Friday, June 17, 2016


My mom has a song for everything.

As in, she's the woman who hums, "Up on the Roof," while on an elevator to a rooftop bar.  The woman who sings the lyrics to Jimmy Buffett's "Boat Drinks," while on a boat, having a drink.

While I give her partial credit for my own appreciation and love of good music, I'd be lying if I said this quirk of hers didn't used to bug the shit out of me when I was a teenager.  One time, I'd been staring at myself in the mirror for hours making sure every hair was in place and she breezed by my bathroom door, singing Carly Simon.

"You're so vain, you probably think this song is about you."  Cue my 15-year old meltdown.

It was no surprise to me then, when, in the wake of last week's shootings in Orlando, I saw that she posted this on Facebook:


Her sentiments are so endearing and despite feeling riddled with anxiety and sadness this week, I couldn't help but smile reading them, thinking about her adorable, perfectly manicured hands typing these perfect words and searching for just the right emojis.  It was just so her.

She's so right.  We must teach our children well - to love others the way Jesus loves us - without condition, without prejudice.  I thought about coming here, to this space, and reminding myself, and you, that we should choose love.  Because love wins.  Love is love is love is love is love.    

I still do believe all those things, and I hope I never stop believing them.  But if I'm being honest, I'm just so tired of saying those words, exhausted trying to find the light within the darkness, finding the hope among the despair, and feeling like nothing is every going to change. 

Exactly one year ago, I drove all night to my beloved home state of South Carolina - to Charleston - a city that I hold so dear - to cover the mass shooting of nine people at the Emanuel AME church.   

And today, on a day when we should be spending in remembrance of those killed in Charleston, we're still sorting through the stories of the victims of one of the deadliest shootings in modern American history.       
Here we are.  Again.
They say the definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.  No wonder everything feels crazy.  

Mass shootings are a multi-faceted, layered issue far too complex to sort out in a blog entry.  From where I sit, Orlando was a storm of many horrible things at once - terrorism, mental illness, hate, homophobia, easy access to weapons.  

There isn't one easy answer, and if there was, I certainly don't have it.  But standing by, shrugging our shoulders as if to say, "Whoops, it happened again," is so unbelievably insane, not to mention a giant slap in the faces to the hundreds of lives that will never be the same because of these senseless tragedies. 

Choosing love is not enough.  I love you so much, Mom, but even a sweet song isn't enough this time, though I appreciate it always. 

Yesterday, I did something I've never done:  I called, emailed and texted my congressman to tell him exactly how I feel and what I want him to do.  I plan to pay very close attention to how my elected leaders respond to this crisis and vote accordingly.  We can do better.  We must.      

If you'd like to contact your representatives - you can do so here & here

To the people of Orlando and Pulse nightclub:  I see you.  I stand with you.  I love you and I am so sorry for your pain.

Friday, May 20, 2016

It's my party and I'll freak out if I want to.

Well, hello.  It's me.

Six months.

That's how long I've been gone - the longest hiatus from writing I've taken since I started this blog back in 2009.

One on hand, it's not surprising that I never made time to write - this has been one of the busiest and most exciting years of my life.

Not much longer after blogging about Dan and his sudden death, Jacob and I got engaged.  What?!  I know, someone signed on to my insanity for life . . .can you believe it?


Then I started a new job - covering Special Events for CNN - crisscrossing the country, living out of a suitcase, putting on presidential debates and town halls. All of the endless election coverage?  You have my department to thank.  You're welcome.

Or, based on how things have turned out, I'm sorry, America.  


While I suppose work craziness and fatigue from traveling has played a part in my under sharing, I knew I couldn't share anything with you without first sharing the news that I was getting married and since becoming engaged, I've realized I am quite possibly the most awkward engaged person ever.

Example #1: Instead of picking up the phone and calling my closest friends whom I talk to on the phone daily, I instead snapped a picture of the ring and sent it to a large group text with the caption, "Anyone want to come to a dance party in November?"  That did not go over well.

Example #2: My coworker Will and I got engaged within days of one another.  He sent a picture of himself and his fiance out to our small email group, letting everyone know that he was getting married.  I said nothing to anyone.  When we arrived back in the office after being gone for several days, people all day stopped by his desk to congratulate him and asked to hear the story.  I stood up every time to hear him tell it.  But instead of inserting my own good news, I instead took my ring off and put it in my wallet, afraid to steal Will's thunder.

Example #3: My own wedding shower terrifies me.  This weekend my friends are throwing a couples wedding shower for Jacob and me.  They have been working so hard putting things together, sparing no details.  I know it's going to be over the top and awesome because that's what kind of friends we have.  But along with my feelings of sincere gratitude for all of their hard work and excitement are feelings of anxiety of everyone's eyes on us.

I'd hardly call myself a shrinking violet, and if you've ever been around to hear me interject a conversation to tell stories, admitting that I'm worried about being the center of attention at my own party might seem unbelievable, if not completely disingenuous.

