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Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Honesty

“Christmas is a day of meaning and traditions, a special day spent in the warm circle of family and friends." - Margaret Thatcher 


Christmas, we've been told, is the most wonderful time of the year. It's filled with precious family members making sweet long-lasting memories together. It's about spreading joy and cheer. It's about loving love and making heavenly magical cookies with angelic frosting. 

But let's be real. Is that really what ends up happening? 
Nope. 

Christmas is everybody going to bed mad over the taboo game and waking up to yell about it some more. Christmas is hanging out with family members that you don't really know or have anything in common with. Christmas is grandparents making you feel guilty for not spending enough time with them and too much time with other "inferior" family members. Christmas is lying to little kids about a big fat man throwing out presents all over the world and eventually breaking their hearts when they learn it's not true. Christmas is trying to maneuver through all the out-of-state license plates parked all over the neighborhood. Christmas is watching Miracle on 34th Street over and over because there is nothing else on tv. Christmas is arguing over whose bringing dessert and whose bringing what side item. Christmas is sitting in the parking lot of Toys R Us for an hour only to find the one toy you wanted is sold out. 

It's Scrooge sounding, right? Debatable. I call it honesty. 

If there's anything I am guilty of, it's telling the truth. I'm open, raw, honest; I'll be the one to say it when everyone is thinking it. 

You know I'm right. That's why movies like Christmas Vacation and holiday episodes of Everybody Loves Raymond are so funny. They are so completely accurate to what really happens during Christmas. Once we  grow up into adults, Christmas becomes a much different experience from when we ran downstairs and found our first Super Nintendo (still to this day ... best Christmas present I've ever received).

It's sad. 

I think it's because we've been told by society that Christmas is supposed to be all these different things. It's almost like it's forced. But all my wonderful times and sweet long-lasting memory family making happen when it happens. It's not planned. It's not forced. It is what it is. 

Regardless if your Christmas is picture perfect ideal and as pretty as a picture or if it's filled with dysfunction, arguments and a cornucopia of family drama ... I hope it's everything you want and more. 

Personally, I'm looking forward to tonight's Christmas Eve service at Hunter Street and watching It's A Wonderful Life with my mother. 

The Merriest of Christmases to you! 


Monday, December 17, 2012

Sandy Hook


I have absolutely no connection to Newtown, CT or Sandy Hook Elementary or anyone who lost a loved one in last Friday's horrific tragedy. But for some reason, I didn't get any sleep last night because I could not quit thinking about the 20 little angels that beat their family members to paradise. For some reason, it's three days later, and I still get choked up thinking about what happened. For some reason, I feel like the parents are people I know and for some reason, I'm hurting immensely for them.

And I know that obviously there is a reason...I am a human-being built with a heart filled with all sorts of emotions and was moved by what I saw just like everyone else. But I have never reacted so strongly to heartbreaking news like this.

I'm an Alabamian who knew people severely affected by April 27 2011's tornado and yes that was sad ... but, I didn't react to that news as I am with this.

I have two good friends who are school teachers. I immediately texted them and told them I hope and pray they will never find themselves in such a situation. The very thought of my two girlfriends dying to shield their students is unbearable ... but that's just a thought. The girlfriends of Victoria and the other teachers who died are actually living that thought. I can't imagine.

I wish there was something I could do to help. I wish I lived close enough to bring the families a casserole and to go to the memorials to pray and to do whatever I could to relieve a portion of their pain. But all the casseroles and prayers in the world are not going to bring those babies home. And my heart is just shattered for them.

Praying for you, Newtown.

Monday, December 10, 2012

Standing outside the fire

I went camping for the first time this weekend.

Tent.
Dirt.
Bugs.
Fire.
Smores.
The works.

And of course, it wasn't just a normal, regular experience.
No, it was one of those "Is this really happening to me right now?" type experiences.

First, we got to the site right as the sun was going down. Which is not good ... since one needs some light in order to set everything up ... but also, Mount Cheaha is the highest point in the state and I wanted to see how pretty it was. But that didn't happen (and it didn't happen in the morning either...but I digress). That's okay, we said. We will just make the fire first and that will solve the light problem.

We realized, though, that it was going to take years to gather enough wood and leaves and sticks to make an actual legit fire. Yeah, that was the plan. Gather up a bunch of leaves on our site and make a fire. No. Doesn't work that way.

Thank the Lord God above that the state park store sold firewood. I spent over $30 for 5 bushels of wood (The woman said that 2 bushels would be plenty ... but it took us one whole bushel to get the fire started so I had to go back down and get three more so we could survive). Every time I walked back into the store, I got judgmental looks.

So, we finally got a pretty good fire started but that didn't help the light situation ... which was not good because we had a tent to set up ... a tent without instructions in the dark. So, while Janie attempted to put it together, I held a flashlight giving her light to see, while also tending to the fire. The two cars that drove by had a good laugh, I'm sure.

After an hour of unsuccessful tent making, I gave in and called the girl who let me borrow her tent. She attempted to tell me how to do it and then suggested that we just look at the instructions stapled into the bag. Instructions that we didn't know were there. Of course. Normal.

So yes, we did have instructions but they were not helpful at all. Janie pressed on, however, repeating to herself that she was going to get it if it was the last thing she did. An hour and a half later ... we finally had the tent up (wish I had a picture to prove it) But, oh the joy and the happiness.

But yes, it took two and a half hours to put up the tent. In the dark. With a flashlight. Definition of teamwork.

Next, it was time to eat ... that part of the trip went smoothly. We combined raw meat with potatoes and carrots in a tin foil bag and threw them on the fire. Thirty minutes later, we had a nice little meat and potatoes meal. I was very impressed with the outcome. It was no Outback but it definitely was better than a Lean Cuisine.

Then, I lost my smore virginity. I had never ever made or had a smore in my whole 24 years of living.  Pretty yummy stuff.

We sat around the fire and talked and laughed and gossiped and freaked out at every little noise we heard until we got tired. We made a little palette of blankets in the tent (8 of them to be exact) and attempted to go to sleep ... which was insanely difficult to do since the tent ended up being situated on a small hill due to the problems we had setting it up. Half of my body was laying low and the other half was a bit on higher ground. Three days later ... I'm still feeling it. Next time, an air mattress is seriously going to happen. I don't know what we were thinking not bringing one. #rookieproblems

I don't know how much time had gone by when Janie woke me up.

