Tuesday, February 19, 2013

On This Episode of Reading Rainbow....

It was 2007, and I had just started blogging. I was living in Louisiana and missing all of my people and I would spend much of my work day reading other people's blogs and learning about other people's lives. It was a nice escape.  I learned a lot from how others viewed things, did things, and it inspired me to write more. Somehow, I'm not quite sure how, I stumbled across the blog of Big Mama. 

Big Mama (her real name is Melanie) (She is also not Big, she is the tiniest little thing) writes a witty, light-hearted, daily blog about her life as a mother. Her stories about parenting have made me laugh out loud on multiple occasions, as well as her tales of being married to a man with a array of outdoor hobbies that she can not relate to in any way, shape or form. She writes like she's sitting down having coffee with you. She's honest, kind, warm, and above all else, she is RELATABLE.

My goodness.... I think every time I read her blog there are at least 3 paragraphs that make me say "THAT IS SO ME!" and I copy and paste it and send it to my mom or my sister or my best friend or my college roommate. Reading her blog has become a great comfort to me. I read it everyday and I have done so for years. She makes me laugh every morning and makes me feel like the following things are okay:

1. It's okay if you aren't a domestic goddess. Sometimes we make a Stouffer's lasagna for dinner rather than some creative Pinterest recipe and that's okay.

2. It's okay if you don't love working out and running.

3. You can still be an amazing mom AND have a passion for television shows.

4. Sometimes your husband has entirely different hobbies than you do and that's something we can all learn to love.

5. You can love your children with your entire being while also admitting from time to time that you want to just crawl under a blanket and stay there for a day or 4 days.

6. You can be funny and sarcastic and still love Jesus.

I guess I can just sum it up to say that Melanie makes me feel like it is okay to be me and I've come to embrace that. We're kindred spirits.

For years, the one thing about her blog that I could not relate to was being a mother. However, I loved seeing the way she parents because I felt like it was peeking into the future a little bit. So, when she announced that she was writing a book about raising a daughter, I was like SIGN ME UP, BIG MAMA.

I pre-ordered the book, "Sparkly Green Earrings", in December and it was released a few weeks ago and DEAR AMAZON IT STILL IS NOT HERE AND YOU SAID IT WOULD BE HERE LAST WEEK SO I'M MAD AT YOU.

The good thing is, Melanie came to Houston for a book signing so I went and bought a copy that I could start reading toot suite. I was so glad to have Melanie AND her daughter Caroline sign my book for me. Here we are... Caroline, Melanie, me, Ellie Paige, and Tiffany, my other kindred spirit.

So, here's the book.

I started it Saturday night and finished it yesterday.

Um, hi, I LOVED IT.

Here are some reasons you should read it:

1. Beth Moore and The Pioneer Woman recommend it so there's that.

2. It's a super quick, easy read. The chapters are short and you can read it in bits and pieces while your children nap.

3. You will laugh out loud. I promise you that.

4. If you have a daughter, you will probably cry.

5. When you finish it, you will feel reinvigorated about your role as a mother. It's like sitting in a mom's support group and after everyone shares their horror stories you can still look around and know that none of you would change it for anything in the whole world.

This book made me look forward to the life stages to come with Ellie. Look forward to and/or dread. But mostly, I look forward to them. I realized as I was reading how truly, madly, deeply, I love my girl and I am so thankful that God has given her to me to raise. As I finished the very last paragraph of the last chapter of the book, I heard Ellie's cries as she woke up from her nap. I finished the book, went into her room, pulled her into the rocking chair and we rocked and snuggled and sang songs and I just felt so encouraged. I may need to read the book once a year just to remind myself that I will get through it.

You can buy Sparkly Green Earrings on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Thanks, Melanie, for speaking to the heart. I'm recommending this to every mama I know!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

A Good Pair of Jeans is Hard to Find

I'd like to go into a store and see a pair of jeans on a shelf and check to see that they are in my size and then take them to a cash register and pay for them. The idea of that sounds like the stuff fantasy novels are made of.

Instead, I'm resigned to the fact that I will go into no less than 5 stores, try on 3 different sizes of the 4 different cuts in each store and by the end of the day, I'll have tried upwards of 36 pairs of jeans and have purchased NONE.

I wear jeans a lot. Always have. So I'm somewhat willing to invest in a good pair of jeans since I will wear them so much. I normally like to have 2-3 good pairs of jeans in different cuts. Unfortunately, this is a complicated issue. If shopping for diamond means you have to look for Cut, Color, Clarity, Carat, and Cost.... there is even MORE to think about when shopping for jeans. Let's explore:


Bootcut. Straight Leg. Skinny. Low Rise. Curvy Boot. Modern Skinny. Rockstar Straight. Diva Skinny. Crop. Mid Rise. Boyfriend. IT NEVER ENDS. And every store is different and has their own system. I might wear one size in a Bootcut but I have to go a size up for the Skinny Jean. And don't even get me started on Petite vs. Regular for us short-legged people. It makes me bonkers. You want something flattering on your legs, your butt, your stomach, and won't sink too far when you sit down. All of this is hard to find.


