Back in the days of binge drinking and blacking out, oh wait a second, I suppose I should be more specific – back in the days of “Temp, Temp, Temp, Temp, Tempe Roll Call,” an Arizona State University masculinized mantra – so we’re talking freshman year, my older male friends, whom I’d known since braces and natural, unbleached hair, formed an exclusive all boys club to both quantify and qualify their sexual conquests.  They called it QnQ.

Decoding the acronym?  Don’t be fooled by the aforementioned ‘Q’ words above.  I’m not saying I didn’t hang with smart young guys who’d grow up to become successful men, because a decent number of them did; what I am saying is that their clever club name was rooted in shallow male bravado and simple math.  Proud members, clearly in an attempt to brand themselves, slapped oversized QnQ decals in the windows of their Honda Civics and, if memory serves me correctly, they even had shirts made.  At that time, I actually wished I was a dude, because I thought I could bring value to their image.  I was also dying to know what in the world QnQ meant.  And I’d always been a fan of t-shirts, I just wanted a damn t-shirt.

I was never privy to any official QnQ mission statement, hell I was only told what the letters actually meant after months of begging one member I’d known the longest and respected the most.  And I suspect that he only told me in an effort to shut me up.  You see, after some careful, albeit inebriated observation, I could tell that whatever those letters meant, they weren’t positive and my newly single, promiscuous ass was worried it’d been receiving negative Q reviews.

Thankfully, my ally assured me that I had nothing to feel shameful about and confessed this: “It means quantity, not quality.”

Ahh ha.  Now there is value in this meaning, but not the kind I’d want to admittedly contribute to.  Boys – they lead such different lives.


Being a Smilfy to two young children has its challenges and its joys.  Most days, I feel like I’m teetering between the two trying to make sure that one doesn’t greatly outweigh the other because then I might lose my little, learning Smilfy mind.

I simply want this: To be a good role model and a dependable friend, someone the kids can count on.  I also strive to be their advocate – their parents define the term polar opposites.  It’s also important that I be respected and demonstrate basic disciplinary responsibilities so that I may keep some order on our lives.

So when Caroline was getting ready to start elementary school, she struggled with the fear of leaving her old friends at her intimate private school and making new ones in a gigantic public school.  She expressed this worry with wide eyes and such veracity that even I, an adult, was made to believe that this really was “the end of the world.”    Goodness, the girl does worry.  We’re sort of connected in that way.  I’m what you’d call a seasoned worry warrior.  It’s important that I keep my cool for her.   

In the wake of her worry, Caroline started noticing that her daddy and I seemed to have “a lot of friends.”  She was taking note that when we had parties plenty of guests arrived and that when we mentioned a friend it was never the one she thought it was.  It was cute to see her try and keep the names straight.  Then one day she just imploded, “I just want lots of friends like you!”

It’s sort of strange to write, but that college QnQ experience sprang to mind, so I gave it a Smilfy twist and explained this:

“It’s QnQ, Caroline.  That stands for quality not quantity.  One amazing, genuine friend is better than a bunch of bratty ones who don’t really care about us.  Having a friend is one of life’s greatest joys.  This friend is a person to laugh with when something silly happens; cry with when things don’t go your way; call upon when no one else is around; and share life with.”  I emphasized the word with because friendship is a partnership.

I continued, “The best part about a friend is that you don’t ever have to break up.  You don’t need to dump one friend to be with another.  You can literally be friends with countless people you vibe with and keep the best ones for decades.  You’re going to spend a lifetime slowly accumulating a great collection of dependable people who you’ll be proud to call your friends.  So for now, focus on finding one special one to have slumber parties with and be happy knowing that later in life you’ll have a few more to go to the movies with.”

In true Caroline fashion, she impatiently rolled her eyes at me, but agreed to go with the QnQ roll,  “Smilf, Smilf, Smilf, Smilf, Smilfy Roll Call.”

Lady Marlin

Something really grown up is happening.  In fact, I’ve been heard gasping, “life is happening!” on numerous occasions to several wonderful people who make my world go round.  And on the contrary, it’s also been brought to my attention that some things haven’t happened at all.  Here’s the mature yet static line-up:

My oldest and longest best friend, the one I used to play motorcycle mamas with, is getting married to an older, successful man.  When that day comes, I know she’ll be the most beautiful bride I’ve ever seen and her walk down the aisle will be perfection – I mean we’ve only been practicing “the walk” since we were three.

My most fun friend, my crazy counterpart, the one I’ve danced with in tutus on tops of furniture in after hours nightclubs and other louder-than-life establishments is considering starting a non-profit, and might even leave Sin City in her Jordan hightops’ dust once and for all.

The number of friends with babies is really starting to rival the number of those without.  And as far as I’m concerned, you really shouldn’t have a baby in a bar.

Men look at me like I’m supposed to be someone’s wonderful wife, and are completely baffled to learn that no one has locked me down yet. They also vocalize that all my boyfriends should have known better.  I accept the compliment and ponder the reality.

And my guy’s little guy, we’ll call him Kyle, wishes I’d turn 30 because he feels like that’s a “nice age” for me to “become a wife and mom.”  It is currently 8 days before my 29th birthday.

Yes, I’m pretty wide-eyed and in awe of all of this life happening before me.  I also keep myself quite busy reassuring everyone else that I really am OK with my unwed relationship status and unused childbearing hips, which is actually a great relief – this contentment just might be the single thing I’m not bat shit crazy about.   I’m calm and going with the flow, I just don’t see what the big rush is.  So after the fourth, “when are you going to marry my dad?” inquiry of the summer, I took a stab at real talk.  I explained to Kyle that I like being a girlfriend and dating, because once we get married, I’ll never date again, and I really enjoy dating.  His mind was blown to bits; and as he skipped off, the way all small 6-year olds do, he looked at me like, “You pick up my confused bits, Smilfy.”  And so I did.  I know he’ll need them for the next time he tries to will a marriage on me.

People, children especially, crave structure and tradition and stability.  I get that.  I also feel it – on occasion, about some things.  Thinking back, I know that I shared Kyle’s enthusiasm for marriage when I was young and wore an unbroken heart on all my sleeves, but like I said, life happens – things like divorce, infidelity, career ambition, and newly single moms who don’t know who they are at age 42 because they’ve been married since they were 18 tend to tarnish the shine that matrimony used to gleam when my best friend and I took turns playing the dashing groom and white pillow case veiled bride. I’d like to say that all of this romantic experience and observation has made me vigilant, because it sounds more eloquent, but the truth of it is, I’m just scared.

My boyfriend, the one I’m enjoying dating and calling my bf, recently compared me to a marlin.  He says it took him well over a year to reel me in; I just wouldn’t come aboard.  And that even now, it occasionally looks like I might just jump ship with no notice, for no clear reason at all.  I looked into his soft, lash-lined blue eyes and gripping, expressive eyebrows and felt equal parts guilty and glad.  Guilty, because, in hindsight, I probably didn’t need to put up such a long fight; especially when I could feel his adoration for me from the moment we met.  My gladness though, that was a proud feeling.  I could picture it – I was a majestic marlin thrashing in a sea of house music, resisting his affection for fear of losing my sense of self, my independence, my balance, my single status.  Aren’t all fish afraid of getting hooked?  I was actively fighting for me – the only person who I could ever really rely on.  I fought and I fought.  And then I let myself get caught.

I watched Kyle walk ahead of me – kicking rocks in his path, still shaking off bits of his mind – and made a Smilfy promise to fortify his big heart in the same way I have learned to protect mine.  He will grow to know that love is as grand and real as it feels; more important than even the best storybook could detail; more special than a box of candy; feels more magical than a bear hug; more fun than riding with no handlebars; and worth waiting for, because when you’re beautiful and independent – even if you are a little scared – only the strongest fisherman will do, and in the mean time, it’s best to enjoy the waves, they’re the journey that majesty is made of.

Tick-Tock SMILFy Not

Thoughtfully, and quite obviously in a pursuit to persuade, last Christmas my mama gave me another charm for my Pandora bracelet.  I laughed aloud when I laid eyes on a silver clock that comically resembles the clock character from the Disney masterpiece Beauty and the Beast, which is, coincidently, her favorite flick and my 2nd grade stocking stuffer.  It sat shiny and ominously in my jewelry box.  I knew without cue that this lovely gift was a small sterling reminder that I should be a more punctual young woman.  Today, nearly one year later and despite that cute clock on my right wrist bone, I still underestimate 15 minutes and am genuinely apologetic when I am tardy to your event – god bless that mama for trying though. 


Time and I have rarely played nice.  There’s either been too much of it or not enough; it’s the $1.99 app that underwhelms or the free advice you should deny even if you’re paid.  Either way, we’re never in the same zone.  As of late, my creativity has been challenged by time – my inescapable fault – and fear.  Talk about a conquering humdinger.  It’s been one year since I emotionally and vocally committed to launching my SMILFy blog – and beyond buying the domain and some unfinished, unpublished blogs, I am yet to show anything for it.  Truthfully, I believe in this blog.  I consider it a creative outlet for myself and a resource for other women like me; I even have faith in its brand power and fully intend on cultivating this concept (consider this a warning to those who may try to highjack this business opportunity).  All I have to do is take the first step, post the first blog.  But this step has transformed from visions of rainbow arches to thorny detours – there’s just always been an outside force that’s stronger than time to slow me down. 


I fear that launching this expressive blog/potential business may further anger my unpleasant counterpart, thereby flooding my life, as well as my new family’s life, with even more chaos and compromise.  Or worse yet, I fear I will proclaim this endeavor, but never be able to deliver because I wasn’t meant to be a SMILFy after all.  All the while, through all the contemplation, worrywart tendencies, and a collection of content inspiration, the SMILFy blog remains blank and the time on my wrist rests unchanged.   

I’ve Allied with Mr. Big?

Although I gravitate towards expressing my happy, hopeful, sometimes sad, always honest, ‘Just Jamie’ heart with written words, I know I’m no Carrie Bradshaw.  I can’t run in heels; I seldom squeal; and if it were me, I don’t think I would have let Aiden go so easily.  But, I also never in a million Manolo Blahnik’s thought I had anything in common with Big….

Truth be told, this whole “Shacking Up” business is full of surprises.

Rewind your Bradshaw-mind to Sex and the City – The Movie part 2.  Now, recall when Big so casually offended Carrie with the concept of scheduling their days apart from one another.  He thought that her single-gal place might be a nice retreat for her now-and-again.  I can so candidly recall the feeling in my gut that that Not-Aiden man made me feel.  After all their years of sleeping together, breaking up, then reuniting only to argue about the scent of his cigars in her bed and her peeled oranges in his, calling it quits again, all the etcetera in between I’ll spare us right now, and even an alter-ditching, they finally cut through the bull shit, and committed to love and marriage – with each other.  So I just couldn’t understand how he could ever ask her for more time apart??

Until now.

Spring has sprung, and I am boxing, bubble wrapping and good willing my life up.  Emphasis on “up,” as in up, up and away.  The packing started out really strong.  I was moving quickly, making decisions in a snap, unlike my Libra-self, and moving forward with my life.  But as the “forward” more quickly approaches, I am taking note of the things I am choosing to pack very last: one wine glass, waters, face wash and a toothbrush, the slouchy couch I retreat to when I’m on SMILFy-overload, my great grandmother’s table where nearly all my blog ideas came to fruition, and my queen size bed that, even on my loneliest nights, really only fits a diagonal me.  And I just keep thinking about how I wish it could all stay – just the stuff, not me.

I want to shack up with my boyfriend, and make a life, and share our days, and make memories.  But I also don’t see the harm in having a little place for a little me-time every now and then.  After all, this is where I write; this is where I miss him; this is where I laugh out loud all by myself because my book is funny; this is where I overfeed my girlfriends because I have little concept of modifying recipes; this is where I finally conquered my fear of the dark (most nights); this is where I do all the chores because I know no one else will; this is where I learned how to be comfortable in complete silence.  This place is where I made peace with being all by myself.  This place is Just Jamie.

And so here I offer unsolicited, honest advice to all my single ladies out there: live alone, even just once.  You owe it to yourself, and your future partner.

Independence and Love are righteous and courageous things.  I am thankful that I have been afforded both.  And now, it’s my sincerest hope that I can find the balance to continue enjoying both of these empowering blessings, together.  I mean I have worked too hard and lost too much sleep to roll over and lose my independence, but I also revel in my girlfriend experiences and welcome a dandy future.  So here I go: one couch, under one roof.

But yah, you bet your ass, if this was a movie, and I had Big’s bankroll, the ink on a new lease would already be dry.

The Single Girl is Getting Domesticated

Come spring, life is getting more dandy with Andy. That’s right, we have decided to take the next big step: we are going to co-habitat; move in together; shack up; share a roof. Either way you say it, at the end of day, what’s mine is his, and vice verse. I don’t mean to brag, but he says that “what we have is special, and this is just the next big step for us moving forward.” I could have melted.

In preparation for this life-changing leap, I am spending a little more time in my little, humble abode, that mind you, is just rock throwing distance from the stereo vibrations of Scottsdale’s finest clubs (I will always miss this proximity). I figure I need to spend some time here in my lonesome. Enjoy the silence and solitude, if you get my drift. Remember, I am accepting 3 new roomies into my life. I’ve also decided to host some girly gatherings. I think Andy thinks this sort of odd, but I consider it normal, and mandatory for that matter. I mean if all goes well, if I get all that I’ve been wishing for since I asked my Daddy when I could get married and was totally disappointed that he said I had to wait until I was 22 (guess I missed that boat), this will be the very last time I ever live alone. Com-plete-ly A-lone.

This realization gets me thinking about how coveted seclusion truly is. After all, I did just escape to my place to “clean.” And I will in fact clean, but there’s something blissful about the fact that all this mess is just mine; there’s no one trailing behind me to make a messy mockery of all my elbow grease. Besides, when you’re all by yourself, in your own “mess” of a life, cleaning can be quite entertaining: because in between dusting, folding and Good Willing, I am responding to Facebook posts, pouring a little more wine, admiring photos hung on my walls (I’ve lived a good life thus far), and sliding around on my spick-and-span, slick tile in my loud, knee-high Christmas socks; which I swear will make it into the holiday storage bin next wash. Amidst all this fun, Andy calls to see what I’m up to, and I’m literally panting when I answer the phone. This is because I’m doing what only truly single, alone girls can do when they “clean.” You see, “cleaning” is code for drinking and dancing while I do some cleaning. It really is one of life’s greatest joys.

I have loved and appreciated living by myself; the personal growth I’ve experienced is indescribable, even for my jabber jaw, but why not go out with a bang?! Why not party until the very end?! So I’ve decided to move forward with my girly gathering idea and have my former roommates, Jennifer & Shannon, over for a night of wine, apps, and girl talk. I think Andy is mainly curious what the “girl talk” entails, and if I’ll bring over leftovers. But if I know my college roomies and I, we will devour every last drop, and crumb. Speaking of last drops, I’ve decided to assess my bona-fide bachelorette pad’s refrigerator to properly welcome my guests. I swing the door open…. and there isn’t much to look at. It is sparse, and seriously lacking some basic comforts I’ve grown accustomed to sleeping the better part of my ZZZZs at Andy’s. For instance, my fridge’s shelves have the following items: 3 bottles of water; 1 bottle of wine, that I have already broken into because I am rationing my precious water; applesauce because it comes up as easily as it goes down; tuna fish because my physique is an ongoing obsession, and I make a mean tuna melt; Skinny Girl margarita mix because that stuff is delicious; pickles because I entered this world addicted to them; more condiments than I’ve ever had entrees; and lest not forget the oversized bottle of Grey Goose on the counter patiently awaiting the diet cranberry on the top shelf.

Don’t get me wrong; I used to shop and shelf nutritional things like eggs, yogurt and fresh fruit, but when a single girl’s little place morphs into a crash pad for when she wanders home from those stereo bumps I previously mentioned, the grocery store is just a waste of time, bc spoiled food is a waste of money. And that my friends, is a frugal mentality at its finest. Besides, Andy being the best Daddy, second to my Daddy, of course, always keeps a stocked fridge, and always makes sure we eat well. So although my stomach is a little vocal at the moment, I am kind of digging drinking my dinner tonight. I deem it a final farewell to the single, live alone me.
Thanks for everything Self; you were a great roomie.

For more tales from my even dandier shacked up & SMILFy life, please read my new blog all about my adventures in being a bonus mama:
Oh and in case it’s gone over your head, this means I am a stepmom in training. SMILF is like MILF, but better because I am younger, and cooler. And we throw the ‘y’ on at the end to make it a term of endearment. Bam. Super SMILFy.

Happiness is the New Black

I recently flew on Southwest flight #1006. Destination: Baltimore, MD. Then onwards to our nation’s capital. Biz trip.

Upon cozying into my exit row seat, courtesy of my business select fare, I pick up the Spirit magazine to kill some time, and more importantly, avoid glares from men whose legs are longer than mine. Sorry suckers – you get what you pay for (in my lucky case, I get what my company pays for).

The Spirit cover, featuring a glad girl with a bouquet of bright balloons, prompts me to immediately flip to an article called Perk Up!, written by Taffy Brodesser-Akner. The article features various fascinating theories about happiness: how to measure it and what it really means. It reminds me of the several blog notes I’ve been collecting and how much my Happiness has evolved in only one years time. I recommend you google it – I feel confident that it’ll inform you. Who knows, it may even inspire you. It inspired me to write this:

“Everybody knows that the sweetest thing you’ll ever see, is a happy girl.” Well at least that’s what Martina McBride’s lovely lungs proclaim in her song Happy Girl.
There’s no debating that Happiness is highly sought out. Walt Disney makes a killing off that fact. And our fore fathers gave us the right to pursue it, so why not wrangle what’s rightfully ours?

Many of us spend money, attend therapy, read self-help books, write encouraging notes on our mirrors (OK, maybe that’s just me), pray, toast cocktails, write and even dance our way into Happiness’ embrace. That’s all well and fine, I’m no expert after all, but I do know this much: the biggest mistake one can make is to wait for Happiness to waltz through the door all wonderful and sparkly. Trust me.

Here is my tango with Happiness:

On New Years Day 2010 I laid in a dark Vegas hotel room, all by myself, and begged and pleaded for Happiness. I just needed it to find me, and fix me. I wept as I imagined all the people beyond my chosen confinement laughing, hugging and making new years resolutions – those happy assholes. I reasoned that everyone else in the world was forging ahead with aspirations like: claiming the corner office, losing weight, getting back into the gym, planning an amazing vacation, mastering a new meal, getting pregnant, learning an instrument or a new language, falling in love….the list goes on-and-on. And I found everything about them and their wishful/ambitious thinking ridiculous, if not a little insulting.

All I wanted was to be happy; yet my resolution seemed more far-fetched than all of theirs combined. I was miserable beyond description. I had no appetite for life, much less food. The hotel phone rang and I picked it up only to deliberately, and passionately, hang it up. Texts buzzed and I ignored them. My facebook app taunted me with well wishes and I despised it. I sobbed in the bed diagonally. I sobbed face-down. I sobbed sitting up. I even watched myself sobbing in the mirror (like I’ve said before, I must be a masochist). I quit sobbing only long enough to gain the strength to sob some more. Not even the allure of Sin City could make me smile a real Jamie-smile, because even when I tried to fake it, I could taste my failure. (Just in case this depression is news to you, here’s a little backstory to my misery: another failed relationship, lack of career, zero zest for life and at 25 years of age, I had just moved back into my mother’s home. You’d have a break-down too. And if not, you’re a stronger human than I, and I kindly ask you to have mercy on my formally sad soul.)

I’m not exactly sure when it happened, but somewhere in between my sob-fest and self-pity party for one, I had a rude, but very significant awakening: the ball was back in my court – just waiting, patiently, for my next play. I realized that I am the dictator of my emotion. It was Just Jamie now. So my tears, smiles, and everything in-between were all up to me. This realization was both terrifying, and liberating.

So I bravely decided right then and there, in what’s arguably the happiest place on earth, for adults that is (so why the hell did I just hang up on my mama’s loving, “Get up, go out and get fresh air, come hang out, I bet you’ll find fun in no time! I love you,” plea), that this year had to be different. No trivial resolutions, no preposterous ones either. I wanted, and desperately needed, only one thing: you guessed it, Happiness. This was the shortest list I’d ever created, surely it was possible.

I won’t lie to you and say that I popped right up out of bed, threw open those perfectly thick curtains and began my pursuit immediately. In all honesty, 2010 was an emotional roller coaster. But it was also a year of grand self-discovery. I made decisions and surrounded myself with people and things that bettered me as a person, healed my heart, enhanced my positive qualities and made me excited to be me.

I didn’t even check Happiness off my list until sometime in December. I had to be sure it wouldn’t slip through my fingertips. I also wanted to make certain that I continued to strive for it’s presence every single day. And to that end, I’d like to share that Happiness tops my list for 2011 too. This year I’ll focus on maintaining it and seeking more of it – some girls just want it all.

I should also add that later in the year I penciled-in another resolution on my record-short list. Nothing dumb, nothing unrealistic: Get a great job. I’m happy to say that I’m typing this from 30,000 feet because I successfully checked that off my list last summer. However, I recognize that I could have easily erased that resolution if I hadn’t diligently focused on Happiness every single day. It’s amazing to me how life seems to fall perfectly into place when I’m the best me. For 2011, I have boldly sharpied-in a career goal: be a better asset to my company.

I have learned, and accepted, that Happiness is a choice. It is a conscious effort. And it isn’t always easy either. Somedays it’s there the moment I open my brown eyes. Other days it’s something I literally add to my To-Do List. But it’s always right there, waiting for me to acknowledge it, and wrap myself in all it’s splendor.

One thing’s for sure: like a little black dress, Happiness will never go out of style – it’s better than black.

My Happiness Holler-Back List: These wonderful people ignited, contributed to and even fostered my happiness when I briefly misplaced it.

-Bobby Royal. The best damn server at Zipps. She embodies a sense of realism I think I’ll always admire. She coined the term “Just Jamie.” She spoke me straight on several down days. And she has one of the most genuine laughs I’ve ever heard.

-April Alford. The greatest mama a girl could have. She endured numerous late night texts of sadness and always responded with something positive.

-Sara Amsberry. An inspiring spirit, a dear girlfriend. She made it her personal mission to keep me busy, make me smile and help me put the pieces of me together again for 6 solid months (my Happiness was not built over night). She taught me to be kinder to strangers and welcome new friendships. I can honestly say that I’m a much cooler,calmer, more positive Jamie because of her. She’s also one of the most fun people I know.

