Friday, November 25, 2011

holiday gift guide 4.

It's black Friday, internetS, but you already knew that. And you probably don't have to go stand in line at JC Penney this morning, because you've been taking advice from this web log and buying thoughtful gifts for your loved ones for weeks now.

You're welcome.
Cat Tree
For: The Cat Lover/Tree Lover
Why: Because cat people are people, too   
Bonus: Durability. This tree can last for years and years. Double bonus? Fabulous conversation piece.  

Giant Gummy Worm
For: The Gummy Worm Lover
Why: Because it's fun and filling.   
Bonus: If you get this little treat for the main man in your life, you probably won't be cooking dinner for at least three days! 

Lotus Flower Carved Box
For: The Lotus Lover/Box Collector
Why: Because when someone needs (or wants) a box, you want to give them a decorative one.   
Bonus: It's a pretty box AND it's a flower!

Candle Shadow Projector
For: The Modern Art Lover
Why: Because who wants a boring ole painting, anyway?   
Bonus: Warmth. 

Monday, November 21, 2011

no, thank you.

I'm about to get all THANKFUL up in herrre (up in herrre).

Oh, snap! Let's get our thankful on.

I never want to grow weary of being able to reflect on the incredibly fortunate and full life that I lead.

So, in kind of a particular order I am thankful for...

My nephew. That kid ain't ugly.

My family. They quit asking questions. 

My friends. Both at home and away. 

My church. The Gospel is real. 

My roommates. They are good people. 

My job. They keep paying me.

DVR. I want to meet the man that invented DVR and shake his hand.

the InternetS. Keeps me on my toes. 

The Arkansas Razorbacks. Forever. And always.

Hour hour.  Truly happy.

Books. What if I could only entertain myself with Bravo TV?

*I am also thankful for: g-chat, pizza, vodka, cameras, the presidents, America, calculators, cookies, weather that doesn't suck, shampoo, sweatpants, chap stick, vision, hearing, my working legs, electricity, indoor plumbing, brake lights, coffee, good music, colors, watches, Friday afternoons, stress balls, people who volunteer to drive to places, dentists, fishing shirts, wallabees, fleece vests, and water.

*This list is not all inclusive. 

Also, it wasn't listed on here, but I'm incredibly thankful for the saving and redeeming Grace of Jesus Christ. 

Friday, November 18, 2011

holiday gift guide 3.

As we inch closer and closer to Christmas morning this gift guide becomes more and more important. Let's not hold out on the thoughtfulness any longer!

Giant Folding Lawn Chair
For: The Tailgater
Why: Because sometimes tailgating is fun, but not comfortable. With this giant (ass) chair, it can now be both.   
Bonus: You can snuggle with up to three (small) adults in this chair. 

Remote Control Cooler
For: The Alcoholic
Why: Let's be honest, if someone is drunk the last thing you want them doing is moving around. With this gift the cooler comes to them!
Bonus: It spins! Could double as entertainment. 

Giant Couch for Dogs
For: The Crazy Dog Lover
Why: Because crazy people like to cuddle with their dogs.   
Bonus: It comes with a bone pillow!

Bald Eagle Wall Decor
For: The American
Why: Because Americans needs a way to tell people, "I'm American dammit!" without playing Toby Keith songs on a loop. 
Bonus: Could double as a coat rack, if hung low enough. 

Panda Rain Gauge
For: Those Obsessed with Collecting Rain
Why: I honestly do not know why I would buy this for anyone, but that doesn't mean that you don't know someone, right?!  
Bonus: Proceeds from your purchase go towards the World Wildlife Fund. 

Amazing Rainbow Projector
For: The Rainbow Lover
Why: Because sometimes is just doesn't rain enough and you need to see a rainbow to be reminded of God's promises.   
Bonus: Turn on the rainbows with a wave of your hand for extra magical appeal

Thursday, November 17, 2011

all the single ladies.

I am just barely into my 28th year of life and I am single.

That’s not a rare statement, a sad statement or a statement that makes me all that unique. But, throw that statement around in the South in a community of predominantly Christian people and it becomes rare, sad and unique.

All at once your eyes meet those of someone else who might be married (let’s be honest, it’s likely they are) and you can see the wheels turning. You can tell they are sad, confused… weirded out, even. But, why? I didn’t say, “I’m 28, single AND I’ve never known love. I have no family, no friends. All of my food comes frozen in a box and my television is always on Lifetime.”  So, why? Why the horror?

Lately, I’ve noticed that when I meet new people the first thing they ask me is not what I do for a living or where I am from or went to school, but, “are you married?” As if the answer to that question is going to give them any insight into my personality or soul. As if the answer to that question defines who I am as a person or can explain to them why I think I am even on this Earth in the first place.