I also love a good party - just last weekend, I helped my friend Natalie celebrate her upcoming nuptials with a daytime shower that carried into an afternoon-evening bachelorette extravaganza at the Shaky Knees music festival.  The whole day was perfect - beautiful weather, great music, so. many. laughs.  I was one of the few still standing at the end of the night when My Morning Jacket played their last song, thank you very much.


So, what's the deal?

I've talked to some of my friends and many of them revealed they also struggled with the attention that comes with being the bride.  It's completely normal to be overwhelmed, they say.  All of the people who love you in the same room at the same time - isn't that supposed to be the greatest thing about a wedding celebration?

Jacob and I waited a long time to get married - I mean, hello?! Didn't I turn 30, like a decade ago?! I've spent years celebrating big moments for other people and now that it's my turn, I just want my nerves to be calm enough for me to enjoy it.

Deep. Breaths.  Happy Friday!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

thankful, week three.

First of all, an enormous THANK YOU for all of your generous and kind feedback about last week's post.  I am truly grateful for your nice words about Dan.  

Since Thanksgiving this week (?!), I'm going to likely taking my lists into December, but here is my latest installment of the 30 things I'm thankful for.   

15. Technology

I know, I know . . .first Facebook makes the list, now "technology?" From me, the same girl who until a few years ago, still owned a flip phone?  Though I reluctantly joined the smart phone world, now that I'm a crazy aunt, I am so thankful for iPhone features like Facetime and Photo Share.  I sadly had to miss Gray's birthday party last weekend, but thanks to my parents who took an obnoxious amount of video and pictures, I kinda felt like I was there.

I would have much rather preferred to hear her say, "meatballs" in person, but watching this on repeat is pretty great too.

16. Bitmoji 

Speaking of other things my iPhone can do that my flip phone never could, I love Bitmoji, my personalized emoji that is sometimes my only way of communicating.  It's free, it's fun, what's not to love?

Untitled Untitled Untitled

17. My Squad

Whenever anyone asks me how I like living in Atlanta, my response is usually some variation of, "Well, I like my job, and I love that many of my college friends are close by."  Maybe it's sad that these are the two best things about the city to me, but I feel grateful that some of my favorite people are a part of my life on a semi-regular basis.  It's not exactly like being in college - now there are kids and adult responsibilities, so no more entire days on the couch binge watching reality TV (at least not together).  But there are impromptu Mexican Friendsgiving Celebrations with cheap tequila, cheese dip and knock knock jokes, so my cup overflows.


18. Christmas Lists

The Gallmans are list people.  Scratch that - the Gallmans are Christmas List people.  If someone asks us what we want, we tell them, often in explicit detail - color, size, link to buy included.  We leave nothing to chance.  These lists have evoked some hilarious memories over the years (remember when my dad asked for my brother and me to write our wills?), so much so, that my mom laminated our lists from years past and put them in a coffee table book.

So far my dad is the only person to have submitted his list, which consists of a lot of boring items like socks and sweater vests.  He did get a thankful chuckle out of me with #2, however.
After Shave Balm: I have used Pierre Cardin After Shave Balm for years but I believe it has been discontinued as I have not been able to find it anywhere. I would like something that doesn’t smell the room up but when I get a hug from women they can get a whiff of something pleasant to smell
This is classic Chuck and I'm so grateful for him.  Anyone got any ideas?


19. Ebates

Speaking of Christmas and lists and shopping, I am super thankful to have found Ebates, "Where it pays to shop online."  That is the site's tagline, and it sounds too good to be true, but it's not - it really works.  When you sign up for Ebates, you get access to all of the online coupon codes for your favorite online shopping sites and when you access those sites through Ebates, you earn cash back on your purchases.  We're not talking life-changing money here (10% is the most I've earned on one transaction), but since I've joined two years ago, I've earned a total of $221 on purchases I would've made anyway.  So why not?  Click the link below and get on board.  You will not regret it.

 Ebates Coupons and Cash Back

20.  A "Normal" Work Schedule

I suppose it's weird that I refer to working on Thanksgiving Day as "normal," but after spending eight days on the dreaded overnight shift last week, I am thrilled to be back in the land of the living.  My sincerest apologies to anyone who had any contact with me during that time - I was not a very pleasant person.  I've never been so grateful to be waking up at 5:30am.

21.  Resilient Toddlers

My niece fractured her elbow at nursery school last week, but she seems to be taking it well.


We've been joking in my family that this was her response when her mom told her that the Gamecocks could pull the upset this weekend against Clemson.  Hey - it could happen! 

22. Yoga

Like therapy, without it, I would be a much sadder, more anxious person than I already am - something I don't want to even think about.

23. Adele 

No explanation needed.

I am so thankful for this community that allows me to call myself a writer.  Thank you for making that happen.  Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving!