Stories that Stick Review

There were stories in this book that certainly stuck for sure. Kindra Hall breaks everything down into a condensed format.  This book was read over a short time span of 5 hours. If I were a marketing teacher, I would highly consider making this part of my classroom material. However, this is a must for any creative who feels as though they are in a lag.

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As someone who has had marketing roles, it is often a challenge to be a “story collector,” but it’s a vital part of storytelling. I loved how Kindra told a story about how she asked questions to get better answers. This is important because sometimes you’re not going to tell your story, but the story of others.

Even though research was used for this book, the content was written where it was easy for the reader. The statistics flowed into the story that Kindra was telling.

Kindra mentioned the Apple holiday commercial of the kid that made the slideshow after being on his phone the whole time. I thought this was quite interesting because it was a story with a twist. However, I wish Apple would have done the same in the AirPods commercials. It took me two years, to learn that when you take out an AirPod, it pauses the music. What’s the story of everyone’s life when they go to the gym and they run into everyone and they have to pull out their earphones? The music keeps going. Apple didn’t communicate a good enough situation for the need for the AirPods. Even though this was shown for a brief second in the 2017 commercial with the Marian Hill song “Down” It didn’t fully tell the story for me to say “take my money.”

My favorite part was the top four reasons why the founder’s story is often not told. The big one was how we often feel as though it was repeated. This is quite a common one considering that I feel slightly the same way when I introduce myself and I forget to tell people that I’m a triplet. Yes, a founder’s story is quite different from a fact, but it’s quite similar.

*Reviewer received an advanced copy of the book by the publisher Harper Collins

“Girl, Stop Apologizing” Review

Just when you think you are exclusive like you got the latest iPhone or you tried a hip restaurant, the biggest thing no longer becomes exclusive. Well, Barnes and Noble had the special edition of “Girl Stop Apologizing” in select stores as well as other retailers received shipments early, where some copies have been sold. So it’s a crazy deal, but Rachel Hollis’ crew decided the book release date will be moved up a week to March 5th. It’s a joy to know the world can obtain a copy of this book early.

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I discovered Hollis after I had lost my grandpa. In a somber state, I read “Rising Strong” by Brene Brown, “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert and then “Girl Wash Your Face” by Rachel Hollis. It made the bright sunshine at my favorite place to read by the pool in the summer feel a little bit more enjoyable like before. That book pushed me slowly out of the state where I was like, “now how do I move on.”

Other than falling asleep after reading a few pages tired at night, this book was a quick read. I read 3/4ths of it within a 5-hour time frame on a Saturday. I loved the three components that it was made up: excuses to let go of, behaviors to adopt, and skills to acquire. Even though I’m not a parent, I enjoy the content she produces. “So I refuse to teach them that you should pursue your dreams but simultaneously be ashamed of them,” Hollis writes in Excuse 8: What will they think?

Even though I’m not a parent, I enjoy the content she produces. “So I refuse to teach my children that you should pursue your dreams but simultaneously be ashamed of them,” Hollis writes in Excuse 8: What will they think? That’s quite a powerful statement. We need to forget the pressures the rest of the world has on us while we want to simply achieve her goals. I feel as though we should not even be afraid to tell our best friends and siblings our dreams.

This is a book that a lot of people are not going to like to hear because it is not only for discipline, but it is about finding a way to make things happen. Yeah, you might be uncomfortable during the process, but it deals with communication and planning. The truth is not one that people will like to hear.

This book made me think of a lot of strong women I know who are working women that are involved in the community. First, it’s easy to ridicule someone with a nanny or who goes on a date night, but it’s very important. I know people argue about Hollis’ once a week date night rule, but it has helped a couple I know whose child underwent cancer treatments. Lisa’s mom suggested that they have a date night once a week to forget about their worries. Between balancing a sick child and clients, Lisa along with her husband Derek made date night work. Also, I babysat for a family when their nanny was not able to watch their kids. When I was at Leila’s house she was in and out checking on her girls where she listened to all that was on my mind. I just knew I was helping her with the daily tasks.

In the end, I feel as though Hollis’ content is about creating support for one another. However, it begins with ourselves. There’s something about reading Hollis’ content where you look around then suddenly your house is cleaner, you have ingested more water, and there’s a project you planned to do that’s completed. With this book, I definitely want to focus on writing more not for clients like I have in the past, but for myself.

Also, one thing I might add is that BuzzFeed mentioned how Hollis had copied other writers. In this book, Rachel quotes many authors including Jen Hatmaker. Rachel does have a whole crew that helps her put together content. I do not stand by cheating at all. However, I have written down ideas to turn around and see someone else with the same idea so stuff like this happens, but she gave credit in “Girl Stop Apologizing.”

