Wednesday, December 24, 2008

...as slow as Christmas...?

Although we all "can't believe Christmas is here..." IT IS! Whether your shopping is done or you forgot that one person while you were shopping for yourself (I have never done that...!), there is no denying the fact that it's Christmas-time again! Thankfully, we got our bonus checks at work the week before Christmas which significantly helped me out this year. I'm not one for the holiday mall chaos considering I worked at Express for four years and had to fight the "slow-walkers" and "panik-y last-minute" shoppers just to get to work on time. I made my way to Ross, Sports Authority and Books-a-Million to finish my shopping and took my time in doing so...nowhere to be...no one rushing me. I finished all of my shopping in one day! Altough you may be proud of that...or even jealous...it's not because I wanted to stop shopping! You can only shop for so long when you don't have any money in the bank! ouch...harsh reality! Anyways, I wrapped everything and carefully placed each gift under the tree to make it appear as if I had won the lottery! Big bows, tissue paper, and overflowing gift baskets are wonderful illusions to the human eye!! Hopefully, the day when I'm rich..the gifts I give (...and receive) won't fit under a tree!
Although Christmas is obviously about the birth of Christ and is the "reason for the season," traditions cannot be overlooked when you begin hearing Christmas music everywhere you go. A Christmas Story, It's a Wonderful Life, and Miracle on 34th Street are all classic Christmas movies that everyone should see atleast once! Well, I wanted to add a couple things to your viewing Christmas pleasure that you can remember year-after-year! Now...keep in mind these videos are completely different from eachother as one is a SNL skit and the other is a church skit.

This link will take you to a skit from Discovery Church in 2006. Don't underestimate the seriousness of this skit because of the humor. It is great!

Now...this link will take you to a hilarious SNL skit with Justin Timberlake as the 'Cup o' Soup.' I laugh every time I watch it! You will never look at the Salvation Army bellmen at the Wal-Mart entrances the same again! Enjoy!

Have a Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 19, 2008

My Late Wish List

Seeing that I haven't written a "Dear Santa" letter since my 3rd grade teacher assigned it as homework, I took on the task from Mama Kat's previous writer's workshop and decided to get blogging!

Dear Santa,

Please bring me peace. Not world peace...not a peace movement...not a T-shirt with the peace symbol on the front...not the Peace Corps...not even a Nobel Peace Prize. Bring ME peace.

Fill my stocking with inner peace. Lately it seems there's always something that is beyond stressful and at times overwhelming. Learning to 'accept what is' and understand that I cannot change everything that 'needs' help will become so valuable to me. I've found that I tend to focus and linger on too many things that will just not change...no matter how I try to help. I know that when I receive this gift it will be so fullfilling that nothing else could compare! But why stop at my stocking, right...? When you're finished filling my stocking so full that it can't even hang from the mantle anymore, please put my peace & quiet under the tree.

"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven...a time to be silent and a time to speak..." -Ecclesiastes 3:1, 7b
This year has been a very 'loud' year for me. The chirpping Blackberry that constantly reminds me that I am ALWAYS at work...followed by the radio in the car and the phones ringing off the hook in the office. Answering the phones only leads to needy brides (and their mothers!!), customer complaints, and "what can you do for us..." conversations. (I'm not even back home yet!!) Walk in the front door at home only to be greated by the barking dog and the 'meow-ing' hungry cats. Text messages...text messages...text messages. Bar music and football games on big screens... and the daily family drama. Until now, not much has ever given me an epiphany about things I thought were so miniscule until I read a devotion about the power of silence (peace & quiet). Take a look at your typical day and try to remember a time when you were surrounded by silence without feeling awkward. Opening the gift of peace & quiet on Christmas morning will make me so grateful as I feel the devil has made it his business to fill our lives with noise, hurry and crowds...all because he is very aware of the power of silence. My human need for peace & quiet is to completely do away with stress and worry. The stress that if I don't meet some expectation at work, I will be fired. The stress that I may be so incredibly broke next week that eating a candy bar at work will "...just have to do...again." The stress that my family is going to completely fall apart in front of my eyes and that there is nothing I can do to save it. The stress that my heart has been broken so badly..and so many times..that I now, not only have a brick wall surrounding me, but a barbed-wire fence and assasigns on gaurd to "shoot-down" anyone who makes an honest attempt towards me. Believe me, Santa, peace & quiet will not be shoved in the back of my closet!
And, finally Santa, could you wrap my peace & quiet with peace of mind? Uncertainty is a human emotion that I believe is necessary to keep us motivated and work towards our goals. The worry about losing a job...danger confronting our family and friends...surviving paycheck-to-paycheck...oh, the list could go on! However, if I were lucky enough to recive the gifts on my wish list, any situation that would present itself to me would become much easier to overcome. I would be able to live a fulfilling life surrounded by stress, turmoil and anger...however I would have such a sense of peace and purpose that it would not be able to affect me anymore...do you know why? Because the only way for me to acheive this level of peace is through the Prince of Peace...
I know this wish list is kind of short-notice...but I think He will be able to help you out! Please see what you can "pull together" for me...and feel free to pass along any left-overs to everyone else!