-Jennifer White. My soulmate and bestie for 23 years and counting. We don’t speak everyday, but I feel her love all the time.

-You. My readers. Writing has been my therapy, your support has been my salvation. I sincerely hope that you are treating 2011 well and that you create Happiness in your life on a daily basis.

Sent from my iPad


In Vanna’s Shoes

Hello All,

Here’s what new in my world:

My family and friends, my mama is particular, encouraged me to enter the “Vanna for a Day” contest.  If I win I will do Vanna White’s job for one episode.  It’ll be glamorous, exciting and awesome!  You can see my entry video at:

I have to say that I had a lot of fun with this!  I regarded it as a school assignment.  And I seemed to have a lot of peers in my corner.  🙂

I wrote a Script and timed myself performing it.  I’d forgotten how difficult it is to squeeze something so exciting into 60 seconds.  My mama reviewed and approved it for me, which felt like a high-five.

Jamie for Vanna

I made a shot list.  I wanted to feature my town, my glam appeal and myself as best as possible. If you’ve ever seen an episode of Wheel of Fortune you know that Vanna features the city they are broadcasting from – so I decided to feature my town, Scottsdale.  I recalled a great fact about it that I learned while on a tour of the Scottsdale Historic Museum with my dad back in May. Scottsdale was almost named Orangedale because the city was founded to farm oranges.  I share this fact often; I always impress my friends.

My little brother willingly climbed into the attic to retrieve my Prom dresses; it’s still so cool to me that he is big and strong and no longer afraid of the dark.  I steamed my dresses in the shower and felt quite pleased that Mama and I were getting some more bang for our Prom-buck, even if it was 7 plus years later.  My boss even offered the company HD camera, but I knew that my little camera would be just fine – plus, I already knew how to work it. Phew!

I wrote, produced and starred in my production – my attempt to be deemed a “triple threat.” But I still needed more help.  Lucky for me, enlisting a crew was no sweat.  I had lots of offers! My mama’s college buddy, Justin, offered his time.  Even my co-producer from my documentary, Stjepan, extended a creative hand.  But I decided on people I knew I would laugh with – Jennifer and Andy.

Jennifer is my bestie for a solid 23 years now.  Her and I shot countless hours of music videos, school projects, vacations, sleep overs and skits back in high school and college.  This would be just like that – minus the braces in high school and the alcohol in…well, let’s not formally address that.  Jennifer also served as my hair stylist and makeup artist.  Andy is my boyfriend. And yes, I said “boyfriend” aloud in a schoolyard, teasing-type accent as I typed it.  Call me smitten, I don’t care.  😉  He took his puzzle-making task seriously.  He used a ruler and everything.

Jennifer was my camera woman.  Mainly because I was too nervous to have Andy do it.  But once we got rolling, I wasn’t shy at all.  It’s so wonderful to feel comfortable with people.  I also felt really touched that I had two amazing people devoting their sunny Saturday afternoon to me and my project.  I gave Andy the PA (Production Assistant) and props manager titles at the start of the shoot, but quickly promoted him to AD, Assistant Director, as soon as he began suggesting shots and checking Jennifer’s compositions over her shoulder. I couldn’t have asked for a better crew!

Winning this contest would be incredible!  But more importantly, I have realized that participating in it has been an eye-opener.  I may no longer work in TV and it may never cut me another paycheck, but I sure do have fun pretending like I do.  And I can’t deny the fact that I’m pretty skilled in it.  I’ve now made a Video To Do List and decided to edit my countless hours of memories stored on tape into movies that can be more readily enjoyed.  So stay tuned!

Striving to be in Vanna’s shoes has been a positive experience.  And I can’t lie to you, I dug strutting my stuff in my Prom dresses.

Thank you for your continued support.  I hope that you are treating 2011 well.

And the Beat Goes On

Music has always rocked my world.

I find it inspiring and comforting.  Its ability to bring me back in time to a single moment or instill excitement about moments to come perpetually pleases me.  There are few things in life that prompt this type of spontaneous stroll down memory lane.  Consider this: you can stumble upon a memory, the good, the bad, and the ugly, with something as simple as cruising to FM radio, looking through a jukebox or giving your iPod the reigns with Shuffle mode.

