#ChoosingAnd

 Photo courtesy of Emily Cheung

Photo courtesy of Emily Cheung

Can I just tell you guys … I’ve been saying, “this isn’t right,” every time I hear the news or scroll through social media. And while listening to a podcast by Jessica Honegger, I think she hit the nail on the head. Her hashtag #choosingand is spot on. It’s so great I wish I’d thought of it. Jessica and I would be great friends – I just know it. Especially because now I am choosing and.

I truly believe that not everything is either or. For or against. Right or left. Not everything is black or white. There’s lots of shades of gray (50 for some of you –sorry, I couldn’t resist). Our realities are determined by our perceptions in life. Our realities and beliefs are based on our own histories.

Not everything is us versus them. It doesn’t have to be so extreme. Perfect or terrible. I probably wasn’t really an “and” person 10 years ago if I’m being honest. But now I can disagree and still see your point of view.

I can support other women who have different interests than me. Kasie and I are working on speaking our truth (we even have T-shirts declaring our new motto. Get one here). Real women support other women. We can be feminine without wearing pink. We can wear eyelash extensions and STILL BE SMART! We can be Southern women and not drink sweet tea. We can be leaders and still be scared. We can grow babies and businesses. We know the universe has our back and still cry while singing hymns in church. We can speak our truth and listen to yours.

You can be a Christian and feminist. You can support women and not hate men. For us, we support women because we’ve worked with too many women who have not supported us. There’s a special place in hell for women who do not support other women.

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I wear Old Navy dresses and carry a Gucci handbag. I work and attend my kids’ activities. I don’t believe in work/life balance. That’s a lie we moms tell ourselves. Our friend Gisel Ruiz put it best, “Life is all about choices, and you get to make them every day.”

You can choose a private preschool and support public education. You can be self-employed and manage self-care (Although, to be totally honest I’m finding that self-employment is not friends with self-care. The work is always there; following you 24/7. There is no break unless you create one.).

I get spray tans and work hard at my job. I color my hair and can run a business meeting. I had a vaginal (God help, is there a better word?!) birth and c-section. I wear leggings and I don’t always work out that day.

I live in a small house and am content (to many people’s horror, my two kids will share a bathroom).

I like to read my horoscope (I’m a sensitive Cancer, by the way) and I try to read my Bible. I pray and meditate. I take communion four times a year and don’t care if you take it every Sunday. Our big life goal is the same, isn’t it? Our desire to do better is the same. Because at the end of the day isn’t that what we’re all striving for? To do better. Be better. No matter if it’s with our health, within our home or overall happiness in life. Well guess what? You matter and so do I.

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RIP, Remy

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Even though I’m a mom, I often think of myself as the “man of the house.” My rational is quite simple … you want something done in a timely manner, do it yourself.

Disclaimer: I love my husband, I really do. He’s my person, he’s my lobster [Friends reference, anyone?!] and he knows it even though he’d die laughing at me saying it. He’s the one for me. Through the good and bad, it’s him all the way.  He has a harder job than me, makes the mortgage, blah blah blah. And by “harder,” I mean he does more math than me. Because overall, unless you’re like truly performing surgery or something, is any job really that hard? #truth. But I digress … I love my husband.

On Christmas Eve morning we had a visitor scurry through the kitchen. I screamed @#$%^& while both boys were eating breakfast. Oops, my bad … do you all not cuss in front of your children? Kudos to you. But I’m a realist and well, they [really only the 7y/o] knew exactly what I was saying. My husband was like, “What are you yelling for?!” And then I proceeded to tell him that Remy [you’ve seen Ratatouille, right?!] just ran through the kitchen. Awesome. Just awesome. And by awesome, I mean, OMG, not again … not more drama in December!

December back-story: For the past couple of Decembers something expensive has died. It first started with the refrigerator. Peace out $2,000 at Christmas. Couldn’t this have died in like June or something?! Then the next December came with either the washer or dryer. I can’t remember which one died, and really does it matter … probably the dryer where it’s something like the heating element and they tell you that it’s just better to get a new one instead of “replacing” the small part that might go out in the near future. And then you’re told that you might as well get a new matching set. Peace out another $2,000 at Christmas. Déjà vu?! What the freaking heck?! Again, couldn’t this have happened in June or July?! Moving on …

Back to Remy … So while I’m not scared or anything, I look at my husband and I’m like, guess you need to get a trap or something. To which he replies, “Oh it’s long gone by now, I’m sure it’s already scurried out of the house. We’ll never see it again.” And me, “Ummmm, ok whatever.” I knew this couldn’t really be accurate, but like I said, this was Christmas Eve morning. I have many things on my to do list and staying on my husband’s ass over a mouse wasn’t going to make the cut that day.

