Mark it off the bucket list!I finally voted in a mayoral election! I’ve always been diligent about voting in the presidential races, but have been a bit lazy when it comes to Memphis…well, no more! We need a change, y’all (and you can’t complain if you don’t vote)!
In-and-out in less than 10 minutes due to early voting…no excuses! Go cast your vote! 🙂
I’ve loved this book since high school. Any time I need a reality check or simply a laugh, this is my go-to. So this morning, upon waking up at 7 am (on a Sunday?!), I grabbed my vegan protein shake and settled on my back porch for an hour of reading…and then relaxed in the bathtub and read some more. By 9:30 am, I had done two things that I love to do but never seem to have time to do.
…until now. So this is how sobriety feels. And I fully realize that is a very strong statement (for many reasons), and therefore should not be said lightly. But it’s the truth. I am blown away by how alive I feel…and it is only day 5.
By 10:15 am I was already happily wandering the seemingly infinite aisles of Costco with my mother, when I made the unexpected purchase of a Fitbit. I don’t know how this happened (or who I’m becoming)…I swore I’d never buy one…and yet, this is the most excited I’ve been about a purchase in the last 6 months.
So then I went for a run with my new Fitbit…listened to some podcasts (can’t recommend The Art of Charm enough)…cleaned out my closet…did laundry…took a nap…did some work for tomorrow…took the dogs for a walk…went to my mom’s…visited a sick friend…cooked dinner…tweeted at people (when Serial Dynasty and Susan Jane Gilman both retweeted me today…I shrieked like a 5 year old…oh and The Art of Charm favorited one of my tweets, but whose counting…me)…read some more…and still had time to write on this blog. Bottom line: I have time to do things…I just have to remain on course and keep the nonsense out (i.e. booze and boys) so this magical feeling can continue throughout my life…and be my life. I’m sold on this challenge I’ve created, y’all. I may never stop.
Which brings up my (current) thoughts on the man situation. Because while the no alcohol thing is a no brainer (forever if I choose…and likely), I do like some male companionship…I just need it to be on my terms. I’ve read countless dating books these past 5 days and listened to just as many podcasts on the subject…and the one thing I’ve concluded is that I’m not meant to date (shocker). I just want to enjoy my life, go on adventures/travel, laugh…a lot, spend time with loved ones, write, ride my horse, and pursue my passions. I don’t want to play games or worry about if he’s ever going to call…or did I play hard to get…or did I let him be a hunter…and blah blah blah it never stops! And it’s so boring! Plus, I am such a people pleaser that as soon as I get in a relationship or if I even like a boy it becomes all about them and not me. I lose track of my wants and needs…even my identity. But no more! I’ll save my official dating plan for another post…but for now you can get the gist with “take a few lovers (well…in 85 days), travel the world, and don’t take any crap!”
Weight: 143.8…WHAT?! How did I gain 0.8 pounds in a day?! And on my first day of NOT drinking?
Annoying, but I decided I’m going “all in” with this challenge and blog (just like I do with guys…and drinking)…so here is my “before” photo from yesterday. I want to document my changes not only in writing but with photos…so I need to share Day 1 to do this correctly.
When I texted this photo to my best friend and asked how ridiculous it was…it covers as much as a bathing suit, let’s get real…but people are weird (and prudish), she texted back “Do you have athletic underwear you can put on?” No, I don’t. It goes against everything I believe in. Imagine me on a beach if this makes you uncomfortable.
Maybe it is the $200 on the line…but my fifth attempt in 7 years at a No Booze, No Boys Challenge feels different. Just kidding. Totally looking forward to that lil bonus, but I’m finally ready to be the woman I know I can be. I just had to hit rock bottom.
It must have been fate that led me to my prized judge’s appointment. Because there I was, sitting in the green room of Local Memphis Live, just like any other Friday morning, when I met Kenny Gonzales, the CEO. Long story short, I got the gig on the spot and actively tried to contain my giddiness and maintain a professional attitude (totally failed by the way, but fortunately he didn’t back out).