I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve heard a strum of a guitar, a DJ mixing beats, the keys of a piano or a hum of an artist and unlocked the past to moments and events like: the dance routine I choreographed with my girlfriend Amber in the 5th grade; when I told my high school sweetheart that I was going to the Prom with someone else; the time I spilt an entire bottle of coke in my lap and had to air dry my skirt out Jennifer’s car window on our way to a party; the trip to Mexico when I danced poolside for hours on end with my mama and her girlfriends; that wild college party (I say that loosely, there were many.  And certain songs are the only real evidence that those nights ever happened!!); my college graduation; my trip to Italy with my nonna and mama; dancing in Vegas with thousands of my closest friends; crying in bed all by myself; feeling in love and hoping it lasts; breaking up yet again and eventually letting go.

I also depend on music to do the things that I can’t do by myself.  When I need to be strong, I feel as though I can pluck the lyrics right out of a song and wield a shield out of them.  I’ll admit it, when words evade me I use lyrics to text or facebook how I feel.  And when I’m unable to provide myself the support that I need, it’s like the lyrics flow right out of my iPod and swirl all around me, touching my heart and embracing my pain; they give me the strength that I can’t find in myself.

I suppose that music has also cradled my world.

That being said, here is my musical journey:

I am an 80s baby in every sense of the term. According to my blunt mother, I was conceived to Van Halen’s Jump. I knew every word to Bon Jovi’s Slippery When Wet album; and never hesitated to belt out the lyrics every time my mama popped in the cassette. Now can you imagine a toddler singing, with absolute conviction, “working for her man, she brings home her pay for love – for love?” (Well believe it, and love the fact that I just did the very same thing in the backseat of my boss’s car on our way to a business trip earlier this week!)  I recall most kids my age wearing Nickelodeon t-shirts, but I rocked my t-shirt from Aerosmith’s Get a Grip Tour on a regular basis. Some kids hummed nursery rhymes; I jammed rock ballads.

In the 5th grade I rocked my parents’ world when I fell in love with hip-hop. I played my Gangsta’s Paradise soundtrack on repeat every day after school until it became riddled with scratches and refused to bump out of my boombox. I wanted to name my dog Tupac, but my parents thought it absurd. That dance that Amber and I choreographed was to Whoop!  There it is!  by Tag Team.  Over the years, I’ve swayed my hips and bobbed my head at numerous concerts and even finagled my way to the stage to dance alongside Dem Franchise Boys, Ray J and Chris Brown – pre his Rihanna outrage, of course. Juicy J once complimented my flashy style after I charmed a bouncer into letting my girlfriends and I roam around backstage.  And I’ve been to more Snoop Dogg concerts than I care to admit.

I think I developed an addiction to country music when I experienced my first break-up in middle school, because I’ve been faithful to its allure ever sense.  I have two preset buttons dedicated to country stations in the event of heartbreak.  But I’ve also come to appreciate the genre’s genuine way of expressing love. Every female singer says what I’ve always wanted to say and every male singer is like my Ken doll; I just want what he’s saying to be true and to happen to me.  My girlfriend Sara and I have even contemplated moving to Nashville to marry cowboys.  This idea seems like the ultimate fix – so we’re not ruling it out just yet.


I’ve recently become obsessed with dance and house music.  This is probably because I’ve frequented more clubs and partied harder in the last 9 months than I ever have in 25 years.  I’ve also taken a new approach to heartache.  I like to call it Dance it off.  There is something inexplicably liberating about dancing to music that’s louder than my thoughts.  The lyrics are occasionally foreign, always heartfelt and sometimes even ridiculous, but the music never ceases to engulf me.  Even in a room full of people, I can close my eyes and lose myself.

Being the hopeless romantic that I am, particular songs will always resonate with me.  Here is my love affair with music:

When my parents split up, I played Wonderful Now by Everclear on repeat for hours on end for nearly two years.  And still to this day, whenever I hear Journey’s Faithfully I recall the better days of my childhood.

When I need to break it off with someone or get out from under someone’s thumb, I jam Mariah Carey’s Shake it Off through my Corolla speakers on full blast.  I find it subliminal is a way.  I’m hoping to convince myself that moving on is best and that it won’t be all that painful.  At the very least, it’s a fun song to sing along to.

When I started regularly listening to Nelly Furtado’s All Good Things Come to an End and humming along to Fergie’s Big Girls Don’t Cry, I realized that my college sweetheart just wasn’t “the one.”  Only now do I see that I threw a quality catch back into waters that are seriously lacking tens.  And I’m reminded of this every single time my iPod finds these songs.  Shuffle is, without a doubt, a love/hate relationship.

Since then, I’ve been listening to Rihanna’s Take a Bow every time some new heart-throb tricks me like it’s Halloween.  The lyrics somehow seem to sting more when you know that you only have yourself to blame.  So in an effort to take some responsibility for my tears and triumphantly forge ahead to my next ex, I blare Since You’ve Been Gone by Kelly Clarkson.  Talk about empowerment sister!

