Recently, there was a story making rounds on Facebook about an Amazon delivery driver. He happened upon a home with a “Please Hide Packages From Husband” doormat. He noticed it and proceeded to do just that – hide the package. The homeowner’s doorbell camera captured it on video and it was shared repeatedly. My friends hailed him as a hero. Not all heroes wear capes and shit.
For a couple of years now, I had been seeing boutiques telling customers to let them know if they need a “congrats for winning!” sticker on their paid orders.
There’s also been variations on the offer to provide a receipt that matches what your partner thinks you paid for an item.
Brilliant, people say. Is it?
Is it brilliant to encourage people to lie about or hide financial decisions from their partner? Sure, you’ll get business from someone who needs that service or just appreciates the humor. This just isn’t how I operate my business.
It’s not uncommon for me to make a purchase quietly and without fanfare and just hope Stuart doesn’t notice. Although he wouldn’t care if he did notice, I am conditioned from my first marriage that I will be in trouble for spending money. That marriage didn’t work for many reasons, our financial interactions being one of them. Lessons learned the hard way.
I realize that these things are just a joke for most of these businesses and homeowners – a little “wink wink.” It really just isn’t funny to me because of the culture it breeds. Finances may not be fun to discuss, but having open and honest communication about money stuff is crucial to not only financial security, but to the health of a relationship.
On top of that, if we could stop perpetuating the stereotype that women are shopaholics and men are trying tame their women, that would be great.
Dating is tricky and hard and fun and exciting and anxiety-inducing. The last time I brought you dating tips, they were geared toward first dates. If the first date goes well and things continue to progress, eventually you find yourself in a long-term relationship. Honey, that is not where the work and the dating ends. That is where it changes, but becomes even more important.
We hear it said all the time that relationships are hard work. Sure, in a way…. but that work should be fun most of the time. Dating your partner is part of the “work” we need to put into relationships. This becomes more complicated when you have children, limited budgets, or heavy work schedules. That’s why I’m here, friends… to give you some inspiration on dating the person with whom you share life.
Concerts. Going to see live music may not be the best choice for a first date, because you can’t get to know each other over booming speakers with drunk people bumping into you. In an established relationship though, it can be so freeing to just let the music flow through you, to have a few drinks and just…vibe. Thinking about the venue and seat choices can really make or break the experience. Locally, we have a large venue that has cheaper lawn tickets. Those allow for you to spread out a blanket and really relax or stand up and dance in your spot. We also like to take advantage of a venue that has (pricey) suite seats, where the seats are in pairs and have plenty of space around them. This fits every budget, because you can do anything from a hole in the wall bar with a jazz trio to a suite at an arena. Choose a music act you both love, find seats that allow you to breathe, grab your partner’s hand, and let the music fill your heart.
Staycations. When life has been busy and you haven’t had quality time with your partner in awhile, you can find yourself itching for a getaway. There isn’t always time or money to hop on a plane and take a week (or even a weekend) trip. Staycations are a great way to have a mini-getaway to reconnect. Drinks by the pool, dinner in the hotel restaurant, breakfast in bed….and let’s face it, hotel sex is just hot. Choosing a walkable downtown area can provide lots of entertainment and dining options. Going with a more resort-like location can mean the ultimate in relaxation. Again, there’s something for every budget and also something for every timeframe. Whether you can get away for one night or three, booking a nearby hotel is a great way to get the ultimate date night.
Brewery or winery visits. If tasting and enjoying adult beverages is a part of your relationship like ours is, it is a natural choice to make a date of a brewery visit. There are so many options these days for places where adult beverages are made. Local craft breweries often have lawn games, trivia nights, live music, and more. Some of them even partner with local restaurants and food trucks to bring culinary experiences to the brewery. Wineries and even distilleries do similar things. For a great date experience, you’ll want to first choose a place that has your favorite beverages, then look online for reviews so that you ensure you’re choosing a place with a fun vibe. This is absolutely a low-cost date and if you are short on time, an hour or two is enough time to drink a beer flight and play a gigantic game of Jenga.
Getting out of the house is great, but sometimes, budget and child care concerns just don’t allow for it. No worries, because some of our best date nights are right here in the house… sometimes with the kids home and sometimes without.
