Friday, February 28, 2014

happy, happy, joy, joy.

"Talking about our problems is our greatest addiction. Break the habit. Talk about your joys."

 -Rita Schiano

My friend Jackie just posted this quote on her Facebook page and it completely changed my day.  

Since I haven't had time to get a real post together, I thought I'd quickly share with you the most joyful thing that happened to me this week.  Last night Jacob and I went out for dinner - a quick, no-nonsense pizza dinner at Ammazza in Edgewood.  

There's certainly nothing crazy, or over-the-top joyful about pizza on a Thursday night, except that a DJ at Ammazza was pumping the most amazing music ever.  So pizza night turned into Dance Party USA and my very own rendition of Jimmy Fallon's lip sync off all rolled into one.  I'm used to finding a reason to dance everywhere I go, but I took it to the next level from the restaurant booth.  And I was in good company - as nearly everyone was bobbing their heads or tapping their toes.

Here's a sample of the ones I could remember:

Miss You Much (Janet Jackson)>Let's Dance (David Bowie)>Smooth Criminal (Michael Jackson)>You Make My Dreams Come True (Hall 'n Oates)>Rich Girl (Hall 'n Oates)>Maneater (Hall 'n Oates)>Higher Love (Steve Winwood)>Tell it to My Heart (Taylor Dayne)

I could've closed the place down. Seriously, the hardest part was deciding which song we'd eventually leave to - C&C Music Factory's "Everybody Dance Now."  Trust me, it wasn't easy.  

But so very joyful.  

Also, this song wouldn't have really fit into the theme of last night's 80s/90s pizza dinner dance party, but I dare you to listen to it and not shake your booty, or at the very least feel very happy indeed.

What is making you happy right now?  Please share! 

Happy weekend. 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

what I learned from the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition.

I think I might've scared, or at least bewildered, every man in my office this week when I announced my excitement over the 50th Anniversary issue of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition.

"I've been obsessed with it since I was a little girl!," I exclaimed to a handful of male colleagues, who responded with raised eyebrows, confused looks, and nervous laughter.

My admission and our subsequent conversation about the magazine sparked a flood of nostalgia with all of us and soon names like Stacey Williams and Marissa Muller were getting tossed around, followed by wistful sighs. It seems every man - gay or straight - has at least one, if not a plethora, of not-so-G-rated memories associated with the annual swimsuit edition.  

Most were then understandably confused over my (a girl's?!) adoration for the magazine.


Yes, I realize that my fascination with beautiful models in bikinis, both as an adolescent and now heterosexual woman, is strange.  Creepy, even.  I think I can hear my parents and feminists everywhere cringing at the very thought.  

Like a lot of my weird quirks - I don't know why or how I even started caring about this magazine or how this one issue emerged superior to all of the YM, Seventeen or Teen magazines I collected.

Perhaps it was my own young dreams of becoming a model myself?       


Maybe. (I mean look at those serious pics?!), but those dreams were short-lived.  I reached the peak of my child modeling career at age 12 and then acne and hips came into my life.    

Without a doubt, my obsession with this magazine and all of the others has contributed to my own body image issues and society's unattainable standards set for women.  And yes, that sucks.  But I can say with sincerity, that I actually learned a lot from the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition, and it wasn't all negative. 

For instance, a lot of the exotic geography I know is due in part to the locations shot in the magazine.  Places like St. Kitts, the Windward Islands, Seychelles.  I don't even know how to pronounce "Seychelles," but I know it exists and I know it's gorgeous and I know I want to go there because Sports Illustrated showed me how amazing it is.  See?


Even Martha's Vineyard looked magical with Tyra Banks there.  

I developed a respect for artistic photography.  Seriously, I did.  Stop laughing.  I know that claiming to look at the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition for photography is like claiming to go to Hooters for the quality food, but the photographers associated with this issue have always taken risks - using light and nature and body placement in ways other magazines don't.


My love of the magazine led to my obsession with the HBO Documentary about the making of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition, where I learned that even for the most beautiful women in the world, photoshopping happens.  And the life of a model isn't all that it seems.  Sometimes models get up before the sunrise, they are forced to splash and jump around in the freezing ocean in the middle of the winter, and when they're making sexy faces at the camera, sometimes they're thinking about Oreos.  Kathy Ireland actually said that. 

Perhaps the most shallow, though certainly the most monumental lesson that I learned from the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition has stayed with me into adulthood.  I learned that it is possible for redheads to be hot - like model hot.

angie 95_aeverhart_02

I have always had a complicated relationship with my hair color.  When I was young, it was more hate-hate than love-hate since being a redhead when you're 12 is more freakish and weird than unique and cool.  But seeing Angie Everhart opened my eyes to the possibility that redheads can be different and beautiful - and be in Sport Illustrated

Maybe I should've given my modeling career a second thought?

Yeah, no.  (See above.)

I'm thankful that we have the constant capability of learning and changing how we feel about ourselves and the world even in the most unlikely scenarios - even in a magazine photo spread.

Thanks for being my teacher, Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition.

And Happy Anniversary.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

random weekend goodies.

Atlanta is getting a second chance to prove it's not a city full of incompetent leaders, as Snowmageddon, Round 2 heads this way.  The really bad weather isn't supposed to hit until later tonight, but schools have already been canceled and grocery stores have been raided, so it appears as though we've gone back to our usual overreacting.


I definitely prefer an unnecessary freakout to anyone being stranded on the side of the road.

My parents visited Atlanta over the weekend and we managed to do nothing more than eat and drink during the 36 hours they were here.  The only thing that I planned was dinner at 1Kept - and even that was last minute, so we were settled for an early - like Early Bird Special 6:30 pm - dinner.

