Category Archives: Funny

Nesting Like It’s My Job

Sammy's NurseryOn top of my duties as a writer I’ve taken on another job: nesting. I started way back in March when my baby was just the size of a plum and now on the eve of his arrival I can say that I think my to-do list is down to just a few items. (The main one being pack my bag for the hospital.) I hear that not everyone gets the urge to nest, but I definitely did. Back in the spring I started cleaning out closets, one-by-one, sorting, purging, organizing, scrubbing. And perhaps my favorite part, labeling.

Once the closets were done I hit every other space in my house. We even removed everything from our kitchen cabinets, scrubbed them, put down shelf paper and carefully put everything back. To which my sister says, “who does that?”

Then I started working on the nursery, researching, planning, assembling, styling, rearranging. I put my coupon skills to work to become an expert on diapers and wipes. (My threshold for diapers is 10-15 cents and for wipes it’s a penny.) I now have 791 diapers in various sizes and 1,336 wipes ready to go.

My nesting didn’t stop there. Starting in late July I began a freezer meal plan. Once or twice a week I doubled a recipe and put the extra in the freezer– labeled of course– with specific instructions on defrosting and heating. We installed our car seat bases and had them inspected by EMS workers. We interviewed pediatricians. I even have about 50 jars of baby food in my pantry, which were about a nickel each thanks to coupons. I’ve put anything that isn’t nailed down through the washing machine and even cleaned the inside of my dishwasher. Even that one has me wondering, “who does that?”

Sam's LettersIn terms of work, I’ve been adding extra to my plate for three months so that I could actually take a maternity leave. Since I’m self-employed my boss (yes, that’s me) isn’t required to give me one. But, thanks to my kind editors, perhaps the biggest weight off my shoulders is knowing that I can take time off and I will still get paid because the work has already been completed.

I partly blame Pinterest for my onset of pregnancy OCD and partly my excitement. I just want to be able to give little Sammy my complete devotion. I want to soak up every moment without worrying about running to CVS for toothpaste (I’ve got ten tubes in my stockpile) or to the grocery store for paper towels (there are 22 rolls in the basement.) I would never be so bold as to say I’ve got it all together. I know enough to know that there’s plenty I don’t know. And that’s OK too.

I’ve heard a million times that once my baby arrives I won’t even have time to shower. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll be an exception. Because of my enthusiastic prep work, perhaps I’ll be able to enjoy my new baby and an occasional shower. But I guess if I have to give up the shower I will survive.

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Filed under Family, Funny, Home, life

A Look Back at 32

Tim and I in LiberiaTomorrow is my birthday and I plan to celebrate with some shopping, relaxing and a milkshake. Tim’s birthday was last month and we spent it at the Powerscourt Ritz Carleton outside of Dublin enjoying a five star meal at Gordan Ramsey but for my birthday Tim’s taking me to Cook-Out Burgers. Don’t worry– I’m not mad. It was my idea after I saw a sign on the side of their building that says they offer 40 milkshakes. I’m already a little nervous about having to choose just one flavor!

Anyway, when my birthday comes around I always like to take some time to reflect on the past 365 days. (Here’s last year’s for instance.) Here are some of the highlights of 32:

  • I enjoyed seeing my byline in more magazines than ever before including about half a dozen times in REDBOOK.
  • I opened the Wall Street Journal on June 15, 2011 to see huge color photos of my friends and I along with a write-up about our Traveling Journal.
  • In early July I spent several days in Atlanta promoting authors at the International Christian Retail Show. I also got to visit CNN and see fellow Iowa State alum Jacqui Jeras.
  • On July 18 I found myself sitting on the set of The Today Show with my best friends talking about the Traveling Journal.
  • I spent the first two weeks of August in Liberia, Africa helping to drill wells in remote villages and share Christ with Muslims.
  • I spent the last two weeks of August enjoying time with visiting relatives from Northern Ireland. We had a fun trip to Atlanta where we bumped into Whitney Eve Port from The City.
  • My sister came to visit and we had an amazing time which included a trip to the Old Edward’s Spa– amazing!
  • I helped plan and organize the Reality Check event, benefiting Water of Life. We raised a couple of thousand dollars to help drill wells in Third World countries.
  • We spent Thanksgiving in Florida with Tim’s parents and got to see some of my friends.
  • For Christmas we headed to Seattle for an extended visit. Tim and I went skiing, shopping and site seeing.
  • In January we found out we were expecting!
  • Tim and I did several weekend getaways for a magazine including a resort in the Georgia mountains, The Grove Park Inn in Asheville, and the Opryland in Nashville. All of them were so fun and full of special memories. We also got a behind-the-scenes tour of Dave Ramsey’s headquarters which was a highlight.
  • In April we went to Northern Ireland for a 10 day trip that included amazing sites and some of the best food we’ve ever had. Plus we got to spend time with our family.
  • We found out that our baby is a boy and we named him Sam!