So, the color is very important. A good dark wash is a good staple since you can dress it up for an evening out on the town (or, in our case, a quick jaunt up to Steak & Shake and you're back home in time for Ellie's bath at 6:30). A lighter jean is good for casual but won't look so good with heels. There have been times when I have found the "perfect" jean but it's not in the right color.


Yes, it's time to talk about shoes. When I try on a pair of jeans, I have to take stock of the shoes I would possibly wear with this pair of jeans. Would these jeans look good with:

1. Ballet flats?
2. Cowboy boots?
3. Flat boots with the jeans tucked in?
4. Tennis shoes?
5. Flip flops?
6. Heels?

If the jeans in question won't work with more than one of the shoes in question, they are OUT.


I don't need all the rhinestones and stitching and murals painted on the butt pockets. Tone it down.


After I had Ellie, I had lost enough weight that my maternity jeans were too big, but with a ways to go before I could fit into my pre-pregnancy jeans. To hold myself over, I bought myself 2 pairs of jeans from Old Navy online. Ellie was 8 weeks old and I wasn't too concerned about the perfect fit. These jeans have been decent, however, in a manner of weeks I noticed the stitching was pulling and there is a hole in what I can only describe as a VERY problematic place. These jeans were cheap, but they are already falling apart.


While I'm willing to make an investment, I am not willing to spend the same amount on jeans that I would on a car payment. Some of these clothing companies are SUPER PROUD OF THEMSELVES and want you to pay $TOOMANYDOLLARS for their jeans. It's all just very silly. Then I usually have to add in the cost for alterations since I normally have to get them hemmed. Ugh.

All this to say, I went shopping the other day. I went to several stores and then into some department stores as well and I was OVERWHELMED by all the options and cuts and I got tired of trying everything on so I just walked out and stopped at Sonic on the way home. And I got a corn dog. And cheese tots. And a slushy.

Please help me.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Grammy's 2013: Best & Worst

So, I have to admit... I never really love blogging about the Grammy fashions. I find most of these people to be ridiculous and they are always trying to one-up each other and I just shake my head most of the time. That being said, this year there were some pleasant surprises.

Ellie and I watched the Red Carpet coverage together. 

 Sorry it is already Tuesday and I'm just now posting this. Like I said, I'm "meh" about the Grammy's. But without further ado, I give you.... the Best and Worst of the Grammy's!

So I LOVE ADELE but I DO NOT LOVE THIS DRESS. It looks like a carpet bag. 

You are Beyonce. Why are you wearing a pantsuit. 

 LOVE. LOVE. LOVE. Definitely one of my favorite looks of the night. So timeless and classy. And HI, DIAMONDS. 

I think this is the girl that sings with Gotye but this dress is.... well.... um.... STOP. 


I'm sorry but I HATE the hair. Also, when interviewed by Ryan Seacrest, she said something about showing a "little leg". That is not a little leg, Jenny from the Block. That is an ENTIRE LEG. 

Something needed to happen with the makeup and hair. 

Justin Timberlake, y'all. 

Why is it seafoam? Why does she look like Priscilla Presley?

Hey, hey, Kelly Rowland! COOL dress. 

This is Beyonce's little sister. I'd hate to be the person that had to sit behind her at the Grammy's. 

I have to admit, I'm not a huge Rihanna fan and assumed she would wear something ridiculous. However, this is quite lovely. Aside from the fact that in certain lights you could see her boobities, this is really quite lovely. The structure is impressive and the color is stunning on her. 

I LOVE this dress on Nicole. She's got red carpet down to a science. She rarely disappoints!

I don't know who this is but I just had to show him. He is a treasure. 

She is growing up, isn't she? I liked her hair a lot. And I like this creamy color on her too. 

At the end of the day, I think the Stegosaurus dress was the worst. Can't handle it. I don't care if Givenchy made it. It's just all wrong on so many levels. 

And I think I'm gonna have to go with my girl Carrie for best dressed. Knocked it out of the park, girlfriend.

Alrighty. That's all she wrote. 

Saturday, February 9, 2013

It's An Honor Just to Be Nominated

Well, folks, I feel like I should go find an evening gown of my own and roll out a red carpet. I am thrilled to announce that I HAVE BEEN NOMINATED FOR A LIEBSTER AWARD. 

Yes, A Liebster Award. 

What is a Liebster Award, you ask?

I really honestly don't know. 

It has something to do with being a blog writer that doesn't have a ton of readers, and I fit the bill. Regardless, IT IS AN HONOR AND I AM TAKING IT SERIOUSLY.