I’ve never met anyone who’s said, “Hey! I’m married!” and thought now, this is a gUrl I want to be friends with! That statement tells me one thing and one thing only: you have found a person who has committed their life to you. I guess I could infer that you probably spend most of your evenings with that person and that your holiday schedules often produce stressful situations, where mine typically do not. My holiday time is split between the dinner table and the couch/a marathon of some crime show like Law & Order or Criminal Minds, which actually can be somewhat stressful, so there’s that.

I guess I just don’t understand why people ask that question before any other question. I would like to think that the question-asker saw me, thought DAY-UM, my son/brother/cousin/co-worker would love her, I must find out if she’s married, but I’m afraid that’s never the case. People just ask the question and look at me as if I told them the saddest story they have ever heard or like we suddenly have nothing to talk about. 

Here’s some breaking news: being single and 28-years-old is not the saddest story ever.  I mean, it’s not the most thrilling story ever, either, but it works.

I lead a happy, joyful life. I have friends—some of them are even married. I have a job that I enjoy. I pay my own bills. I do my own taxes. I take my car in for routine maintenance.  I do all of these things on my own and they have never once caused me to think I am worthless or sad. I mean, I have definitely thought my husband is so going to take over vacuuming out this car.  And I’ve even thought I so cannot wait for someone else to cook the bacon on a Saturday morning. But, that’s about it.

Maybe I am unique because when I went to college I went with the intention of getting an education and graduating. I graduated without a ring on my finger. I accomplished one goal, so I moved on to another: get a job; get off The Reg’s bankroll. I did that without a ring on my finger, so I set other goals. This pattern has continued.  Is it that weird that a goal of mine isn’t marriage? Is it weird that to me marriage is something I hope for and pray for, but not something I’ve ever had on a to-do list? Is it weird that with each year that passes I continue to set other goals for myself and continue to live what I consider to be a normal, fulfilling life? Maybe that is sad to some people?

I think it should be noted that when I answer your marriage question with a strong, “no” that’s not the time to say, “Well, why not?” People! Come on! I am not in charge of this thing. If it were up to me I would’ve married a former youth minister turned millionaire at least two years ago.

[An aside: I also love when the marriage question is followed by the dating question and it gets real awkward real fast, so I always say, “Well, there was this boy…” when in reality there was a boy, like two years ago. Or in actuality I have a crush on some boy’s Facebook profile, so I just pretend there was this boy in order to make the person think I’m normal.]

Let’s also get out there that I love married people. I love people who long to get married and aren’t married. I love that people got married at 19. I am not a hater of the covenant between two people committed to splitting the cooking and doing the dishes.

I’m just a hater of the people who refuse to believe that life can be lived and people can be happy without someone around to help fold the towels.

This isn’t a cry for help. It’s more of a plea for a person to quit looking at me like being single is a choice and marriage is a right.

It’s not and it’s not.

Reaching out: If you think you may be one of those people who do this, I’m here to help.

You can talk to single people about ALL kinds of different things. You can ask where they grew up, where they live, etc.; you can compliment them on their hair or outfit and follow that up by asking them where they bought the outfit or where they get their hair cut. If you live in Dallas you can almost always say, “How about them Cowboys?” Depending on the week and the previous game, you need to ask the question with excitement or by rolling your eyes.

Other topics that are always transferable between singles and marrieds: puppies, baking, wine, coffee, traffic, Apple products, shoes, airport security, books, the Kardashians, YouTube videos, the Today Show, good restaurants and birthdays. 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

holiday gift guide: 2.

If you missed my gift guide from last week, scroll down.

Who knew it was possible to find so many great and thoughtful gifts on the internetS? I'll be honest: I did. I don't remember the last Crimmas gift I purchased for someone in an actual store. If you can't buy it off the internetS, you don't need it. The same mantra rings true for Wal-Mart. If Wal-Mart doesn't have it, you don't need it. For real though. 

There are some really great items out there, kids! Do you want an extra pat on the back this year for being so freaking thoughtful with your gift-giving?

If you answered 'yes' check out the following items...

Detroit Skyline Photo on Canvas

For: The Detroit Lover
Why: Because what city in America needs more love than Detroit? Maybe Cleveland. So, if you love Detroit, you need to shout it from your living room or bedroom walls.  
Bonus: Proceeds from your purchase actually go to Michigan's fledgling economy. 

Germ Resistant Gloves

For: The Fear Monger 
Why: Because fear mongers are annoying. 
Bonus: You get to watch someone wear gloves around while they think they are being "protected" from all germs. Entertainment for decades.  

Sweatpants Jeans

For: The Couch Potato 
Why: Because sometimes, you really need to go to the grocery store, but can't imagine taking your sweatpants off to do it.  
Bonus: Self-explanatory! They are SWEATPANTS that look like jeans!

Meerkat Sculpture

For: The Meerkat Lover 
Why:  It's a known fact that meerkats and meerkat lovers are difficult to shop for, so why not?
Bonus: There are three meerkats on the sculpture.

Floating Poker Table

For: The Person in Your Life who Might Have a Gambling Problem
Why: Because gambling problems sometimes force people into dark, dark places. At least this gift gets your gambler out into the sunlight every once in a while. 
Bonus: You get to play poker. IN A POOL.

UV Disinfectant Wands

For: Another  Fear Monger 
Why: If buy somebody gloves to "protect" them from germs, you might as well take it one step further and get them this wand that kills bacteria on food. 
Bonus: Looks like a light saber. 

Friday, November 4, 2011

holiday gift guide.

Seeing as how it's half-past Halloween and below 60 degrees in beautiful Dallas, it's clearly time for the Holidays. To me, the Holidays are for family, food and giving (and receiving). I pride myself on being a thoughtful gift giver (well, there's an anomaly, eh?).  

In order to help you, the internetS, be a thoughtful gift giver this Holiday season, every Friday until Crimmas this web log will feature thoughtful gift-giving advice for every member of your family or google+ circle. 

Shall we dive directly into the shallow end of the pool? 
Let's dance.

Large Mouth Bass Salt and Pepper Holder
For: The Fisherman in Your Life
Why: Because you want to enjoy what your fisherman enjoys, right? And you need salt and pepper on your meat and potatoes. 
Bonus: You get to eat your appropriately salted (or peppered) food AND stare down the mouth of a fake large mouth bass. 

Resting Gargoyle Sculpture
For: Your Favorite Architecture Buff
Why: Because most cities in America don't have the grandiose (or even subtle) gargoyles across the tops of buildings like a lot of European buildings. 
Bonus: This gargoyle looks like Europe, in your home! Classy. 

Hammer/Bottle Opener
For: The Handyman in Your Life (Who Might Have a Drinking Problem)
Why: Because how many times have you, or your loved ones, been hammering something and thought, I'm hammering this thing and I'm about to open this beer. I wish this hammer could open the beer? I can tell you that the number of times this has happened to me is more than I would ever care to admit. 
Bonus: Saves time. Saves money.

Martini Shaped Necklace
For: Your Favorite Classy Alcoholic
Why: Alcoholics are hard to shop for: you can't give them money and you don't want to feed their addiction. Problem solved with this gem! 
Bonus: Can really class up an outfit and it's a great conversation piece. 

Mobile Massage System
For: Hard Worker in Your Life
Why: Why not?! People love to relax, to feel better. People love it when a loved one says, "Hey, you look like you've had a rough day, can I work out the knots in your lower back without touching you?" 
Bonus: It's mobile!

Gold-dipped Rose
For: Hard-to-Shop-For-Lady/Mom/Grandmother/Aunt
Why: Ladies love flowers, but flowers die. This says you care, you want them to know you care and that you know flowers die. 
Bonus: Decor year-round. 

Giant Stuffed Animals
For: A Small Child
Why: Because you don't want to spend all of your Christmas vacation listening to Elmo sing/watch him dance. 
Bonus: These things double as a jungle gym, too. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

the elsie awards: the winners.

I tend to think of social media as my love language, so handing out awards about social media is like, my way of saying, "I really think you're very cool and your online persona speaks volumes to me." I want to be very honest about these awards: they are important and meaningful, but if you didn't win, I still think you're great, maybe just not that entertaining, you know? You not winning is NOT a personal jab at you, your Twitter feed or your lifestyle.

Oh, you didn't win? Or did you? Check out the SURPRISE ELSIE AWARDS.

Please remember: The Elsie was created to award those people in my life who are making it better. The people who are constantly striving to entertain me, inform me and shock me. The people who make me laugh, cry and shriek in terror.
And: All Elsie awards were voted on by me and are completely and totally subjective. Some categories have a runner-up. Some don't.
Note: I've done my best to compile screen shots and examples of the actual winning posts/texts/tweets, etc;

Well. Here we go.

(You can click on the photos of the awards and they'll get bigger and easier to read. What a fun trick!)

