inspiration

To the Women…

The drive home from my aunt’s house last night was full of laughter, my grandma and her daughters recounting the time she and Pop-Pop horrified them, using a ripped blouse as inspiration for a pre-date prank.

“Sometimes the Devil just gets inside of you, and you have to go for it!” Sassy Maggie said.

We laughed until we cried, and I just felt so warm inside, the visceral kind that reaches your toes and your bones simultaneously.

I had been surrounded by such strong women all day, women who have survived lost love, lost children, divorces, economic hardship, and the day-in, day-out patriarchal bullshit I’m still putting up with today. And luckily, because we’re strong, we’ve surrounded ourselves with men who build us up; men that know that if they don’t, they’ll be kicked to the curb because we have each other–the women–to pick up the pieces.

Our society is divided by race, sex, and religion more than ever, but I don’t see that in my blended, matriarchal family. And though I’m so thankful for the men in my life (aka some of the strongest feminists I know), and my friends, and my love, and my puppies, and the general blessings of a white, middle-class (i.e. PRIVILEGED) American, I’m still the most thankful when I look around the kitchen in my Grandma’s house in the stark light of a November morning and see women of three different generations relating over and over again. About drugs. About music. About family. About sitting inside together on Black Friday in support of a young man in Ferguson instead of shopping for more shit we don’t need. About making today about someone else.*

It doesn’t matter if we were born in 1921 or 1950 or 1987. Because women are the strongest when we sit together over coffee, realizing that no matter how we differ, we are stronger and better together.

I am so thankful for the women who taught me to rise above the status quo, to strive to listen, to be better, to help, to support, to never let a man sit you down in a corner and tell you “No, you can’t do that.”

And it fills me with joy when I see my cousin teaching his daughter the same things, and letting me teach them to her, too, with 100 percent trust that I have her best interest–as a human, but most importantly, a woman–at heart.

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What women are you thankful for this year? I am proud of oh-so-many of us for breaking boundaries and building bridges this year!

 

* Well, I guess aside from this blog entry.

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Reyonce’s Life Hacks, Pt. I

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  • Stop using the top sheet. You’ll be able to make your bed EVERY DAY in 30 seconds flat. What is that sheet even for? All it does is trap you in its seemingly inescapable cocoon. Ditch it!
  • Do not use a coupon for something you don’t need. That means you’re actually spending money you weren’t intending to. Thanks White House | Black Market, but I’m not in the market for any new clothes, especially not $100 worth.
  • Take your time curating your own aesthetic, and you’ll never have to buy anything ever again. #cheapaintbetter
  • Listen to the men (or women!) in your life when they teach you how to do something you’re resistant about knowing how to do (change a tire, organize the toolbox, etc.). They’re not trying to disempower you or imply you don’t know what you’re doing; in fact, they are trying to help you do whatever you desire independently from them.
  • Write everything down. You may never read it again, but I still remember the pain of losing what I am 100% sure was a #1 hit song I dreamt one night…
  • Apple cider vinegar, natural oils, and teas for everything. Weight loss, detox, hair, etc. Whatever you want, try these first. It works for everything. EVERYTHING!
  • Create an inspiration collection, and you’ll never feel stumped again. (I’ll write an entire entry about this later this week when I unpack from my move!)
  • Lists. Lists. Oh, and lists! #getitdone
  • Wash your plastic ziplock bags. There is no reason on earth you shouldn’t use those things at LEAST twice. Unless that reason is spilt honey.
  • That being said, don’t buy plastic. It breaks, and it’s bad. Glass, metal, and wood are where it’s at.
  • Measure before the matter, not after. This applies to whatever you need it to.
  • Get halfway there the night before, and your morning will be so much better. This applies to whatever you need it to, too.

xo, Reyonce

Williams Wednesday

This www. Wednesday is a special tribute to the warm man we all loved who finally escaped a pained life. I’m glad he’s found peace, and truly hope this changes the stigma against suicide, depression, and mental health in general. However, I wish this tragedy isn’t what it took for this country to do so…

What Robin Taught Us All:

1. Live life to the fullest, no matter how short.

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Jack

2. Fulfill your dreams, but don’t forget your heart.

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Good Will Hunting

3. Stay close to your family, no matter what it takes.

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Mrs. Doubtfire

4. Fight for true love; it’s worth it.

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What Dreams May Come

5. Laugh, even when it hurts, because it’ll always make life a little better.

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Patch Adams

6. Put your friends’ needs before you when you know they need what you have.

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Aladdin

7. Be environmentally conscious.

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Ferngully

8. Always feed your inner child… aka grow older, but never grow up.

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Hook

9. Keep learning forever, not just about sciences, but about the arts and the written word.

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10. Life will go on, even with horrendous curveballs like losing our beloved Robin.

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Life According to Garp

…And so much more. We’ll never forget you, Robin!

Why I Love My Foil

foil [ˈfi(-ə)l]: noun; a person or thing that contrasts with and so emphasizes and enhances the qualities of another

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Photo Credit: Adam Dixon

Because he is logic, and I am emotion.

Because he is rigid, and I am free.

Because he is old-fashioned, and I am new-aged.

Because he is science, and I am faith.

Because he is nature, and I am nurture.

He reminds me to be logical, and I remind him to feel. I mention we should relax, but he reminds me not for too long. He tells me the facts, and I tell him there might be more to the story. I tell everyone to dream big, but he mentions everyone should prepare for reality. He grounds us in the past, while I bring us into the future because two foils, when brought together, make each other stronger, whole.

Because he helps me overcome my fears.

Because I help him remember sometimes it’s okay to jump in without a plan.

Because he teaches me something new every day.

Because I remind him to do something new every day.

Because he keeps us held together with strength and rationale.

Because I keep us together with optimism and hope.

And together, we love each other first. We laugh. We travel. We push each other to be better, the best. We make our own home wherever we want, wherever we are. We do, we see. We challenge each other. We are both selfish and selfless. We surprise each other. We comfort one another. We send each other love letters in a million different ways a million times a day, always signed off with the unspoken promise of staying loyal, staying youthful, staying close, staying friends, staying in love.

Happy three years, J. Thank you for all the little things you do for me every. single. day. You’re my sweetheaaaarrrt…

Spring Cleaning 101

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I clean all the time. I constantly feel the need for organization, so I am often scrubbing my carpets or purging my closet. That being said, sometimes I look around and think to myself how in seven hells my house still looks overrun and unkempt.

Luckily, we’ve hit the time here in the South where windows can be thrust open and houses aired out. This usually brings an urge to sit outside drinking sweet tea in the sun, but if you’re abnormal like me, it means you can finally (and literally) shed some light on what’s making the house such a cluster of crap.

Naturally, you might be overwhelmed with how to start tackling your ominous messes, so I took some notes this year about what worked and what left me worse than where I started, and I think I’ve finally got a foolproof system worked out.

1. You cannot do it all in one day.

Even if it’s the sunniest day, even if you are at the top of your game, EVEN IF MARTHA STEWART HERSELF WERE THERE TO HELP… you cannot finish your spring cleaning in a day. If you want to do it right, you have to take your time deep cleaning and really purging all of your house’s orifices. You will feel like a failure at first, but in the long run, you will feel more satisfied with the results of your seasonal cleanse if you do it the right way, not the short way.

2. Clean from top to bottom.

I feel like this should be obvious, but even the best of us forget sometimes: if you spend 30 minutes cleaning something on the floor only to turn around and dust your top shelves, you’re going to find very quickly that you need to re-do everything you just did at ground level. There will be lots of “damn its” and other choice words involved.

3. Start with the basics.

Do what you would normally do on a day of cleaning your house: wash your dishes, do your laundry, dust, vacuum, clean all surfaces, mop, sweep, etc. and dig deeper than you ever have when doing those activities. Scrub harder. Get those hard to reach spots you normally ignore. Use a deodorizer or another cleaner where you normally only use one. Make it count, y’all.