Sunday, December 14, 2008


Girls are like
apples on trees. The best
ones are at the top of the tree.
The boys don't want to reach for
the good ones because they are afraid
of falling and getting hurt. Instead, they
just get the rotten apples from the ground
that aren't as good, but easy. So the apples
at the top think something is wrong with
them, when in reality, they're amazing.
They just have to wait for the right
boy to come along, the one
who's brave enough
to climb
all the way
to the top
of the tree.
I have heard this quote before, but I found it online not too long ago and thought I might share my thoughts with you. My hope is that there are still girls (and women) that have the foundation instilled in them that will keep them at the top of this valuable tree. If I have a daughter, I want this to resound in the back of her head forever...
Looking back, when women were not considered strong, independent, or valuable assets to our society...they were forced to be dependent on men and therefore made to feel of little worth. However, what I find so ironic about these women is that their morals and ethics were so important to them that they took it upon themselves to find their own worth...without looking for it elsewhere. Today, women are just as capable of voting, working, and learning as any man, yet it seems we have lost sight of what is really important....what we emotionally, physically and personally have to offer.
While I was growing up...especially through those awkward pre-teen years...I always felt as if I was the ugly one in the group. All of my girlfriends were dating different guys and seemed to have such confidence (a false sense I later found out). I was so jealous and self-concious because I didn't understand at the time why the popular guys were so interested in them...and not me! My mom always told me that it was because they were intimidated by me and could not find the nerve to talk to me. Yeah right...try telling that to a 13-, 14-, 15-, 16-year old girl who is consumed with the acceptance of her peers! haha! Still at 23 it can be hard to understand this!
I later found out that "those girls" were lowering their standards (what standards they had to begin with..??) and being so easy for the guys to get. The guys knew that they wouldn't be rejected by them...so they were easy to pursue. Shocking... The girls weren't ugly and they could get any guy they wanted to...without lowering their standards. I'm not preaching on my blog...as I have no place to do so. We have all made mistakes in order to fill some kind of human need we think is necessary at the time...only to feel dissapointed at the end (disapointment: (def) a feeling of sadness or frustration because something was not as good, attractive, or satisfactory as expected, or because something hoped for did not happen...very important emotion God gave us to enable us to learn from mistakes....)
In college, I have gone from boyfriend to boyfriend without ever really making anyone pursue me the way I would have liked. Although I have many regrets from each relationship, I have found out so much about myself and what I don't want in my next relationship. I refuse to be the spoiled, rotten, easy apple at the bottom of the tree. Over the past few years, I have taken a step back and looked at myself and what I believe I have to offer to people...and it is far from something that will come without a price or a fair amount of work involved. I am an attractive, hard-working, independent, Christian, fun-loving, easy partier, humorous, college-educated, stylish, southern, goal-oriented, motivated...woman. Why should that be so easily won over by a man who does not have the same to offer me ?? You think I am going to give all of that..my entire self worth...to someone who is egotistical, lazy, rude mannered, prideful, co-dependent, needy, selfish, consumed with physical appearances (FYI: I won't look this way forever...and neither will you...) incincere, hypocritical, dishonest...??? Hell no!
I'm sorry hunny, if your climbing gear is malfunctioning...your apple will be waiting for you on the ground.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

November's Over...

Now that I have November "under my belt," I have found a little free time to get back to my poor blog! As you all know, I moved out of my apartment and into a (super cute) duplex downtown Greenville! My brother and I finally got everything moved in and although we are still getting situated, it is definately the answer to a much needed change! There were the few problems when we first moved in..the HUGE deposit required for our gas heat to be turned on and learning to enjoy hardwood floors.

The first week we moved in, our heat was on and working beautifully considering it was getting down into the 'teens' at night. Everything was great until we came home one day and the house was 65 degrees!! Oh my gosh...have I ever mentioned that I hate cold weather and that it makes me mean?!? If not...now you know why I like the southern humidity and sunshine!! Well, I found out that I had to pay a deposit to turn the heat back on. After I paid the deposit, they told me it would be a week-and-a-half before they could get someone out here to reconnect the gas. Initally I was okay with the calendar appointment they so kindly set up for me...I already had one big space heater and was planning on getting two smaller ones for our bedrooms. So...I made my way to K-mart (yes...there are still K-mart's...who knew??) and bought two small space heaters. When I got home, I soon found out that older homes and numberous plug-in appliances don't "mesh" well. Everytime we plugged in all three heaters the breakers would flip! Two heaters and a hair dryer...??? How about two heaters, a lamp and the TV...??? None of these combinations work either!! We've learned to cope with the fact that we can't have EVERYTHING in our house plugged in at the same time! Who knew?!? Well, needless to say we have heat..thankfully!!

My previous apatments and townhouses have all had carpet and/or tile floors, but I've never had hardwood floors. I love the fact that I don't have to worry about all of the pet hair having somewhere to hide and even more...I don't have to worry about cleaning the carpet after my pets use it as their personal bathroom! It's super easy clean-up (for the most part) and I love that my house doesn't constantly smell like pets! But...it has gotten more difficult to SEE the pet urine on the floor...if you know what I mean. My cats use the litter box (for the most part) but its my dog that I'm having a problem with. When I lived at the apartment, we were on the third floor and didn't train him to go outside. He learned to use puppy pads and in the beginning it was convenient...until he turned a year and started "marking his territory..." I have found (the hard way) that it's easier to train a dog rather than break a bad habit. I have absolutely no idea how to teach him to go to the bathroom outside! He will actually hold it until he comes in the house! Maybe I can be on "The Dog Whisperer...." Bruiser needs to learn who the pack leader is! ha!

So...you may ask...what do you like about it?? Well...the park is less than a block away. If you listen, you can hear the monkeys from the zoo. Bruiser can play outside. No More Stairs! Trash pick-up! Nice neighbors. Attic space. Ceiling fans!! Cheaper rent! I think it balances itself out!

Tune in soon...there's alot of November stuff I have to write about!! Thanks for being patient and for keeping my blog company!! xoxo

Sunday, October 26, 2008

I'm Such a Sucker!

While cleaning my apartment this afternoon I noticed that there were a few things that I needed from CVS. I didn't need to make a trip to Wal-Mart or Target simply because I would buy unnecessary junk. I knew what I needed and made my way to the store. Only after my bill came up to be way more than I planned, did I notice that I am sucker...while I was driving home, my mind started turning about all the things in my life that I'm a sucker for...

I'm a sucker for "buy one get one..." (aka: BOGO!). During my trip to CVS that was intended to be quick and cheap I found alot of BOGO deals...you know, those unnecessary things I was trying to avoid buying at Wal-Mart and Target!! I mean they had buy one get one FREE laundry detergent! How in the world was I ever supposed to pass that kind of deal up?? Especially with the amount of laundry I do!! Publix usually has alot of BOGO deals that aren't so great...you know "buy one get one 1/2 price." Those deals make me buy stuff that I would never typically buy on any other occasion and make my final bill outrageous!!

I'm a sucker for puppies and kittens! I went to the Humane Society yesterday with a friend of mine who was looking for a puppy. The only reason I did not leave with a new addition to my 'family' was because I already have a zoo in my one bedroom apartment! Picking up those poor animals that have been confined to a cold cage with no one loving on them everyday breaks my heart. They know exactly what look to give you through those metal cages to make you take them home! I got Josie, Shelby and Bruiser from the pound and bought Jake from the newspaper...such a sucker!! My friend ended up buying an Alaskan Huskey/Boxer mix puppy with green eyes that had been in the pound for almost a month and a half! She was so used to being in that cage that she cowered when we picked her up and became extremely nervous when we petted her. As soon as we got her outside and introduced her to Bruiser, we knew she would always be thankful for saving her from that terrible place!