The most controversial category of all: The Mommy Blog. There was some stiff competition for this, but ultimately, Kerri McWilliams won out. I don't have any great reasons for this, other than: I've never read it and thought, "Yeah, riiiiiiiiiiiiiiight." Kerri's a great writer and her child is probably going to be a lot like me someday because her dad is an engineer, her mother is a creative teacher and she has a crazy aunt. Yes, this sets Olivia up nicely to be a lot like her crazy aunt's BFF.

Winner: Kerri McWilliams, The Olivia Story



This is one of my favorite categories. I love being on the receiving end of a photo of something random or weird seen throughout someone’s day. The best photos come without any explanation, usually. But, in the case of the winner this year, there was an explanation.

Claire’s sisters put a tramp stamp on her baby. Simple, yet classic.

The runner-up was Mr. Matthew S. Wilson. His text of a mini-horse was timely and appropriate. Why appropriate? Well, it’s always appropriate to take a photo of a mini-horse. Always.

Winner: Claire Bennett Beaumont
Runner-up: Matthew S. Wilson


This was another fun category. But, ultimately “The Future” took this one home. Does it really need an explanation? I GOT A TEXT FROM THE FUTURE.

Katie Garton came in a close second. Her text was interesting, but also incredibly informative.

Winner: The Future
Runner-up: Katie Garton


This was a tough call. At the end of it all, it boiled down to what was legitimately the most interesting question. And when you think about it like that, how could Laura Brittain not win? She asked an interesting (see ABSURD) question and even used the word, ‘lil.’

Runners-up were Ryan Bowen and Jessica Dean Rutherford. Yes, Morgan did fall over while singing and she did get back up and keep on singing. And I mean, yeah Chili’s has a full bar. Duh.

Winner: Laura Brittain
Runners-up: Ryan Bowen, Jessica Dean Rutherford


The truth in April Medina’s wall post is what put her over the top. Because, folks, somewhere a pageant baby DID just throw up. Elizabeth Suffield gets the runner-up nod because I have no idea why she wrote that on my wall.

Winner: April Medina
Runner-up: Elizabeth Suffield


Mallory Hardin wins, but only because I don’t even know the gUrl who replied to her wall post for her.


Winner: Mallory Hardin

Talk about a close call. I deliberated on this category longer than any other category. I mean, look at these photos.

Obviously, Ashley Festa Ariail took it home for posting this photo of Andrew G. Bruder at her wedding. This photo is too good to be true and made a few people happier than they’ve probably ever been.

Gina, Evan and Oswalt were right there, too. Gina’s photo is of a couple fighting outside of her apartment door. Evan posted his photo with the caption, “’R’ doesn’t mean ‘radio.’” And well, look at that dog. Doesn’t really look like she wants to be celebrating a new year, does it?

There's a major type on this photo. I'm too lazy to fix it. Apologies.

Winner: Ashley Festa Ariail
Runners-up: Gina Fortune, Evan Cowling, Lauren Oswalt Baber


Another close call because I’m vain and anybody who has ever mentioned me on Twitter was nominated. For multiple reasons, this category is a tie! The first in the history of the Elsie Awards.

Jenessa gets half of the title because, well, we’re not that tight. We share some really good friends in common, but we’ve never spent time together alone or anything. The fact that she’d have this dream and them be courageous enough to tell the world about it is what got me. And. Look at that dream. What IS a vintage hooker? And how did I decide to dress like one? She summed it up perfectly, “Weird.”

Mr. Matthew S. Wilson gets the other half of the prize because this might be my favorite thing he’s ever tweeted. We love to karaoke and when we karaoke, we love to tweet about it. I don’t like my karaoke performances to get stale, so I brought in the Most Interesting Man in the World to sing with me on a song. Matt took a photo, tweeted and he wins because of it. Brilliant!

Winners: Jenessa Bailey, Matthew S. Wilson


The hands down winner of this category was Morgan Stallings. The best part about her reply was that, the tweet wasn’t originally to her and then, she drug me into it because she knew I’d pee on myself thinking about it.

@abbydecicco was @laurabrittain’s roommate once upon a time. @laurabrittain doesn’t respond to text messages, so @abbydecicco went to Twitter to get some answers. @morganstallings chimed in and the rest is Elsie history.

Side note: That’s all a true story. We did throw her a party. She wasn’t able to attend. It got real awkward when people showed up and I had to say, “Brittain already left.”

Winner: Morgan Stallings


John Quincy Adams ran away with this one! I’ve been analyzing this tweet for months and I still cannot figure out what it means. A frozen flesh market?! Is that a dating service?

Second place goes to Elizabeth Garton. She shows no shame.

Winner: John Quincy Adams
Runner-up: Elizabeth Garton


Yet another close one.