Up next in reviews is “Developing Female Leaders” by Kadi Lang Cole.

What I tried lately

My sister often jokes that my bathroom cabinets are full of neat products to try. I just can’t help myself when following my e-newsletters of new products and finding goods at Nordstrom Rack. However, Madeline, I hope that you loved me bringing the Urban Decay Bubble Mask to use on the nights before your wedding day. Marie Kondo (I know cliche) has helped me learn to simplify, but I did cave in a little bit. With a birthday discount code from Tarte, trying to find products for the cold weather, and a new release sample, I just could not help myself.

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Clary Travel Bath + Body Oil– My hair stylist has kept Clary Collection at her salon, The Green House. I have wanted to try it considering that she swears by it. One of the founders is Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys wife, so I wanted to try it. I give it 4/5 stars. The downfall is that it is oil based so it’s only used after taking a shower or bath. However, the stupid dry patch of skin of my right arm has gone away since using it. It does take a while for it to transfer fully to your skin though. However, it is great for when the colder weather makes your skin look bad.

Trader Joe’s Rich Hydrating Sheet Mask– After much frustration at the cost of sheet masks, I decided to give this a try since it was only $2 for one package. I can say that now my frustration is having to circle the Trader Joe’s parking lot in a time frame of 6 songs instead of the cost of face masks. I did not try Trader Joe’s until last spring, but I’m obsessed. So each time, I’m at Trader Joe’s I will get a box of them. This is a gem if you have desert dry skin like me. When Nashville had random temperature drops, this provided relief because I dreaded walking to my car with the wind blasting on my face. Sadly, this is not available for purchase online. So I will say a prayer for you when battling the lot.

Tarte’s Rain Forest of the Sea Deep Sea Collagen Super Serum– That’s quite the name, now say it 3 times fast. Tarte’s Mermaid Skin is a gift from God and I swear by it. However, it only provides hydration. However, this is the answered prayer for your skin to feel plumped and rejuvenated. It just makes your skin feel natural and not oily or your rubbed something on it. This transfers well where the serum doesn’t feel like it’s just sitting on your skin.

Living Proof’s Triple Detox Shampoo– I signed up to receive a sample of this product before it was released. Well, I had waited a month and it arrived at my door. It’s already in stores now, but don’t flock or worry about getting this at all. I learned that Living Proof’s Perfect hair Day Dry Shampoo provides the best volume for blondes. Just one use lasts for days. Y’all, I get mad when each can gets empty. However, as for this product, I may be okay with not seeing it again. I give it 2/5 stars, but only because it’s a level above drug store shampoo. It comes with a ph stick to check the water, w I have hard water. When shampooing my hair, this did not lather well.  It messed up the way my hair styled. I style my hair with a huge round brush and a blowdryer. I did everything like before, but my hair went the exact opposite way and I’ve had to part my hair differently. Immediately after I dried my hair, I jumped back in the shower to use my regular shampoo, but my hair still feels weird because of this.

However, here’s a trick for a real hair detox: Ladies, I’m glad no money was lost, but I prefer a shower beer. Yes, when my hair has been excessively oily, I wash my hair with my regular shampoo and beer. Between each lather I will pour the beer on my hair. This is great when you live off of dry shampoo. I would recommend that you take the beer out of the fridge at least 30 minutes before washing your hair so it’s not cold.

“I Think You’re Wrong (But I’m Listening)” book review

web-cover.pngAt the beginning of 2018, a friend of mine Beth Ellis (not to be confused with Beth Silvers)  introduced me to the podcast, “Pantsuit Politics.” The hosts Beth Silvers and Sarah Holland Stewart seemed too relatable. Especially since Sarah grew up in Paducah, KY, which is not too far from me. Since then on every Tuesday or Friday, I wake up and get ready for work while listening to Sarah from the Left and Beth from the Right. When I had the chance to be apart of the book launch club, I said yes. So on February 5, “I Think You’re Wrong (But I’m Listening): A Guide to Grace-Filled Political Conversations” will be released.

When in high school, I was shocked to get a copy of “Profiles in Courage” by John F. Kennedy. I was taken back by it. Later, I learned historical encounters where politicians lost their careers by speaking up on other sides of the aisle. As I look back on my experience with that book, I feel as though more political stories need to be told that way.

Well, Pantsuit Politics is the closest thing we have to “Profiles in Courage” from an unbiased and historical standpoint, but only in a podcast form. However, this book is a manual as to how to practice thought-based politics and stories of Sarah and Beth’s experiences.

