Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Pinkies Up! It's Fancy Dinner.

Since 2006 my two best friends and I have had a tradition called “fancy dinner”. It all came about because one day we decided that we wanted to dress up and have dinner using the nice plates. However, since then fancy dinner has changed. Sometimes we dress up, sometimes we wear pajamas, sometimes we cook, sometimes we get take out. No matter what, we always use the nice plates. It’s funny because the three of us eat together all the time; we go out to lunch or out to dinner or just hang out all the time. Really the only thing that’s different is that we call it “fancy dinner” and we stay home to eat.
Anyways, we had fancy dinner tonight and we actually dressed up and cooked dinner and dessert- the dinner was grilled cheese and canned peaches, but it was dinner nonetheless! So after we cooked our grilled cheeses and opened the can of peaches, we got out the fancy champagne glasses, filled them with water, and took our fancy selves to the dining room for a nice dinner. Of course, like most of the recent fancy dinners, to dinner conversation quickly turned to things that could be considered less than appropriate dinner conversation. But we laughed, ate, sang, and even tried our special dessert (don’t worry, this dessert will be getting a blog post of its own soon).
I love these girls and I love fancy dinner, and I especially love that we can get together and do anything at all and still have a good time!

2006. Our first fancy dinner. We set up a table outside and lit candles and got all dressy. We ate takeout from a burger place.

2007. Fancy spaghetti dinner.

2008. Fettucini alfredo and grapples for fancy dinner. We decided not to dress up.

2009. Dressed up. Takeout grilled cheese and fries.

2010. Lots of awkward dinner conversation!

2011. Tonight's fancy dinner! :)

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Label Jars Not People

Spread the word to end the word! Take the pledge.
The R-word, “retard,” is slang for mentally retarded. Mental retardation used to refer to significant intellectual impairment. However, today the r-word has become a common word used by society as an insult for someone stupid. So what’s wrong with the R-word?
1. The R-word is exclusive. It takes a group of people with intellectual disabilities and separates them from everyone else.
2. The R-word ignores individuality. Everyone is different and special in their own ways. Why do we feel the need to classify people?
3. The R-word equates intellectual disability with being dumb or stupid. It implies that the only characteristic of a person who is mentally handicapped is their mental capacity.
4. The R-word hurts. Words hurt. And when you say ‘retard’ or ‘retarded’ you are spreading hurt.
5. The R-word is offensive. It emphasizes negative stereotypes surrounding people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
6. The R-word is incorrect. Intellectual disability. Mentally challenged. Developmentally impaired. NOT retarded.
7. The R-word is derogatory. Because it has become a casual description of anything negative or flawed, the word ‘retarded’ now has a negative connotation and is hurtful.
8. The R-word is hate speech. The dehumanization of people, the mockery, is just another form of hate.

Growing up, I always knew my family was different. It was not until I was a little bit older that I came to understand that my aunt had Down Syndrome. She was such a funny woman with a very unique personality. She loved pudding and playing cards more than anyone I knew! Although she was different and what some people might consider “retarded”, she was still a person. She was someone’s daughter, someone’s sister, someone’s aunt. Unfortunately, when I was in the 7th grade, she passed away. In 12th grade, I did my senior project about inclusion and disabilities and put together a game night at the local YMCA for children with and without intellectual disabilities, so that they could come together and play and understand that we are all more alike than we are different. And it’s that exact message that I want to spread still today. So instead of spreading hate and the r-word, let’s spread inclusion and the thought that we are all unique and special in our own ways! Spread the word to end the word!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

And the World Spins Madly On

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”

I’ve heard this quote numerous times and each time I have thought to myself “aw, this is nice”, and I move on with my day. But for some reason, this quote has really meant more to me lately. There are times in every persons life when there is some sort of seemingly life altering event- it may be the death of a friend or family member, or it may be that your dog is missing. No matter how big or small the event, everyone will have a moment where their world seems to stop spinning.
I have had this moment, most recently earlier this summer when a friend of mine went missing. When something like this is going on in your life, it becomes hard to understand how everyone else is going about their normal lives. I remember sitting in Barnes and Noble and seeing people laughing and smiling. In those few moments I was so angry and confused. I didn’t understand how these people could possibly be happy when there was something so life changing going on. After talking to some other friends involved in the situation, we realized that, as depressing as it may sound, this is reality everyday for someone.

Everyday someone gets life changing news and their world as they know it seems to halt to a stop. And yet people around them continue to go about their everyday lives as though nothing is happening. So, it’s not wrong to be happy and to laugh and to live and enjoy life. That is what we should be doing. But we also must remember that everyday somebody is going through a battle that we cannot even imagine.

Be happy. Be thankful. Be kind.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Loving and NOT loving

Hello friends!
First of all, can you believe that it is the middle of June? Where the heck did this month go? I thought I’d share with yall a list of 10 things that I am loving and hating right now.