"Amy, it's raining", she said. I sat up and sure enough ... there was a light drizzle coming from the little opening in the top of the tent, the opening that I requested we leave open so we could get "the full effect".

I assured Janie it was just a light drizzle and that we would be fine. Few more minutes go by and the rain starts to come down even harder. And oh there was thunder too. So poor sweet little Janie flung herself outside the tent to find the covering for the tent's ceiling. Thankfully, that part was not hard to figure out and she got it on just in time so that we weren't drenched. Just a little damp.

The next morning, we awoke to ...

video

Which was very, very unfortunate because we had planned on waking up and hiking the park. But it soon hit us that hiking was not going to happen. In fact, we realized that it would probably be best if we just packed everything up .... and head to the nearest Cracker Barrel.

Which we did. We somehow took apart our masterpiece of a tent in the pouring rain and shoved it ... water, mud and all, into my car. All 8 blankets were drenched. The fold-up chairs. Our clothes. Everything. Drenched.

To make everything even more fun, it was insanely foggy. So I still have no idea what Mount Cheaha looks like. But I'm convinced I'll make it happen sometime.

We stuffed our faces at the next exit at Cracker Barrel, to make ourselves feel better. And I'm pretty sure I've never been out in public looking that bad. I threw a hat on over my disgusting wet hair but I still got more judgmental looks. 'Twas the weekend of judgment.

Lessons learned:
Bring firewood
Get to the campsite before the sun goes down
Make sure you know how to set up your sleeping quarters
Bring a stinkin' air mattress

Who wants to go with me next time?!


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Pastor Spencer

I like to think that I have a good amount of friends.

Some of them have come and gone and come back again.
Some have remained all along.
Some have gone all together.
Some I'm super close with and can say just about anything.
Some I used to be very close with and now are forced to merely "keep in touch".
Some I'm just acquaintances with ... but I could still eat lunch with them if need be.
Some are somewhere between the hazy division between acquaintance and super uber closeness.
Some I've known for years.
Some I've known for a few months.
Some I talk to everyday.
Some I talk to once a month.

All kinds of friendships on so many different levels. That's how it should be.

Jordan and I have been friends since my senior year of high school. She joined the yearbook staff that year and we instantly clicked and had so much in common. We both loved Grey's Anatomy.  We both loved (and still love) to cook and bake anything we could get our hands on. And we both have that little bit of the judgmental factor going on ... (You know, being from Vestavia we had some snotty in us). We liked all the same people and disliked all the same people. Instant friendship.

I graduated a year before she did and it was then that we started having lunch dates at California Pizza Kitchen. We would have lunch maybe every three or four months to just catch up on each other's lives and enjoy being around each other. And for almost six years thats how we've operated. It's almost become like a routine. Somehow my brain knows around the three or four month mark that it's time for me to get my Jordan fix ... at California Pizza Kitchen and nowhere else (Although we have strayed a few times and gone to Jim N Nick's because we both love love love anything from there too.)

Last night was my three/four monthly check-up/catch-up with Jordan. However, because I'm still trying to take it easy due to this gross infection, I kindly requested that we go to Panera because I just wanted something light and she so willingly obliged (It felt a little wrong being in there with her to be honest. I missed the modern-day ambiance of CPK. Oh well. Next time).

During our visit, our conversation headed towards the topic of the 20-year-old Auburn student who died suddenly a few weeks ago. I did not know the girl but I had seen a post on Facebook from my old choir teacher talking about how great of a person she was and how he would miss seeing her face in the choir every Sunday; old choir teacher (and just so happens to be my favorite teacher of all time) goes to Dawson (a massive Baptist Church in the area), and I've known for years that Jordan went there too but I never even put two and two together. It did not ever cross my mind that Jordan might have known her or been extremely close to her.

And she was. Jordan and Franny were very close. She had tears in her eyes as she talked about Franny  and how great she was and how she literally just died out of the blue ... absolutely nothing wrong with her. It just happened in an instant. Jordan told me that since Franny's death, she has gone from being very upset to being flat out angry because Franny didn't do anything wrong, and she didn't deserve to have her life taken from her at age 20. Which is absolutely 100% true.

Jordan went onto say that recently she was expressing her anger to her older brother, Spencer (and let me just say ... their sibling relationship is one to long for. They are so close and they love each other and I think that's great). After Jordan was done expressing how she felt, Spencer responded. He said,

"Jordan. Franny is so lucky though. She only had to be on this earth for 20 years! Most people have to wait to go home for 70 or 80 years but she only had to wait 20. She's so incredibly lucky."

Well.  That's when my tears started to form. I have never heard anyone describe death that way. Sure, we've all heard "They are in a better place" and "I'm not sad for them, I'm sad for myself" ... but to hear Earth actually be described as a place we should want to leave ASAP, it was beautiful. And refreshing. And really shook me up.

It's been over 24 hours since our conversation, and I still can't stop thinking about it. My prayer last night and my prayer tonight is that I can have that same attitude, that same mindset. I think if we are all honest with ourselves, we would admit that we don't think of life and death this way. But we should.

I've only met Spencer one time. He's in the Air Force and lives in Texas now. But I am so thankful that he knew the perfect thing to say to my friend while she was hurting. And I'm thankful that Jordan passed his words onto me.

And I'm thankful for friends like Jordan. We can go for several months without seeing or talking to each other ... and then pick up where we left off, and it's perfectly fine. Sweet friend.


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Infection. Ew.

I almost made it through 2012 without being sick at all.

No colds.
No fevers.
No viruses.

And then Bam! The first week of December, I have a super fun kidney infection to deal with. And of course, I had four different interviews scheduled for this week. Of course.

I cannot tell you how much Netflix I have watched over the past three days.

Actually, I can.

I finished Once Upon A Time (now I just need to borrow someone's Hulu account to catch up!), finally watched The King's Speech (been meaning to do that for two years), threw in a couple of Everybody Loves Raymond episodes, and started season 2 of The Tudors.