I'm a sucker for heels! Most would agree that high heels are uncomfortable and would not wear them on a daily basis...not me! While I worked at Express in college, I would be on my feet for 6-8 hours a day and did not hesitate to wear my cute heels! Although my feet would throb at the end of the day and sometimes would be callused (ugh!), I still found the strength put them back on that night and wear them out to the club! I am not talking about 10-inch heels or anything...just enough height to lengthen my legs and accent my outfit!! The only reason to exclude heels from your wardrobe is if you are wearing flip-flops on a Saturday afternoon or cute little flats with the appropriate outfit (...but of course...). Don't get me wrong, I don't vacuum in heels...but I most certainly would if the occasion called for it!! Not really...well maybe...aahhh!!

I am a sucker for risque television shows. I know that I should not be filling my head with inappropriate things (..see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil..) but I have a new addiction.

Me: Hi, my name is Breean and I'm addicted to inappropriate television series'.

You guys: Hi, Breean...

The first step is acknowledging my addiction, right?? ha!

A few months ago, I (luckily) upgraded my Charter package and added HBO, Showtime, Cinemax, etc. Ever since that day I have been suckered into Californication, Entourage and True Blood. Honestly, I am not going to recommend that you watch these simply because I don't want you to associate me with their lifestyles, but... maybe you could watch one episode if there is nothing else on TV...but just one episode (good luck!).

I am a sucker for Facebook! Despite how many people "diss" on the social network that has taken over the world (ha!)...I still find myself being suckered into the daily habit of "who's dating who now" and "wow, she looks great after having a baby..!" My mind can't even fathom how people survived without this all-knowing website! Granted, I don't use it to meet guys or new friends, but I do keep in touch with high-school and college friends that I probably would not talk to had it not been for Facebook. I also post pictures for others to view that would otherwise find their final home in a picture album in my closet...but, with Facebook...others can enjoy them and add them to their collections, too! I have had friends that 'knocked' Facebook for years until they eventually joined the club! They have found people they forgot about over the years and are now able to follow the usual "Facebook conversation and lingo" when socializing with the rest of society. Don't miss out...everyone else is doing it!!

My high school reunion probably won't be as interesting though...
Nosy #1: "Did you know she has three kids??"
Nosy #2: "Yeah, I read on Facebook that she is pregnant again!! Old news..."

Well, now that you know my weaknesses...please be gentle while judging!!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Memories Through Pictures

Yes, I'm blogging again! After reading my previous entry you know that I went to the doctor yesterday and wasn't feeling well. I decided to take the day off from work and get to feeling better rather than pushing myself! Go Me!! So without any hesitation, I decided to blog again...I have already cleaned my apartment, took a nap and watched Ellen...time to blog!
I was looking through my pictures online and started thinking about what was going through my mind in that moment. I thought it would be "blog worthy" to post some pictures and fill you guys in!

This is a picture of me and one of my best friends, Sarah. We are at a bar in Charlotte, NC with our soon-to-be-boyfriends and some more mutual friends we hadn't seen in forever. The whole day we shopped for the "perfect" dresses (which we found) and had been looking so forward to getting out of Spartanburg (which was where I lived during school). Nate is taking the picture and had just made some ridiculous comment about us (which I have forgotten now) that had clearly cracked us up. Although the picture is not the most flattering, I love it because there are very few times in life when you can catch someone in a deep laugh...much less yourself! I love to laugh and I love my friends! We had so much fun that night as it was the first time we had all gone to Charlotte together and the first time Nate and I had officially hung out!! Wonderful times!!Sorry for the 'blurry-ness' of this picture but Joey, a co-workder and dear friend of mine, took it and was clearly not qualified to be our photographer!! During college, I worked at Express at the Westgate Mall in Spartanburg. I met some of my life-long friends there and took part in many entertaining "fashion shows" like this one. Each quarter, we were required to have a staff meeting in order to introduce new guidelines, inform the staff of new goals and of course introduce the new clothing lines. We ususally had these meetings on Sunday mornings before the store opened and would put together fashion shows to show off these new clothes (also to take away from the monotonous meeting agendas). In this picture we were 'modeling' our new denim line and some new tops for our fall collection. This picture was taken right after we all walked down the 'runway' and modeled our outfits (compliments of Joey!!). The day before, we all walked around the store and picked out what we wanted to wear and what accessories would work best. Keep in mind that we don't own any of these clothes...it was like a huge dress-up day! I just remember thinking that there would be no where else in my little 'sheltered, southern' life that I would get to wear something like this and walk down a runway!! Fun times!!
This picture is one of my most favorite because I can vividly remember this day. This is my Grandpa Lindley with whom I had just met for the first time (well...other than when I was a toddler) a few days prior. He is my mom's dad and lives in Bremerton, WA which is why I had never had the opportunity to get to know him. On this particular day, we were all sitting around my grandparents' house and were taking pictures. My mom and I were getting ready to leave the next day to fly back to South Carolina and I knew this would probably not only be the first time I saw him...but also the last. We flew out to WA to visit with him because he was dying of cancer and my mom wanted me to meet him. He was such a great man...a loving and faithful husband, a father to four girls, a war veteran, a grandfather,a great-grandfather, a devout Christian, a working man until his 80s and a true friend to those who were fortunate enough to meet him. In this picture, I remember asking to take a picture of just me and him which was followed by a welcoming smile. He was very weak and so I kneeled beside him and put my hand on his arm. Right before the picture was taken, he placed his hand on top of mine and whispered in my ear..."I love you and I'm so proud of you..." As you can probably tell from the picture, I am fighting back the tears. His hands were badly bruised from IV's but were still the softest hands I had ever touched. He had always been a tall and very solid man, but the cancer had taken most of that away..except in his hands. When I returned home, I found it intriguing that the same hands that were so bruised and yet so soft... still had the strength of a young man. Grandpa Lindley died in June of 2007 just a few weeks after I had returned to South Carolina. I wish I had known him my entire life.

