Saturday night, my friend Liz was celebrating 10 years living in Louisiana! She invited me to join in her celebration — and it felt special, because not only have I been in Louisiana for ten years, too, but I’ve known Liz for most of those years!
I asked my friend and gym-influencer, Derek, to join me, and we made a day of it, traveling to New Orleans to go shopping (where I found a great sparkle skirt for $10), have lunch (oyster club & a house-made summer ale), and then we went to the party.
It really was a fabulous day, and night, so worthy of my pic of the week. I got to see some friends I haven’t seen in awhile (some in years) and I met plenty of new ones, and had some great conversation — pay no mind that it was laced with champagne bubbles.
Derek and I even learned a new game: Get Buckets. It involves tossing baby satsumas onto a roof and cheering it on to… “Get buckets!”
I’ve been thinking about time a lot lately, and it’s weird… When I left Indiana to live here, I never thought I’d reach the ten year mark. But I have.
I don’t know if I’ll stay in Louisiana forever — there are definitely other places I’ve dreamt of living. But no matter where I go, I can say with certainty that this place has had a great effect on my heart.
I guess I feel that I was following my instincts, and at the same time being guided by the best. I became totally intrigued with Louisiana — the people, the food. It is a part of my life. Everything that has happened for me since moving here has just been icing on the cake.
I hate admitting this, but I almost (almost) forgot how hot Channing Tatum is.
Until I watched The Vow and Dear John back-to-back, and promptly went to the theatre to see 22 Jump Street.
Mr. Tatum is a southern boy, native to Alabama (we’ll forgive you), known for his work in Step Up and Step Up 2, This is The End, Magic Mike, The Dilemma, and the G.I. Joe series, among many others. It will come as no surprise that he’s spent time modeling for popular clothing companies, including Abercrombie & Fitch.
He won Best Actor for his work in Dear John, Best Actor for Foxcatcher, and was named one of Glamour Magazine’s 50 hottest men in 2013.
Sadly, he is married, and has a child. But he also owns an awesome bar in New Orleans, called Saints & Sinners, and it’s pretty rad, if you haven’t been there yet, you should definitely check it out.
But, if you’re anything like me, you still can’t get that “Pony” scene out of your head from Magic Mike. So, I’ll leave you with it (just click the pic).
I got crazy lucky. Like, sometimes I think I won the lottery or something. At times it feels like the bottom’s gonna fall out. Just ’cause I don’t really know how I got here. But I just keep moving forward, and it just keeps getting better and better.
One of my favorite movies, “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids,” has a scene that I will never forget — probably because I’m guilty of doing this on the reg. It’s the scene where Amy is mopping the kitchen… but really doing more singing, using the mop as her microphone.
Whether it’s in my car on the way to work or the gym, or just in my kitchen cleaning or making coffee, I like to pretend I actually have talent, and sometimes I even dance, or dedicate a song to Blanche.
Hey, I didn’t say I was proud about it. And so, I’ve put together a list of my favorite songs to sing to. If you think about it, let me know what songs you’re jamming to, and I’ll give them a whirl.
“Coffee” by Copeland
Ah, Copeland. I used to really, really be into indie and punk music, and it holds a special place in my heart. While I love a lot of Copeland songs, this one is one of my favorites, because it reminds me of growing up (and dating) as a teenager in Indiana.
Plus, I love coffee! Give it a listen, here.
We do the best in a small town, act like kids in love when the sun goes down.
“Curbside Prophet” by Jason Mraz
While I’m not a huge fan of Jason Mraz’s new stuff, I really used to be obsessed. I love this song, because it sounds kind of funky and folky all at once, which is rare. I have listened to it so many times, I’ve memorized all of the silly phrases, and it’s really fun to sing.
See, I’m a down home brother, redneck undercover, with my guitar here, I’m ready to play.
—Jason Mraz, Curbside Prophet
“Falling Down” by Fort Frances
This is one of my favorite tracks by Fort Frances, and I love how it’s calming, but it’s got such a great melody. The lyrics are really what get me on this one though (listen here).
Remember the maps I stretched out on the kitchen floor? I heard you ask, ‘Where’ve you been? Who’ve you loved before?’
—Fort Frances, Falling Down
“Fill Me In” by Craig David
If this song doesn’t get stuck in your head, there’s got to be some sort of chemical imbalance, because this track is so freakin’ catchy! It’s definitely a song made for high school kids, but I often feel like I’m still there… the bonus about this song? Craig David’s voice is so smooth!
All they seem to do is be checkin’ up on you, baby. Watching our every move, think some day they might approve, baby.