Upon arrival, I was whisked away (via golf cart…score) to the free Charging Station, which had Grizzlies presence (grit ‘n grind, y’all!). They were spinning the wheel for Grizz gear and what I’m about to say will shock some people (well, not those who know me well)…but I got my first pair of Grizz anything *insert embarrassed emoji*. BUT I did sign up for their newsletter and for more info about tickets. See! I’m trying! I could totally end up liking sports…
And just so you know, the rumors are true…the judges’ tent is a magical place…this group is exclusive…plus the word “honor” was emphasized a lot. And it undoubtedly is an honor. Now, I’ve judged a lot of food competitions…but between you and me, I got a little nervous. And with good reason. This isn’t just any run-of-the-mill festival or food competition…this thing is legit.
For starters, the food is mind-blowing. The presentation is perfection…and you actually get to go to the tents and meet the teams. I love this. For every other food judging I’ve done, it has been blind samples brought to the tent. There are just numbers, no names. But at the Memphis Italian Festival, I got to hear these guys’ stories…shake the hands of their family members…see where the preparation all went down. This is the stuff that foodie dreams are made of. This festival environment has history, culture, and most importantly, love.
If a semi-attractive girl with a fun job, sparkling personality, and killer (or so I’m told) smile, asked you to be her date for a 5-course wine pairing dinner at a “fancy” restaurant, what would you say?
The answer wasn’t what I hoped…to say the least.
I was rejected by six guys for this thing. There I was, all excited to date like a man, be assertive, embrace my womanhood, thinking “what’s the worst that could happen?” Ha. Well, they could all say no. Didn’t think that one through, did ya, Joelle?
The first one (and preferred – I even had butterflies, y’all) originally said yes, and then backed out due to “work.” When I said OK, how about a rain check…he never responded. Ouch. Guess who got defriended on Facebook? Immature on my part? Perhaps – but warranted. AND I have to see him this weekend…eek!
The second, and to be fair, I’d only met him once (he wandered into my office one random day looking like a total hottie), has a girlfriend…yikes. Embarrassing. Although I must mention he was very lovely about the whole thing.
After two ouchies, I turned to good ole match.com. I’d been chatting with a very attractive doctor and invited him over text. He said yes…but four days later. By then, I was already over it. I don’t play the three day rule, let alone four.
Speaking of four, I had a lovely first date that I thought went well and was excited about the possibility. He was cute, funny, attractive…but then I never heard from him again. So while I didn’t technically ask him to the dinner, he definitely counts because he was supposed to text me about meeting up Saturday at the Food Truck Festival…and just never did. Although, he did accept my Facebook request two weeks later. Awkward.
By this time, my ego was bruised, my self-confidence shattered, so I turned to my best guy friend in the whole wide world. We dated years ago, and from time-to-time have discussed getting back together…I brought that up, and how I’d be open to a reconciliation…and lo and behold, he said no. Can’t catch a break, y’all!
And the sixth? Well, I just have to throw the sixth in, because I got dumped at the beginning of this month and it just counts. It does. Don’t argue with me. He went to this monthly dinner with me in March, so I get to be bitter about his absence in April.
People told me that when I turned thirty that my dating world would change. But I didn’t think that it would literally change the minute I turned thirty. I was quite the player in my twenties. But since I’ve turned thirty (a MONTH ago, I might add), I’ve been dumped….and then rejected FIVE more times in THIRTY DAYS! I.E. Thirty ain’t looking pretty, y’all.
To say that I’ve had a bad run with dating recently would be the understatement of the century. I can barely take myself seriously anymore when asked about my love life, and I’m starting to wonder if my friends can either.
For example, there I was, perched on a barstool at my favorite local haunt, when one of my best friends inquired about the “boy du jour.” Yep, she asked it just like that – which stung – a lot.
It’s not like I like or even want to date. I’d kill to have met my Prince Charming; and frankly, I’m super pissed that he seems to be taking his sweet time. I confessed my feelings were a bit hurt that she poopooed my ability to be in a relationship, and she just laughed, saying, “If you wanted to be married, you could. I don’t know why you’re single. But then again, I haven’t liked anyone you’ve dated since…well, you know.”
Yup, I do know. And I hate when he’s mentioned because in a lot of ways I feel like he’s The One That Got Away. Ironically, I broke up with him because I wanted to get married, have babies, and live in Memphis (the 901 was the ultimate deal breaker). Well, guess whose on their way to the altar? Hint: it’s not me.