When I see it all written out like that it’s hard to believe that I will ever have a year quite as unique and memorable,

group with KL and Hoda

With Kathie Lee and Hoda on The Today Show

but then again, I am about to have my first child so that will be full of its own adventures and memories.

The older I get the more I realize that every year is special in its own way. There really doesn’t have to be a time designated as “the best years of your life” because each year has the potential to hold something remarkable. You just have to be willing to welcome new opportunities and often that means spending a lot of time outside your comfort zone. So here’s to 33– I’ll be toasting it with a milkshake!

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Filed under Family, Friends, Funny, Getaways, Holidays, life, Marriage, Uncategorized

The Kindness of a Reality Star

Amy Parham's New Book, Coming Out in January

We seem to have quite a few reality stars in the Upstate of South Carolina. Maybe every community has quite a few these days. But I just had to tell you about my experience with former Biggest Loser contestant Amy Parham. Amy not only agreed to be in the November issue of Belle Magazine (a local women’s magazine I write for), but she also took me up on a random request this week.

You see, my friend Tonya loves The Biggest Loser. She just spent a week at The Biggest Loser Ranch in Utah (even though she doesn’t need to lose weight!). Since Tonya’s 30-something birthday was Monday I asked Amy if she would call her up and wish her a happy birthday. Lots of celebs would have just hit delete on that email but Amy was kind enough to agree.

So on Monday she called up Tonya (a police officer in California) and wished her a happy birthday. Amy’s husband and fellow Biggest Loser contestant Phil also got on the phone. Tonya seemed to enjoy the birthday greeting and called me right after squealing with excitement. So thanks Amy for making Tonya’s birthday even more memorable and for making me look like a good friend!

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Filed under Friends, Funny, life

The Seven Day Challenge: Drink Lots of Water

I have a confession to make. Even though I’m passionate about bringing clean drinking water to the eight billion people in the world who don’t have it, I have a hard time choking down the stuff. Sure a tall glass of ice water is great on a hot day or during a workout, but when I’m just sitting at my computer a glass of water does not sound appealing. When I do drink water it’s usually because I’ve flavored it with kiwi strawberry fitness powder or because I’m too cheap to pay for a drink at a restaurant.

Yesterday I got a really bad headache and I started to wonder if it’s because I’m dehydrated. So I decided to put myself to a seven-day test. I’d do what people have been telling me to do for years– drink eight 8 ounce glasses of water a day. Here goes nothing.

Day 1: My head was still pounding so I thought a workout might help get my blood flowing. I easily downed the first eight ounces while on the elliptical. I filled up my water bottle again and tried to drink it as I got ready for the day. I made it through about half the bottle. I made myself some breakfast and purposely chose wheat toast so I’d be able to drink more. I made herbal tea which I’m permitting myself to substitute for plain old water. I chugged another eight ounces with my toast. Now I’m feeling really full. As the day went on I drank another glass of tea, and carted my water bottle with me to Spartanburg for a writing assignment so I could finish two more bottles. I had a nice dinner at La Bastide, chugging water the whole time which I’m pretty sure also saved me boat loads of money.

Day 2: Started the day with a ten mile run so drinking the first two bottles was easy. I’ve slowed down since then. I came across an ironic freebie deal. When you buy Dr. Murad’s new book The Water Secret you can score $200 worth of free Murad products. I used Amazon gift cards I earned through Swagbucks to buy the book for free. Judging by the book blurb it sounds like Dr. Murad doesn’t think drinking eight glasses of water a day is as effective as getting water from fresh fruits and veggies. I think I’ll have a salad for lunch, but I’m not sure how much water that equals so I’ll keep drinking. Finished the day with an organic tea. I think I fell one glass short.