My reaction to “Profiles in Courage,” definitely falls into the category or lesson of chapter 2 of learning to take off my jersey. That chapter is the introduction of how to see across the other aisle. In that chapter, they go over the history of the welfare system, which was very insightful.

In the beginning, I really wanted to pick up a book on Abigail Adams. Beth mentions how Abigail was for open toward speaking about political discussion. Many times we have been told to shut up about political discussion, but we are still not opposed for arguments.

Both of the women are Christians so I really admired how they used scripture throughout the book. This was really helpful in the chapter “Embrace the Paradox,” which I will explain more at the bottom. The best part that states their political harmony was toward the end.

“We’ve decided to stop calling American ‘divided.’ Buying into this conflict-driven narrative is a choice and it’s a choice we’re not going to make. We don’t feel divided from each other or the people in our lives in any way.”

First, I guess this is a sign that we should love the sweet lady at church the same as before you heard her horrible stance on Trump’s wall. That fact should not divide you from the love she showed you all your life from dance recitals to showing her pictures from prom. However, some time that conversation goes the other way.

Now the first sign I knew I loved these girls is when they talked about gun-safety after the Majorie Stone Douglas shooting. Obviously, these kids will never view Valentine’s Day the same. However, Sarah from the left stated, “don’t think for a moment that these parents who have guns love their babies as less as you.”

When I first read the book, I really love how that mentioned that is often practiced not to discuss politics. To me, this had lead to increased arguments across the board politically. This is a book that is needed right now. Even though we are in disagreement, we need to extend an olive branch.

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At the end of each chapter, these women had steps as to how to enable political discussion. Most of the topics were in regards to healthcare and their experiences as moms.

Yet, the biggest take away from these women is that you can support both parties like be pro-guns and pro-gun safety. This is evident in the chapter “Embrace the Paradox” where we are told to just support the one side or you will cause it to lose. They certainly embrace that your political party does not have to be one-sided and you can disagree with an issue. On “Pantsuit Politics,” the women have vocalized their frustration for the straight ticket voting option.

I would highly recommend pre-ordering the book on Amazon or your preferred retailer so we can put their actions into practice. This might be a great book to send your public officials that don’t listen to the other side. Now until February 5th, just listen to a few episodes. I’m for sure you will admire Joybird Furniture, which is one of the sponsors for the podcast.

***Thanks Thomas Nelson for the advanced digital copy. It brings me joy to review something. In college, I wrote album reviews. So it’s good to write about something in a timely manner. Also, the name of my blog does not reflect that I do book reviews. I just related to Richard Gere in “Runaway Bride” when he said, “Journalism, is literature in a hurry.” Needless to say, that’s where I got my blog’s name.

What you should listen to if you adore the “A Star is Born” Soundtrack

The truth is that I often hate remakes, but I had to get over that fact because “A Star is Born” is on its fourth remake. Plus, Judy Garland was not the original female protagonist. I know I’m probably going to love this version the most because of the soundtrack. I knew I was going to love it because of the artists involved.

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While getting my hair done, my stylist, Lisa Wolfe, encouraged me to blog about music. She stated how it is evident that I love bands and I have an in-depth knowledge of trivia.  I introduced her to Lukas Nelson last week when she was working her magic on my hair.

My hope is that at some point and time, the songwriters will perform the songs together. I would like to hear it with their emotions. Although Gaga had involvement in writing the songs, there were two female songwriters involved in the soundtrack. Natalie Hemby, who wrote “Pontoon” for Little Big Town. Also, Lorri McKenna, who wrote the hit Tim McGraw song “Humble and Kind.” I adore their voices and work. Like me, Hemby has roots in Southeast Missouri. Also, Lorri McKenna was just a mom who wrote bedtime songs for her five children. Although these women are not fairly known, they should be recognized.

However, some artists that I adore and I have proudly seen live, had involvement in this. “Maybe It’s Time” was written by Jason Isbell. He has a band called the 400 Unit. Their song “If we were Vampires” was featured on This is Us. His wife, Amanda Shires, is the band’s fiddle player. They have amazing chemistry on stage, but I live for their Instagram Stories. My personal favorite shenanigan of them was when Jason read Amanda US Weekly.

Bradley Cooper hired Lukas Nelson as his character guide for the film. Nelson happens to be the son of everyone’s favorite musician from Austin, Willie Nelson. In my opinion, Lukas Nelson’s music is much more soulful than his dad’s music. In fact, Lady Gaga collaborated with on “Find Yourself” on Lukas Nelson & Promise of The Real’s self-titled album in 2017. The soundtrack has a merge of songs with an indie feel and pop music. Toward the end of the soundtrack, the guitars were replaced with beats.

I feel as though all female protagonists in the latest 3 movies had established careers. Barbara had already starred in “Funny Girl,” it had been 18 years since Judy Garland starred in ‘The Wizard of Oz,” and Lady Gaga hit the scene with “Just Dance” during Christmas break of my junior year of high school.  I thought it was fitting how Gaga played ode to Judy with “Somewhere over the Rainbow.”

The guitar solo in “Out of Time” had Lukas Nelson vibes. My personal favorite song on the soundtrack for Gaga’s abilities was “Always Remember Us This Way.” “Look What I found” had more pop songwriters on board. The feel was different from “Shallows.” I’ve come a long way from hating Lady Gaga with her weird outfits to recognizing her talents.

My friend Johnathan Pushkar actually saw the film two weeks ago at an early viewing in Franklin, TN. His face just expresses enthusiasm when talking about. I believe him that this soundtrack will win awards. Plus, he has the envy of every girl because he was in the same room as Bradley Cooper. I cannot wait to see the film. However, I will have to view the film after my sister’s wedding weekend. Great moments are ahead this weekend. I will definitely sing this soundtrack on my way to Memphis.

Influencers should never memorialize nor profit from tragedies

Every September 11th, I will hear a new story from a survivor that makes tears instantly fall from my face. Also, I expect a brand to make an inappropriate post. Now, this year it wasn’t a mattress store offering a twin mattress sale. It was two lifestyle bloggers, Dani Austin and Collins Tuohy-Smith.

IMG_4117.jpegAustin is the founder of The Sassy Club and was in New York for Fashion Week. Collins Tuohy-Smith’s family was portrayed in the 2009 film, The Blindside, and owns the up and coming cookie franchise, Whimsy. On September 12, I pitched an op-ed piece to several publications and I have not heard back. In this case, I feel as though urgency is needed due to the fact no one is talking about this. This topic about influencers needs discussion.

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Each blogger had a similar pose wearing a cute outfit in front of the skyline that is absent of the One World Trade Center. Tuohy-Smith was on a rooftop looking down in pose commonly used by influencers. While Dani was posing by a viewer on top of the Empire State Building. The photos were tasteless and poor judgment for memorializing those who lost their lives.

Their prompts mentioned: do you remember 9/11?,  it’s so sad we went through this, and I love NYC. Every American has the right to post about how this day should never be forgotten. That includes everyone in rural America who have never seen the New York Skyline. However, the influencers’ prompt seemed insincere when matched up with the photo.

Brands from mattresses, pregnancy tests, and boutiques will pay bloggers to promote items on their social media feed. Austin has partnered with Southwest Airlines and made a post within the past week about flying with them to New York. Initially, I didn’t think she had partnered with a brand, but instead, she had another trick up her sleeve.

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While leaving the Americana Awards, I thought I had found a hat. I’ve been on the search for a budget-friendly hat that looks like buffalo roamed on my family’s farm. @southernglamourblog wore a hat, which I thought would be linked in the app, LikeToKnow.it. I had to explain to my friend how the app worked and why I was mad when I saw this. Sadly, I was not as disappointed that I could not find the hat because my hard work of that op-ed changed. Instead, Dani Austin’s 9/11 post showed up where she could monetize through her blog. Initially, I took that screenshot to show a mentor in public relations.

Here’s how LikeToKnow.it by RewardStyle works, you download the app, which notices the screenshot of a photo that an affiliated blogger posts on Instagram. That photo will have similar items or the exact item in that photo to help the consumer. Plus, the influencers can make money when items get purchased through the links directed to the app.

In 2013, Spaghetti O’s came under fire for having a social media post that memorialized Pearl Harbor with the logo holding an American flag. It was inappropriate for another day that was meant to be reverent. If I made a post of me on December 8 holding a Mai Tai on a Hawaiian beach with a prompt that said “Today’s why World War Two began,” that would be just as bad as the bloggers’ 9/11 post.

I’m still moved by my visit to Pearl Harbor so I do not appreciate Spaghetti O’s post. In 2009, I visited Ground Zero and just like Pearl Harbor, you cannot help but think of the hell that happened at those locations. My Facebook page was flooded with pictures of my friends at the 9/11 memorial. Once again, they have the right to say how they feel. However, none of them had a pose where they looked down all cutesy.

My hope is that LikeToKnow.it has the guts to take down the links to the photo and create a new policy for posts relating to a tragedy. Macy’s clearly does not have a 9/11 sale. Many Americans are still going through they own PSTD from 9/11 and no one should be making a dime off selling clothes on anything related to this date.

Now I know I have a small percentage of the followers that these bloggers have. I have blogged as a writer since 2010 before you had to learn how to take a cute photo, own a Gucci belt, and have brands back you. I don’t care about my following, because I love writing. I am prepared to be attacked by the influencer community where I will be viewed as not hip, mean, critical, rough, being upset by anything, or taking things seriously.

The best lesson that I learned is social media was from my former boss, Tim Nicholson. With his strategy, we were not going to post stuff in reference to memorial holidays unless we had a story that reflected on it. His thoughts were that we often were just saying “Never Forget” like everyone else then it did nothing to our mission.

This September 11th, I was working as a freelance runner for ESPN for the USA vs. Mexico soccer game. The make-up artist was from the New York area. After asking her what events she normally worked on, she insisted that I watch the ESPN special on 9/11 that she worked on the set. Then I told her that I saw the story of Welles Crowther, a former lacrosse player and firefighter turned equity trader, that saved many lives that day. Yet, his courage and bravery cost him his own life. She stated how she watched the towers fall from her suburban home. Then I was in awe when she said, “I could name 14 more people I knew personally that perished that day.”

I know I’m just a girl who grew up in rural Missouri, who lives in Nashville, but these stories still need to be repeated. However, let’s reserve social media to hear the stories similar to Welles Crowther and Lt. Heather Penney, who was essentially given orders for a suicide mission to bring down United Flight 93. I’m grateful Lt. Penney did not have to sacrifice her life that day. As Americans, we need to help each other out if it is through criticizing this poor choice by a person and a brand or by saying a simple thank you.

You do not have to be sponsored by Uber or any brand to thank your servicemen. A lot of people in the service from Clarksville, TN come to Nashville to drive for Uber. I immediately tell them “thank you for your service” because I don’t know if they were given orders to the extent of Lt. Penney.

On 9/11, it should not be associated with sales, the blogger pose where you peer down, and clothes. We can express our love for our country and the sadness of 9/11, but let’s be cautious when we post. If you are visiting a memorial in your state or in a different country, please do not pose at that place. While I will admit, Whimsy makes good cookies and these girls have good clothes, but the posts should have never been made. I do not want the day my nation was attacked to be glammed up with an advertisement.

 

 

A Night at the Americana Honors and Awards

How I got to go

My luck for winning random things, I guess you could say began when I won a VHS of Hook in 4th Grade. I want to lie and say I shouted “RUFIO!” when I won. However, I was speechless when my request for Margo Price’s song “A Little Pain,” was the winning request for tickets to the Americana Honors and Awards. Thank you Lightning 100’s Noon Request Lunch Hour. Trust me this station has introduced me to many new artists. Before moving to Nashville, I heard Sheryl Crow endorse the station.

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What I wore

My first thought was “what do I even wear to an award show?” I had never been to one at all. So I Googled photos from the past AHAs. The search results were: Margo Price had on an awesome dress, my girl Emmylou Harris was wearing a blouse and slacks (okay she can do whatever), and Alynda of Hurray for the Riff Raff well she had on a suit that looked like it was designed by Manuel. I know that most artists wear clothes you would be surprised by the price tags even if it looks simple. I didn’t want to spend money so I decided to go through my closet. If you do happen to go and you have a pair of jeans with a top that looks like Free People, you are good. After all, Don Was wore flip-flops with a cowboy hat and a suit.

When I found a cream Gunne Sax by Jessica McClintock dress in the back of my mom’s bedroom closet at my grandparent’s house in middle school, I wanted it. It was what Emmylou Harris would wear in the 70s. My mom wore it to a dance. Personally, I wanted to wear it to a dance or have it in senior pictures. It was obvious it wouldn’t look right. However, Americana Fest, yes it could work. With the thrift stores in East Nashville, the dress had to work. IMG_4138.JPG

I paired it with a pair of Madden Girl heels, tassel black earrings by Valerie Blanche, a Kendra Scott bracelet, a barrette my mom had in the 80s, and my mother’s Onyx ring, which has an awesome story for another day. Also because the dress would show everything, I had to get a slip. I ordered a Kate Kasin cami dress on Amazon. It is the same one I wore to the art crawl this weekend. It did make me feel like Carrie Bradshaw on the Sex and The City Intro.

Trust me I enjoyed getting ready. I used this night as training for awesome make-up on myself for my sister’s wedding next week. However, I rarely wear red lipstick on top of winged eyeliner, which that will be absent at her wedding. I freaked out when the queen, Margo Price had her hair up in a half updo like me. IMG_4129.jpeg

The Show

Now let’s talk about the event. If you ever go to AHA, try to attend the event early. There were people still going through security when we were seated and the show started. When I walked in, I noticed Alejandro Escovedo. I was in shock and I politely introduced myself to him. I then took a picture with him. It wasn’t the greatest with the lighting, but you cannot be picky when running into an artist.

IMG_4141.jpeg My seats were on the main floor. Even though the Ryman is an impressive venue for the 1800s, you have to remember the engineering back then. There are posts that support the balcony, which can obstruct the view at times at the bottom when the artists move around. The one thing I was shocked by was the constant movement. The announcers are on the left side of the stage, then the stagehands are moving equipment around for the next performers. Also, the artists were leaving their seats and coming back constantly to present or perform.

It was really awesome to see how the awards were tailored to each artist. Buddy Guy’s award had polka dots. I really wish I could have seen the awards up close since I love looking at art to inspire me when drawing.

However, for all of these years, I did not appreciate the Milk Carton Kids, the hosts, enough. They created a comedic environment while presenting. It truly showed when the PA system went bonkers and they had to tell the audience that they would reboot the system so an honoree, Irma Todd could sing again.

Everyone knows that I love going to shows. This may not be Dave Ramsey approved, but I told myself while moving here, just try to go to one show a month, it can be free or you can pay it. My one show a month trick has helped me contain myself. I went from living in a small town to Music City. My list of artist that I want to see is crazy. Last night I can say that I finally got to see Anderson East, Don Was, Brandi Carlile, Lukas Nelson & the Promise of Real, John Prine, and Nathaniel Rateliffe and the Night Sweats. Plus, the Ryman amplifies a good artist’s abilities. The show was truly like getting a buffet for all of the artists. I have missed Lukas Nelson everytime he has been in town so I was just gracious to hear only “Forget about Georgia.”

I saw a cute little girl in a green striped dress with pink earmuffs on when I realized this cutie was Mercy Isbell. I have so many expectations for that little girl since she is the child of Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires. I nudged my friend, Margaret, and said there’s Mercy. We were both in awe because we frequently share Jason and Amanda’s IG stories to each other. Yes, I expect kids to be curious, but that girl seemed to be fairly well behaved from a distance. It was precious seeing her point to her mom’s nose.

I felt conflicted cheering for all of the artists. I mean when you have Jason Isbell, Margo, and Brandi up for an award, who would you cheer for? However, it helped me enjoy the event more. Jason Isbell won 3 out of 4 awards, but lost to John Prine for Artist of the Year. Now I feel as though I’m great about finding great artists. However, I feel like I have missed a hidden gem. Courtney Marie Andrews is like a mixture of Joni Mitchell with Jenny Lewis. She sang back up for a few songs on Jimmy Eat World’s album Invented. She had a pretty awesome jumpsuit.

I’m still floored by my experience from last night. Also, let’s say I might have danced like Elaine on Seinfeld in my seat. The ending number was an Aretha Franklin Tribute with “Chain of Fools,” which was appropriate to end the night. This will be a night that I certainly will not forget. Americana Fest is still ongoing so

Americana Fest is still ongoing so there are more events everywhere. Margo Price will have a Meet and Greet at Third Man on 9/13 at 6 pm. Also, Emmylou is hosting Woofstock on 9/16, which has a pretty awesome lineup.

Going Scared: A book review of “Imperfect Courage”

So it’s Sunday Night when I don’t normally post blogs, but life happens. On top of this book review, I’m finishing up this week’s meal prep. Today has been great because I cannot get over how my church played “Angel From Montgomery,” I had brunch at Edgehill Cafe with my friend Margaret, and I helped my hair stylist paint her new salon.

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So I wanted to share with you a good book to read, Imperfect Courage by Jessica Honegger. For the past few months, I’ve been a member of the Imperfect Courage Book Tribe, which allowed me to obtain an early release copy of the book. However, tomorrow morning the book will be released.

Jessica Honegger is the Founder of Noonday Collection, an ethically sourced jewelry company, and she is the host of a podcast called Going Scared. I highly recommend everyone subscribing to her podcast because it is great for motivation if you want to maintain purpose while working. I’m not a mom, but I’ve been on a big self-help book kick where I have admired all of Brene Brown’s words. Also Brene Brown has endorsed “Imperfect Courage,” which makes me want to believe the first-time author will write another book of wisdom.

This was a relatively an easy read where every page I was pointing at the book saying, “that is so true and yes I’ve been there.” One of them is how we often make up lies about someone like they must be so perfect so they are mean. Jessica explains this when she introduced herself to a stay-at-home mom at her kids’ school that was involved in everything.

Jessica tells her to embrace the ‘sisterhood effect,’ which is pure magic. It allows you to collaborate and support others. I love the three points she makes in the chapter ‘Create Compassion Spaces.’