Romantic Night In. Grill a nice steak, roast some asparagus, and pour a glass of wine. Settling in for the evening can be done on any night of the week and if you have children, after they go to bed. After dinner, flip off the lights and flip on the TV for some Netflix and chill (any definition of it you choose) with a bottle of wine. Wrap up the night with a nice massage and some sexy time. It really makes for the perfect night, even if it seems a bit cliché.
Backyard paradise. Sure, it would be amazing to head off to a tropical paradise and sip cocktails in your private infinity pool. That may not be an option for you on any given Friday evening, but there is another option. Fill your inflatable kiddie pool with air and water early in the afternoon. Turn on some string lights and bluetooth speakers. By night, any kids are in bed and the water is warm. With or without swimwear, you can now take a cocktail to the kiddie pool and enjoy the evening in your personal oasis.
No matter what you choose to do, having some time alone with your person is essential to maintaining and deepening your relationship. Make it a priority and it will pay off.
Are any of these date ideas things you have done? Did you get inspired to date your partner?
When Stuart and I made the bold decision to move in together with moving day being the day the kids met him, we didn’t know what would happen. Would they warm up to him in time? Would it be a grand disaster? We definitely didn’t expect to quickly fall into a place where we were all a family.
Not only did we all mesh together beautifully, but some circumstances changed and forced Stuart into the role of the primary father figure, one he effortlessly rolled into.
I am beyond thankful for the way he stepped up and the way that he and the kids love each other fiercely.
This Father’s Day weekend, I am crazy thankful.
Thank you Stuart for…
Helping the kids through projects I don’t want to do with them.
Being a source of reason when I just can’t Mom.
Giving our friends’ kids love and and patience when they need it most.
Demonstrating to my daughter what unconditional love looks like from a romantic perspective.
Respectfully and appropriately allowing my daughter to love on you.
Loving my daughter through sleepless nights, potty issues, and bratty behavior.
Ensuring that we all get out of the house from time to time.
Instituting Mandatory Fun.
Never making my kids feel dumb or out of place for calling you Dad sometimes.
Recognizing that I need a break – a LOT.
Keeping us fed and full of freshly grilled foods.
Understanding and accepting that the house will never again be spotless as you’re accustomed to.
Modeling Good Man Behavior to my boys, ensuring that they will someday make upstanding members of society.
Recognizing – and reminding me – that all the annoying “flaws” in my children are just part of them growing up.
Working your ass off so that my children can have a parent at home at all times in this difficult season of change.
Providing us with a beautiful home in a safe neighborhood, where we can grow and thrive together.
If you know either one of us independently in real life, or if you know us as a friend couple in real life – then you know that we fell in love with a little band from Pennsylvania called ‘Gas Station Disco’.
Rhonda and I were actually recently talking about them, and how becoming fans of this band was an integral part of the reforming and the solidifying of the deep friendship that now exists between the two of us. We stumbled upon this band one night when she and I and my sister and our friend Michael all decided to go out to the Chill Bar and Lounge in the IP Casino here in Biloxi, MS.
I honestly cannot remember how we all decided to hang out that night. At that point, it was not a typical thing that we (Rhonda & I) did. I do know that Rhonda and I were just talking again after a long break. We were in a good place, but we weren’t the besties that we are today. It was literally from that night forward that we started to become super close. It’s literally thanks to that night that here we are writing a blog together.
Why is that you ask? Well, something about them just clicked with us. We liked them. We enjoyed listening to them. We may or may not have thought the lead singer was cute. You know. Normal things. 😉
They are based in Pennsylvania, but they made frequent trips down to the Mississippi coast to perform at the Chill. So, as any good groupie would do – we started going to see them anytime they were down. These outings – going to see GSD – this one on one time together where we could just be friends. Not moms. Not women with responsibilities. We were just two gals hanging out and falling in love with each other as we obsessed over a band together. That time together is what made us the pair that we are today.
And since this blog formed because of our friendship – we thought it would be fun and crazy relevant to tell that story for you guys.
We have had so many deep and superficial conversations as we sat in the bar chairs at The Chill. We have met so many people. We have chair danced like there’s no tomorrow. We have come up with business plans and ideas for things we wanted to accomplish together. We just enjoyed each other, and the company we kept. We realized – again and over and over – that we just GOT each other. We understood each other.