I've been nominated by Katie who is a darling Texas girl who lives in Boston. I've always wanted to go to Boston. Anyhoo, she nominated me. Here is the criteria:

The Rules:

1.  Share 11 facts about myself

2. Answer questions from my nominator
3. Nominate bloggers (with less than 200 followers) for the award
4. Create questions for nominees to answer
5. And when the nominee is finished, you must link it back to me (as I did above) in your blog post

So, here are 11 FACTS ABOUT ME

1.  My first car was a Toyota Celica. I totaled it by hitting a brick mailbox. Yup. I'm AWESOME.
2. I won "Most Musical" of my 8th grade class. 
3. I love chicken, but I don't love to cook it. I'm always worried that I won't cook it enough or that I will cook it too long. I find myself avoiding chicken recipes.
4. The first musical I ever saw was Phantom of the Opera. 
5. I don't put condiments on sandwiches or burgers. I love ketchup, but not on bread. 
6. There are distinct groups of people in my life that call me Jen, and a distinct group of people in my life who call me Jenny. Jennifer is dispersed intermittently. When I talk to myself, I call myself Jenny. Example: "Come on Jenny, get it together."
7. The first time I ever flew on a plane was to Cancun. I was seven.
8.  Steam makes my face turn bright red in big patches. Shower, hot tubs, even cooking. Steam makes me splotchy. 
9. I was very, very old before I could blow bubbles with my gum. It took me a long time to master that skill. Same with whistling. I believe I was 11. 
10. I haven't had colored fingernail polish on since I was in high school. I feel like my hands look weird with nail polish on. 
11. I have a freakish amount of meaningless pop culture trivia in my head and often try to think of ways I could make money off of this useless knowledge. 

Katie's Questions for me:

1. What is your favorite song of the moment?  Probably "Home" by Phillip Phillips. I love his voice and it's a happy, catchy song. I love to harmonize to it. I also sing parts of it to Ellie when she's crying. "Settle doooowwwwnn....."
2. Describe the best day of your life in 10 words or less: Grant by my side, Ellie Paige in my arms.
3. What's one dream, hobby or interest that you've always dreamed of pursuing? While most people think I'd answer with something about music or singing, it's actually not that. Believe it or not, I've thought about writing a book. Don't tell anyone about that though.
4. What are you currently reading? "Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?" by Mindy Kaling. HILARIOUS. I'm expecting another book to come in the mail next week. More on that to come :)
5. You have one full day to yourself with no obligations. What do you do to fill the time? Oh goodness, right now that sounds pretty awesome. I'd sleep in. Get a massage and a mani/pedi. Eat carbohydrates. Watch a movie, probably a historical drama. Eat some more. Finish the day seeing a musical. Sleep.
6. Why did you start blogging? I was living in Louisiana, I had been married for a few months, and I was bored. It started as a way to keep up with family and friends. I never dreamed that 6 years later I'd still be doing it and would have met the people I have met and gotten so much joy out of it. It's been so fun! It's such a great outlet from a creative standpoint. 
7. What is your favorite thing about your favorite person? Oh, my Grant. He is charming and funny and he works hard and when he talks about going to a Chinese buffet he calls it a BOOFAY and I laugh hysterically every time. 
8. Who would play you in a movie? Emma Stone, Amy Adams, or Isla Fisher. DUH.
9. If you could be a fly on anyone's wall, dead or alive, famous or not, who would it be? I'm sure I would change this answer if you asked me again in a month, but for right now I'm going to go with the writer's room for the show Downton Abbey. And, as a fly, I would buzz around obnoxiously when they were making stupid decisions. GET IT TOGETHER, PEOPLE.
10. Do you have a secret shame? You know, the party trick you pull out to impress people? The pop culture knowledge. Ask me anything. It's either that or watch how quickly I can devour a cheeseburger. What's that, you're on your 3rd bite? I'M FINISHED. 

Who I'm nominating: (If you don't feel like doing this, I won't be mad)
1. My friend Cindy
2. Allison at Collecting the Dots

And here are the questions for them to answer.
1. Do you play a musical instrument? If not, what would you like to learn to play if given the chance?
2. Where would you like to go on your next vacation?
3. What physical attribute do you have that you wouldn't change?
4. What are your favorite movies from your childhood that you would like to share with your children?
5. What did your prom dress look like?
6. You're given a choice of a 2 week vacation in New York City, 2 weeks in Hawaii, or 2 weeks skiing in Colorado. What would you choose?
7. Is there something about who you are today that would surprise the 12 year old version of yourself?
8. If you could have a different first name, what would you choose?
9. What's an item on your to-do list that you keep putting off?
10. When was the last time you laughed till you cried?

That's all folks :) It's been fun! Thanks for nominating me, Katie. I never did get into that evening gown. Pajama pants and a t-shirt for me on this Saturday evening. Join me tomorrow night or Monday morning for the Grammy Red Carpet blog!