This is a picture I took while I was visiting Bremerton, WA. I have never been so captivated by a place before...I know that doesn't say much considering the lack of travel I have experienced...but this place is breathtaking. I took this particular picture on the Pugent Sound during a typical cloudy day in the northwest. Unlike South Carolina, the water was so still and the air lacked the presence of the dreadful humidity I am so accustomed to. I remember standing on the pier with my mom and aunt Candy (in a sweatshirt and jeans in June!! ha!) and just thinking how refreshing it seemed there. Although everything seems simple in this picture...I think that is what I find so appealing...simplicity.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Not Me! Monday

I found a great place to get some neat ideas to blog about during the week! Great way to blow off steam and beat writer's block!!

I did not dodge a police officer on my way to work by turning down a random street in order to prevent him from noticing the expired tags on my brother's car- only to have to turn around in the City Police parking lot!!!

I absolutely did not work until 8:00 tonight!! I have way too much of a social life to stay at work.

I did not instigated a ridiculous arguement with my mom today. Especially one that made me feel guilty or selfish.

I did not go out twice last week! But if I did I probably would have felt terrible and not have been able to accomplish anything...heck, I probably would have even left early!

I did not buy $40.00 worth of cute panties...and only panties! I have too many other 'grown up' things to spend my money on.

I did not watch Napolean Dynamite last night for the 50th time. That movie is certainly not funny or sarcastic enough to enjoy that many times.

I did not offer to help my sister write an essay for her college application to the University of Southern California which is due November 18th...and she certianly did not drop off the assignment and expect me to write the entire thing for her...nuh-uh!!

I absolutely did not stay up until the sun came up Saturday night looking at furniture, jobs and rental houses online. There is not even a webiste that has all of that in one place or enough to keep me busy for that long.

I did not lose 6lbs in one month. That would be so nice if I did...but I did not!

I fortunatley did not notice that the transmission in my car is 'shot.' I would never let it get that bad nor would I ever put my car on the 'back-burner' because I had other things to buy. Transmission work is certainly not expensive.

I did not witness my neighbor's car get broken into last night while it was parked next to mine. Better yet...the cops that showed up did not arrest him after finding him at the playground (at 11:30 at night?) with two backpacks full of knives and paraphernalia. It was probably because they could not find the satellite radio or cash that he did not steal. I'm glad I did not lose sleep over that...

I did not show up 20 minutes late to my manager's meeting this morning. But if had been late...I would have not felt awkward when I had to present my weekly agenda that I did not forget to do over the weekend.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Rearranging a Few Things

As of November 23rd my lease will expire with my apartment complex and I am going to have to move...again!! I lost count a long time ago as to how many times I have had to move. That process moved to the top of my "least favorite things to do" list very quickly! I have been in my apartment for one year and chose to live on the third floor. At the time it sounded like a great idea as the vaulted ceiling, fire place and screened in porch balanced out the fact that I would have to lug all of my crap up three flights of stairs. Now, a year later, I am going to start packing everything up and find a moving company to do the hard work. I made my mind up that there are some things that are worth paying for...and moving is one of them!

My second resolution to this "inconvenient affliction" is to have a HUGE yard sell. I don't mean just selling a few knick-knacks and books, I'm talking about selling my couch, loveseat, washer & dryer, entertainment center, the extra table I have on my porch and anything else that is heavy and needs to be replaced. My pets have been kind enough to destroy my couch cushions to the point that I am tired of dealing with it. The dryer is missing a knob from the short time my brother borrowed it--now it has to be turned on with plyers! And my washing machine...which I just found out two weeks ago--cannot be turned to 'large load' because it will overflow!! Yes, I am on the third floor and my washer overflowed throughout the majority of my apartment!! Now that I think about it...that would have been a great topic to blog about...oh well.

So, back to the yard sale. I have never had a personal yard sale and figured it would be a good topic to Google...so I did. I found this website by the Yard Sale Queen where I was able to find a ton of great advice...stuff that I would never have thought about! I mean, if I'm going to sell my stuff I need to make sure that I have everything I need..right?? So, being the neurotic organizer that I am, I made a list of the things I am going to sell and what I need to prepare for. Assuming that I sell the majority of my things, I am then going to invest my earnings towards new stuff!!! FUN FUN FUN!!! After I decided on this whole idea, I browsed through Craigslist.com until my eyes crossed. If you are ever in need of anything this is the place to go!! I was introduced to this website when I started looking for rental properties and have since found some great stuff!! Last night, I found tons of furniture that looks to be in good condition for great prices along with job openings, pets for sell (don't worry...I'm not getting another pet!!!) and moving companies. One stop shop, huh??!!

Sooo...about the place I'm moving to...you may ask...my brother and I are going Tuesday or Wednesday to talk to the agent about the terms of the lease and to let him take a look at the house. Yes...I am moving in with my brother...but I figure it would be less stressful than having an actual 'roommate.' We already know we can live together and more than likely have the same bad habits hahaha!! (Not sure if that is a good or bad thing...!). The potential house we are looking at is a 2 bedroom 1 bath duplex that is downtown Greenville right next to Cleveland Park. It has hardwood floors, washer/dryer connections (a BIG plus!!!), stove, fridge and carport. Not to mention it is about $40.00 less than what I am paying now!!! Timmy and I have decided that I will take care of the rent as long as he pays the bills...another thing that could be good or bad...ha!

Needless to say I'm pretty excited about the whole thing!! Just hoping everything works out for the best! If you have any advice, I would love to hear it!! Wish me luck!!!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Some Sayings for Your Amusement

I received an email from my friend with this list of sayings. If you want to get a feeling for how (some) deep southerners express themselves...please read the following!!! Enjoy!!!

He's all hat and no cattle.
If that ain't a fact, God's a possum.
It's so dry, the catfish are carrying canteens.
He's so busy, you'd think he was twins.
He'll squeeze a nickel till Jefferson screams.
So dry, the trees are bribing the dogs.
Cold as a cast-iron commode.
She's two sandwiches short of a picnic.
So ugly, she has to sneak up on a glass of water.
Confused as a goat on AstroTurf.
Handy as hip pockets on a hog.
So ugly, his mama takes him everywhere she goes so she doesn't have to kiss him goodbye.
Looks like he sorts bobcats for a living.
So buck-toothed, she could eat corn through a picket fence.
If brains were leather, he couldn't saddle a flea.
That dawg don't hunt.
It's been hotter'n a goat's butt in a pepper patch.
Every now and then, even a blind pig finds an acorn.
Have a cup of coffee, it's already been "saucered and blowed."
She's so stuck up, she'd drown in a rainstorm.
Cute as a sack full of puppies.
My cow died last night so I don't need your bull.
Don't pee down my back and tell me it's raining.
He's as country as cornflakes.
Well, butter my butt and call me a biscuit.
This is gooder'n grits.
Busier than a cat covering crap on a marble floor.
If things get any better, I may have to hire someone to help me enjoy it.
Uglier than a lard bucket full of armpits.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

I Wish Someone Had Told Me...

