Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Our First Halloween

So I married a man who doesn't dislike Halloween as much as I do... in fact, he really likes it. Therefore, I had to put on my "good sport" pants and go all out for a costume this year... thankfully he let me choose our costumes!

We went as Russel Brand and Katy Perry!!
(Please soak in the irony as we are newlyweds. Ok.)

We're on a budget so we didn't have a lot of money to spend, but we did a great job:
My wig (I had to trim it) - $8
His wig - $8
My false eyelashes - $4
My dress (Goodwill) - $8
Candy - $5
Total: $33 for both of us!

We had a big party at my boss' house on Sunday night and we won a gift card for "Best Costume."
Maybe this dressing up stuff isn't so bad afterall?

What are you doing for this Halloween? 

Monday, October 29, 2012

My Favorite Halloween Memory


Halloween was never my favorite holiday. Frankly, between the dance classes, piano lessons, and choir rehearsals of my youth I never really had all that much time or energy to think about a costume that would impress my friends. Don’t feel bad for me. I was a very self assured child in that I felt that my perfect grades and extracurricular made me impressive enough and Halloween was just a waste of time for boring people--yes, I was that kid. That combined with the fact that my family lived in Denver where, if there wasn’t a blizzard, it was far too cold by October 31st to wear anything BUT a puffy coat so I usually looked like a flamboyant Michelin man trudging through the snow whether I dressed up or not.
One particularly warm year went to a lot of trouble to dress up as Princess Leia from Return of the Jedi. I put on the top of my dad’s military uniform from the 70s, put my hair in two side buns, and put on lipstick. “Looking GOOD,” I thought to myself before I walked out the door. “OH! What a pretty little princess,” the neighbors would say to my sister, “And… oh, what are you dressed up as, dear?” Fortunately when I sold these same people Girl Scout cookies they bought enough to prevent me from harboring any ill feelings towards them.

A few times we got to shed our coats and enjoy a “Harvest Festival” at our church. I know how much people love to make fun of the church anti-Satan candy gatherings, but truth be told, I loved not having to endure the scary warnings about stranger danger from my parents and the creepy witches that grabbed my hand when I reached into a candy dish—it usually took everything I had in me to stop myself from wetting in my pants.  Besides, I loved winning pies for playing educational games and they served hot dogs and potato chips for dinner; a delicacy I was never served at home and was a nice break from the warm tofu.
But one year something very special happened that set that particular Halloween apart from every other one. A local bookstore called The Tattered Cover held an annual “Scary Story Contest” for children. 

“What makes you scared, Nicole?” my mom asked me as I saw agonizing over a piece of blank paper (my how history repeats itself….)
“Lots of things, the dark, strangers, snakes, Grandma’s basement, rabies,” I rattled off a few more before she interrupted,
“What scares you about Grandma’s basement?”
“The wolf rug. Grandma’s wolf rug because I think it is secretly alive.”
“Secretly alive?” my mom laughed, “Write a story about that! Pretend you are telling me what happens when we got to bed at night and the wolf rug comes alive.”
I made a strained my face for a minute and took a deep breath before I began writing.
A few weeks later I had won the contest out of all first graders in the state and was standing in front of the entire school, K-8, reading my story, “Grandma’s Wolf Rug.” I reluctantly walked up in front of the crowd and spoke as loudly and clearly as I could in a child’s monotone. I don’t remember much about the actual reading. I know I got a few laughs and afterwards I got a few thumbs up, but even afterwards I was so nervous I could only concentrate on cramming Starburst into my mouth.
            However, after the readings I reemerged from my quasi-catatonic state and lined up with my classmates to go back to our classrooms.
            “Great story,” on of my friends said, “You know, my grandpa has a gun in his basement!”
            “Yeah? Well, my dad has a full size replica T-Rex in our basement,” shouted the loudmouth of the class.
            “Well, my mommy told me it is murder to have fur and it sounds like your grandma is a murderer,” bullied another girl. I glared at her and called her a mean poop in my head.
            “Shut up, I think it is a good story. Besides, I know my Barbies come alive when I leave the room. They’re never where I leave them.”
            “Is too possible!”
            “Not uh”
            “Yes huh!”
            My teacher interrupted, “Clap twice if you can hear me.” We all clapped and walked silently back to class.
            My story was the cause of much debate and playground controversy for the next day or so, although when one of the boys kissed a girl in our class all memory of my story was forgotten, even by me. However, as I’ve had time to look back and reflect, it was that excitement, that discussion after reading my story that initially introduced me to the power of becoming a storyteller. Just by writing a story I suddenly possessed the power to influence conversations and either agitate my friends or inspire them enough to share more about their own stories. It’s that love for conversation and people that has inspired me to want to write as an adult and I was forever changed by that Halloween. 

Here's to hoping this Halloween is truly special! 


Nicole Jeannette

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Reasons Why I Love My Husband

Monday marked one oh-so-happy month of wedded bliss!

Down South women seem to think that having a man in your life fixes your problems, but I can tell you with one modest month of experience that this is a lie.