Fast-forward to post Christmas, but kids are still out of school. I see Remy again cut the same path through the kitchen as before to which I nicely remind my husband that Remy never left. I’m told he’ll get to it this weekend.

Post weekend, we’re watching one of the college football playoff games and I see Remy dart through the living room and under a sofa. This is NOT ok. I now know he’s capable and wanting to explore my crib. Obviously I knew he could roam and probably does roam, but if I don’t see it then it doesn’t really happen, right?! Again I tell said husband that Remy has just scurried under the sofa. No reaction. Sigh …

Two days later I see him cross the kitchen for the fourth and impending final time. I saw the tail! The other times it was like a blur, but this time I saw the tail. Gross. Husband now has a man cold [enough said, right?!] and thinks he’s dying. Both boys are sleeping in one bed, which leaves a toddler bed or the sofa. I opt for the sofa. Before I start my living room campout, I decided to attempt to take Remy’s life into my own hands. I remembered having glue/sticky traps for spiders so kindly gifted to me from my bug man last summer. So I grabbed one of those, peeled the paper off, placed it under the dishwasher [Remy’s path was literally dishwasher to refrigerator more times than not, so I was hoping this would be a good place]. I said a quick little prayer, hopped onto the sofa and began watching the news. I kid you not; it wasn’t even 10 minutes before I heard something. Now this “something” sounded like the 7y/o was sneaking in to watch TV but that was quickly ruled out when I noticed his door was still closed. So I tiptoed to the kitchen and peaked around the corner. Apparently now I was scared of Remy as if he was like a Godzilla mouse about to jump around the corner at me! Back to peeking around the corner … I got another glimpse of the tail … still gross and could hear him scurrying trying to get undone from the trap. Victory was mine! I literally had trapped the mouse all on my own! Big happy dances going on … but only for a sec. He had to be removed. There was no way I was going to listen to that rustling and suffering all night during my living room campout and I surely wasn’t going to pick him. Enter said husband dying from the man cold. I went and tapped him while he was sleeping and whispered, “I got the mouse!” He flew out of bed. It was hilarious! And then he regained himself and was completely confused to which I reminded him and then he asked how. Ahhhhhhh, the sweet smell of victory! I can now add Mouse Trapper [to which I’ll fancy up with the thesaurus] to my skill set on LinkedIn. Boom. Back to the story … I needed Remy removed. He picks up Remy and takes him out the patio to basically freeze to death. Uh no. While the freezing death is kind of fine [we’ll get to why this bothers me in a minute], having “fresh meat” is not fine. I can’t have other animals being attracted to Remy and then my house! Snakes eat mice! And yes, I know snakes are probably hibernating since the temp was like zero, but it being my luck with December, there would probably be that one snake brave enough to come out just for Remy. No thank you. My turn to solve yet another problem …  here man cold, here’s a Walmart sack. Please place Remy in the sack, tie it up, and place it in the back of your truck. Thanks, love you!

Pest control has come to an end. Man cold is back in bed passed out and I’m back in my living room campout praying … and praying so hard. I had HUGE remorse over Remy suffering on the sticky trap, freezing in the zero temps and/or suffocating in the plastic bag. Ugh. I prayed to St. Francis that I was sorry it had to end like this and that I truly would’ve saved him had he let me catch and release him. I dreamed about Remy all night when I could sleep and thought about him during my awake hours … which felt like all night. When you have kids you watch movies that have cute loveable animal characters … hence Remy from Ratatouille. RIP Remy; hope you’re scurrying around Heaven!

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Happy National Champagne Day!

Sunday is National Champagne Day, and we should all be celebrating! To help you out, we compiled a list of the most delicious champagne cocktails. You can thank us later.

 

Strawberry Champagne Mojito

1 cup diced strawberries

12-12 mint leaves

4 teaspoons sugar

4 oz lime juice

4 oz white rum

1 bottle champagne

  1. Place 1/4 cup of strawberries, 3-4 mint leaves, 1 teaspoon sugar (or simple syrup) and 1 ounce of lime juice in the bottom of a champagne glass.
  2. Using a muddler, crush the strawberries and mint to release the oils. Stir in 1 ounce of rum. Top with champagne until the glass is filled.
  3. Garnish with strawberries and fresh mint leaves, if desired.