5 Things I’m Loving Right Now:
1. Music. I always love music, but right now I’m enjoying some new favorites like “Who Says” by Selena Gomez, “Not Over You” by Gavin DeGraw, “Why You Wanna” by Jana Kramer, and “The Edge of Glory” by Lady Gaga.
2. My new WaterBobble. Seriously. You can ask anybody who knows me, I suck at drinking water. However, after getting my new bobble last week, I have been drinking water like a champion!
3. Air Conditioning. My air conditioning in my car was out for a little while and it was seriously terrible. But it made me so grateful to have air conditioning that works. It’s so nice to be able to enjoy the summer and the outdoors, but to know that I can come inside and cool down in the air. Plus, without A/C my POTS would probably kill me!
4. Blueberries. Yum. My mom just bought a huge container of blueberries and I have been devouring them. The thing I love about blueberries is that they are so versatile. They are good cold, they are good warm, they are good with sugar, milk, honey, peanut butter, or even plain. And they are healthy!
5. Happy Little Lovelies. Happy Little Lovelies is a little Etsy shop that features unique handmade jewelry and accessories. Her stuff is seriously adorable and I can’t wait to make a few purchases. You should click on the link above and check out some of the cute things!

5 Things I’m NOT Loving Right Now:
1. Packing. I’m so over it. I packed up my entire apartment after graduation. Then unpacked. Then packed up to move to Myrtle Beach. And then unpacked. And then packed up to come home. And then unpacked. And then packed more stuff to come home. And then unpacked. And then packed to go to a wedding. And unpacked. And now I am packing for another road trip/wedding and I feel like I just want to throw my suitcase across the room.
2. My appetite. I can’t stop eating lately and it’s making me so frustrated. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve been traveling and I love to snack in the car, or because it’s summer, or what the heck is going on, but I seriously feel like I’ve been hungry for the past 2 weeks straight.
3. Bad dreams. I have been having really bad dreams for the past month and I hate it. They aren’t the type of dreams that wake me up in the middle of the night; but instead I find myself thinking about them a lot throughout the next day.
4. The price of gas. Because I am traveling so much and don’t have a job, the price of gas makes me sad. I was looking at an old picture today and in the background you can see that the price of gas was $2.15. That would be fantastic if we could go back to that.
5. Beyonce’s song “Run the World”. This song plays on the radio 24/7 and I absolutely do not like it. The tune, the words, everything about it just annoys me. Yet, it’s everywhere!

So, what things are you loving and not loving right now?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Too Young For This

Love. "Love is more than three words mumbled before bedtime. Love is sustained by action, a pattern of devotion in the things we do for each other every day." - Nicholas Sparks.

This weekend I went to a wedding of one of my best friends and I was reminded that true love really does exist and that it is beautiful. You see, I am apparently at that age (21) where all of my friends are getting engaged and married. Is that normal? Someone please let me know; cause I’ve never done this whole ‘growing up’ thing and I’m not exactly sure of a typical timeline. But I’m fairly certain that 21 is rather young to have all of your friends getting married. Now, don’t get me wrong- I love a good love story and a fun wedding. I mean, what’s not to love about two people in love, and free food. But all the free wedding cake in the world can’t mask that little ache that happens in your heart every time you go to a friends wedding. After leaving the wedding this past weekend, I couldn’t help but think about what I would want my dress to look like, and my colors, and my menu, and my guest list. Unfortunately, I still need a husband. Actually I need a guy friend first, then a boyfriend, then a fiance, and THEN a husband. I used to think 21 was so young and that I still had so much time, but I don’t know anymore. Suddenly, some how at 21 I already feel so behind. Sometimes I even find myself thinking “gosh, at this rate, will I ever get married?” But that is just silly thinking! At what rate? I’m 21 years old. Barely old enough to drink, and not old enough to rent a car. I mean, if you still some of your favorite TV shows are on Disney Channel or ABC Family, are you really old enough to get married? I don’t know. I’m not here to judge anyone else’s relationships or their marriages. And I certainly am not doubting the couple that got married this past weekend (they are older, mature, wiser, and so in love. Plus their relationship is centered around God, which I think makes for a strong foundation).
Anyways, my point is this…

I’m really too young to be feeling this old.

"Oh hey. Will somebody get me my tricycle. I have to go get married real fast. I promise I'll be back for Barney and a nap!"

Friday, June 10, 2011

Retail Therapy

Holy moley, these last few weeks have been stressful! In the past month I graduated college, moved out of my apartment, moved into a hotel room in Myrtle Beach, did some nannying, went through a very public/personal crisis when a friend went missing, moved half of my stuff back to Wilmington, drove back to Myrtle to pack up my hotel room, unpacked everything at my house in Wilmington, and then repacked to leave for a wedding tomorrow. Needless to say, I have been a bit frazzled. However, I have gotten to spend some fun time with friends and family and even took a few friends down to Myrtle Beach with me to have a girls trip/help me move out of my hotel trip. Luckily, my dad believes in retail therapy and gave me some money to go shopping with for our little trip. The trip was a great way to have a mini vacation (without having to pack) and spend time with friends! Plus the shopping in Myrtle is always fantastic. So I thought I would share with you some of my purchases:

A nice blue strapless from Body Central...