Those outings to see GSD spawned other outings for the two of us. We enjoyed that time together..so we sought out more. We had this fun thing in common that solidified us. The same could be said for my sister and Michael. We dragged those two along with us as often as they would allow. 😉 Grace and I are sisters – and we were already close…pretty much since she stopped annoying me around age 10 or 11. Michael and I worked together and had become close because of that. They were and are my people. Rhonda became my person because of our time together that started with seeing GSD.
How long ago was that you may be wondering? I had to dig back through my pictures to figure it out myself, but it was four years ago. Sometime in August of 2014 to be exact. 🙂 And not only did we religiously go see our band when they were in town, we have both since established personal connections with the guys. They became our friends.
Obviously, things don’t stay the same. The band has changed members and evolved since when we first saw them. Today, none of the guys that are in Gas Station Disco were members when we first saw them. And actually the band that is GSD today – also go by a different name which is confusing. But whatever. You do you dudes. The original members have all migrated to starting or joining different bands and we always support them indiscriminately.
They are all really a talented group of guys. We are forever indebted to the way they shaped our friendship, and we are glad that we can call them our friends.
At this point, Rhonda and I do and have done so many different things together. We hang out wherever and whenever. You guys know – we even resorted to hanging out online every Wednesday night in front of a live audience to get our fix for each other satiated. However, some of our favorite times have been together at The Chill listening to those boys.
With the distance between us now, since Rhonda lives in Fort Worth, TX – and band breakups and booking drama…it has actually been a long time that we have gotten to go together to listen to them in any of the new bands they are a part of now. Hopefully, we can change that soon.
We both keep up with them through social media. I’ve gotten to see their ‘spin off bands’ fairly often since I’m still here on the coast and they come back here every now and then. I recently saw Light Up The Moon in Destin, FL. LUTM consists of a few former GSD guys as members.
DUMM, another spin off/new startup, still come to play at The Chill, and I’ve seen them a few times since they’ve been back.
DUMM is the new band that Jason, former lead singer of the GSD we knew, started – and his crew will be in town again in late June to play at The Chill. I need my girl to be there. So let’s all convince Stuart (Rhonda’s boo and betrothed) that she needs to be there that weekend. 😉 Start a petition. Message him on Facebook. Leave your approval here in the comments. Whatever works for you. 😉
Music is just so important. Big bands and little bands – when their music changes your life in some way…you don’t forget that.
As always, thank y’all so incredibly much for reading and listening to the thoughts inside our head as we pour them out onto a computer screen. We sincerely appreciate it.
Tell us, what are some of your favorite moments/things to do with your besties? We love hearing from you!
Happy Monday, party people! It’s time for a check in, where we fill you in on the last couple of weeks in our lives and you tell us what’s new with you!
It has been an amazing couple of weeks over at my house. Holy moly, what a busy month. And to think, Stuart and I thought April was going to be boring and quiet. HA! We don’t know how to do boring; that’s for damn sure.
We hosted a 30th birthday party for our friend Jenn. It was a nice laid-back cookout with friends and I think she really enjoyed herself, which is all we wanted.
We dined out a couple of times. We don’t do that often, but make sure to do take them out as much as we can. It’s important to me that my kids don’t grow up the way I did, afraid to even order from a server. We make them order themselves and teach them to be patient waiting for their food to arrive. They definitely still need practice. Lawd.
We also are working on decorating and upgrading some furnishings in the house. We hit up IKEA and loaded as much stuff into the Flex as possible. What you’re looking at is a bookshelf, a dresser, a dining table, six chairs, and a sideboard! Holy moly. I’ll be so glad when we are done putting it all together. We have been so busy doing other stuff, that we haven’t been able to dedicate enough time to assembly. We will get there though!
As usual, we have spent a lot of time outdoors and Harper, Quentin, and I all got new bikes! I was completely surprised by mine and I am also surprised by how much I enjoy riding it!
We wrapped up this past weekend by taking the kids to their first professional baseball game. The Rangers defeated the Mariners and we had a great family time!
Gosh. I feel the same as Rhonda…seems like so much has happened over the past couple of weeks.
Obviously the usual of work and school took place. We’ve been having hit and miss Spring weather (like most everywhere…) so whenever we can we are outside enjoying the sunny days.
