Be Beautiful

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This print caught my eye today while Mia and I were on our ladies date. I took her to enjoy a slice of the best vegan zucchini bread that Charlotte has to offer before we raided the local Marshall’s department store. I’ve been thinking a lot today about how we as women get caught in the comparison trap only a few thousand times a day. Or perhaps that’s just me. I want to hang this on her wall so she might grow up always knowing that her mommy thinks she is incomparably lovely.

… and so are you.

Now shop ’til you drop….

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Favorite Apps

What did we do before touch screens, smart phones, and data usage plans? To think that just five years ago, I was using a flip phone {remember those?} and becoming quite the proficient with the T9 word generator. Now, to leave the house without my iPhone would be the equivalent of forgetting to put pants on. It’s not merely a tool, nor is it an accessory. It is a necessary appendage! And then suddenly, even as I type this, I am humming R.E.M. The End Of The World As We Know It as the fate of Western civilization is sure to rest in the hands of Apple technology. As true as this may be, one of the things I love most about living in a first world nation, besides religious freedom and sleeping indoors of course, is the world of knowledge, inspiration, and organization at my fingertips. Here are a few of my favorite apps:

Instagram
… because everyone and everything looks better through a Hefe filter

Bloglovin’
Here I’ve compiled all my favorite blogs and I can read them like a newsfeed with a cup of hot tea at the end of a long day.

Pinterest
…organized inspiration in the palm of your hands

Etsy
{I “heart” Etsy}

Yelp
I like to know that there’s a Starbucks within a twenty mile radius from where I’m standing at all times

My Fitness Pal
Calorie counting is so hi-ma, unless you have someone to do it for you. With My Fitness Pal, you can literally create a profile of your height current/goal weight and create a weight loss plan that you can track from anywhere. For instance, you can plug in Krispy Kreme Original Glazed doughnut and 200 calories will automatically be deducted from your daily caloric intake. Genius.

IMapMyRun
Every runner should keep a log. This app lets me track my speed and milage with a GPS tracker. And I also “heart” IMapMyRun.

Epicurious
…thousands of recipes and customized shopping lists for when you find yourself in the middle of the baking aisle and you suddenly get a hankering for Chocolate-Oatmeal Moon Pies

Shazam
Have you ever been in a cafe or a dressing room and heard a song but you couldn’t figure out the artist or song title? Shazam it, and then you impress all your hipster friends with the title of the latest Bonobo track.

oh and of course…

Angry Birds
{Just try it and you’ll see why I call this the “marital bonding” app.}

What are some of your favorite apps?

Tuesday Fortune

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Who would have ever thought cleaning out the minivan would be so inspiring?

Happy Tuesday everyone!

Rainy Day Tea Towels

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Image via Loud Mouse Etsy Shop

I am registering Salem for preschool this week. Technically Mia is old enough to join a class as well, but I like the idea of having “Mommy & Mia” mornings while big brother goes to school. We rarely have time just the two of us, so I am already planning special things for us to do during our girl time. These Rainy Day Tea Towels are perfect for making memories on gloomy days. Do you have any special mother/daughter memories?

Camp

Clark and I took the kids to camp this weekend. Ordinarily when I hear the word “camp”, I have visions of shower shoes, shaving cream fights, and roach motels. Those were the sort of camps that I visited growing up. For Salem and Mia however, their first camp experience was five-star compared to mine. Our wilderness experience included a cozy fireplace, a wrap around porch, rocking chairs, and high speed internet. I had to catch myself from using my woeful camping tales to guilt my kids into eating their gourmet french toast breakfast. “Kids, be thankful. When I was a camper, we had to hike 5 miles uphill both ways in the snow to the Slop Shack for a crust of moldy bread and pray that no one pelted us with a balloon full of shaving cream before we got there. Now eat up.” Of course, no camp experience is complete until some poor underclassmen gets elected to consume a cafeteria concoction of Dr. Pepper, scrambled egg, and toothpaste. Camp just isn’t camp unless somebody pukes. So while this camp experience was first rate, it still had its fair share of disgusting moments if only to maintain camping integrity.