Being lazy is nice for a while, but I'm ready to be exposed to direct sunlight again and to socialize with human beings. And if I've learned anything from this experience ... it's that I take my health for granted everyday. I always am aware that I am blessed with my house and my "toys" and my family and my friends but I never really stop to appreciate the fact that I have my health too.

But let me be here to say ... I, Amy Barton, appreciate my health and am the most blessed. I need to do a better job at being grateful.

I am finally feeling better, going to an interview this afternoon and can't wait to drive my car again.

Happy Wednesday.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Worst

There are several things I do well.

Examples include ...

Folding t-shirts
Writing
Singing Disney/Prince of Egypt songs
Making Chicken N Dumplin' Casserole
Quoting every episode of Friends
Speaking in a southern accent (This might be my number one trait)
Picking out amazing perfumes
Rolling my tongue
Making people laugh
SuperMario World and Go-Karts on Super Nintendo
Showering, Blowdrying the hair and makeuping at lightning speed
Making new friends
Editing copy
Air Hockey

There are also several things I do not do well.

Examples include:

Parallel Parking ... Some would say driving in general, but that's not necessarily true.
Pre-Calculus ... Stayed after school three days a week my senior year of high school. It was not pretty.
Flirting
Braiding hair ... or anything
Running
Bowling
Drawing
Microeconomics. Basically anything math related.
Painting my nails
Pretending I'm fine when I'm really not
Getting my hair cut (I always end up crying over it for a week)
Disciplining my dog
Confrontation
Spelling
Dancing
Cutting onions. Cry everytime.
Sleeping with noise

And around this time of year, I get to remind myself that

I am.
The worst.
Present wrapper.
Ever.



My poor future children. Their birthday parties and Christmases are already doomed.

I was in a list-y mood tonight.

That is all.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Jolly

There's a new song by Taylor Swift called "Stay, Stay, Stay".

On the way back from Auburn this morning (let's not talk about how terrible we are and how I left the game earlier than I have ever left an AU game in my life), I made my friend Mary Grace listen to it.

She said, "Well that was jolly".

The word 'jolly' made me think of a family I met at church camp a few years ago whose last name was Jolly.

And then I remembered the following short story:

I was in third grade and at camp for the first time in my life. While I was there, I met a new friend whose name was Abby, and we hung out together for the majority of the week. Near the end, Abby told me that her friend Trevor (Trevor Jolly) thought I was cute and she wanted to introduce us. And I agreed.

"Amy, this is Trevor."
"Trevor, this is Amy."

And instead of being normal, my anxiety of meeting a boy who thought I was cute turned me into the world's biggest dork. My way of saying hello to him was to raise my right hand up in the air and say "How" ... like a Native American. I looked like I was reciting the official oath to become the next Native American President of the United States.



I don't think I ever talked to that boy again. And Abby and I lost touch over the years.

But the point is ... I'm 24 years old now, and I still have have moments where I have to fight over butterflies. I don't think we ever grow out of getting anxiously excited or happily stressed out over little fun things between men and woman. Or at least I hope we don't. How boring would a marriage be if you lost your little heart flicker for your mate? The most boring. I love a good heart flicker.

Anyway, fun lazy Sunday afternoon story for you.

Monday, October 22, 2012

8-5



I’ve worked seven different jobs in my lifetime (McAlister’s Deli, Disney World, Byron’s Smokehouse, the Auburn University Department of Human Sciences, Auburn Alumni Association, the Mountain Brook Chamber of Commerce … and now … Strong).

Out of all these different organizations, I worked the longest and hardest at Disney World…the “happiest place on Earth”, which I can tell you from first-hand experience is not always necessarily true. When you combine 60+ hours a week on your feet with a spacesuit costume with upset screaming too short children with a 30 minute lunch break with minimum wage with Florida weather … the word “happy” doesn’t really come to mind. 

That being said, I had a blast regardless of the working conditions. Lots of fun stories resulted from my 5-month Disney stay that I still love to share (if my old blog still existed, we could go back and reminisce. But it’s not and that’s sad).

But I was thinking today how different things are now, and it’s so clear to me how much I’ve changed in three years …

  •      My list of qualities in a potential husband are completely different
  •      I don’t hate the University of Alabama
  •      My expertise in make-up has evolved for the better (Thanks, urban decay)
  •      I believe in the power of the iPhone (I used to be a hater)
  •      I know how to put together a media plan
  •      The idea of going to Nashville no longer scares me

                And the list could go on and on …
               
… but one HUGE difference is worthy of in-depth analysis. 

I’M SO STINKIN’ TIRED!  

At Disney, I was 21 years old, would work 12 hour days and not think twice before changing clothes and heading out for the evening. Like, every single evening. I wouldn’t mind only getting four hours of sleep because I could function on it. No big. “Work hard, play hard" ... for five months.

Now, I’m 24 years old, work 9 hour days and come home completely and totally pooped. It’s embarrassing. All I wanna do is lay on the couch and watch Netflix (currently I’m going through SNL: the 2010’s) in some nice stretchy pants with my dog (#couldibeanymoresingle).

This cannot be a permanent thing. There’s no way. Just, no. It’s only my body getting used to this new schedule I’ve put it on, because I REFUSE to become boring. I mean, let’s be honest … I’m the fun one. I’m the girl whose best friend recently warned the new guy she was dating, “Okay. Now Amy is my friend who is wonderfully and beautifully insane. She’ll say whatever pops into her brain and she’s awesome. Don’t be afraid when she just starts talking to you like she’s known you all her life” … (yes, that conversation actually happened).

Here’s to hoping I’m only in the learning stage of how to live in “big-girl world. All I want to do is meet up with friends after work for drinks or dinner or maybe go shopping or get together and watch a movie! I don’t wanna stop! I wanna go-go-go-go but my little Amy body won’t have any of it right now.

I’m giving myself until the end of November to get it together. If that doesn’t happen, then we can back up and punt and reevaluate my life. Looking forward to it. 

PS I'm not complaining about working. I'm very grateful to have my job and am very blessed. VERY VERY VERY BLESSED!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The dress

I got a job!

Last week, I started my very first big girl job at Strong ... an advertising agency here in Birmingham ... as an Account Executive Assistant.