The weekend before last we had my Papa’s funeral which was super sad but it was also really nice to get to see family that I don’t get to see often. My cousin has a son who is only a month younger than Sophie, so it’s always really cute to see the two of them interact in person. We do a lot of snapchatting to each other about the two of them. 🙂 Sophie is SO tall though. She’s a good five inches taller than Krystal’s son and weighs 12 pounds more!
That Saturday after the funeral, I hopped in my car and headed to Destin, Fl to see friends of mine who are in the band, Light Up the Moon, play at Aj’s in Destin. It was so much fun. They aren’t local – they’re based in PA – so it was really nice to get to see them again!
Cooper got this bubble gun for his birthday from his Aunt Marie and her crew, and it has just been a huge hit around here. I went out and got a similar one for Sophie to use in order to curb and fights over whose turn it is to use it, BUT we are just loving playing with them. We’ve taken them to the park a couple of times and all the other children really enjoy it too. So, if you’re looking for an easy and relatively cheap form of entertainment, go to Walmart and get a bubble gun…or two! We’ve always played with bubble…but having this little battery powered bubble blower has made the whole experience even more enjoyable AND less messy. Those are two major wins in my book.
And then this past weekend the weather was beautiful. Things were back to routine after three weekends of dealing with deaths and funerals. The kids got to go stay with Grammy and Ppop on Friday night. And Saturday night I got to hang out with some of my fave adults, my sister – her husband – and our friend Michael. We did dinner and drinks followed by a night at the Chill Bar at the IP Casino. 🙂 A wee bit too much wine was consumed, but it was lots of fun. 🙂
Anddd that’s about it! What have you guys been up to?
This morning I packed up cookies for my almost five year old to take to school so that he could share them with his classmates in celebration of his upcoming birthday that will occur while their school is on Spring Break next week.
This morning his dad and I spent a ridiculous amount of time trying to get his almost five year old brain to wrap around the concept that yes today is not his birthday but he is just going to CELEBRATE it with his school friends. And yes we are STILL having a birthday party at the trampoline park, because he was very concerned about wanting them all to have fun.
This morning was full of conversations about celebrating his birth.
This morning – the very last thing I expected my mom to say when she called me while I sat in the Starbucks Drive thru lane was to tell me that my Pawpaw had passed away.
I never expected to be slapped in the face with a reminder of the fragility of life. I never expected to be mentally taken back to last Thursday when my own dad was in the ICU with a brain bleed facing possible surgery and being scared of all the worst possible outcomes.
I never expected after that and only a short week later that he’d be struggling with his own recovery and then have the death of his father piled on top.
Things are still fresh and messy and complicated in my head – but I’m writing because that helps to sort things out.
I’m just thinking about how we can’t take for granted all the little moments that make up our lives. And we for sure can’t take for granted the ones we’ve chosen to spend those moments with.
I spent a lot of time today thinking about my Pawpaw and the moments that come to mind when I think of him.
My Pawpaw served and retired from the United States Air Force. When I think of a soldier, I think of him.
My Pawpaw was an extremely religious man. When I think of church on Sundays. When I think of long wooden pews and hymnals. When I think of the beginning of my childhood experiences with the community and extended family that belonging to a church brings, I think of him.
My Pawpaw used to do this thing where he’d threaten to ‘mute’ me with his TV remote, because I was a chatty kid – especially when he was trying to enjoy a show. When my kids are talking over my latest Netflix obsession, I think of my Pawpaw.
My Pawpaw was never afraid to try a new hobby. In my lifetime? He had horses, hunting dogs, several boats, scooters and then motorcycles, and always all kinds of new technology. When I think of jumping in head first into something you’re interested in, I think of my Pawpaw.
And then just a million other childhood memories, that flashed in my head throughout the day today.
So. Just love on your loved ones today. Be present in the moments that make up your life. Value the people that are there with you in those moments.
I will be the first person to stand up and give props to someone who is just ready to let go of a relationship. Any relationship. A relationship with a family member like your mother, father, brother, daughter, son, grandmother, etc. A relationship with your best friend that you’ve known since 1st grade. A relationship with a significant other. No person is bound to any relationship no matter what kind of promises you’ve made or contracts you’ve signed. If it’s time to go – even if for the simplest and simultaneously the most complex reason of you’re just not happy in that relationship anymore – you can go.