  • We compare instead of collaborate with each other
  • We judge instead of empathize with each other
  • We stand by instead of fight for each other

I feel as though that is the best excerpt from the book I can share. However, Jessica often goes by the saying “Going Scared” meaning just do it anyway with imperfect courage. It’s how she built her jewelry line, which she had in mind to fund the adoption of her son. When tasked with a problem, we don’t see how the solution that sets off a chain reaction toward other things. It is amazing how one simple attitude can change other’s lives.

For the future: I hope everyone makes it fabulous. You at least consider reading “Imperfect Courage.” I also hope I can obtain a pre-launch copy for another book launch. Geez, it was so fun being apart of the process.

Ways to relive your childhood for Christmas

If there’s one thing I wish I could do, it is rant to a kid about how lucky they have it around Christmas time. They are off from school, they don’t have to worry about getting gifts, and also they have all the time to watch as many Christmas movies as they want multiple times. The saddest thing is that I have a short time frame to spend with my sister over Christmas. I’m furious that I have yet to watch The Santa Clause, which I watched all year round at my grandma’s house and I could care less about the sequels. While I sound like the Grinch, I have found a few ways to liven up Christmas. However, I found a few ways to make Christmas feel more child-like especially for a 90s kid.

Find a Christmas sweater with a pop culture reference – I speak fluent movie quotes. When November 1 arrives, you will see me wearing my Elf “Does Somebody need a hug?” sweatshirt that I got from Etsy. Now, I will wear this like crazy until Christmas. Yes, I am aware that this is way too big. It could not be returned because it was a holiday item. While trying to find the link, I saw that it was gone, but right now, I am trying not to buy the “All I want for Christmas is Steve Harrington” Stranger Things Sweater. Then again, I might own this sweater soon because I love Stranger Things and it has Steve with his bat.

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Moon Glowtion Now I don’t know if you remember the Art Stuff line from Bath and Body works, but it was awesome. It was lotions that left a blue, pink, or green tint on your skin, it had an overwhelming fruit scent, and it was full of glitter. One year Art Stuff released a holiday collection called Twinkle, Twinkle, which the scent was light. My sister and I got mad when we used each other’s lotion or roll on body glitter of Twinkle, Twinkle. I am 98% sure this is the formula. Who is to say that with 2000s trends slightly creeping into fashion we will see body glitter all over at the club and on the red carpet, but right now I am in obsessed with this lotion. However, I just get pure joy where I think of my sister and I playing with our Caboodles makeup cases around 4th grade.

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Buy Something Peanuts-related- Step one: go into a Hallmark Store or “Google Peanuts Holiday Items,” then step two: let your heart be your guide, and step three: make a purchase. This is the cartoon that never ages. So I had been wanting a nativity scene, but I ran across several factors. They are usually fairly large and also they can be pricey. So while attending ICE! by Charlie Brown, I found this Peanuts Nativity Scene by Kurt Adler in the gift shop, but I bought this on Amazon. It’s precious and plus the star lights above the baby Jesus played by Woodstock. However, I get such joy looking at it. Yes, they have the small tree and I had wished I had gotten it before I had found my tree at Nordstrom Rack. However, I’m glad I found the nativity set.

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Get a Great Christmas Picture- Okay so I’m a triplet and we had an annual tradition of Christmas Photos. Either before or after church my mom had us take photos on the stairs with a roll of film. We were outfitted in clothes probably from Storybook or Talbots. There were obviously some bad ones too, but it’s good looking back at the memory. However, aside from the dresses that have to be ironed, you need a good picture of yourself in a festive manner. Luckily my apartment had an awesome professional photographer take pictures of residents. My friend Elizabeth and I snapped a great one in front of the Nashville Christmas Tree Lighting. It’s a good thing to look back on each Christmas. Yes, Elizabeth was with me before in the sweaters.

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Break down and buy that Christmas Movie- I will not lie that I’m furious about the fact that I have Amazon Video, Hulu, Netflix and HBO GO, but none of them offer good holiday movies. If you are like me, then you probably hate Hallmark Movies. I know we have tons of choices when it comes to watching shows on demand, but around Christmas time let me tell you we are just as bad as our parents hoping we get to see Frosty or Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer once a year on CBS. Now I have watched the Grinch, but I could not see Home Alone so I just bought it. The older you become Kevin is more of a child and you see the awesome abilities behind John Hughes. I even enjoyed the behind the scenes features were on iTunes Extra. Now I don’t have a tv, so I bought it on iTunes. Now I bought Hocus Pocus 4 years ago on iTunes because I could not watch it in college and I have watched it every year. Just a heads up for next and if you do have a DVD player, Target has great sales on Christmas movies for Black Friday and the following Saturday.