The Warm Kale Salad, Seared Scallops with Corn Risotto and The Calling Pinot Noir made up for the early reservation and I woke up thinking about my meal the next morning.  


Back at work Monday morning, on my daily peruse through ridiculous entertainment websites, I was delighted to see, on the pages of US Weekly, none other than Bill Murray staring back at me, wearing a Brackish Bow Tie.

You may remember my personal connection to this original (and now clearly famous) brand - pretty sure it was that blog entry that really pushed them to greatness.

Or, more likely, maybe it was that they were on the cover of Orvis?  Or the Garden & Gun mention?  Regardless, I'm so happy to see those guys doing well.

Also, I watched Dallas Buyers Club this weekend and I cannot recommend it enough.  Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto's physical transformations are truly astonishing, and come in second only to their acting performances.  The story, which is inspired by the life of AIDS-activist Ron Woodruff, is thought-provoking and heartfelt.  So it goes with any movies at all based on actual events, I spent a couple of hours watching the film and the rest of my weekend deciphering what about the film was true and what was made up.


The film is worthy of the accolades it's receiving and I hope to see the film win more awards on Oscar night.

I'm happy to report that I spent some of the weekend writing - trying to fulfill my New Year's resolution and complete my personal milestone as promised.  I'm not sure what, if anything that I wrote, is worthy of being published.  I named one chapter, "Don't be an Asshole," and called the chapter that immediately follows, "I Think I Might Be an Asshole."

As if the very act was giving Old Man Winter the middle finger, I went home after work yesterday and started online shopping for bikinis.  I think I'm ready to invest in good swimwear this year - so suggestions welcome.    

For those of you facing more snow and ice - stay safe out there!

CBS is re-airing the Beatles: Grammy Salute on Wednesday night - so that's good news for anyone trapped inside avoiding the elements.  The John Legend/Alicia Keys rendition of "Let it Be," gave me chills and can serve as a nice musical backdrop while we pray that this storm is the last of the season and that summer is coming soon.

Friday, February 7, 2014

holy. milestone.

Well, as if babysitting wasn't a pathetic enough "milestone" to claim, it seems the ever-inspiring, always impressive Gabby Giffords has reached another amazing milestone in her road to recovery.  After going skydiving earlier this year, today she posted this video of herself DRIVING.  A CAR.

Now if that isn't reason enough to start chasing our own milestones, then I don't know what is. 

Go, Gabby, Go!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014


In the midst of last week's weather/traffic nightmare, I realized that I'd reached a milestone in my relationship with Atlanta, the city that I've called home for nine years.  Lucky for me, I was at home, hungover from the overnight shift, but I found myself engrossed in the coverage and I felt the hopeless frustration and despair on behalf of those who were trapped in their cars, at work or at school, forced to eat Tic Tacs for dinner and abandon their vehicles on the side of the road.

I also felt immensely proud to witness the humanity and kindness of my fellow Atlantans helping each other - so many people I know personally welcomed strangers into their homes; one guy I know made it home after sitting in hours of traffic, only to immediately walk out of his house to rescue an elderly woman from her car.  

But most of all, I felt anger and defensive at anyone making fun of my city in the wake of the emergency.  While I know jokes and meanness are an easy win on social media, Atlanta residents are, and were, at the mercy of poor planning by local officials.  Two inches of snow and ice crippling a major metropolitan city sounds funny, but in this case, it was anything but.  Hearing people kick us while we're down was infuriating. 

I started to feel like my relationship with Atlanta had become quite similar to the relationship I had with my older brother in high school.  I could usually count on him for a good for a laugh or a much-needed hug, but he never missed an opportunity to be a complete jerk - with an knack for pissing me off. 

Like a brother, I have and will continue to make fun of Atlanta's inefficient public transportation, incompetent leadership, and inability to keep a professional sports team in the city limits.  But for all his faults, Atlanta is, for now, my home, my family.  So I can make fun of him whenever I want.  But you, person-living-above-the-Mason-Dixon-line, you may not.

photo 3

My friend Kyle reached a milestone of her own during Snow Jam 2014 - over a week (and 30 laborious hours) late, Baby Griffin finally decided to grace the world with his presence.  He was welcomed by two big, fun families, including a crazy Uncle Andrew and a hilarious Grandpa Buster, who will keep him laughing and adequately humbled throughout his life.

As expected, Griffin is perfect and Kyle and Greg are natural, doting, so far very laid-back parents.       


While not quite ready for full-time parenthood myself, I did manage to convince my real big brother and Katie to let me babysit my niece for a night and on the way to Charleston, I passed the 100,000 mile mark on my paid-for car. Victory!


Should I be concerned that in my life, babysitting and car mileage are considered milestones?

I guess you could say I'm a late-bloomer.  Still.  At 33.  


Speaking of milestones and Kyle, soon into our friendship she told me a story about how when she was little she used to cry as hard as she could while staring into a mirror.  She said watching herself cry the ugly, red-faced, sobbing cry was cathartic.  I couldn't believe what I was hearing; it was like I had met my soul mate, because when I was younger, I used to do the exact same thing. 

Who am I kidding?  Sometimes I still do it. 

This discovery was truly a milestone in our relationship and paved the way for more emotional cutting we share as adult - still cathartic, but with less looking in the mirror, more wine, and a playlist of the saddest music you can imagine.

Listen, drink, cry.  Repeat.

Imagine my delight when I stumbled upon this video.  This precious little one knows what I'm talking about. 

Let it out, Jackson.  Let. It. Out.

Per usual, the real milestone I'd like to reach this year is a completed manuscript for my book.  Your support/good vibes/prayers/hazing are always welcome.

What milestones are you looking to reach in 2014?