We weren’t exactly campers though. We were invited to lead the music for a weekend student ministry retreat which meant that Salem was never sighted without a set of makeshift drum sticks in his hands, and Mia was known to break out into spontaneous dancing at any given moment. It is a good thing that this is not the sort of ministry that frowns on dancing because Mia’s diapered moves look a tad bit like she’s auditioning for a BET music video. Get low, Sweet Pea. It was a family affair, and for Clark and I, it held special significance. We have been coming to this camp since before we were married. If you’ve been following the Story of Us, you know that music is what brought us together. Now that we are going on seven years of marriage, moments like this weekend are more relationship building than they are about the music. Somewhere around the second verse we start getting nostalgic thinking about all the places we’ve been and people we’ve met on our musical journey, and next thing you know, we’re honeymooners all over again. For some couples it’s tennis or wine making or Scrabble that brings them back to center. For Clark and I, it is going hoarse in front of 400 kids who were taking their first steps when I was graduating from college. Who said anything about feeling old?

I was scrolling through some shots of this weekend’s event when I came across this photo.

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Ladies and Gentlemen, give it up for A Vision in Stripes

Do you think we stopped to ponder even for a slight moment our match-y match-y couples moment before stepping on stage that night? And what is with the goofy grins? As fashion faux pas as we may be, there are few things I love doing more than what you see here. 

Beasley and Beasley give this camp experience two thumbs up. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to go iron our new His and Hers towels.

Valentine’s Day Breakfast for Dinner

While I had every intention of re-creating last year’s Julie & Julia Valentine’s Day dinner party, complete with Julia’s beouf bourguignon, this holiday snuck up on me so fast, I had absolutely no time to prepare. So there I was yesterday morning rummaging around the refrigerator in a pre-caffeinated stupor with not so much as a heart-shaped Little Debbie to show for this being the Loooove holiday much less any beouf. And then all of a sudden, a half-eaten package of Vermont maple syrup sausage inspired me with an idea for the evening’s festivities. One dozen red roses, some tacky pjs, a few wine cork place card holders, and a pan full of pink pancakes later and voila! It was a Valentine’s Day breakfast-for-dinner party!

The night was a smash hit topped off by the best two out of three rounds of Scene It. Have you ever played that game? I never thought I was competitive until I discovered Scene It. And then its all fun and games until someone identifies an early years image of Michael J. Foxx before I do and the next thing you know I’m about to lose my Christian witness. Must remember to work on that. The good news is, my team won! Not bad for a girl without cable television.

This blog post is brought to you this afternoon from my dining room table, still covered in roses and mismatched lace doilies beneath red paper chain link garland and a ginormous “I Love You” banner. With all the love in my heart, I wish you a Happy Valentine’s Week from my family to yours.

The Story of Us: The Futon

Last night, Clark and I cozied up on the futon to watch Contagion. Fantastic movie, but for those of you that have seen it, doesn’t it make you want to hit the pause button immediately and go wash your hands? And for crying out loud, stop touching your face! Anyway, to lighten the mood a bit, I said, “Hey Babe, do you ever stop and think that this was futon on which we had our very first official make-out?” Then we laughed about how if we knew then how many poopie diapers we would have changed on that futon, we may have chosen an alternate location. Nevertheless, that is where it all began, but not before I tried to break up with Clark… on the futon.

We had been dating nearly three weeks. A tale-worthy first date, a near train wreck second date and on the third date, a solid gold DTR {for those of you that didn’t subject yourself to the Christian college experience and therefore did not spend the better part of your 20’s recovering from it, DTR stands for “define the relationship”.} The truth is, I had never had a guy treat me the way that Clark did. When he looked at me, he saw me. If we were in a crowd, he acted as though we were the only two people in the room. Whether it was my Starbucks order, my favorite song, or my parent’s first names, he committed everything I said to long-term memory as though there would be a pop-quiz at the end of the night. He made me feel beautiful and witty and worthy, which was an entirely new experience for me. He didn’t even try to play games, and I found his lack of mystery endearing and inviting. I also found it a bit treacherous. After all, there was bound to be a catch, a quirk, a fatal flaw somewhere in him. I half expected to see his mug shot on America’s Most Wanted or to find out that he had a wife and three kids who lived in Montana. It was too perfect, especially for someone who spent $100 a pop on the shrink’s couch waiting for the other shoe to drop. I couldn’t bear the thought, so I figured I would drop it first.

