Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Celebrity Obsessed

Last night and this morning, I spent several hours writing "Beauty vs. Health" about my disgust for the media's coverage of the weight gain and weight loss of celebrities.  However, while I was working on that post, I realized that I'm a bit frustrated by society's obsession with celebrities altogether.   I learn more daily about the private lives of famous people I don't even know than about my own family members and friends.

Why is it acceptable for people to follow stalk celebrities and take pictures of them on vacation? at dinner with friends? or out shopping?
Because they're famous.
Why do people care so much about the lives of celebrities outside of the movies we enjoying watching them act in, songs we like hearing them perform, or material they've written that we enjoy reading?
Because they're famous.
Why do we compare ourselves to those who grace magazine covers and the glossy pages inside?
Because they're famous.

Well, "Because they're famous" is a stupid reason.  It's basically the equivalent of your mom saying, "Because I said so" as her 'explanation' of why you were required to do or could not do something.  There's no real meaning behind either 'reason'.  Just the same as "Because I said so" doesn't explain why a parent requires or opposes something, "Because they're famous" doesn't explain why you find a certain celebrity interesting or entertaining.

Would you care that Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt bought snacks for their six children, whether Jessica Biel and Justin Timberlake are back together (or that they had ever dated in the first place), or that Beyonce and Jay Z are expecting a baby if they weren't famous?
Probably not.

But most people do care about at least some celebrities - even me.  Yes, I admit that I'm ranting about something that even I do, but I can give you a reason for why I do it.  I take interest in Sandra Bullock, Will Smith, Jessica Alba, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Bradley Cooper, and Reese Witherspoon.  Why?  Because I like their movies/television series.  Notice my reason was not "Because they're famous."  I'm not interested in who they are dating, married to, or being cheated on by; but, I definitely want to know if they are being considered for a role, what characters they are going to be portraying, and when they have a new project coming out.  I appreciate them for their talent (and I have to admit for their beauty), but would prefer they be treated with the same respect for privacy that I enjoy.

Sadly, they'll never have respect from others regarding their privacy though because they're famous.  Very few boundaries exist protecting celebrities from the media.  Because of media's large financial profit made by harassing celebrities, those involved in photographing, writing about, and printing articles about celebrities will continue to ignore common courtesy and the implied (but obviously nonexistent) right to privacy of celebrities that the rest of us take for granted.

Take a moment to be grateful for your privacy.  Take a moment to enjoy that you can go to the grocery store without personal security detail.  Take a moment to appreciate that your face isn't recognized everywhere you go, that your body isn't scrutinized on television, in magazines, and online, and that your friends and family love you because of who you are rather than for the benefits of knowing you because you're famous.

If you enjoyed this post, you might also like "Ready for This Jelly?" by Will Montgomery.

Beauty vs. Health

I think most of us can probably agree that society has a pretty skewed idea of beauty in relation to healthy weight.  Take a look below at a "normal" model's body compared to that of a "plus size" model.  It is my opinion that Nicole's body does not look like the body of a "normal" woman.  She is a beautiful girl and what I saw on America's Next Top Model made her seem like a sweetheart.  However, I think more woman can relate to Whitney's body type which allows her to fill out clothing more femininely and realistically.
Whitney Thompson
Cycle 10 Winner
America's Next Top Model
"Plus Size" Model
Nicole Fox
Cycle 13 Winner
America's Next Top Model
"Normal" Model

I have long found myself frustrated by media coverage of celebrities, scrutinizing them for weight gain or weight loss.  If we treasure these people so much for their ability to sing, act, direct, or write, why should their weight be so important? 

Maybe a cause of weight gain/loss is the stress of the limelight. Maybe these celebrities privately have health conditions or prescription medications that cause the weight gain/loss. Maybe they are human and shouldn't be required to fit into someone else's idea of perfection.

Most recently, I have seen numerous articles and pictures of LeAnn Rimes in which she is being attacked for being thin, but she doesn't look unhealthy to me.  She looks thin, yes, but muscular also.  She looks like she's been working out.  But, most importantly, she looks happy.  At least, she looks like she would be happy if everyone would back off.
LeAnn Rimes - June 2007
Celebrated for her abs.
LeAnn Rimes - May 2011
Called "Scary Skinny"
Probably only a 5-10 pound difference.

I feel that I should clarify that I'm not coming to LeAnn's defense because I'm her "biggest fan."  In all honesty, I can only name two songs of hers that I like.  (LeAnn, if you ever read this, it's not your music.  I'm just not a fan of country music.)  So, the issue isn't that people are picking on my favorite, it's that people need to have something better to do in life than harass others about their weight - or about anything else for that matter.

Our culture puts so much emphasis on being thin that girls (and boys) develop eating disorders and addictions to exercising in order to please their peers and find self worth.  According to the South Carolina Department of Mental Health, half of 11- to 13-year-old girls consider themselves to be overweight and eight of ten thirteen-year-olds have tried to lose weight. In a survey reported by the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, the majority (91%) of women on a college campus had dieted in an attempt to control or lose weight.
An anorexic model on the runway.
How someone with anorexia views
the reflection in the mirror.
"The body type portrayed in advertising as the ideal is possessed naturally by only 5% of American females." (www.anad.org)

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Greatest Woman I Ever Knew

Do you ever get bored and Google yourself?  Maybe you Google your friends and family or frenemies and enemies just to see what interesting tidbits of information you can find.  I have to admit that I do this even though I rarely find anything interesting - an old high school track meet record with a friend's name, the Facebook groups my sister joined in college, information about a book that has my incredibly common first and last names in the title.  Nothing substantial.  And, this is just how I like it.

However, earlier today I Googled my Gramma who passed in February 2006.  I found a listing of people from my hometown who are deceased but not listed as buried in any local cemeteries.  (To clarify, my Gramma was cremated.)  This is one of the first Google findings to bother me.  I was hurt because her name was printed incorrectly.  Maybe this shouldn't bother me as much as it does, and anyone who knew her knows she wouldn't have gone to the trouble of attempting to get this fixed because it really doesn't matter.  But, anyone who knew her also knows that she deserves more attention and respect than errors forever printed in her obituary.
This stack of Gramma's Bibles and books with her
fingerprint-smudged glasses in their case on top decorate my bookshelf.
My Gramma was easily the best person I have ever known and will ever know.  Her strength and compassion were incomparable, she worked hard to earn what she had in life, and she maintained a warm and positive attitude even through struggles.  While I was growing up, my Gramma worked three jobs, one of which was for the Department of Children's Services.  She was active in her church, took walks with her sister nearly every night, loved on her grandbabies as often as possible, maintained gardens of tomatoes, sunflowers, and various plants, and prepared meals for sick neighbors.  She was not a woman who could sit still or ignore something that needed to be done or someone who needed help.
One of my favorite pictures of my Gramma,
loving on my younger siblings.
Sadly, her ability to help others and remain active was taken from her as she fiercely battled an aggressive lung cancer.  She became weak and sick, but her faith remained strong.  She taught me more about life during the five years she was dying than during the thirteen years I spent with her while she was healthy.  I learned from her that who I have in my life is more important than what I have in my life.  What I do in life is more important that what I can get out of life.  It is better to be happy and loved than to have power or wealth.  It is necessary to work hard for what I want so that I can truly appreciate what I earn.   Most importantly, she taught me that although I may never understand the purpose behind certain hardships or fully comprehend what is planned for me, I must have faith that everything does have a purpose and God does have a plan for me (Jeremiah 29:11).

Journey To Stoney's and Sweet CeCe's

Yesterday, I had a wonderful visit from my bestie who drove more than two hours each way just to have dinner with me and watch a movie.  It's almost like she loves me!  We had delicious burgers made to our specifications and served on Texas Toast and went shopping at The Vineyard Christian Bookstore where we made several wonderful purchases.

The CD Chelsea bought...
came with a free autographed cup.
I'm told by several people that this is
one of the best books I'll ever read and
that it will forever raise my standards.

Then, I introduced her to the wonderful world of Sweet CeCe's for frozen yogurt.  I know that 'frozen yogurt' doesn't sound appealing, but if you experienced it, your opinion would change quickly.  Chelsea snapped the picture below as we left with our treasured desserts.  Yes, those would be chunks of brownie, cookie dough, and cheesecake sticking out the tops of our bowls!  So delicious!
Sweet CeCe's Frozen Yogurt & Treats
With our desserts happily in hand, we returned to my apartment to enjoy Chelsea's other Vineyard purchase, 'Soul Surfer'.  I had wanted to see this movie when it was in theater's but was not able to, so this was a great opportunity for me!
Great movie!!  The story of Bethany Hamilton overcoming
a traumatic shark attack and persevering.
"I can do all things through Him who gives me strength." - Philippians 4:13

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

One Month Until Race for the Cure

In one month, I will be walking in the Evansville Race for the Cure!  I am excited and nervous because I still have a lot of fundraising to do and need more people for my team.  At this point, I am the only person on my team, so it doesn't really count as a team.  If you are interested in donating to this great cause, or live in the Evansville area and would like to register to be on my team, please following the link to do so!

Sunday, August 21, 2011


I first learned about PostSecret from my older sister who now owns at least three of the books.  Just in case you've not heard about it, I'll explain.  People from all over the world send postcards, letters, pictures, and various other things to a man who compiles them into books and posts them online through Facebook, Twitter, and a blog.  Some of the entries sent in are simple, but others are heartbreaking, thought-provoking, and deep.
This is my favorite.
"i fear that i'm going to be alone for the rest of my life...."
"and i don't want to have to settle in order not to be."

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Ellie and Molly: Baby Dogs

My dachshunds, Ellie and Molly, are almost 17 weeks old and have just started to lose their baby teeth which is wonderful for me since they often "accidentally" bite me while they play.  I have finally uploaded pictures from the first few weeks I had them - back when they only weighed 3-6 pounds each as opposed to now weighing in at 10.6-12.4 pounds each.



Ellie and Molly cuddling with a couple stuffed animals.

Ellie and Molly lazily wrestling in bed with all the toys.

Molly and Ellie playing tug-o-war over a peanut butter flavored chew bone.

The girls fell asleep listening to Samuel Rice of RunR play live at the Duck Inn.
 My cute baby dogs...I love them!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Thirteen Seasons

Two days ago, I tooted my own horn in my post 'I Am Too Nice'.  Tonight, I toot a different horn, that of RunR also known as "Samuel Rice and a plethora of friends."  'Thirteen Seasons' is a new album that hasn't officially been released, but the CD is for sale.  I know, sounds backward, but it is what it is.
Below you will find a list of songs, most of which include links to YouTube videos or SoundCloud so you can listen for free.  However, if you would like to have a shiny CD of your very own, let me know and I can arrange it.
Samuel Rice of RunR - Thirteen Seasons
1. Every Girl
2. Agony Hill
3. Boy Shorts
4. Don't Go
5. Dara
6. Consolation Prize (My Favorite)
7. Ripped
8. Holly Likes This One
9. YOGOOIWYPII (You Only Get Out Of It What You Put Into It)
10. Perfectionist

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Big Brothers Big Sisters

I know that between three jobs and two puppies I should feel more than content with my current commitments; however, over the past month I have felt like something is missing.  When friends started talking excitedly about returning to college soon, I realized that I was kind of jealous.  Most definitely not because I wish I was still taking classes - I cannot explain how ecstatic I am to have graduated - but, because I can no longer be involved in student organizations.  I made them such a big part of who I was in college, and now that's over.
So, I started thinking about what I could do to fill that void without giving up every last moment of free time that I occasionally have.  Community engagement is what I feel I am missing, so it is what I sought.  I remembered that I met some ladies from Big Brothers Big Sisters at a Chamber Networking News meeting during my internship with the American Red Cross.  Shortly after sending a couple emails, filling out the appropriate paperwork, and waiting for reference checks, I was accepted and asked to an interview.  I was (unnecessarily) somewhat nervous about the interview.  What if I say the wrong thing?  What if I don't know how to answer a question?  Turned out I was silly to feel that way.
I have just gotten home from the best interview ever - at least for me.  I met with two ladies from Big Brothers Big Sisters at Barnes & Noble and chat-chitted about everything that popped into our heads while also discussing the responsibilities of a Big, the potential obstacles that might be experienced with a Little, and appropriate boundaries to set with the Little and the Little's family so as not to feel burdened.  It was wonderful to sit in an interview where everyone was sharing.  In fact, we were there for three hours.  I left feeling like I had known these women for years, and even have plans to meet one of them at the church I was already planning to check out near my apartment.  So, be on the look-out for my post about my Little match, because I'm really excited!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

I Am Too Nice

Not to toot my own horn, but...I am too nice!  I am nice to the point that I irritate myself.  Sure, I can be rude and snarky, sarcastic and stubborn, and even self-righteous and judgmental.  But, most of the time - at least to people's faces - I am just too nice.
I know that I need help sometimes and that's part of why I feel I need to give it when I can.  There are plenty of people I am perfectly happy to help in any way I can.  But there are others who seem like they would be better off if they were forced to get by on their own so they can learn from it, yet I'm still their crutch.  As the crutch, I am preventing them from learning to be self-sufficient, mature, and responsible...or at least this is what I tell myself when trying (and failing) to convince myself to put my foot down.
Anyway, the point is it bugs me that I can't tell people "no" and let people take advantage of my kindness.  All the while I'm "helping" them, I'm silently asking myself questions. "Why won't they leave me alone?" "Why can't they bother someone else?" "Why can't I tell them to just go away?"
I think the reason is that I'm afraid they'll think I'm a bad person.  I'm afraid that they will blame me for their continued misfortune and that I'll blame myself as well.  I'm afraid to make them mad or upset them.  I'm afraid of what they'll think and afraid to make myself feel like a bad person.  I know that it is normal and healthy to be able to set boundaries, but I simply can't do it.

Monday, August 8, 2011

You Take Me The Way I Am

Thank you Ingrid Michaelson for 'The Way I Am'!

If you were falling, then I would catch you.
You need a light, I'd find a match.

'Cause I love the way you say good morning.
And you take me the way I am.

If you are chilly, here take my sweater.
Your head is aching, I'll make it better.

'Cause I love the way you call me baby.
And you take me the way I am.

I'd buy you Rogaine when you start losing all your hair.
Sew on patches to all you tear.

'Cause I love you more than I could ever promise.
And you take me the way I am.
You take me the way I am.
You take me the way I am.

Love: Knowing a person - the good, the bad, the adorable, the annoying, and the quirky - and appreciating him or her for exactly who he or she is.

He Almost Did the Right Thing...Then Messed It Up

Last night, I was working my restaurant shift and a mid-twenty-something man walked in.  Thinking he was someone else, I casually said, "Hey" then quickly thought, "Crap! I don't know this guy at all."  Attempting to save face - mine and the restaurant's - I walked over to where he sat at the bar and apologized for my overly casual greeting.  However, after getting a closer look at him, I realize I did know him...I thought.  But, I definitely wasn't going to mention it unless I knew for sure.  Since he was waiting for a to-go order, I asked the bartender for the name on the order, and it was exactly what I had expected it to be.  So, I went back over to him and withdrew my apology, informing him that as it turned out I knew exactly who he was, but hadn't seen him since he graduated high school in 2002, three years ahead of me.  We chit-chatted (or chat-chitted for you Dane Cook fans) for a few minutes while his order was completed about what we've been up to for the last nine years.  We discussed our jobs, his pregnant wife, the musical we were both involved with in high school, and randomness.  As he was leaving, he started to say something but stopped.  When I asked what he'd said, he dismissed it and walked out of the restaurant.  I returned to what I had been doing before he came in and not even thirty seconds later he stood in front of me again.  "If I weren't married, I'd definitely ask you out.  You're a beautiful woman."

To quote Reese Witherspoon as June Carter in 'Walk the Line', "There's too many 'if's in that sentence."  If he weren't married, he wouldn't have even been in the restaurant last night picking up dinner for his wife with whom he's expecting his first daughter next month.  If he weren't married, he might be dating someone else anyway.  If he weren't married, the scenarios are endless.  But none of those scenarios matter because he is married.

While I appreciated the ego boost of his compliment, it was completely inappropriate.  And, to make it worse, he obviously knew this or he wouldn't have stopped himself from saying it when he left the restaurant the first time.  He knew it was wrong, but made the effort of coming back inside to say it anyway.  He almost did the right thing...then messed it up!

So, I guess the point of my rambling is this: If you're with someone, be completely devoted.  You will still notice and appreciate other people, but you shouldn't verbalize it or act on it in any way.  If you aren't happy with your relationship, get out.  It is more fair to end a relationship than only be in it by technicality.  A relationship should be more about love than obligation.  If your heart isn't in it, neither are you.  Be faithful or be done.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Journey to Higher Standards

Today, a very good friend of mine posted in Journey To Sand Castles about a few different topics and I had a lengthy comment to share.  However, for some reason, even after several attempts I wasn't able to post the comment.  I have decided to share my comment as a blog post instead but it will make more sense if you take a moment to read her post first.

"Your rant sounds so familiar, it's almost like I could hear your voice actually telling it to me. Oh wait! That's probably because we've had these exact conversations before...minus the Moose Munch Coffee which you've never mentioned.
I haven't seen the movie, but thought it looked good. I agree with you that there is WAY too much sex in movies these days, especially since I have a baby about to turn 13 and wouldn't want her watching half of the PG13 movies I've seen even though I know that due to not living in a bubble she probably already knows about all of it anyway.
Without having to see the people you're refering to, I completely agree! PUT CLOTHES ON PEOPLE! I'm a size 2 and wear a one piece bathing suit...you don't have to be naked to look good. Ladies, wear something that fits and you'll look so much better! Boys, chances are you probably don't have anything we ladies want to see. So save yourself some embarassment and cover your scrawny, pasty selves.

I would like to clarify for those of you who don't know me that my "baby about to turn 13" is actually my younger sister.  I don't have children, but have siblings who are much younger than me.

I would also like to clarify that wearing bathing suits and two pieces in not only acceptable, but expected during warm weather.  However, respect yourself enough to cover what ought to remain covered.  When you're on the beach with friends or family (or in a family friendly location), you shouldn't look like you're shooting a PlayBoy centerfold or a spread for the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition.  Hustler is definitely out of the question.  You can be sexy and attractive without being a slutty hoe.

Guys, I know its hot outside, but wear a t-shirt or tank top, please unless you are in one of the locations Chelsea* mentioned as acceptable.  I have a neighbor who never wears a shirt.  The only time I see him going into or out of his apartment with a shirt on is when he is leaving for work or has just gotten home from work.  But, after work, he goes into his apartment and within five minutes comes back outside without the shirt.  This is why I refer to him to my family as "my shirtless neighbor" instead of using his name.  I'm sure he's simply attempting to display his masculinity, but I'd rather he didn't.  I'm sure his wife also would prefer he clothe himself in public.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Don't Be a Slut - "What It Means to be a Grown-Up"

Don't Be a Slut is a very real and interesting blog.  I appreciate the writer's honesty, especially in her post titled "What It Means to be a Grown-Up".  The best line is "A grown-up is someone who takes 100-percent responsibility for the quality of his or her life."
It is so much easier to blame other's for our unhappiness or for the situations we find ourselves in, but in all honesty, we've made the choices that brought us to this point.  No one else chose for me.  No one else chose for you.

Truly Madly Deeply

In an attempt to be inspired to write, I have read numerous articles and blogs over the past few days.  While I have had many thoughts and come up with mini ideas, I haven't managed to write anything substantial.  It's all a work in progree I suppose.
However, I couldn't help but think about what is it that I long for, and I have determined that I want to have the kind of love Savage Garden sang about.