obvious nervous giggle and shut the door. I can see Mailman’s silhouette (Our front door is frosted glass) and he just stands there for another moment before slowly retreating.

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I’m freaking out, but Mailman steers clear of being visibly creepy for the next couple of weeks. Regardless, I resort to what I do when delivery men come to the house—keep my boots on with a hunting knife hidden in the side of them. You know, just in case. I don’t want to rip the mailbox off the house if I don’t have to, right?

I think I’m in the clear—but then! There is a coat closet right beside the front door. The other day, I walk over to the coat closet and I gasp when I notice movement outside the frosted glass of the front door. It’s Mailman—and he is again just standing there. Like we’re at a face off without actually being able to see each other’s faces. This lasts for about twenty seconds. A looooong time. He finally and abruptly leaves. I wait five minutes. I open the door and lift the mailbox lid.

There is no mail.

Clearly, a Post Office box is in order…and a terrifying book about a mass murdering mailman.

Yes. This is a real movie. Oh. Mah. Gah.

Yes. This is a real movie. Oh. Mah. Gah.

Things My Mom Was Right About (Besides Everything): Part 1

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My mom came to visit last week. With the help of lots of bourbon, tequila, and grits, two Southerners managed to survive the Arctic blizzard that rolled through—well, Mom didn’t get away without catching a pretty bad case of bronchitis and a lungful of black smoke from the accidental almost-fire I set to the chimney, but hey—things could always be worse up North. Way, way worse. We do boast the harboring of the Yeti up here, after all.

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My mom’s visit prompted me to write up a top 15 list of her oh-so-wise lifetime of advice. I’ve been far away from home in this Great White Arctic for two years now and I don’t think I’ve ever really understood and come to appreciate my mother’s (sometimes absolutely crazy-sounding) foreboding phrases more than I do now. I cannot even count how many times I find myself muttering “Now I understand why my mom did [insert motherly genius-ness here].”

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Top 15 Things I Took From My Mama’s Wisdom Bank With Me To The Arctic

1.)    “Be grateful for your eyebrows.” Maybe this sounds like a weird way to start off this list, but hear me out. I grew up with a mom who had no eyebrows. None. I’m serious. I watched her meticulously create eyebrows on her face every single day of my life and she did it perfectly. So, I listened to my mother and never drastically changed these brows, embracing the fact that I had them at all. And now that I’m up in the Artic, they kind of serve as miniature face scarves, so that’s a plus…

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2.)    “When you have a sore throat, just drink whiskey.”

3.)    “When you have a stuffy nose, just drink whiskey.”

4.)    “When you have a full-blown flu cold, just drink whiskey.”

5.)    “When it’s 1:13 p.m. on a Tuesday, just drink whiskey.” (You get the picture. It’s always whiskey ‘o’ clock somewhere…)

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6.)    “Let’s go to Key West!” (Always cures the winter blues or any other serious ailment. And Key West never runs out of whiskey.)

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7.)    “If you would have done it the way I told you to in the beginning, you wouldn’t have this problem now.” Oh, God, in so many ways was she right about this…

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8.)    “Do you want me to make you some grits and/or a grilled cheese sandwich?” Always say yes. Always.

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9.)    “Never be without good lipstick.” Not for the pretty factor—it’s so that I don’t chew my lips off as they peel disgustingly away during the Arctic winter.

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10.)  “Let me teach you this card game…” I found this insufferable when I was younger that my mom always wanted to teach me some new card game to play. Now, the fact that I know probably almost all card games ever invented serves as extremely helpful when the Arctic snow knocks the internet out and interrupts a Netflix binge. (Mom, you still know more card games than I ever will. But I’m damn good at Old Maid.)

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11.) “Always wear good underwear in case you get hit by a car.” Which has a high percentage of happening in the Arctic where people tend to think they can drive. On ice. In a Prius.

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12.) “Come snuggle with me.” I have never been a super affectionate person, so I rarely would snuggle with my mom when she asked. Now that I’m all growed up and so far from home, I wish I would have taken advantage of snuggle requests—because now I miss my mom’s daily affection more than ever.

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13.) “Don’t sit that close to the TV, you’ll go blind.” SHE WAS RIGHT! It happened. And I’m really bad at putting in contact lenses. It never takes less than an hour…

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14.)  “You can hold it.” Oh, we all know this one. Long family road trip in the minivan, whining to pee every ten minutes. The woman who bore you gives you the Mom Look and utters that phrase. Without her refusing to stop at 27 gas stations on the way from Atlanta to Savannah, I wouldn’t be able to hold my pee for, say, two days at a time when it’s Ice-Skating-To-Hell kind of freezing up in the Artic and you’re afraid if you drop your pants, you’ll get frostbite.

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15.)  “Always remember that no one ever has to get you anything.” I’m pretty sure she was talking about gifts, but this phrase that my mother said billions of times to us growing up has taken on a different meaning for me now. I live in a place where the winters are not only brutal, but they last 6-8 months. So, when a miracle happens like today and we get a 40 degree heat wave and two hours of sunshine, I am ready to send Mother Nature a gold-embossed Thank You card.

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While there are sooo many more than just those tidbits, I’ll save it for another day—I wouldn’t want your head to explode from so much wisdom.

Thanks, Mom. Miss you already.

Respect the Val!

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Valentine’s Day was a few days ago.

You know I have to blurb a bit about this day of passion and romance, don’t you?

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Believe it or not, I’ve always been a Valentine’s Day advocate, even for most of my life when I wasn’t particularly ever in love with anyone besides Freddie Prinze, Jr. Yes, it’s a holiday for lovers, but it’s also a holiday to celebrate the romance and passion in everything—not just “In A Relationship With” on Facebook. It’s also another undeniable excuse to celebrate and party heartily in the name of a “holiday”. (Why, yes I do even have a little par-tay on an obscure day such as Columbus Day–what of it!) I have a rant all ready for you, but first, I want to introduce you to St. Valentine—the reason for this season of love.

There was a time in history when the world was ruled by giant jerks (Hard to believe, right?) and one of these jerks in particular decided he was going to outlaw marriage (again, hard to believe!!! [sarcasm begins to shoot off the charts…]) This jerk’s name was Emperor Claudius II and he didn’t outlaw marriage for everyone—just for the soldiers fighting for him. He thought love and marriage would be too big of a distraction for his soldiers as they continued to battle for him. (Do I even have to note that segregating certain people out from being able to marry the love of his/her life is not an okay thing?)

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So, in comes St. Valentine. Ol’ Val used to be a doctor, but then he became a Christian priest. This in itself was crazy because he lived in a time in this world in which most everyone else believed in multiple gods instead of just the one Valentine believed in. Val didn’t agree with this outlaw of marriage, so Val began to secretly perform marriages for the soldiers. Eventually, Val got busted, and the Emperor Claudius II threw Val in jail. But Val didn’t save his love and passion just for marrying people—even in jail, Val performed some seriously romantic miracles.

Valentine befriended nearly everyone in jail—even his own jailer—and he passionately told stories of his unconditional devotion to his faith and beliefs, even when the rest of the world seemed to be against him. Valentine’s jailer had a blind daughter, Julia, and eventually the jailer came to trust Valentine so much, that he asked if Valentine would read stories to Julia from books and teach her the ways of the world that she could not see. The jailer’s daughter and Val allegedly formed a friendship and further secret romance while Val read to her. There is even legend that Julia was cured of her blindness towards the end of Valentine’s stint in jail.

The emperor Claudius II actually really liked Valentine, so he offered a literal get out of jail free card for Valentine if he would renounce his faith and start believing in what everyone else did. Valentine refused, so sadly, he was put to death. Before his execution on February 14th, 270 A.D., Valentine wrote a letter to Julia, thanking her for her friendship and love, and he signed his letter “From Your Valentine”.

I bet you 9 out of 10 people really agree when they hear “Oh, Valentine’s Day is just a Hallmark holiday.” But isn’t that true of every holiday we have come to celebrate? Like our other days of celebration, Valentine’s Day has just as much of a solid basis for where it comes from than any.

And while I can appreciate the mottos we hear about “Happy Singles’ Awareness Day!” and “Stupid Cupid!”, I can’t say I agree with any negative connotation that goes along with it. Valentine’s Day is a happy day! It’s a day of passion, of romance, of love for whatever we choose! I love the hell out of my husband now and I do celebrate that love for him on Valentine’s Day, but there are other passions and romance that fill my heart that I also celebrate. (Yes, Netflix and moscato DO count as a Valentine!)

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Before I had any significant other in my life, I still was just as excited about celebrating Valentine’s Day! Maybe it was a year to celebrate with a full heart with my girlfriends, or reading the newest HP book, or watching old videos of my parents’ wedding. Hell, there were some years I was excited to celebrate myself with Boone’s Farm and a Backstreet Boys in Concert Special on VHS.

St. Valentine was a man who was an advocate for love—not just when it comes to marriage or relationships. He represented love and passion and romance for human rights, for his faith, for keeping a kind heart, and to pour that love into all things—even when he was in the darkness of prison.

So, I challenge those of you who hate Valentine’s Day—for whatever your reasons—to see it in a new, rosier light next year. Not as a holiday for companions or candlelit kisses, but for a day to indulge in our lovely, wonderful, and often times cheesy and ridiculous passions. We live in a world now where we are not necessarily persecuted for these simple things as St. Valentine was so long ago. Let’s honor Val’s legacy to the fullest just this one day out of the year.

Let the jovial sound of chocolate wrappers ensue.

honeyboo