For me, leaving is the easiest thing. Running away is my instinct. Avoiding the conflict. Just waiting for it to all go away so I don’t have to deal. That comes naturally for me.
Staying. Fighting. Confronting the mess. Living in the muck and mire. Finding healing within all the hurt. Those things are incredibly hard.
Love is not something you fall into or out of. It’s not a hole you accidentally collapse into. Love is something you choose or choose not to do. It’s your choice. I live by that. I breathe by that. I tattooed that on my arm – but even I sometimes forget that.
I once saw this post by Word Porn on Facebook that said something along the lines of, “Great love is not found, it’s made.” And that just also really resonated with me because it’s basically another way of saying that love is something you do and make … not something you can catch or lose.
I know and swear by the idea that no one can make me happy except for myself.
When you hear a couple who have been together for a long period of time reflect upon their relationship – you will inevitably hear them talk about bad times they’ve been through. They will tell you how things got incredibly tough. They may say that there were years of tough times. And honestly, I just always glazed over comments like that. I just didn’t understand why you would live and go through something .. some vague circumstance that was so awful for the two of you – yet you stuck it out. You’re still together. And things are better.
I think it’s because so often when talking about a romantic partnership, you let the romance part get in the way of the partnership part which is actually more important and what gives your relationship longevity.
The thing is we give our friendships so much more grace. We have friends that we’ve known for 10 or more years wherein there were some extremely rough patches, but we can look back on that and laugh and smile about how we’ve grown together and we’re still here together …everyday…living in, nurturing, and growing our friendship.
The generations of people who are my age (early 30’s) and down are experiencing committed relationships in such a different way than our parents or even our older brothers and sisters. We move in together years before we are even ready to talk about marriage. We have kids without a thought to future commitment to each other. We quickly and often times without thought or foresight establish a bond to each other financially and emotionally with very little concern for where it’s all going.
We’ve also got access to pretty much anyone we could want to be with. Geography and travel time no longer stand in our way. The internet has put the world at our fingertips and allowed us to easily establish and grow relationships that span oceans, continents, and time zones. There are no limits.
So then what? What do you do when you’ve made these great leaps of faith just to be with this human being you felt you couldn’t live without? What do you do when you move in together after three months of dating, mainly because it was just the most logical and reasonable thing to do in the face of the money you were spending on an apartment you never stayed in anymore? What do you do when you find yourself married to someone just so that they can live where you live and you can be together? What do you when years have passed and now you’ve got this whole life and family together that just kind of happened along the way?
What do you do if you made one of those decisions, but now…now you’re not happy in love and you don’t know why?
You may have not made intentional plans for the way your relationship looks today. You may not know what to do with each other so you lash out. You might just be tired and are searching for things that you think are making you happy.
Other people – other things – they will not make you happy. YOU have to decide to be happy in the place that you are standing. YOU have to do things to make yourself happy. Sometimes that’s as easy as changing your perspective…getting a different view…letting go.
But sometimes – it’s harder than that. Sometimes it’s realizing that you love your life and the people you share it with. The person you share it with…and knowing that they feel the same way. And then making yourself happy. Deciding to be happy. Moving past the hard stuff. Being hopeful of the future. Allowing yourself to see beyond all the ugly and hateful things. Choosing your words wisely. Speaking in love, not anger. Being kind.
Allow yourself to be happy. Stop exhausting yourself by searching for your happiness in other people. Acknowledging what’s standing right in front of you.
Just be happy. Intend to be happy in the everyday moments that make up your life. Nurture the partnerships you want to keep, and fit in as much romance as you can.
No one person can fulfill you forever and always. No one friend. No one significant other. You’ve got to admit and realize that before you can make yourself happy. Before you can be happy. Before you can make great love. Before you can be happy IN love.
When I last wrote a wedding planning post, we had only a date. Then changed it – twice. At some point, I even decided maybe I just didn’t need to get married at all. You see, my crippling anxiety truly comes up with some idiotic problems sometimes. Making decisions is really hard for me so sometimes I decide to just eliminate the process altogether. That is what I did with wedding planning…just quit thinking about it.
One night, with drinks flowing, Stuart and I had a serious conversation that made me realize my hesitance to plan a wedding had led to him wondering if I wanted to be with him at all. I quickly understood where he was coming from and immediately decided to plan a surprise for him.