It's been a crazy overwhelming week but I think once I get into the swing of things, I think I'm really going to love it.

One of the many things that comes along with the blessing of starting a new job is ...

NEW WORK CLOTHES!!!!

Luckily, Strong has a pretty laid back environment (Half of the company is art driven so that makes sense, right?) so I don't have to wear a suit everyday or even dress pants everyday. Jeans and a sweatshirt are apparently perfectly fine ... that is, if important clients are not going to be in office that day.

I kinda love shopping for clothes. I used to hate it because I was huge and nothing fit me. The things that DID fit me were always a super high number that girls my age would laugh at. (I'm sure if I went back and found middle and high school diary entries, I could make you cry at how sad I was to be a "bigger girl").

Anyway.

As much as I love to shop for clothes now, I will never forget the way I felt shopping with my mom for a specific type of dress one day in May 2008. (I don't think I've ever shared this story before ... at least never written about it ... but I was going through old pictures last night, and I need to share. It's too great).

My mother (Gran Jan as she is affectionately referred to by several) married Coach Grammer in June 2008 ... pretty much at my request, if we're being honest.

Let's back up...They began dating when I was a sophomore in high school and they realized that they wanted to get married when I was a senio. I was still going through my rebellious,  "I hate my life. I hate that my parents are divorced. I'm going to cause problems for everyone because I can" phase. And I pitched a holy...I mean a HOLY fit when this wedding was first pitched to me.

I just could not believe my mother was going to make me live in the same house as my high school's soccer coach ... while I was still a student there. Everyone was going to make fun of me, and I would lose all my friends and basically, my life would be over if she made me live in such horrible conditions. I blasted her. I yelled at her. I left the house in the middle of the night hoping she would think something awful had happened to me. I made her life miserable all so she would agree to wait until I was in college so I wouldn't have to live with him.

And guess what?

She did.

And let me just stop a moment and say how much I love her for that. Not only did she put up with me treating her like scum of the earth, but she put off her wedding for an entire year ... for me. That's true love right there. I respect and adore my mom for several reasons, but this one is in the top two.

Anyway.

Regardless of the fact that she waited a year to marry the Coach, I still was not happy to go wedding dress shopping with her when that day came (When I say wedding dress, I mean just a dress to wear to the wedding. Not a bridesmaid dress or anything. They didn't have a big blowout wedding at all. It was in Coach Grammer's church's fellowship hall complete with takeout from Zoes, candles from Wal-Mart, and confetti from Party City. Sounds super redneck when it's described like that but ... it is what it is).

I don't know how we ended up in The Dress Barn (I had never stepped foot in the a day in my life) but I saw this really weird different looking dress that I demanded to try on. My mom laughed in my face and said it was hideous ... which really made me mad. Like ruffled my feathers, "Don't tell me what I can and cannot wear (even though it's your wedding), try to stop me from trying it on" type situation.

The dress was awful. I mean downright awful. But there was no way on this planet that I was going to reveal that she was right and I was wrong. I was SO MAD that she had laughed at it and said I had horrible taste that I demanded she buy it for me even though I hated it (I seriously needed to be on medication. Like, what in the world. Hats off to the woman for not murdering me. My goodness). And I have no idea why, but she bought me the dress. I think she did it to prove a point ... I really think she knew years down the road that all the pictures would feature me with hideous dress and it would literally be documented that she was right and I was wrong ... which is perfectly fine. I deserve it.

So behold:


Spot the hideous dress yet? If not...let me help you...


I look like a cardboard cutout wearing a table cloth. A shiny metallic wrinkled tablecloth.

And PS ... whoever told me my hair looked good brown needs to be sued. Embarrassing.

I am proud to say that I have come a long way when it comes to clothes. I actually care about what I look like, wear more than just nikes and chacos (although I still wear them), and I daydream of buying my first ever Tory Burch item. It's a nice feeling to walk around in the world and not be scared that Stacy and Clinton are going to pop out from behind a stop sign and flash your face all over TLC.

I was cleaning out my closet a few days ago, making the switch from Summer clothes to Winter clothes when the hideous dress popped out behind my high school graduation gown and I had to make a decision: donate it or keep it.

I kept it. It's still hanging in my closet. I don't think I will ever have the heart to throw that dress away.

It's a marvelous reminder of how far I've come, both in the fashion world and the emotion world.

I swear my life could be a reality show.

Oh PSS ... I'm writing all this from my bedroom which is right about mom and Coach Grammer's room ... and no hissy fit in sight.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

stan

I'm almost 24 years old and I still have giggly fun conversations with my girlfriends about boys  ... one of which happened last night. The conversation went from current boy stories to boy stories of years past, and I hung up the phone with a cramp in my side from laughing so hard.

If I could describe middle school in one word it would be .... boys. 

I had like 15 crushes and one boyfriend, my first boyfriend actually ... good ole Clay Shumate ... or Pot Shoebox as my friends and I nicknamed him. 

Three out of the 15 crushes were super super intense ... but one in particular stands out as absolutely ridiculously funny and worthy of the blog. 

I was in eighth grade and his name was Stan. He and I had never spoken two words to each other but I was "so completely head over heels in love with him". We had all the same classes together and were in choir together for three years. 

This is how pathetic I was ... I made a pro/con list in my diary of "REASONS WHY HE MAY OR MAY NOT LIKE ME"....On the pro list, I included the fact that his mother was my chaperone on our choir trip to Gatlinburg one year ... I had convinced myself that his mother personally choose me to go in her group as the request of her son. Absolutely pathetic. (I'm swallowing my laughter in this office as I type this out, by the way).

But it gets even worse.

My friend Catherine Honeycutt went to the Christmas dance with him and I requested printed out pictures of the two of them (as if that isn't weird enough). I cut her out of all the pictures. I would then tape together his cutout next to a picture of me and go about my life pretending that we were a couple. 

Yeah. This is probably a great explanation for why I had like two friends all throughout high school. I was the definition of pathetic loser. 

We never ended up speaking to each other even though we shared the same school for the next four years. 

Don't worry. I'm making up for my loserness ... I made pumpkin bread last night and watched Breaking Bad with my mom. 