Day 3: Woke up thirsty for some odd reason. Downed one glass right away. Drank another late-morning and logged a third with a mug of hot tea. Got my fourth in around lunch but now it’s dinner time and I realized I’m only half way through my challenge for the day. Ugh. Better get chugging.

Day 4: Started the day downing two glasses before breakfast. Working my way through another glass and a half before lunch. I’m definitely noticing a decrease in the amount of food I’m eating. I just can’t fit it all in so I guess that’s a good thing.

Day 5&6: I think I did pretty well over the weekend. The hubs and I ran a 20-miler on Saturday morning so I drank almost a full days worth of liquid during the three-and-a-half mile run. I also chugged lots of water and tea throughout the weekend. I did have a little soda, but I figured as long as I was consuming enough water that would be OK.

Day 7: The last day has arrived. I started off with a big glass of ice water which has become the norm for me lately. I also treated myself to a pumpkin spice latte to celebrate a fun announcement. I finished the day out with more tea, water and milk which I’m not sure is a substitute for water.

The week started off a little rough, but the more water I drank the easier it became. I think I notice a slight change in my skin. It looks a little more fresh, but I also did have a facial last week and I am trying some new skin products so that could be part of it. I’d say I have felt fuller while eating less which is always a good thing. Even though my seven day challenge is over, I’ll definitely continue to drink more water. And not just because I’m too cheap to pay for another beverage option.

Photo courtesy of gfrphoto

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Filed under Food, Funny, life, Observations, Uncategorized

My Aha Moment Has a Shot at Fame

Back in June I signed up to shoot my “Aha Moment” through Mutual of Omaha’s national bus tour. They visited lots of cities around the US, allowing people like me to share a positive point in their life that really stands out. For me, that was not only starting the traveling journal as a way to stay connected with my long distance friends, but also the moment when I realized I wanted to help other long distance friends launch their traveling journals, which is why I started TheTravelingJournal.com!

We just found out that my Aha Moment is one of 75 finalists competing for a national ad! This first round of voting goes until October 15 at which point, the pool will be narrowed to the top 25 most popular ads. Will you take a moment and vote for our video? There is no registration required– it’s literally one click! There is one vote allowed per computer (or phone!) so please help us spread the word! We are a new business and we think this could be a great opportunity. THANK YOU!

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Latest Obsession: Madmen

Don Draper, Season 4, Episode 8

I haven’t written much on The Honeymoon Phase lately. But that doesn’t mean I don’t have anything to report. In the last month we’ve put our house on the market, juggling showings and open houses. Several friends have had babies, I’ve attended showers for others. We hosted a wedding shower which meant preparing a meal for 18, decorating and planning games. I started a sign language class, got a promotion and Tim hired a new employee. Plus we celebrated three years of marriage and are training for a marathon.

But in between busy work schedules, a full social calendar and keeping our house clean we’ve become completely obsessed with Madmen. We borrowed season two from the library, then bought season one so we could catch up. By then we were totally hooked and watched season three on our way to and from Seattle at the end of July. Now we’re caught up and watching season four as it unfolds Sunday nights on AMC.

I’m already addicted to New York City, so that’s one draw of the show. I also have a great appreciation for good writing and there’s no doubt that Madmen is an amazing example of great writing. And then there’s the fashion– snug sweaters, proper updos and pumps– I love it all. Watching Madmen is like reading a really good book. The characters feel like friends and the offices of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce are so familiar to me it’s as if I’ve walked the halls. I’m totally going to buy my husband a skinny black tie and ask him to comb his hair to the side.

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Degree Women Daring Reporter Contest: Will You Vote for Me?

A few weeks ago I stumbled across a contest I thought looked cool. The winner gets to travel around the country to different Lilith Fair festivals and report on the events for Degree Women. So I entered and I just found out I’m a finalist! But in order to win I need votes!

1. Just head to Facebook.com/DegreeWomen and click “like”.

2. Then go under the VOTE tab and you’ll see my picture. (I’m the third one from the left!)

3. Click the “Vote” button.

You can vote once a day until June 21 so please mark it down on your to-do list for the rest of the week! Thank you for your support!

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Filed under Funny, life, Writing