...how important credit is in every aspect of your life. Throughout college I destroyed mine and now I am suffering the consequences...apartment searching, buying cars, getting credit cards, requesting loans, etc. etc. I wish that I would have taken it seriously when I had the chance. Now, I'm starting from scratch...well, from crap to be honest...and it's going to take me years to rebuild it.

...how addictive ciggaretts are. I know you hear the horror stories and smokers tell you to 'never start,' but those of you who are non-smokers, have NO IDEA! The one day I would go back to in my life and change would be the day I smoked my first ciggarette, there is no doubt that I would change that day.

... how many times I would have to re-color my hair after the first time. I lost count a few years ago as to how many times I have been to the salon and changed my hair color to suit my mood. Then you have to go back to fill in your roots or get the 'latest trend..' oh my! A vicious circle!

...to save my money instead of spending it on unnessecary things. If I think back to where my money has gone over the years, it seems that I don't have much to show for it. I have cute clothes, gas in my car, a few groceries, my pets, and a slightly decorated apartment. The catch?? I don't have any money saved for my wedding (whenever that will be...), to put down on a house, to buy a new car with or even new furniture.

...how to enjoy seafood. It has taken me this long in my life to start enjoying seafood. There are very few types of seafood that I like but I'm working on it.

...that relationships don't define me as a person. Although I will argue the fact that I always have a boyfriend, I do recognize that there are things missing in my life that have been defined solely from my likes and/or dislikes. Over the years, I have found interest in everyone else's hobbies and interests but not mine...

...to travel. This could go back to the 'not saving' aspect of my life. I found a blog the other day that listed 70 Things to do Before you have Children. The list was amazing--filled with remarkable outdoor endeavors, lofty goals and of course beautiful travel destinations. I've been on cruises and short road trips but to actually travel and expereience cultures I've only read about in school would complete a part of me.

...to value friendship. I haven't even 'celebrated' my 10 year high school reunion yet and I look back to the friends I had when I was a teenager and I wish that I would have appreciated them more in my life. I only keep in contact with two friends from high school (on a daily basis) and wonder what everyone else is doing these days. My heart only hopes that I did not mistreat anyone or push them away out of my selfishness.

...how fast time flies (and not just when you are having fun!). I can't believe I'm already finished with college and in my 20s. haha!! When I was younger, I thought these days would never come and that I couldn't get out of the house fast enough!! These days, I'm learning to treasure the day-by-day and not so much what's to come...patience is a virtue...right???

...to be best friends with my siblings. My brother, Tim, is 20 now and my sister, Katie, is 17. Although I feel we are growing closer, I dread the day my sister leaves to go to college at Southern California next year. She recieved a soccer scholarship and will be moving across the country to live her life. We have never been very close (as we are six years apart) and have never had the same interests to talk about over coffee. I fear that she will leave--grow into a person that is not familiar to me anymore and never come back home.

...to be less stubborn. A trait that I can honestly say came from my dad's side is that I am adament when it comes to what I believe in. Although there have been few to change my mind...I'm sure it was not an easy task for them to endure!!! I am very opinionated when it comes to morals, ethics, politics, religion, and equality.

Although this list is rather long, I can honestly say that there have been plenty of people who have told me things that I cherish and took to heart. Here are a few (this is for my mom...so she doesn't think she was a failure...)

I'm glad someone told me:
  • to love and trust the Lord.
  • to wash my hands and keep my fingers out of my mouth!
  • not to get involved in drugs.
  • hold my head high and shoulders back when I walk in a room.
  • to trust my "gut"
  • not to get married young
  • to be presentable
  • to always wear cute underwear and matching socks...you never know...:)
  • the way to a man's heart is through his stomach
  • defying temptation builds character
  • to ask before making assumptions
  • not to keep track records of negative things others have done
  • to always be aware of my surroundings

Thank you...

Monday, October 13, 2008

Writer's Workshop: My 10 Biggest Fears

My tribute to Mama's Losin' It....Enjoy!