—Craig David, Fill Me In
“Fuck Me Pumps” by Amy Winehouse
It’s not my favorite Any WInehouse song, but it sure is fun to sing. It makes me think of being in college, and even now, if I go out, I see women that fit her exact description (listen here).
Cause you all look the same, everyone knows your name, and that’s your whole claim to fame.
—Amy Winehouse, Fuck Me Pumps
“If I Ever Get Around to Living” by John Mayer
Even though this is one one of his never albums, it is one of my favorite tracks. When I saw the Born & Raised tour (3 times), I wished he would play it, and he did, every time! This song just resonates so much with me, and that’s why I love singing it.
If I ever get around to living, it’s gonna be just like I dreamed. I’m gonna take the love I’m given, and set it free.
—John Mayer, If I Ever Get Around to Living
“One Call Away” by Chingy
A friend of mine in college used to get such a kick out of the fact that I. LOVE. CHINGY. But I do, and I can’t help what I like. Is it weird that I think this song is kind of sweet?
Told her ‘I going home,’ she said, ‘Can I go, too?’ I’m like, ‘Yeah, boo, I can’t do without you.’
—Chingy, One Call Away
“Can I Get A Fuck You” by Jay-Z, featuring Ja Rule
Seriously. This is one of the best rap songs. Ever. Like, ever. I absolutely know all of the words and I love blaring this one in my car. early Jay-Z is way better than whoever he’s trying to be now, and Ja Rule? Yessir.
It ain’t even a question how my dough flows, I’m good to these bad hoes.
—Ja Rule, Can I Get A Fuck You
“Konstantine” by Something Corporate
Probably cliche, as I know everyone freaking loves this song. But I love it. And if I didn’t have to work ever again, I would completely be even more cliche and have all of these lyrics tattooed onto my body.
And I had these dreams, I learned to play guitar, maybe cross the country, become a rock star.
—Konstantine, Something Corporate
“Nice & Slow” by Usher
Again, cliche, as I’m sure everyone knows this song. But damn, is it a good one. Usher could not be sexier, and this song is evidence of that.
Let me take you to a place nice and quiet, where there ain’t no one there to interrupt.
—Usher, Nice & Slow
I remember having “Money noise” in college. For my first few years at school, I was working at the school paper, making a few dollars, but it was barely enough money to put gas in my car — shopping and pricy bar tabs were out of the question.
During my senior year in college, I started working 40 hours a week, in retail, to try and straighten my money situation. It helped, but working 40 hours and taking 15 hours of classes was a tough gig. I drank a lot of Red Bull.
When I graduated college, I was a bartender, which gave me nearly $300/shift — way more than I made at the mall. But my rent was a cool $900/month, plus food and other bills. I soon took a second job as a cocktail waitress.
I worked double shifts on Saturdays, and Sunday was my only day off. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the pain in my feet for those months. My cocktail job required high heels for the entire 8-hour shift.
About six months after graduating college, I landed a full-time job. It was a great job, with an impressive starting salary, and pretty amazing benefits. However, I stayed working at the bar for nearly a year into my job. It was freeing to have the extra money.
I still work at my same day job — I just hit my six year anniversary July 1. I don’t work at the bar anymore, or as a waitress, and I’m thankful for that.
However, I work for the state, and when you work for a school in the state that doesn’t really value education, your wallet doesn’t see much of a change. Over my six years, I’ve seen one raise.
So I’m a mere couple of digits from the salary I was making as a fresh college grad. It’s not something I particularly proud of. Because the cost of living keeps rising, the bills keep coming, and yet, my paycheck stays the same.
And so, I’ve done what I’ve always done — found extra work. As a writer and an editor, I’ve been lucky enough to find paying gigs every week, whether it’s editing someone’s book or helping a company with a press release — I’m able to pay my bills, eat, and have a little fun.
But truthfully, I spend a lot of my nights and weekends working. If I want to take a vacation, that means I’ve got to pick up extra gigs and sleep less.
My coworkers say, “You’re so driven,” but that’s how I have to be if the money in my bank account is getting low, right? And don’t get me wrong, I am so thankful that my writing is even good enough to supplement my income. I’ve been able to get a nice car, take trips, and do some things my paycheck wouldn’t normally afford.
But it’s not a position I pictured myself in at 29. I saw more security. A bigger savings account.
And truthfully, I go back and forth with my feelings about money. There are times when sure, I wish I had more of it. But I know that if I had more, I would spend more.
My wants are usually petty, after all, I’ve got a nice apartment, food in my fridge, and gas in my car. No, I don’t have money for a down payment on a home; but I’m not sure if that’s something I even want.
I suppose my relationship with money will change over time; after all, I’m kind of in a weird, transitional point in my career right now. so for now, I’ll just have to see where things go… and how the money stacks up.