A fun floral romper from BCBG Max Azria

A classy tweed dress from Body Central

A soft blue V-neck from Old Navy

aaaand last, but not least...

A Water Bobble! If you haven't heard of these fabulous water bottles, please click on the link and check them out. They are environmentally friendly, come in fun colors, and are a cheaper alternative to normal bottled water!

Those are my most recent buys. What is your favorite retail therapy? Shoes? Purses? DVDS? Books? Let me know!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Life Advice

Because I have hit a massive creativity/blogger drought, I have decided to keep this post simple with some advice from the wise Baz Luhrnmann:

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth- oh never mind, you won’t understand the power and beauty of your youth until they have faded. But trust me, in 20 years you’ll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked. You’re not as fat as you imagine. Don’t worry about the future-or worry at all. Know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubblegum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind; the kind that blindside you at 4pm on some idle Tuesday. Do one thing everyday that scares you. Sing. Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts and don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours. Floss. Don’t waste your time on jealousy-sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind…the race is long, and in the end, it’s only with yourself. Remember the compliments you receive. Forget the insults; and if you succeed in doing this, tell me how. Keep your old love letters. Throw away your old bank statements. Stretch. Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life-the most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40 year olds I know still don’t. Get plenty of calcium. Be kind to your knees, you’ll miss them when they’re gone. Maybe you’ll marry, maybe you won’t, maybe you’ll have children, maybe you won’t, maybe you’ll divorce at 40, maybe you’ll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary. What ever you do, don’t congratulate yourself too much or berate yourself either – your choices are half chance, so are everybody else’s. Enjoy your body, use it every way you can. Don’t be afraid of it, or what other people think of it. It’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own. Dance, even if you have nowhere to do it but in your own living room. Read the directions, even if you don’t follow them. Do NOT read beauty magazines, they will only make you feel ugly. Get to know your parents, you never know when they’ll be gone for good. Be nice to your siblings; they are the best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future. Understand that friends come and go, but for the precious few you should hold on. Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle because the older you get, the more you need the people you knew when you were young. Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard. Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft. Travel. Accept certain inalienable truths, prices will rise, politicians will philander, you too will get old, and when you do you’ll fantasize that when you were young prices were reasonable, politicians were noble and children respected their elders. Respect your elders. Don’t expect anyone else to support you. Maybe you have a trust fund, maybe you have a wealthy spouse; but you never know when either one might run out. Don’t mess too much with your hair, or by the time you're 40, it will look 85. Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who supply it. And don't forget to wear sunscreen.


Monday, June 6, 2011

A Letter to My Younger Self

So, I’m home from Myrtle 2 weeks earlier than expected (long story, not getting into it). But this means I have had more time at home to hang out with family and friends. Today I happened to pull out the old video recorder and decided to take a stroll down memory lane. I watched myself evolve from a tiny (and ugly) 2 month old to a long, skinny 17 year old. It was weird to watch this little girl and I had to keep reminding myself that the little girl was me. There were so many times when I caught myself laughing and thinking “haha, what a cute little girl,” or “ugh, that kid is so whiny.” The videos made me happy and sad all at the same time. They made me happy because I had such a great childhood with amazing parents who clearly loved me so much. Plus, it was the late 80’s/early 90’s…the outfits were fabulous. They made me sad because I can’t ever go back. I can’t ever go back to a time when my biggest worry was that my bow didn’t match my dress, or I forgot how to tie my shoes. The days of playing beanie babies, easy bake oven, and Barbies are over. There were also so many times I wanted to take the girl in the videos and shake her and tell her to hold her chin up or sit up straight.
This got me thinking that I wanted to write a letter to younger me. So here it is:
Dear younger Brooke,
Today you are 21 years old and hopefully a little bit wiser than you were in elementary school. I still have a lot of life left and a lot of things to learn, but in my 21 years this is what I have learned so far, and I want to share it with you. Little Brooke, don’t be afraid to get dirty. Paint, dirt, and sand are all washable, so go play! Dress up for spirit days. It’s okay to dress goofy, especially if there is a reason and it’s okay to stand out sometimes. Don’t wear dresses everyday- it makes it harder to play on the playground, and that is something you don’t want to miss out on. Don’t hit and don’t boss others around. Always be kind, and smile more often. You are a funny person, but people won’t get to see that if you are being bossy and mean. Don’t take naps for granted. Never fight a nap. Take them as often as possible. When you are in high school and college, you will wish you had nap time. Don’t stand on the sidelines. Participate in activities and games. Don’t let fear hold you back. The scary things aren’t so scary once you try them. So at your 3rd birthday party, get in the pool with your friends and stop standing on the side. At your kindergarten picnic, play the field day games and stop standing on the side. Don’t be afraid to participate in life. Because whether you are jumping in or standing on the side, life is happening all the time. Be kind to yourself when you are younger. It’s much harder to do once you get older. And Brooke, don’t keep straight bangs until 10th grade. Seriously.