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

sketch

It's become a joke at work. 

All the sketchball companies, all the 1-800 numbers, all the telemarketing people .... they want me. They want me to come work for them. 

But it's really true though. 

We all remember the Sam's Club interview ... where I was wanted to sell water bean bags. Yeah, that was a bad experience. 

 This isn't quite as bad as that ... but it's not far behind.  


video

All I want is really want to be hired by a legitimate company with a position in the Advertising/Marketing/Public Relations field. A company that has a TON of cars in the parking lot because it's that awesome.

I have no problems fighting for it. I keep telling myself that this "fight" for a job will be well worth it in the end with a wonderful super successful company.

Until then ... I'm having a blast at the Mountain Brook Chamber. As awesome as getting a job will be, I will really miss going there everyday.

Go Spartans.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

a german tale of love and signs

I mentioned that I was going to elaborate on God's little signs for us.

Everyone needs to hear this story. Everyone.

Stephanie, a sweet friend of mine, has been struggling with a huge life decision over the past few days.

In a nutshell:

Last September, Stephanie met Tobias ...  a gorgeous international student from Germany working in Tuscaloosa for an internship. To say they "fell for each other" is an understatement. They did everything together, spent every waking moment together, completely understood each other, the works. But his internship was up in December and his departure date was upon them before they knew it.

They both shed tears as he boarded the plane, exchanged "I love you"s and agreed to stay in touch with each other in order to make a plan for them to be together (sound familiar?)

Stephanie started taking Rosetta-Stone lessons in German and  started her job hunt in random German cities  that she knew nothing about. She skyped Tobi ... "The German" as we all called him ... everyday, sent him voice messages everyday, did everything she could to stay in touch throughout all of the spring semester and the summer semester.

Their plan was for her to pack up her bags after graduation and move to Germany for two months to see if she could adapt to the culture. She decided she was going to tell her parents about the plan on their drive back from Tuscaloosa to Dallas ... her parent's new place of residence.

Okay, so now we are up to speed

On Monday morning, Stephanie called me in tears. She had told her parents of her plan and (not surprisingly) they were not okay with it. They brought up several different issues that Stephanie hadn't thought of and completely shook up her confidence with her decision. She then ... very hesitantly ... said to me, "I haven't wanted to admit it, but I've been feeling this inkling. It's an inkling that is whispering to me that I don't need to go".

I said to her, "You can't ignore that. That's happening for a reason". I then told her of all the signs God had hit me with that I completely ignored with  my last relationship and how it eventually ended horribly because I hadn't paid attention.

She said, "Amy, I need a huge slap in the face. I need a huge sign to literally tell me what to do. Otherwise, I'll ignore them too."

I said to her, "Well, I know this sounds crazy ... but you need to sit down and ask God and the universe and whoever you think is in charge to send. you. a sign. between now and in the morning. Seriously. I firmly believe if you are genuine in thinking these signs can actually happen, then you'll get one".

She agreed. She thanked me for the advice and hung up the phone, promising me she was going to ask for her sign.

After she had asked her special favor from the universe and prayed like she'd never prayed before, she went to Twitter and simply said " Waiting for signs from the universe" ... (naturally) ...

About five hours later, I received the following picture message from her:


Yup. 

The Universe tweeted back at her and LITERALLY SENT HER A STOP SIGN. 

I picked up the phone and after we both freaked out over what had happened, I asked her what she was going to do. 

"I'm not going, I asked for a sign and I got one and I'm not going", she said. 

If you are struggling with anything at all .... let this be a testament to the power of prayer. 



Tuesday, August 7, 2012

ten lessons

saturday was the definition of bittersweet.

my year at the university of alabama came to an end, thus ending an INSANE amount of work and stress in my life .... and a super tight friendship with a group of amazing people that i never expected to fall in love with.

my goals and priorities a year ago were so incredibly different from what they are now.

a year ago, i was focused on one thing: a bro. getting settled down with the bro and sticking out the program for a year until we could implement a settling down plan ... to be exact.

but that was not what life had in store for me.

instead, life decided to teach me a few lessons. here's ten of them.

lesson 1 -- i'm completely in the right field. i love public relations and everything it entails. my years of studying in this certain area were definitely not a waste. this is where i'm supposed to be.

lesson 2 -- even if someone loves something that you hate, a relationship can still be fostered. my phi mu friend is the best example of this lesson. she's all about some greek livin' and i've always wanted nothing to do with that ... but, i love lisa with all my heartstrings and already miss her italian face.

lesson 3 -- God really does hit you across the face with signs to communicate with you. we just have to be super careful to keep a close eye out for them. they are definitely there (more on that later)

lesson 4 -- it's so completely important to develop your own opinions from your own personal experiences. i've strongly disliked anything and everything UA for as long as i can remember ... but i walked away with a completely different perspective (i'm still an auburn fan though, people. no worries)

lesson 5 -- magic exists in the back booth at the innisfree in tuscaloosa.

lesson 6 -- i'm way more southern that i would care to admit.

lesson 7 -- one can never have too many girlfriends. for the most part boyfriends come and go ... but girlfriends should remain a constant. girlfriends are essential. end of story.

lesson 8 -- you can make plans for your life all day long, but if it isn't what God has in mind for you ... it won't happen. and in time, you'll understand why.

lesson 9 --  friendships change but it's not a bad thing. it's life. the types of friendships i have with certain people have evolved over the years because that's what happens because life happens.

lesson 10 -- makeup remover wipes are a heavenly thing.

long live my one year in tuscaloosa, alabama. i'd do it all over again tomorrow if i could. 

Monday, July 23, 2012

one for the books

i'm on a job hunt. i graduate from the university of alabama in TWO weeks (seriously where did the time go?) with a master's degree in advertising and public relations ... and i'm going to need a job. like, yesterday.

i think it's safe to say i have a few good leads at the moment...one with chick-fil-a in atlanta (i would be the luckiest girl alive if offered that job) and one with an advertising agency here in birmingham. in the meantime, i'm still interning at the mountain brook chamber of commerce under the direction of suzan doidge (who is super connected to anyone and everyone and super friendly) and am gaining as much experience there as i possibly can.

this journey of job hunting lead me to connect with a "marketing and public relations" company that is sorta in  birmingham and sorta in columbus, ga (psh. who knows) and i MUST tell of this experience. i won't reveal the name of the company as not to completely embarrass them but good heavens almighty. i just have to tell this story.

i received a phone call a few weeks ago and was told i had been selected "out of a pool of more than 100 people" to go through the interview process which included a phone interview and then a real-life interview. i scheduled and went through the phone interview and was told to wait for another phone call if in fact i was selected for a real-life interview which would be a "HUGE honor since only four out of more than 150 would be chosen" ...

well guess what.

dude on the phone told me that my real-life interview would take place at .......... the sam's club in hoover.

excuse me? ... apparently dude read my mind ...

"that's where we hold a few of our events, so you'll get the chance to see what you'll actually be doing along with the interview" ... obviously, i knew going into this that something was SUPER fishy ... but that didn't stop me from going. one can never have enough interview experience, right?

so, i walk my happy professional self into sam's (suit, portfolio, the works. looking completely out of place in you know, this warehouse filled literally to the ceiling of wild amounts of bubble gum and bulks of frozen shrimp).

dude meets me at the "event". now let me just clarify. this is not an event. this is a table covered in a orange plastic tarp piled high with 50 cardboard boxes. inside the boxes one would find little bags filled with water that contain a small metal disk that when bent makes the water bag hot and "provides relief for all sorts of muscular pain".

i wish i was kidding.

dude doesn't explain all of this until later though. after shaking his hand, he leads me to the area of sam's where the furniture is displayed. down we sit at a table (a table that's for sale, mind you) placed right in front of a large widescreen tv (also for sale) that is displaying the one and only lion king. as dude begins to speak the following fills the furniture area:



i'm not exaggerating when i say i had to literally swallow my laughter. i felt like ashton kutcher would pop out at any second and reveal i had been punked. but that didn't happen. instead, dude started asking me a bunch of questions that were actually normal and expected. then he proceeded to go into his ... what i've started to refer as .... monologue.

he begins by giving a little info about himself. the only thing that came out of his mouth that is even worth mentioning ... dude (who for some reason told me he was 26) has his degree from the university of texas in electrical engineering.

again, wish i was kidding.

(at one point during the interview he asked me why i thought i was qualified for the job and i said [probably with an attitude], "well i have my MASTER'S DEGREE in ADVERTISING AND PUBLIC RELATIONS which might help") ... couldn't help it.

dude then begins by telling me the difference between direct and indirect marketing which i sorta found offensive. i mean, i can understand him going into detail about why this wire connected with that wire would start a fire ... but don't sit there and tell me the difference between direct and indirect marketing, you electrician you ... and even if you DO decide to explain these differences to me ... maybe you should actually be correct in your definitions ...

dude defined indirect marketing as "television, radio, billboard, magazine, traditional avenues of advertising". he defined direct marketing as "face-to-face interaction with consumer".

not exactly accurate.

he went on to say that television advertising is too expensive, no one watches commercials anyway, and there's no way to see how many people are viewing the actual ad. he also said that no one reads magazines or newspapers anymore so using those mediums would be pointless. therefore, he said, "direct marketing is our preferred style of marketing, because in direct marketing situations, you are face to face with the consumer and you know EXACTLY how many people are exposed to your product". that's why they choose places like sam's and costco to advertise their products. because so many people come through those doors everyday. so they have "events" and try to sell the product by randomly approaching customers and asking them if they had ever seen anything like the product before. you know, every PR professional's dream job. 

and because i answered one of his interview questions by saying, "i feel one of my best traits is the fact that i can talk to anyone and everyone about anything. i enjoy getting to know other people" ... he told me i needed to prove it and approach five customers in the store and market the water bag with the metal disk in it.

so i was the girl in the hoover sam's club taking random people aside and showing them the wonder of the little bag of water with the metal disk that when bent heats up and soothes any and every kind of muscular pain....much like that chinese lady in the galleria who grabs random women and forces them to sit down in her chair and straps a crystal butterfly hair extension on their head

after i had approached five poor souls and had unsuccessfully demonstrated the little water bag's features (don't worry it wasn't my fault. the metal disks weren't bending properly), dude takes me back to the for sale table and says, "so i bet you're wondering why we're hiring more people, aren't you?" (in the background the sound of the moving tractor things in sams filled the air ... sounding very much like ...... )



at this point, i knew that this scenario was only going to result in an awesome blog post and a fun story to tell my friends and family so i quit being professional and was just my natural normal self. i mean, come on.

i answered him and said, "no. i'm not wondering. i'm pretty sure i know why you're hiring more people".
he looked at me stunned and said, "you do? oh. well tell me."
"you're looking for more people because you told me in my phone interview that you are getting more clients and therefore, need more employees", i said.

dude's eyes lit up and his face appeared as if he had just witnessed a magician pulling a rabbit out of a hat. he said, "wow. no one has ever got that right before."

is this a joke? really? REALLY?

he then asks me if i had any questions for him, which i did. i had one question that i really wanted the answer to.

i said, "yeah, what does this job pay?"

he shrugs his shoulders and says, "well, sometimes it depends on how many hours you work. and sometimes it depends on how much product you sale. and sometimes its a combination of both. so really it's up to you".

... oh okay. thanks for that.