As kind, sweet, and loving as he is, he has not magically transformed into Prince Charming relieving me from any and all worldly suffering or annoyances. But, hey, I haven't transformed into a perfect person either. I'm still grumpy in the mornings and I have no greater desire relinquish control of the remote than I did before we said "I do." 
However, as realistic as I like to be about our relationship, I will say that it really has been absolutely a true blessing being married. I love finally living with my best friend and we're just as in love as we've always been despite having to schedule our showers.

SO, I thought I'd celebrate the wonderful man I married and share just a FEW of the reasons why I love my husband:
  • He prays for us before we fall asleep every night
  • He kisses me to wake me up every morning
  • He doesn't over-complicate things
  • He tells me everything and I can tell him everything
  •  He has been faithfully using the cash-only system I put in place
  • He willingly goes shopping with me
  • He's passionate about politics too
  • He forgives me for *not* sharing the Cheez-its
  • He always puts the cap on my toothbrush even though I forget
  • He hangs out with my dad, talks to my mom on the phone, and calls my sister his sister
  • He does the dishes
  • He sings to me while I make dinner
  • He's still my best friend

The list could go on, but I'll stop here.

Here's to imperfect perfection and enjoying love!

Nicole Jeannette

Monday, October 15, 2012

It's beginning to look a lot like Autumn

Autumn is my favorite season of all!

Why? You ask?

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NFL Football

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It looks like THIS outside

AND pretty much everything is apple or pumpkin flavored

But most of all...

We can do fun family things like pumpkin carving and cooking on an open fire!

Is it just me, or is cutting into a pumpkin the hardest part??

Jennifer going for it!

We discovered that Oliver LOVES pumpkin. A scrap fell on the ground and he begged and cried for more the rest of the day.

Mike Wazowski! 

Our pumpkins!
Top L-R: Mine (it's Mike Wazowski!!), Jennifer's, Mom and Dad's
Bottom L-R: JL's (Optimus Prime) and AJ's

Hanging out on the patio

My sweet husband and my dad grilling hot dogs


The whole crew... and my mom didn't realize she was in the picture haha

What are you doing to celebrate the season?

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Top 5 Reasons Why "Nashville" Isn't Like Nashville At All

Yes, I watched it and I am not ashamed.
Normally, I'm not a TV loving kind of girl. Aside from the Food Network, I'm usually so unimpressed with the low-hanging fruit we call television programming to the extent that I've given up on all but a few shows.

That said, after living in Nashville for the past six years and falling in love with this wonderful city, when I saw the promos for the show "Nashville" I got really excited. The music industry is such a big part of our everyday lives, even for those of us who don't work in it, that it's fun to have a show about out fine city. JL and I spent most of the show yelling, "I WORKED THERE" "MY OLD APARTMENT IS RIGHT AROUND THAT CORNER!!" etc.
However, there were five very distinct things that seperated the REAL Nashville from "Nashville" and here they are:
Top 5 Reasons Why "Nashville" isn't like Nashville at all:
5. The show made the Bluebird cafe look larger than it is and had lots of young people in it
4. There was no traffic to be seen in any of the shots near the Bluebird. Green Hills always has traffic.
3. NO famous musicians live in Edgehill. Singer trying to get a record deal, maybe. Famous people live in the Gulch which is NOT the same as Edgehill. Furthermore, there are no mansions downtown or near Edgehill.
2. There was no evidence of hipsters in the show, even though in real life I would say that hipsters out number country music fans 4:1.
1. Taylor Swift and Faith Hill are not on the same record label... Because really this show is just Faith Hill v Taylor Swift if Faith were the daughter of a Vanderbilt and Taylor were shorter.

Overall, I thought it was an interesting show with potential, but I'm not hooked... yet at least. I think I'll give it one more shot.
How about you? Did you see it?
Love it or hate it? 

Monday, October 8, 2012

3 Deadly P's: Pressure to Perform Perfectly

When I was a child, I was not told that practice made perfect.
I was told, by my piano teacher (and subsequently every other teacher/instructor I ever had), that
perfect practice makes perfect.

While I'm sure my teacher's intention was rather innocent and was meant only to encourage me to actually practice, rather than roll around on the bench and play my songs once through as fast as I could, I think that over the years I've internalized those words to the point where the pressure to be perfect in all stages has really begun to overwhelm me. 
So, instead of doing what I love, I panic. I talk about it. I think about it. I imagine how great being perfect will be... but I end up with zilch, nada, zero, nothing, because I've put so much pressure to perform perfectly on myself that I fail to perform.
I didn't even realize I felt this way until I found this wonderful Disney quote. I don't know why it didn't hit me until I read it that my beloved Disney and the most magical place on earth was one big, fat, messy concept at one point. It was a dream that needed only to be pursued.

I'm a writer.
I write.
Sometimes I write really crappy things. 
Sometimes I misspell things.
Sometimes I'm my own worst critic. 
I need to remember that I need to get over the illusion of "perfect practice" and just do what I love just because I love it.
Because you know what?
The longer I live, the more I realize that perfect doesn't exist. Instead, I'm realizing that there is an endless string of wonderful options, in life and in writing, and we need only choose one.

This may be TMI for you, but I suspect that at least someone else out there feels the same way. 
Can I get an amen?
What do you need to be doing?

Friday, October 5, 2012

So I've been a little bit busy

Sorry for not updating for the past... forever! I've been a little busy!

Our wedding day was the best day of my life so far.

More to come soon!