Back in late summer of 2017, we had visited a craft brewery to check them out as a venue. We loved the event coordinator, the atmosphere, the location, the aesthetics…it just felt right. We didn’t book on the spot, but only because we wanted to make sure it was what we wanted. Looking back, we probably should have just gone for it.
Since then, I changed the date several times and researched venues so much that I couldn’t remember a thing. I created spreadsheets to track the information I got. Then one day, in a moment of super appreciation for this man who puts up with me, I thought, I should just book the venue without telling him. I told my closest friends and they all agreed that it would mean so much and, in the end, put me at ease to know that I at least have that much figured out.
As soon as I had the money together, I chose a date, paid the deposit on the brewery, signed the contract, and put together a card to tell Stuart. I printed a portion of the contract and put it into a card. I bought beers from the brewery for us to toast with. When he got home and settled in, I gave him the card. It took him a minute to process what was happening. He was absolutely shocked and delighted. We are now FULL SPEED planning this wedding, since it’s in November this year!
Next up, finalizing guest list, making wedding party official, and booking photography and catering! I plan to update here along the way, because it should be interesting!
I grew up in the small town of Lucedale, Mississippi. Like so many small-town Southern families, we were close-knit and rarely did people in our family move away. I went to college at the University of Southern Mississippi, an hour from home – far enough for privacy and personal growth, but close enough to go home anytime I wanted or needed to. Hattiesburg became my true home as I got older. I loved it and still do.
I moved around several times during my adulthood – Hughesville, MD; Clermont, FL; back to Lucedale; Gulfport, MS; Arlington, TX; and now, Fort Worth. The best of times were when I lived in Gulfport – far enough away from my nosy small town (in a dry county), but close enough to attend family functions and to see my parents on all holidays and birthdays.
Being in the DFW area has its advantages:
Diversity in the cities
Plenty of things to do
Great restaurants, shopping, and nightlife
A friend group I always wanted
Stuart has a great job here.
Enough distance from my family to raise my children my way without meddling
There are definitely disadvantages:
The dry air sucks for my skin.
I have severe allergies here.
I don’t have family holidays.
Not near the beach
My old friends, part of my soul, are too far away.
I miss MY shopping centers and MY bar.
Have you ever driven in the DFW?!
My hairstylist is in Mississippi
My family is too far away to be a real support system.
My nephew is coming soon, in MS, and I want my kids to grow up near him.
That last one, though. Several things happened over the weekend while I was back home visiting -a great hair appointment, girl time with one of my oldest friends, troublemaking with my Bestie, meeting new friends- that made me realize how much I need to be home. Above all else, I need to see my nephew born, I need long day visits with my brother, sister-in-law, and nephew. I need to see my parents and extended family far more than I have the last few years.
It’s a hard pill to swallow to realize you have made a life-altering decision that you’re no longer happy with. I moved to Texas to continue my relationship with Stuart because he can’t do his job in Mississippi. The decision to put my relationship with him above a lot of other things in my life is now nagging the hell out of me.
This doesn’t mean I’m packing up and shipping out – it just means that I am less certain of what the future holds.
It’s a lovely day to recap a lovely week! I had such a fun-filled, busy week and party-licious weekend. Let’s get to it!
On Monday, we did Art class for school, learning about how to use the color wheel to mix paints into a blood red shade, perfect for making handprints on the windows and mirrors.
We had such a crazy jam-packed week. Workouts, school, Halloween party planning and decorating.
Friday, I packaged up orders, ran more errands, then came home to enjoy some time with my latest Baths and Bliss order. I can’t get enough of these high quality, handcrafted products!
Then. Then it was the weekend and holy moly was it wild! We had our first annual Halloween party that evening, after making a booze run.
We throw a lot of parties, but this one was by far my favorite. We had a wonderful turnout and the food got destroyed, which tickled me beyond anything you can imagine. There is nothing worse than pouring your time and money into a party and nobody showing up or nobody really eating. I will be posting party details another day!
I absolutely drank so much that night and felt every bit of it for most of Sunday. I got better just in time to head to the wedding of one of Stuart’s coworkers. The wedding was absolutely lovely and the bride stunning. We had a good meal, plenty of drinks, and so much fun dancing with our friends.
I can’t imagine a better weekend!
Did you get into any Halloween festivities this weekend?