FINALLY, dude shakes my  hand again and tells me that it was nice to meet me and that i need to keep an eye out on my inbox for the job offer.

well, fortunately for me, they only had my auburn email address which is an address i don't have the password to anymore and physically cannot check. so who knows if they offered me a job or not.

but that all really happened.

and here's what i take from it:

i have absolutely no problems accepting a job that i'm over qualified for. if it's with an amazing company and i have the opportunity to work my way up, i'm there. sign me up. i'm not going to be a snot with job offers. i can't afford to be.

but i did NOT get my master's degree to sell little water bags at costco....and after the telling of this story, i don't feel the need to defend such a statement.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

cow sigma moo

a few days ago, one of my bestest friends received a phone call with exciting news.

ladies and gentlemen ... lisa primiani has been appointed the national collegiate membership director for phi mu (such a mouthful, no?)


i just so happened to be in the car with her when she got the call and homegirl FREAKED out. i mean, she fought back tears, did some yelling, almost forgot to pay the chickfila lady as we left the drive through, etc.

insanity.

i'm super happy for her because it makes her happy. i've never seen her so excited before (except when she saw all 2,487 of her friends at ken's in tallahassee) ... but this tugged at my heartstrings, i will admit.

and for me to say that about phi mu related activity, is a big deal.

see, lisa lives and breathes for phi mu. she's obsessed with it. she bathes in it. she's always said that her blood is more of a pinkish color than it is red and she refers to everyone as "sister". she decided a few weeks ago that her new life goal was to be the godmother of my future children and raise them to be just like her ... phi mu's in the making. she's even completed my future daughter's rec for rush. i kid you not.

i, on the other hand, attended auburn and had ZERO desire to be in a sorority. i was a punk with a serious attitude. i was mad at the world (my mom was about to get remarried and i wasn't really handling it that well) and i didn't want anyone (girls my own age for that matter) telling me what to do. in fact, i judged and hated and loathed every sorority girl i came in contact with at auburn (at least for the first two years). my handful of girlfriends and i didn't need alpha gamma theta sigmas. so there.

on my very first day of attending class here at ua, this girl lisa introduced herself to the class.

"hey everyone. my name is lisa and i attended florida state university where i was apart of the phi mu sorority"

great. this is just great. i already hate a classmate, i thought. what a snot. a phi mu. gross.

long story short ... lisa (or as me and the rest of the group call her ... the leesears) is now one of my bestest friends.

now ... back to the day of the phone call.

after she hangs up, we head back to her apartment to consume our ever wonderful, ever divine chickfila.

after stuffing our faces, in honor of the moment, the leesears changes into this really sweet phi mu/'merica tank that i actually really really loved. it made her look alot like harvey updyke's daughter. it was kinda wonderfully horrible.

i said, "hey leesears. i want a shirt like that. i want a neon pink one."

leesears says, "amy, you can't have one. you aren't a phi mu" ... very much sounding like ...



this sparked a debate. leesears went onto to explain that it's not okay for people to go around wearing greek letters when they aren't greek....

"if i saw someone wearing phi mu letters," she said,  "i'd think they are my sister and would say something to them, you know? it's like a connection that you can't pretend to be apart of" ... okay, well those weren't her exact words but it was something like that.

obviously, if someone is going to tell me i can't do something ... i'm going to make it happen. that's just asking for it.

SO, i've decided to develop my own sorority that will be active at AUBURN UNIVERSITY only!!

introducing .... cow sigma moo. 

and because only really awesome "it" girls are cow sigma moos ... i've developed a rigid, but do-able list of rules for every cow sigma moo to follow. the rules may seem harsh, but it's only to ensure that we have the BEST of the BEST.

RULES OF THE COW SIGMA MOO

1. all hair must be natural colored. if your hair is dyed a natural color and your roots show, then you have to go dumpster diving twice a week to fetch out coupons so we can save money on our kitchen budget.
2. you must shave your legs everyday and your armpits every other day. no one likes a hairy cow moo.
3. you must always have three David Yurman bracelets on at all times.
4. if you eat more calories than the equivalent of a banana and a cup of yogurt for breakfast, then you must make yourself throw up at least four times before lunch.
5. all muffin tops and camel toes will result in immediate dismissal from the cow sigma moo sorority
6. as do chapped lips
7. you must always order a salad when eating out ... and the dressing must always contain either "fat free" or "reduced fat" or "light" adjectives ... and it must always be on the side. just to ensure we don't take up on calories. just because we are cow moos, doesn't mean we need to ingest extra lard, ladies.
8. all cow moos are restricted from even darkening the door of a thrift store. a consignment store is okay but your purchases can only be labeled Michael Kors, Chanel, Lily Pultizer and/or Tory Burch. Absolutely NO Charlotte Rouse or Xhilirtation allowed inside the cow sigma moo house. ever.
9. we prefer you buy any and all grocery's from Publix or Whole Foods. But if that's not possible and you absolutely HAVE to go to a Wal-mart or Target, make sure you put a bag over your head so you won't be seen and NEVER EVER EVER purchase Great Value or Arbor Hill brands. those are poor people brands.  and we are NOT poor cow moos, are we?
10. And finally, you must have at least 10 xxl neon t-shirts, 12 Nike Tempo shorts, 1 pair of Jack Rogers, 3 pairs of Chacos, 1 pair of Uggs and 100 leggings to even be considered during rush. if you don't have all of the above, then it's best to walk away.

i'm pitching my new sorority idea to auburn within a matter of days.

thoughts anyone?









Friday, June 8, 2012

chaos

all i want to do is blog.

...about my cruise experience.
...about my new internship.
...about the newest piece of ridiculousness of my grad program.
...about my fun going out times.
...about my hunt to find a job.

but i seriously have NO TIME! there's so much going on in my life and there's no time to stop. but i'm loving every second of it. currently ...
  • i'm doing research for a company called dynomighty design for class which involves group meetings and actual research and visits to auburn and presentations, etc. etc. etc.
  • the hunt for a job consumes most of my daytime free time.
  • i'm trying to finish these shades of grey books that are just you know .... horribly wonderful.
  • i'm having too much fun helping the mountain brook chamber with its social media. like, so much fun. 
maybe one of these days, i'll get a spare moment to entertain. i miss it. 