1. Bugs! Anything creepy and crawly!! eeewwwhhh!! I think I developed this fear from my mom (who claims she can 'smell spiders' haha!!). Growing up, if we found a bug in the house when we were home with just my mom, she would not step on it or even sweep it out the door. Instead...she would put a cup on top of it and wait for my dad to come home. Usually by that time, the thing had suffocated and there was nothing to worry about. We moved out to South Carolina from California when I was about six and the "variety of bugs" multiplied significantly!! During the transition of moving across the country, we lived with our grandparents (my dad's parents) for a few months and I remember my grandma coming home one day to find about five cups turned upside down all over her house!! She still thinks its hilarious! Scorpions, spiders, roaches...oh my!!
2. Being Alone....I don't want to be the "old cat lady..." Need I say more???
3. Heights...Period...
4. Bridges: You may think this ties into the "heights category" but I'm not scared of bridges because they are high, I am scared of bridges because they have the potential to collapse! That would be absolutely terrifying!
5. Being kidnapped. I am terrified of someone taking me and not being able to escape. If I am ever missing...do NOT..and I repeat...do NOT stop looking for me!!!!
6. Blood. I wasn't aware that this was an actual fear of mine until about a month ago. I work at a hotel and I received a phone call that a guest had fallen in the shower and split her head open. When I arrived at work the lady (who was no less than 85 years old) was being wheeled out by the paramedics waving and thanking us for a "great stay!" Keep in mind she was covered in blood and had a bandage wrapped around her head like a war victim from a Turner Classic Movie...but thats beside the point. I went up to the room with our houseman, Ricardo, and found the bathroom to be covered in blood. It looked like the lady had exploded. There was blood in the bathtub, on the walls, the toilet, the floor and there was a pile of bloody towels on the floor. I had my gloves on with the full intention of helping but as soon as I saw her blood...my body went numb! Poor Ricardo ended up cleaning the whole bathroom and listening to me ask "what's that smell..." and "what do you think that is..??" That was the day I found out I had a fear of blood...
7. Death. I don't fear death because I fear where I will be going...I know I am saved and will be living eternity in Heaven!! A great feeling to have by the way!!! I fear the way I am going to die..I fear loosing my loved ones and feeling that pain. Death is inevitable, there is no way around it...I think that is what I fear most....that it is going to happen.
8. Disappointment. As a 23-year-old college graduate with a full-time job who supports myself and has lived alone since I was 18, I find comfort in approval. Whether it be my parents, my friends, co-workers or bosses...there is nothing more satisfying than hearing a simple "good job" or "I'm proud of you." However, the secret to this is that you can't do things in your life expecting those words of praise. If you do, you will be miserable simply because it is very rare that people will swallow their pride and acknowledge your achievements.
9.Opinions. "I have the hots for a little thing called confidence..." People can be so cruel sometimes. As a girl, I worry about my appearance and want people to notice me...not because I have a zit or because I'm having a bad hair day!! Despite what I might say (like most 'normal' people) I do care what other people think about me. "Sticks and stones may hurt my bones but words will never hurt me..." Who made that up?!?
10. Haunted Houses. As the Halloween holidays are quickly approaching, I think about how scared I am of haunted houses. The first (and last) haunted house I visited was about 3 years ago in Columbia, SC with my ex-boyfriend and his family. This particular haunted house was named one of the scariest houses in the South and therefore it took a few days of convincing to get me to go. The whole thing terrified me but it was the individual maize at the end that was the worst! They would send us through a dark, narrow and slimy hallway that you had to find your way out of as "things" were jumping out at you. There were dead ends and 'wrong ways' which I seemed to find alot of...needless to say, I ended up in a fetal position in the corner crying for my friends to come get me. They turned the lights on and stopped the course to take me out...only to be chased by a man with a chainsaw!! Bless my heart, huh?? Never again!!!!!

ok...I'm finished!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

I'm Not...

After reading a few blogs, I have noticed that alot of people list what they "are." So I wanted to take this time to tell you what "I'm not..." This might be amusing...here I go!

I'm Not...

1. Financially Stable: It has taken me years to realize how important money is...I know that sounds ridiculous but it's true. In college I worked at Express and would blow the majority of my paychecks on the hottest and newest clothes. I ran up my credit cards and filled my (extremley small) closet with the cutest clothes (oh the days...!!). Well, needless to say I am in debt and have sold most of those clothes to consignment shops to put gas in my car!! Ironic...

2. Athletic: I was very athletic in high school when I played basketball and cheered. I was always doing something active...but these days...I leave it up to my sister!! :) She got all those genes!!

3. Married: Unlike most of my friends from high school and college, I have chosen to enjoy the single life while it's still 'acceptable.' However...I don't intend to remain in the single life forever. My main purpose is to prevent me from looking back at my life and regreting that I missed out on anything. I feel that God will open that door when it is good and ready!

4. A mother: Hallelujah to that! Don't get me wrong...I adore children...just not ready for my own yet. I feel that when #3 and #4 connect (accordingly...) it will be wonderful! I look forward to that time in my life.

5. Into drugs: My dad was always a police office while I was in school and I am grateful! Although I have morals and I was raised not to get involved in that lifestyle, there was still temptation and the original comment "...everyone else is doing it..." No they're not!!! I was terrified that my dad would smell that stuff and notice a change in me if I did it once...and if you know my dad...you would not cross him if you could help it :) Now that I am older and (for the most part) out of that stage of life, I am so proud to say that I have never dabbled in drugs!

6. Boring: I have a very strong sense of humor! Despite the curve balls life can (and has) thrown at me, I try to find humor--and sarcasm--in most situations. I love to laugh and be surrounded by not-so-serious people.

7. Messy: My job has created a monster!! I have to keep everything organized and written down to make sure there are no loose ends. At the end of a long work day, I still find myself coming home to clean. I have to make my bed everyday (even if its in the afternoon)...I love climbing into a bed that is made. I vacuum, wash dishes, wash clothes, wipe down counters, and organize almost everyday...a little excessive!!

8. A tom-boy: Dressing nice and doing my make-up is a daily routine in my life. Very rarely will you find me in sweat pants with no make-up...but BEWARE if you do!! High-heeled shoes, lip gloss and purses are a few of my best friends!! Me and my mom are always exchanging the newest trends and asking for eachothers opinions about outfits...another benefit of having a cool mom!! :)

9. A vegetarian: No way in a million years would I ever give up meat!! I love chicken, burgers, pork and learning to enjoy fish. Most people who are vegetarians (or vegans) believe that we are cruel for eating animals...I think God put animals here for us to eat. Now...I don't necessarily agree with hunting for sport. Should you find it absolutely necessary to hunt, it needs to be for food..not to kill and leave for the flies!! That's sad :(

10. Dependent: Hopefully, if you were to ask most people that have known me for a while how they would describe me, they would say I am independent. As soon as I started college when I was 18, I have only moved back home for a few months. Those few months were only during a transition...FYI!! I have always had a job and worked the entire time I was in college. Although my parents have helped me (probably more than they should have) I haven't completely depended on them in a long time.

It is almost impossible to define what you "are Not" without telling what you "are." Try it!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Uncomfortable Interviewing Process

As I reminisce back to the days (which weren't that long ago) when I was going through the interview process I think about how stressful it was for me...as the interview-ee. My palms were sweaty, my cheeks were always blushed, my outfits had to be planned out to "the T," and my chest would--without hesitation--always get "blotchy" (one of the few great traits I picked up from my mom). Now that I am the Guest Service Manager at a growing hotel in downtown Greenville, I am on the other side of the table.

Keep in mind that I am a Communications major who was studying speech until the classes became tedious and lacked challenge for me. Although I truely love to write, I changed to journalism simply to get a variety of courses. I have no problem speaking in front of groups, giving presentations, or leading meetings. When in front of a group, I feel in control, that I'm perceived as a leader, and don't hesitate to let my personality shine through. I don't trip over words nor do I lack eye contact with my audience.