Attend a Christmas Event- Luckily I live in Nashville and I would highly recommend Charlie Brown by ICE! at the Gaylord Opryland. Trust me you will be happy once you enter the room of life-size sculptures. Just try to keep your phone warm in a glove because it will die like mine did due to the cold. Also, there’s a Charlie Brown dinner theatre at the winery at the Fontanel. I enjoyed attending the Nashville Christmas Parade earlier this month. It truly felt like “It’s A Wonderful Life” when Santa came through the parade.

Just roam and look at Christmas lights – Yes, I know this sounds cliche, but if you live in Nashville just gather some friends and just walk around Opryland with drinks. I have had friends that haven’t been to Opryland to see the lights, but it is something to see. I’m not going to lie, I snubbed my nose to the idea of a touristy place, but it is amazing. Plus, the plants around the Gaylord Opryland Hotel are beautiful. So maybe wherever you are, just go with a best friend and walk around parks and hotels where there are Christmas decorations. I wish I could walk around and admire the Christmas decorations of the Palace Hotel, Westfield San Francisco Centre, and Union Square in San Francisco. My family went to San Francisco four years ago around Christmas time and I remember the beauty of the lights.

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There can be joys about the holiday season. I was glad when I saw the Gap commercial with Janelle Monae. I wore striped rainbow colored sweaters all the time as a kid like in the commercial. Plus, it reminded me of the Gap commercials of the boys and girls singing and dancing to covers. It’s up to you to make Christmas lively. I had to take a picture in front of The Diner in Nashville because my grandpa made a tree out of lights like how it is on the building on the side of his house. Who knows I actually might adopt a habit of watching The Santa Clause in July so I can say I saw that Christmas movie this year. In the meantime, if you want me to tell your kids how lucky they are with their time in Christmas or life in general, let me know so I can rant. However, I mean it out of pure love.

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Never strive for a picturesque holiday

This year  I have been caught up in so many things on my to-list. I have played Christmas music to get more in the spirit. I must say the new Hanson Christmas album is on point (no shame). As a Mississippi State Bulldog, I committed a sin. It was not until Monday, November 20, that I remembered the biggest game of the year, The Egg Bowl, is this week. I’m typing this while watching the Friends Thanksgiving episodes trying to think of anything else that should be on my list.

Yes, I believe in merging Thanksgiving and Christmas. It helps one realize that they are truly blessed beginning on November 1. Plus, it helps thankfulness roll over into Christmas. There is no such thing as premature Christmas decorating.

 

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I probably could have found a bad picture from a photo shoots for our annual Christmas Cards when we were really showing out. So here is one of my siblings as grown adults.

My main goal for the holidays has just been to be in a happy spirit to make this world better. I wish making good food was part of the main goal, but it is a time where everyone needs love. Over the past few weeks, I have been longing just for the presence of my family being together under the same roof. My sister has been sending me texts throughout the day of certain recipes to try, so I basically leave planning a few things up to her.

 

During college, I loved a Tommy Hilfiger commercial to Vampire Weekend’s Holiday. They looked so chic where you wanted to dress up. Plus, I love wearing blazers. Both of my grandparents are far from hosting a holiday event that is formal. Yes, I agree that while I enjoy a dinner that has a beautiful place setting, perfectly wrapped presents under a tree, and sweets. However, that is not what one should strive for. It is embarrassing how much food I pile on my plate at my grandma’s house, but I am just excited to see my grandparents. This year I strangely did not think about the delicious food on the table. Distance makes things harder, but I’m just glad to see everyone. Trust me it has been a long two months since I have seen them.

A year ago, I wrote a blog about the holidays being sad, but the truth is I found out I was not alone. Ironically, a year later Bad Moms Christmas was released, which was freaking hilarious. Everyone in America has gone through at least one dramatic part of the movie. So it is naturally fine to have anger around the holidays with a little road rage, stress, and anxiety that the cookies might not turn out well. Anger will happen along the way, but it is okay. We all strive for the perfect Norman Rockwell style holiday, but it eventually turns out like the Griswald’s in Christmas Vacation.

For the meantime, I am just going to tell myself that it will all fall into place with extra things added to my list. It’s just good to have everyone together and that feels like a major luxury. During the season of Thanksgiving, I found two events that I will volunteer for around the Nashville area. I’m just so thankful that during church, I realized that I needed to do something. Not long after, those opportunities, which will happen in 2018, approached me. Well, I am welcoming those opportunities. The fact that is Thanksgiving time hasn’t truly hit me, but that is okay with me because I am not concerned about things being perfect.