 

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Champagne Lemonade Margaritas

1 oz silver tequila

1/2 oz orange liqueur

3 oz pink lemonade

brut champagne

ice

lemon wedge

coarse salt

 

  1. Rub the lemon wedge round the rim of an old-fashioned glass. Roll the rim of the glass in salt.
  2.  In a cocktail shaker add some ice, the tequila, orange liqueur and lemonade. Shake well and pour into an ice filled glass. Top with champagne.

 

 

 

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Muddled Raspberries & Champagne

2 heart shaped ice cubes

2 cans of Sofia champagne

2 sticks of pink rock candy

2 tablespoons raspberries

  1. Add one cube of ice to each glass. Pour in champagne and add one tablespoon of raspberries in each glass.
  2. Muddle raspberries gently with rock candy and leave rock candy in as a garnish.

Can I Wear Tall Boots Yet?

Contributing post by Gracie Ziegler

In the South especially, there are certain, undeniable fashion rules. From white shoes to seersucker, from letters to team colors - these rules are steadfast and true.

However, there is one rule that seems to have some gray area, and that is the Tall Boot Rule. 

October 1 is the first day of Tall Boot season - no if's, and's, or but's...Unless it's really great fall weather consistently through the second week of September, then the first day of fall (which is September 21 this year) could kick it off. So mathematically speaking, it's just over a week between Fall day 1 and October 1. But for some of us, that's just too long to wait.

To help break down the rules around Tall Boots even further, it's helpful to understand the timing breakdown...

 

NO ZONE

May through August... for the wellbeing of your own body (and your boots), tall boots are just not practical. "Swamp Foot" is real y'all! It's that thing where your feet and legs are so hot, and dare I say moist (ew - worst word) that the insides of your boots begin to resemble the atmosphere of a swamp.

TBL - Tall Boot Limbo

Pretty much most of September, and also March and April.

This is such  a tough time, and the struggle is real.

With the launch of the PSL coming earlier and earlier and holiday decor being out in July at craft stores, it's easy to get caught up and want to bring out all of your sweaters and leggings and boots and wear them ALL. But take a minute and breathe in, breathe out. You've got this. You can make it a few more weeks in your fab summer attire that you were promised would be a "great transition piece."

Then comes Easter. All the pretty frilly dresses and white shoes show up on Easter Sunday and EVERYONE is oh so ready for spring, but of course there's always a cold snap - what's a tall boot wearer to do? Better judgement tells us to put the boots down and walk away slowly. There's only 180 days between April 1 and October 1. You can do it!

 

ALWAYS & FOREVER

These can be worn year-round whenever you want, no questions asked as they are technically not tall boots.

•          Cowboy Boots

•          Rainboots, or Wellies

•          Ankle Booties

And just to be crystal clear, this is all for fun and games, and _____ straight rules are meant to be broken! I love all my shoes. I wish I could wear them all, all the time, but I can't. So instead I make up rules, tips and tricks to get me through these crazy times.

In the best interest of everyone, #YouDoYou and just watch the weather, be careful not to get your suede or velvet wet, and make your attire selection appropriately - you will be beautiful and fabulous no matter what.

See you and your boots on October 1, or maybe September 21...let's wait on the weather!

 

 

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Gracie Ziegler

Gracie, her husband Mike and Presley, their 16-year-old “Lab-ish” are Fayetteville natives and plan to always call it home. Gracie enjoys a good bottle of wine, Razorback tailgating and entertaining. One of her favorite F words is “fabulous.” She has a passion for travel and experiencing new places … and she literally has a blog called www.caniweartallbootstoday.com.   As the Marketing Manager for Convenience Foodservice at Tyson, she can tell you precisely where the best snacking destinations are on your next cross country road trip, as well as a whole lot about Millennial eating habits. She’s a graduate of the University of Arkansas Creative Writing department, and loves the combination of words and food and fashion whenever possible.Gracie is also a hardcore volunteer, activist and advocate throughout Northwest Arkansas.Being a self-proclaimed social media super-nerd, she stays connected on multiple social media platforms - so you probably know all those things about her already if you follow her.If you don’t already, you can follow her on Facebook as well as on Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat – all at @graciefabulous.