I didn’t mean for this category to refer to citing things that I say, but it kind of ended up that way. Overall, Andrew G. Bruder does this best. He knows exactly what should and shouldn’t be tweeted and he does it so fast and usually under the table so that no one sees him doing it.

April Medina comes in a close second, but she doesn’t tweet enough to knock Bruder off.

Winner: Andrew G. Bruder
Runner-up: April Medina


This one caused some drama in my head, but ultimately James Gardner took it home because he used the “Classic RT” option and added in his thoughts versus the new RT option. Who follows the Waffle House on Twitter anyway?

Austin’s RT was so, so classic though. Why is Rick Warren tweeting about Tupac? I don’t know, but I’m glad Austin let me know that he was.

Winner: James Gardner
Runner-up: Austin Ariail


A battle to the very end with this one. Each of these people provide me with relevant and interesting things to look at/watch on the internetS. I narrowed it down to Jon Wasson and Natalie Jagers for the amount of links that they post.

Choosing between the two was difficult. Jon’s links provoke thought, more often than not, but also confusion and sometimes anger. I do not count the anger against him because that’s a heart issue, not an internetS issue.

Natalie’s links are usually a little more light, airy and funny. But, sometimes they are super artsy, out of my league and over my head. I do not count this against her because I need to be more interested in design and curtain details, right? Someday I might want to hang curtains somewhere.

Natalie wins because one time, she posted a link to, “What My Little Pony Personality Are You?” Sealed the deal for me.

Winner: Natalie Jagers
Runner-up: Jon Wasson


You’ll recall in the official Elsie Award rules that: I make the rules. I choose the winners.

#realtalk takes this category home.

Though, “#lovewins,” “#nuance” and “#thecharliedunn” are interjected into my conversations often, none of them provide the clarity or the gravity that #realtalk does.

I’ve even found myself saying, “real talk” in the middle of conversations so people know I’m not just telling jokes.

#lovewins probably comes in a close second, only because #wassonwedding was only introduced about a week before the actual Wasson wedding and did finally trend itself out a few days following the event.

However, in my heart, #womensfinalfour blew every other hash tag out of the water.

Winner: #realtalk
Runner-up: #lovewins
Should Have Won: #womensfinalfour

Let’s review the rules one more time: I make the rules.

I whole-heartedly participated in each of the three nominated evenings.

The Jim Lee Experience was a random evening out amongst four friends who thought they were going to an early dinner and then home. It turned into an evening of going to every place in Dallas I had ever wanted to go to. Look at that map. That’s a lot of places. We tweeted about the night and got a lot of replies and questions. It created a lot of jealousy and traction. It was a great, great night. Probably one of my best ever in Dallas.

But…it was not comparable to Ryan Bowen’s 27th Birthday evening on any level. Again, an evening that was supposed to be an early (like, 5:30 pm on a Thursday, early) dinner turned into a debacle involving: walking, cupcakes, acorns falling on heads, tobacco, karaoke, falling down, flat bills, work clothes, Jordin Sparks and a 1:30 am curtain call for all of us. It was one for the ages. Also, the next day Morgan Stallings and me were featured in a local Dallas publication singing karaoke. Hello, paparazzi!

It should be noted that the Wasson Wedding was one of the most fun weddings I have ever attended. It was sweet, beautiful, featured a great band, great food, good drinks and some of my most favorite people in the world. But, here’s the catch: it wasn’t ‘crazy.’ It was fun and respectable. And the only embarrassing thing that happened was Laura Brittain falling down while dancing. Oops.

Winner: Ryan Bowen’s 27th Birthday
Runner-up: The Jim Lee Experience


When these two were originally nominated, I thought the competition was going to be pretty stiff. Turns out, it was more like a Big 10 – SEC matchup. No contest. Andrew G. Bruder walked away the winner from the beginning, I just couldn’t see it because sometimes, Laura Brittain tweets brilliance. And sometimes, she takes photos of hilarious things. But, overall? It’s Bruder. It’s always been Bruder.

Bruder is the king of internetS.

Here are a few of the tagged photos of Bruder on Facebook. Gold.

And check out his tweets. He uses Twitter to encourage, to humble, to share information…all the things one should use Twitter for. He doesn’t over-tweet and like I said earlier, he can tweet something someone said faster than anyone I have ever been to dinner with.

Yes, Andrew Bruder has the Best Overall Social Media Personality, but he’s that way in real life, too. Bruder is the most loyal person I’ve ever met and he’s generous. And kind. And the boy can dance. I could write a novel about the dude.

And so goes it.
These are your Elsie Award Winners.

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