With this said, I have found that speaking to a large group of people vs. a one-on-one interview are POLAR OPPISTIES! We are severly short-staffed on our front desk and I have been given the responsibility to set-up and conduct interviews single-handedly. Being the naive 23-year-old that I am, I went into the first few interviews completely unprepared. For some reason I thought that the questions would just "come to me..."ha! I sat in those first interviews like I had no idea what I where I was or what I was there for! After those inexperienced interview "tactics" I decided it would be best if I have a list of questions to lead me through the conversation.

This week I have already had three interviews and have four more tommorrow. My first thought was that I was intimmidated by people who were older than me...

"Why am I being interviewed by someone who could be my daughter? Are you serious?"

My second thought was that I was threatened by other females...

"Look at her outfit...her hair...her lack of professionalism! Are you serious?"

My final thought was that I became introverted around men...

"She is pretty (or not)...but I don't take her seriously...I could be doing her job alot better! Are you serious?"

All of these thoughts are running through my head when all I should be focused on is how suitable they are for the position. It could be that when I interviewed an older man (early 40s) and I was going through my questions, he laughed with a mocking tone at each one before he answered. As if they were the most ridiculous questions he had ever heard! I was completely insulted but eventually convinced myself to look past his condescending personality and remember that I was in charge of that conversation...and you are NOT!! (needless to say he is not getting the job..take that!)

Today I interviewed a 30-year-old guy who was really laid back and very nice. He wasn't attractive but I was completely apprehensive during the whole conversation. I felt my chest get "blotchy" and I stumbled over my words as if I didn't have anything prepared. I felt bad for him because of my insecurities...I was relieved when the torture was finally over!! ha!

Maybe I am so nervous because it is a huge responsibility...or maybe because I feel that they are noticing every negative thing about me (physical and non-physical). I never thought that sitting on the other side of the table would be as nerve-racking as being the one just answering questions. Whatever it is, I am going to overcome the fear of interviewing and make it a goal of mine to turn that weakness into a strength!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

"That Point"

So, I think I've hit that point in my life where it's not all play anymore. Working 9-10 hour shifts six to seven days a week and not making the "big bucks" I thought I would..can be a major dose of reality! Looking at old pictures from college posted around my apartment or online are harsh reminders of how life used to be...before I took on actual responsibilites. Those were the das..filled with classes in the morning, part-time (not-so-serious) jobs in the afternoon, and nights filled with dancing, drinking and late night Waffle House dining! However fun those days were..I remember thinking how anxious I was to get out of school and be able to support myself with a full-time job. What was I thinking!! Now, I "cherish" the taste of the 'first beer' on a social drinking night after a 10 hour work day! And if, for some (lucky) reason, I have enough money in my account to get a little 'tipsy,' I will be recovering from that night for the next few days!! Don't get me wrong...I think I would be more miserable if I were to still be consumed with the party life in my mid-to later-twenties and still living with my parents...but what (in the grown-up lifestyle the few years after graduation) replaces those days?? Is it the slighly larger paychecks that are already spent before they are deposited in my account or is the occassional surprise of coming home to having no power?? I have learned to find humor in the small things...ha! However stressful and shocking this stage of life is for me..I am working on improving everything. I have paid my last credit card off as of August and now I am working on my student loans. Building my credit is my main concern despite the harsh reminder it leaves me with of my irresponsibility over the past few years...it has taught me that "the sweet will never be as sweet without the bitter..."

Sunday, September 14, 2008

How Time Flies

After reading over my first few blogs...I can't believe how many things have changed and how quickly time flies. The summer is coming to an end and gratefully being followed by my favorite season...fall!! Autumn in the South is absolutely beautiful...the trees change, the smell in the air is refreshing and it reminds me of time well-spent with my friends and family...after every summer its amazing how quickly your priorities change. I tend to focus more on the important things in life and steer clear of the "oh-so-trendy" social life.

This summer was very strange to say the least. Nate and I took a few steps back from the relationship and went through some difficult times in the midst of that. There were a few times we almost walked away from everything, but found it more sincere to stay together and work through it. I spent alot of times with my girlfriends and found out that I can't go out and drink like I used to and be able to accomplish anything at work the next day!! On, what a few years will do...!! ha! We had some fun time...exploring Greenville, our early 20s, and how good of friends we have been over the years. And yet, after everything I am glad to see the summer end..

Nate and I have been spending more time with our families too. We have been going to church with my parents at Brookwood in Greenville. Its a huge church that is very casual but has had some great sermons. We both believe that our faith is the most important thing in our lives and when we have children they will be raised in a Christian (church-going) home. We have gone over to his parents house a few times to eat dinner and hang out with his sister, Natalie, and brother-in-law, Drew. They are expecting their first child around April and we are all so excited for them!!!

Another way Nate and I have been spending time together is just "window-shopping." If you have never done that with your 'significant other' you should...it brings up some great conversations of 'what ifs..' and 'what would you do...??' You can really find out alot about someone (even if you think you already know them...) by looking at things you could use in your future...very interesting.

Saturday, June 21, 2008


My gracious favor is all you need. My power works best in your weakness.
II Corinthians 12:9

After going through some difficult times in my life right now...I have found strength in this verse. Sometimes it can be difficult to know what to pray for or even how to pray...after reading this verse it became more clear to me that God is aware of my weaknesses and knows how to work in my life despite what I may think is right. Being human has "entitled" me to my selfishness..my greed...and of course undying temptations. I had never thought deeply about how many consequences can come from the defeat of temptation until recently. What sparked this curiosity in me was a sermon I listened to at my parent's church a few Sundays ago titled "Is Anyone Listening...Overcoming Temptation." The pastor made me personally aware of certain temptations that were evident in my life that needed to be sorted out..if not to be done away with completely. Being a 23-year-old female who is just starting my life on my own and experiencing things that were not evident to me in my teens read a verse from the sermon notes that struck a chord in my heart:

"The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure." 1 Corinthians 10:13

Anyone reading my blog today can go through past, present, or even future temptations and find this verse to be inspiring. With the knowledge that this verse gave me, I am now more aware that in the situations I am facing, I can look for the "way out." Should I not be able to find it so easily at the time I need to understand that "my time" is not the same as "God's time." There is always more at stake than you might think when facing tempation.
The pastor also mentioned that it is better to have never faced temptation than to have faced it and succeeded. This brief 'sidenote' from the pastor did not make sense to me until just recently when I had considered a tempting situation. "Should I go and have a good time...or should I just avoid it all cost?" Avoiding the situation at all cost has saved me from a guilty concious and disappointed friends. I am not 'preaching' to anyone simply because there is certainly no part of my life in which I can 'preach' from. The steps that I am putting forth in my life (from today forward) are also from the same sermon and I hope that you can utlize these in your life as well:

1. AVOID tempting situations
2. ADMIT where you struggle.
3. ACKNOWLEDGE Satan's influence.
4. Arm yourself with GOD'S WORD.
5. Accept God's DELIVERANCE.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

All over the Place

It's been a few days since I last wrote...but that is a good thing...it means I've been busy!! I have been working alot and trying to balance a social life!!! Its been fun...last week I went out a few times with my girlfriend Sarah and stayed out wwaaayyy too late ;) We just went downtown and visited a few of the bars on the West End of Greenville. Then on Saturday, we hung out at the pool all day and (tried to) enjoy the 98 degree weather. After getting in and out of the pool about 50 time we went back inside!! I got fried...again...and decided that tanning oil does not suit me well..haha! We went out that night and tried to stay away from any bright lights as I was already giving off enough heat for everyone downtown...Sunday was a lazy day. I just laid around and ate lunch with my dad for Father's Day. After we ate lunch, Nate came over and we watched TV and hung out. And then there was Monday..not that anything spectacular happened...it was just Monday.

Today I went to the Oral Surgen because I am getting my wisdom teeth pulled. Thankfully, I only have 3 wisdom teeth so it won't be too bad...right??? Anyways, my two top teeth have already broken the skin and are really bothering me. I can't decide if my lingering headaches are from my teeth or my job...haha! My bottom tooth is growing completely horizontal so it is pushing against my other teeth and in unable to break the skin. I can't decide if I want to go through with the surgery because I watched that movie 'Awake' and the guy was paralyzed during his whole surgery but could feel EVERYTHING!!! It has made me a little paranoid....;) I just have to get up the nerve to make the appointment. Fortunately, I have good insurance at work and I'm only going to have to pay about $280.00 for the procedure. I think my insurance is paying about $800.00 of the bill so that is GREAT!! Yeah for insurance!! haha! That would make my mom proud ;)

Sorry this is so random and all over the place but that is pretty much everything that has been going on since the last time I wrote. Hopefully my next blog will be more interesting!!! Have a great week!

Monday, June 9, 2008

My Pets

I have four pets. My first pet was my cat Josie. She is a black Calico that I got from the pound when she was dropped off by her owner who could not take care her and her two other siblings. She was the runt and although she was a little rough looking I loved her! I was always intrigued by Calico cats because they are a genetic mutation which causes them to have so many different colors. Calico's are 99% of the time female also...if you have a male Calico they are worth alot of money!! She is a great cat...a total diva!! haha!

My second pet was a dog my ex-boyfriend and I bought together. She was actually a birthday present I bought for him in which is now living with my parents. Her name is Shelby and she is a Boxer/Greyhound mix. We bought her at PetsMart where they found her beside a dumpster and thankfully she was only in the pound for one day!! She is the sweetest dog and loves to play outside with parent's dogs.

My third pet was Jake. He is my gray Tabby cat which I bought from a couple in the newspaper for $1.00. I was at work one day and decided that I wanted another cat for Josie to play with, so I left work with a newspaper and picked him out of a litter and went home. He is a sweet cat but ALWAYS on edge!!! He and Josie have become best friends and they are so cute together...I come home from work and they are laying in the sun on my bed together with their arms around eachother!! haha!! Its so cute!!

My fourth (and last pet) is a puppy that my boyfriend, Nate, and I just bought around Christmas time. We were walking through PetsMart and just happened to see him and his brother in a little cage. We immediately fell in love with him as he was so cute and little. The people who were adopting him out had received a call from the pound a few weeks prior to us getting him when they were told that there was a pregnant dog there that was being taken back to be put down. The couple immediately went to the pound and adopted her and on their way home, she had six puppies in the back of their truck. Isn't that amazing??!!! After we adopted him, we decided to name him Bruiser. He weighed 4lbs when we adopted him and now he weighs about 15lbs. He terrorizes the cats but loves to be around us!!! Bruiser is definatley a mutt but we think he is a Boxer/Terrier mix. He won't get much bigger than he is now (which is GREAT) but he is all puppy!!!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Welcome to Me...

Well, lets see...I am 22 with alot of recent changes... I graduated from Woodmont High School in Greenville SC in 2003. From there, I went to school at the University of South Carolina Upsate where I graduated with a degree in Communications and Marketing. College prepared me for one thing..."a shoking reality!" After going to class day after day and semester after semester, I began to think that it would pay off tremendously and there wouldn't be a day I had to live paycheck to paycheck. Well..as all of the 'grown-ups' who have been around the block know I hit a brick wall when I realized that college was not put in place to hand you money!! Who would have thought...??? Anyways, I worked at Express in Spartanburg for 4 years throughout college where I met some of my best friends with whom I have luckily kept in touch with over the years. I dated...I partied...and experienced college with some of the best people I know!

I graduated from school in May of 2007 and got a job in August 2007 at the Hampton Inn and Suites RiverPlace downtown Greenville. I was thrilled! For those of you who aren't familiar with downtown, it is beautiful! Over the last 4-5 years, Greenville has grown into a spectacular place to live. There are numerous places to hang out if you are looking to party, eat at some great restaraunts, or got to some great events all down Main St. Anyways, I began working in Sales and have recently moved to Guest Service Manager...I am taking it one day at a time (this will be a whole other blog...).

Working full-time has put a huge spin on my life from what I was accustomed to in college. Although I enjoy being able to provide for myself and claim my responsibilities, it is frustrating when my friends are still able to enjoy somewhat of a social life. I love to go out and have a few drinks with my friends at times. Life has completely overwhelmed me and according to 'it' I am no longer allowed to have a social life. ;) I work all day and come home to my apartment to see what my pets have for me! I try to get up early and go to the gym but it is easier said than done! I really try to take full advantage of sleep and peace and quiet! Peace and quiet...it seems to be the consensus of my life right now. I have taken on a lighter work load (since my transition), I am taking a step back from a serious relationship, and my friends have moved all around. It seems that I have alot of new free time to find myself...


About Me

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I am a 20-something young woman growing up and experiencing the things my mother warned me about...love, friendship, hard work, disappointment and success.