One night on the futon, I proceeded to deliver what I thought was a pretty darn convincing Dear John speech complete with all the old standby’s.

“I need to focus on my career right now.”

“I’m not sure how I feel about you.”

I think I may have even said, “It’s not you. It’s me.”

I took a deep breath before he said anything, fully anticipating him to head for the exit muttering, “See ya ’round”. I mean, if I was ever going to get rid of Clark Beasley, this was my chance. Never in a million years did I expect him to say…

“I’m Not. Going. Anywhere.”

Now, those of you that know Clark know that he is way more considerate of other people than myself. He would rather crawl in a cave and be bludgeoned to death by Cornish Pixies than impose himself on anyone. This doesn’t make him a pansy. It just makes him, well, nicer than I am. But that night on the futon, he meant business. He wasn’t going down without a fight. His “No sale” response to my compelling argument obliterated his charming Nice Guy image which completely threw me off. I thought, “Any minute now, he’s going to pull out a big wooden club and grab me by the pony tail and say, ‘Ounga Uunga’.” The man knew what he wanted and what he wanted was me and he made it quite clear right then and there that he wasn’t going anywhere…not in a psycho-stalker, Martin Burney sort of way, but in a way that made me feel like the most desired woman in the world. And I was hooked, right up until a few nights later when he told me that he loved me over the phone to which I responded…

“DON’T EVER SAY THAT TO ME AGAIN!!!!!”

Who says that?!?! The point is, I did not make it easy on Clark Beasley. He showed up bearing his heart on his sleeve while I kept mine under lock and key. It took a crowbar, a slim jim, and some elbow grease, but he managed to open me up to the idea that this could very well be it. From that day on, Clark Beasley and I spent every waking moment together, and most nights we fell asleep talking on the phone.  He carefully refrained from using the “L-word” until I was ready to say in back. It only took me a month. Once I did say, “I love you” {which was an accident by the way} it sent our budding romance into overdrive.

And that is where our story must conclude for today as my blasted computer battery is about to die.

Have a great weekend… and don’t forget to wash your hands!

 

Moving with Style

I’m digging out of the yard sale pile long enough for a hot cup of tea and some creative inspiration. I have Moving Day on the brain, and as previously stated, moving is NEVER fun. At the very least, the moving announcement ought to be somewhat cheery.

Care to help me pick one?

Etude Designs Zany Moving Announcement 

Minted moving announcement by Oh So Beautiful Paper

Map-Inspired moving announcement by Martha Stewart

The Perfect Match moving announcement by Minted

I just found this picture and I fell in love. If Clark and I were this adorable and we had in 800 vintage hard covers and a beat up military jeep and cat in the hat socks this would surely be my announcement of choice.

Hot tea and creative inspiration break over…. Back to cleaning out the linen closet {sigh}.

Martha’s Moving Checklist

The Beasley Estate currently looks like it is preparing for a visit from the Junk Gypsies. The hallway is stacked overhead with books and VHS tapes, outgrown baby clothes and hideous lamps that I have held on to “just in case” I decide to redecorate in a seashell motif. And why? I’m hosting a yard sale this weekend to raise money for a relief mission to Japan, and seeing as we are movin’ on up, Louise, I thought this would be a fine time to check off the first “to-do” on Martha Stewart’s moving checklist. Moving is so daunting, isn’t it? The only thing I am looking forward to is the inspiration that comes with redesigning a new space… minus the seashells of course.

The Story of Us: Artichokes and Dr. Phil

Our first date was a smashing success {as smashingly successful as awkward first dates go}.  Aside from possessing all of the chivalrous qualities that can make a girl swoon, Clark managed to do everything right. He listened to the little birdie who informed him of my favorite restaurant. He listened intently from across the table, all of his non-verbals indicating he was taking permanent mental note of every word I said as thought they were all dripping with pure brilliance. He didn’t make me feel like a complete moron when I ordered the Fire-Roasted Fresh Artichoke and much to my surprise a whole artichoke arrived at the table. Do you have any idea how to eat a whole artichoke? Neither did I. He asked scintillating questions about everything from my world travels to how I take my tea to how many siblings I have to my beliefs on speaking in tongues.

{insert record scratch…cue voice over}
“Need a moment?”

To this day, I’ve asked Clark what on Earth possessed him to ask me if I believed in speaking in tongues on our very first date. He said that he wasn’t quite sure why he asked me– that he was just making conversation. Come to find out that the same little birdie who told him I like restaurants that serve edibly challenging finger foods also told him that I grew up in the pentecostal church. Looking back, I think he may have subconsciously wanted to know if I was a practicing pentecostal as he would then have to figure out how he was going to bring a tongue-talking, streamer-twirling, shofar-blowing, Charisma magazine subscriber home to meet his Southern Baptist mama. But I told him I hadn’t waved the Lion of Judah banner in years so… we’re square. In spite of the awkward appetizer and and the even awkward-er topic of spiritual conversation, I happily agreed to a second date with Clark Beasley.

Two weeks {and one South American adventure} later, I opened my front door to a bubble-blowing Clark Beasley wearing a T-shirt that read, “Plays Well with Others”. I mean, really girls. What’s not to love? It was Date Number Two and Clark had tickets for us to go see Marc Broussard in concert. He took me out for a steak dinner before the show where I proceeded to break the cardinal rule of all Second Date Cardinal Rules. I told him my ENTIRE LIFE STORY complete with disappointments and tragedies and lots of sentences that began with “…and then one time when I was six” and “my counselor told me…” Here’s a tip, ladies…

DON’T. EVER. DO. THAT!

The thing is, I just felt so comfortable with him, but even as the words were coming out of my mouth, I had this sort of out-of-body experience where my second {and more sober-minded} body was screaming “You idiot! You are so gonna blow this!” Even before I had finished my filet, I was thoroughly convinced that this would be my last date with Clark Beasley. Classic me. Open mouth. Insert a WHOLE ARTICHOKE.

After dinner, we headed downtown to a club for a little “Bayou Soul”. I’m singing along to all of my favorite Marc Broussard tunes when suddenly Clark leans over and asks me if I want to dance. See now, the thing about most Carencro lovers is that they don’t exactly dance at Marc Broussard shows which means we would be the only two people in a room of about 250 slow dancing to “Lonely Night in Georgia”. Still, it was the least I could do after I had just mistaken Clark for my shrink at dinner. He took my hand and pulled me in close and I felt it. That glorious feeling you get when you suddenly realize you are attracted to someone…. like hot wax has somehow replaced every drop of blood in your veins. I love that feeling! It was a magical moment…. right up until two stranded musician friends asked us if they could bum a ride home in the back of Clark’s van. That was the end of the magic…. for now at least. But not all was lost. I was digging Clark Beasley and I had the slow dance to prove it.

The miraculous happened and Clark forgot about my Dr. Phil moment enough to ask me out on a third date where he proceeded to do the unfathomable.

He stated his intentions.

I didn’t even know guys did that anymore. Mind you, I had just endured the last six months with the Commitment-Phobe World Traveller, so to hear a guy with whom I felt the Magical Hot Wax say that he wanted to date me and only me was enough to make me want to attempt a roundoff back handspring triple tuck right into his leather-clad arms! SOLD!! to the musician with the DTR!

It was spectacular. It was kismet. It was more than my feminine heart could have ever hoped for or imagined. Which is precisely why one week later…

I broke up with Clark Beasley.