To add insult to injury he met her a whopping ONE month after we parted ways. I was still mourning our two-and-a-half year relationship (not to mention our time together in our early twenties), and there he was, out-and-about meeting the love of his life. And you know what? She’s perfect for him. I couldn’t imagine a better pair. I’m happy for him…and I don’t mean that in a clenched teeth, forced smile sort of way (OK, maybe 1% of me feels that way…fine, more like 3% but that’s all I’ll cop to).
And how did I find out they were getting married, you ask? Well, we’re still friendly and say happy birthday/holidays now-and-then, so when I didn’t hear from him on my 30th birthday, I was a little surprised. I moseyed on over to his Facebook page…and there it was. He was out of the country proposing. **His hand reaching out of the computer and slapping me across the face would have hurt less.** Welcome to your thirties, Joelle!
To be clear, I don’t still pine over him. That would be weird, and I’ve definitely moved on. (Oh, and we never would have worked out.) But I do miss how he treated me, which says a lot about who I’ve dated after him. He is the only man (other than my father), who believed in me more than I believed in myself. He didn’t try to change me, or “fix” me. There was only support. He sent me flowers for no reason and told me I was the most amazing/beautiful/funny/*insert any positive adjective* girl in the world…and made me believe it. I liked who I was with him, and more importantly, he made me want to be a better person because he was so clearly my better half.
But maybe I idealize him because he got me through my father’s passing, and then my grandfather’s a few months later. My entire world was falling apart and he held me up. I often think about that saying that God puts people into your life for a reason…well, he definitely kept me sane.
So he’s not really The One That Got Away…but he is the one who taught me what a healthy relationship is…and what positive traits to look for.
“What’s with the pin up thing?” A question I get asked on a daily basis…on dates, by my friends, co-workers, strangers on the street, and even my mom.
Well, the thing? The special thing? It makes me feel great. And I could leave it at that, because frankly that’s all I need to know…but I’ll dig deeper.
Like most girls, I was insecure growing up. I don’t know if this was exacerbated by the fact that I went to an all-girl school for 14 years, but I was constantly comparing myself to my friends (in addition to the unrealistic media)…and I had really pretty friends…so I seemingly came up short. One of my best friends was even called the female version of David by the boy I liked. There’s no telling what that actually did to my psyche, but I do know that I was left with a serious case of self-doubt.
So when I walked into Amanda Hill‘s studio for the first time a year and a half ago, it was a turning point in my life. And I can say that with absolute certainty. The transformation that has taken place has been undeniably positive and rewarding (I’m not just talking about my eyebrows – thank you, Stephanie Brick!). And it doesn’t really have to do with the fact that I love vintage clothing or hairstyles. Yes, I’ve loved pinups forever (they’ve hung on my walls since the 90’s) and idolized Dita Von Teese, but participating in pin up photo shoots and culture has so much more to do with women empowerment and embracing your femininity than wearing fascinators and corsets.
We (at least the women in my life) don’t spend enough time on ourselves anymore…or get in touch with our sexy side. Heck, I had never, hand-to-God, ever felt sexy or like a real woman until I did a pin-up shoot. These shoots give you the permission to be sexy. Just this past weekend one of my girlfriends mused that she never understood my obsession with pin up until she tried it herself…the hair, the makeup, putting thought into your outfit finally won her over…it is seductive. And why wouldn’t you want to feel that way every day? I do.
I’m not claiming to dress up every day, and I’m certainly not a big hitter in the pin up scene (even locally), but that’s why I think I’m the right person to share this message about how life-changing one of these shoots can be. Just wearing my wing tip eyeliner, false eyelashes and filled in eyebrows makes my day better. I even take the time when I’m just riding my horse…he totally appreciates it.
And everything I was insecure about, worked out perfectly for pin up…my curves, my white skin, my dark hair…everything I hated, I learned to love…because of pin up. Pin up made me stop lightening my hair, going to the tanning bed, and starving myself on yet another diet…I stopped trying to be someone else and finally started being me. And that has been the biggest blessing of my life…not only being comfortable with me, but truly loving myself.
Which is why I simply don’t care when people tell me my pin up photos and outfits are “weird.” Pin up actually taught me not to care what others think. Do you see how many important life lessons I’ve learned in such a short time and all because of pin up?!
So don’t knock it ’til you try it…and I highly encourage that you do.