4. Deep clean.

This is when you tackle each room with the hardcore stuff I normally never touch my house with. I’m an all-natural cleaner gal, but when it comes to deep cleaning, I bust out the bleach. Go room by room, starting with the two dirtiest places of the whole home: your bathroom and your kitchen. Make sure you sanitize everything. This might mean… GASP! … having to move an item or 20, but it’s worth it when you see your rooms ACTUALLY shine like they do on those ridiculous Mr. Clean commercials.

5. Purge first, organize later.

Don’t buy anything new for organizational purposes or rearrange your entire house before going through every. single. item. in your inventory. Chances are, by the time you go through the items at hand, you’ll have at least a quarter less than what you started with. Only then should you organize. Hell, you might even find that you don’t need any new containers or files since you have freed up the ones you already own!

6. Yes, I really said get rid of a quarter of your things.

As time has gone by, I’ve realized that most of the stuff I have in my house is just unnecessary; I keep a lot of things out of nostalgia. But my boyfriend’s sister taught me the best trick for getting rid of things that hold only a memory, not a purpose: spend some time with that shirt or that old birthday card, remembering the happiness it brought, then kiss it goodbye and send it off to the Goodwill bag or the trash. I know it seems silly and simple, but it’s really, really helpful if the only thing keeping you between a pig sty and a clean house is a pile of meaningless things. All of that said, the reason you should start paring down with this quarter of items is so you can live a life with less: less things = less mess and more psychological freedom.

7. Donating, consigning, and selling are your best friend.

Take all of that stuff you’re purging from your life and put it into someone else’s. Whether that is through donations or Ebay or a local consignment shop, get it out of your house ASAP. Even if it sits in your trunk for 3 months, the clutter is out of your house and unable to return to your drawers or tabletops. Think of the happiness your old things could bring someone else, and you’ll find letting go is the easiest thing you’ve ever done. {Personal tip: I like to mix all three of these things, selling the best pieces to used book stores or online, while donating everything else. Sometimes, it’s easiest to just donate it all at once, and bonus: tax write-off!}

8. Any DIYs or projects you need to get done? DO THEM ALL NOW!

While you’re cleaning, do any big projects you’ve been holding off on. It might actually help you organize while you’re cleaning, and half of the items you have stored around for DIYs are just taking up space, so CRAFT YOUR DAMN HEART OUT! It might make a bit of a mess, but that’s where the next coupla steps come in…

9. Give a light once-over of your whole house when you’re finally finished.

You may have to re-vacuum or re-dust after making a mess for a few weeks, especially if you had any projects that involved wood or paint. However, because of all the work you’ve put in, you’ll have significantly less trouble doing this. In fact, it might only take you 30 minutes. WHAAAAT?!!! Awesome.

10. Acknowledge and accept the fact that you will have to clean again, probably sooner rather than later.

Yes, you’ll follow steps 1-9 for some indeterminate amount of time and feel great! Free! LIGHTER THAN AIR! WALKING ON SUNSHINE! … but you must realize that it won’t last — it never does — and you have to be okay with this. For those of us on the OCD scale, this last step is a little harder to grasp than others, but it’s just not a possibility that items would never need cleansing again. Dogs shed. Shoes track dirt. Dust particles gather. That saying about death and taxes being the only sure things in life? It should definitely include cleaning, too!

I hope this helps. What are some of your cleaning and organizing tricks?

www. Wednesday

Reporting from my new portable device. Guess what it all means? MORE FREQUENT POSTS!!! Enjoy this week’s links, as well as the impending entry influx.

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+ If you had a bad day or week, I promise that looking at these heartwarming photos of dogs leaving the shelter with their new owners will make you smile from ear to ear!

+ As I got older and the hangovers got worse, I could actually feel that something deeper and more ominous was going on inside my body than just the side effects of alcohol; here’s what really goes on in your bloodstream after a night of binge drinking. Be careful with your libations, y’all.

+ For some reason, Brad Pitt tossing Matthew McConaughey a beer in NAWLINS is the greatest thing I’ve seen in, like, years.

+ Finally! A study proving my mother and I right about how folks tend to fall for people who are similar looking to you, right down to our very DNA. What would the Internet do without you, IFLS?!

+ How AMAZING is the idea behind this bracelet called myLokai? We should all be required to wear them to keep us both humbled and motivated!

+ Wow. YOU STAY CLASSY, RAYJ!

+ If you’re like the rest of us cross-continental traveling Americans, you’ve felt the pangs of not having a greasy fix from a regional fast food restaurant you fell in love with on the road. I just keep saying to myself “For every Taco Cabana moment I miss in my life, at least I can get a Cookout milkshake whenever the SHIT I WANT TO!!!!”

Lettering by Noel Shiveley

www. Wednesday

First and foremost, glad to be back! It’s been a whirlwind of a time, with moving on top of my already-full plate: work/school/studying for two GIANT comp tests. Somehow I’m still awake, but we’ll see how that turns out come Sunday evening when I’m buried under a pile of papers to grade.

Now for the exciting news! You might have noticed, especially if you have the old blog page bookmarked, that now you come DIRECTLY to this page through the magic of coding. Make sure you get the new one if you follow using something like Bloglovin, lest you miss these super compelling blog posts.

Now onward to the second edition of www. Wednesday:

+ If you haven’t seen the glory of this episode of Between Two Ferns featuring POTUS, you’re going to need to head over for laughs galore ASAP.

+ On the prowl for easy DIYs for the new place, I came across this clean and do-able shelving idea from Scandi. I’ll have to update with photos of the masterpiece (or master mess) when I finish.

+ Case of the Mondays (even though it’s Wednesday)? Read this inspiring little blog entry.

+ As someone who has been dealing with depression and is still working on overcoming it, I give you the only accurate article to come from Cosmopolitan in decades: 10 Things NOT to Say to Someone With Depression.

+ An important how-to guide to building the perfect wardrobe aka YOU NEED TO READ THIS!

+ And if you, too, are currently rocking yourself back and forth in your oversized chair, trying to quell the beast of your sugar addiction, just give up already and eat this deliciously easy Cheesecake in a Mug because mid-week pick-me-up, right?!

Happy 300th-blog-post Wednesday!

Me & Drew

I’ve been feeling a little dried up lately writing-wise. It’s not that I don’t have ideas, it’s just that I can’t really get them out. Sometimes putting an actual pen to paper helps get things flowing, but most of the time, there’s just some kind of congestion in the thought-to-words process.

But during this gloomy Monday and a temporary Internet outage, I decided to crack open the newest copy of Good Housekeeping. This mag just started showing up one day, and I’m not one to turn away anything that involves good interior design and organization. Besides, I have my suspicions that my delightful Grandma sent the surprise subscription my way…
Backstory aside, I finally got to the cover article about Drew Barrymore. I’ve always been a fan, (though I know she can be another one of those polarizing celebs) so I was curious to see what the gal had been up to since her marriage and baby havin’. And on a gloomy Monday with my nose in the pages of GH, I had an unexpected moment of inspiration alongside Ms. Barrymore.
Her achievements and drive are both motivational and admirable, but even more were Drew’s fierce love and happiness she has toward her lot in life that really struck a chord with me. (Read the full article here if you so please.) I’ve felt this deep level of gratitude with the universe lately, despite not being able to find any other words for the intensity of gratefulness I have other than “thank you.” When I read about someone else feeling that kind of fullness and not getting overwhelmed in the process, it made it a little easier to find the right thing to say. It felt easier to let go of the things I have to wait for, and to make moves on the things I have power over right now. It even made it easier to forgive myself for taking yet another day recovery day for this cold and shoving four scoops of ice cream in my face while doing so.
I may have to shake the sleep from all of my creative and motivative bones, but the feeling of simpatico I have from this little article will make the comeback more manageable and serve as a constant source of inspiration to return to in the difficult hours.
And all the while, I’m going to stay so, so thankful for all of the love (and every big AND tiny thing in between) I have in my life. Just like Drew, I’m intending to fight like a lion to stay happy for the rest of my days.