Monday, May 21, 2012

nautical

in three days, i set sail from new orleans out into the open blue to a little city called cozumel in a little country called mexico on a small little boat weighing in at just a few hundred pounds ... a completely new experience for me and i couldn't be more thrilled.

i'm the first in my family to ever go on a cruise and as a result, there's a little bit of nervousness spiraling around me and it's too good not to share.

last tonight ... as i was hugging my mother good-bye ... she said:

"you've see the movie 'taken' right'? you better not get into any trouble cause your dad is nowhere close to a liam neeson. and while we're on the subject, i'm gonna need you to not talk to anybody. and if you do, then don't give them your real name."

bless her heart. she means well but ... bless her.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

lyrics

i'm all about some wobbly wobble and some love lockdown and especially some "tippy toe tippy tay" from sir big sean.

however, there is nothing like a moving song that so very accurately depicts a situation that you're going through. something about seeing my life in the lyrics of a song really shakes me up. if i can even REMOTELY relate to it, i'm done.

a few weeks ago i was driving back to tuscaloosa after spending a weekend in birmingham and "for good" came on my shuffle. instantly i envisioned myself in my nasty gross university of alabama cap and gown (with auburn tattoos imprinted on both cheeks, chin and forehead mind you) saying good-bye to my handful of girlfriends who i've grown to deeply love in a very short amount of time. and i lost it. right there ... in my car ... in tears ... in APRIL (we don't graduate till august). waterworks.

i've got some probs.

anyway, this afternoon i explored carrie underwood's new album and i begin to feel something in her song "good in goodbye". there were no tears this time ... but it was amazing ... it was like she knew everything i've been through and exactly how it felt.

as bad as it was
as bad as it hurt
i thank god i didn't get
what i thought that i deserved

cheese post i know. sorrys.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

recently

so much has gone on.
too much.
if i typed out a post for each memorable moment, my fingers would twist off in a fit of early onset arthritis.

keywords describing the recent day-to-day excursions of my life include

essie
caveman
fireballs
tallahassee
moscato
media planning
social buzz, inc.
skins cancers
skrillex
chicken & dumplin' casserole
el rincon
lisa
stephanie
katie
lonely island + akon

put it all together and that's my life these days.

lovin' it.






Saturday, April 21, 2012

kony

on march 5, 2012, the world was introduced to the kony 2012 film. in 25 days, the film received over 86 million views (and if you weren't one of them, embrace a part of internet history and go watch it. it's a 30 minute video and will affect you in one way or another).


my initial reaction to the video was: "wow. i'm so oblivious to the horrors of world; completely stuck inside my own head without a clue. i need to do a better job of tuning in. thank goodness there are good, active people in this world to take care of those who need it cause i'm awful at it"


...or something like that. i did not request to receive an action kit. i did not vow to participate in "cover the night". it didn't change the way i live my life. it just made me think in that moment. and i hadn't thought about that video again...


until today.


a facebook friend (and fellow grad student) posted the following status earlier this afternoon:


"I do not normally rant on my status, but I just ran into a sorority girl supporting the Kony 2012 movement. This is absolutely ridiculous. Were you there supporting the first Gulf War when Saddam attacked Kuwait. More recently were you there supporting our troops intervening when Saddam was killing his people (not limited to children) in Iraq. There are atrocities all over the world. The fact that you only become an activist because of a youtube video makes you a moron. You are an ignorant person. The world has vetted this organization yet you support it."


well. obviously this resulted in some good ole facebook debate. actually, no thats not true. every person who commented on the status was completely in favor and agreed with it...up until i decided to say a little something. i felt it ironic that a fellow ADVERTISING & PUBLIC RELATIONS student would say, "the fact that you only become an activist because of a youtube video makes you a moron"  and i said so. i mean, really?? we're gonna hate on people because of the WAY they found out about a movement? oh okay, cool. as a future pr professional, i give the filmmaker props. 86 million views in 25 days. shoot. that's awesome.

he responded to me by saying: 

"People need to be aware of the powers of propaganda and be willing to do research before jumping on band wagons. I understand peoples' desire to help and make the world a better place. My question is where was the stop Hussein campaign. Why don't kids care about the atrocities in Syria, North Korea, or America, because no one has made that cool yet." 

i guess my problem is this: does the basis of an individual's support for something good really matter? is there anyway the basis could out shine the genuine concern for another's well being? the 3.6 million people who pledged to campaign along with IC only want to help those who are hurting. whether their support is based on their own research of the situation or strictly on how they felt watching this video ... who cares? how can you criticize people wanting to do good? 

instead, rather, let's criticize what deserves to be criticized: the public masturbation displayed by the filmmaker, jason russell a few weeks after the film's release. and i'm sure his family's decision to claim it only as a symptom of his "brief reactive psychosis" was hoped to be another successful pr move... but not so the second time around. 

whatever. nothing like a little facebook debate to shake up a boring saturday night watching a horrible movie with your parents. 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

the mon

one of my good friends here in tuscaloosa was diagnosed with mono yesterday.

i'm indifferent about the mono.

i got it my freshman year at auburn, just a few weeks after moving into my super disgusting dorm room. my doctor told me i needed to take a week off from school to start getting over it so i packed my bags and headed back to birmingham. that entire week was miserable, i felt like a train had run over me ... put itself in reverse, and ran over me again. that was the the bad part. i chose to look at the fact that i couldn't eat anything as the good part because i lost about twenty pounds and became smaller than i had ever been (i'm super close to fitting back into those jeans though ... fingers crossed)

at the time, i was dating this guy i met while working at mcalister's deli that summer. he made me laugh and i had fun with him ... but that was really all there was to that relationship. i didn't know that though until he refused to come visit me once i came back to birmingham. he said he couldn't risk getting sick and had to think of himself first. and my response to that was: "k, bye". relationship over. (we kinda had another fling the next summer ... but after that, the relationship was REALLY over. promise)

mono stricken jennifer just told me the boy she's seeing refused to NOT see her and so far, has come to hang out with her everyday since. i pondered this... and drew some conclusions.

and here is my point:

in a nutshell, that's all we want. we want the kind of man (emphasis on man) who will be there to sit with us when we have mono. the kind that plays our favorite song in his car cause he knows we love it. the kind that appreciates a homecooked meal and helps clean the kitchen. the kind that wants to hang out with our friends because he knows they mean so much to us. (and ... my new absolute deal breaker...) the kind that doesn't lie about little things ... or just in general would be nice too.

i've always said that i would much rather go to mcdonald's every night for dinner with someone who treats me the way i know i deserve to be treated then eat cheesecake factory with someone who makes me feel like dirt, tricking me into thinking i'm happy.

after all i've been through, i've learned that everything mentioned above is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. i'm twenty-three years old and still searching for that needle. however, i'm 100% sure i have better tools to find it now than i did a year ago.

i know i'll find it...i don't care how long it takes.

the last thing i am is a quitter.

even though i bailed on my softball game tonight ... that doesn't count though.