I adopted the Dance it Off approach when the most beautiful person I’d ever laid my lips on or began a life with changed his mind.  Even months later, I hated that I still wondered what it would have felt like to see his perfect nose on top of a baby’s face, so I sought refuge in David Guetta’s Gettin Over You and Calvin Harris’s You Used to Hold MeThey helped me lose my mind when my memories were driving me mad.  And all the Just Jamie dancing wasn’t bad for my bod either.  But true to my country junkie self, I woke each morning with sore thighs and a raging headache and depended on Jaron and the Long Road to Love to help me find humor in my humiliating heartache with Pray for You.  Call it my version of Sunday School.

When I broke the man’s heart, whom I genuinely hoped would still love me when my teeth are no longer mine, my wrinkled hands shake all the time and I need help remembering my memories, even with a musical aide, broke my heart right back, I felt like literally every single song was speaking to me. I sobbed in tune to Third Eye Blind’s How’s it Going to Be.  I never anticipated there being a day when we no longer knew each other.  So in an effort to outrun my heartbreak, I slipped into my running kicks and ran 4 miles to Leona Lewis’s Better in Time on repeat.  I’ve never once ran that far.  If I ever meet Leona, I won’t hesitate to hug her, even if I’m sweaty.  When I wonder how long I’ll be running for, I listen to Martina McBride’s Wrong Baby Wrong; I long to sit down with her in hopes of absorbing just an ounce of her courage and practicality.  It really isn’t the end of the world.  I am going to be just fine.  Eventually.  I’m resilient if nothing else.  And I always taste my tears through a smile whenever La Roux encourages me to be Bulletproof, next time that is.

As my 26th birthday approaches, I can’t help but wonder what the next year will bring.  I foresee champagne, dancing, laughter, tears, love, joy, hurt, travel, success and happiness.  Memories to cherish.  Memories to forget.  But I know for certain that music will touch me, move me and cure me. And years from now I know that it’ll also bring me back to 26.

Music makes my world go round.


Isn’t it odd how one thing can change everything? One day, one choice, one idea, one declaration, one stop light, one smile, one drink, one missed call. This list could go on forever. You probably even have a few one whatevers to add to the mix. The fact remains that the one thing, could be anything. For me, it was a text message.

If you’re anything like me, you prefer texting over traditional phone conversation any day of the week. Written communication allows you to be truthful and bold, not to mention witty. Add spell-check and it’s borderline orgasmic. But I think it’s the way it can make a person the mystery in someone’s inbox that I am most attracted to. Texting bares no true tone, emotion or delivery. What someone is “really saying” is anyone’s guess. The down side of this ambiguous communication is that it’s often manifested fantasies and false-truths in my mind. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve sent a text and screeched, “eeee!” Especially if it was a message from the heart, and/or the vj.

I am a dreamer in every sense of the word. I blame it on gender stereotyping we were all victims of as children. Sure, I played GI Joe and cops and robbers, but that’s only because my very first friend was a boy. My true love was the Barbie doll. I had several blonde beauties and only one Ken doll. You can imagine how 90210-style my make-believe was. I just never imagined my real life panning out in virtually the same way. Even though my Ken doll was always a womanizing piece of shit, I always hoped that as an adult, I would find my diamond in the rough.

I received a text message on a Friday morning. I was late for a shoot and weaving in and out of traffic like Paul Walker, only I didn’t look confused. I am always late and I prefer to speed. My ‘04 corolla and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I was jamming to Britney Spears, getting into character and running my lines. My sidekick vibrated in my lap. “Hey, slow down girl!” I looked around, but realized I’d already left him in the cluster of people who were apparently not late for work. I’ve always loathed those people. Part of me wishes I was them, but deep-down, I secretly dig the way my heart pounds when I’m late, the way my mind scrolls through believable excuses like a rolodex as I blare my music for inspiration and the proud feeling that races over me when I arrive exactly on time. No, I’m never early, but who the hell has time for that?

If you assumed his text was “the” text, you thought wrong. I should have never responded. I should have scrolled to the discard button. But that’s precisely the problem with text messaging. Had he called me, I wouldn’t have answered, nor would I have returned the missed call. I somehow feel like calls are easier to avoid and if questioned, easier to say you never saw. But there it was – the mystery in my inbox. My mind wondered and my heart fluttered. How did he say it in his head? Was he laughing? What is he wearing? Was he nervous to initiate communication after all we’d been through? Is he thinking of me now?

I’m a bright girl, I’ve always prided myself on that. Hell, I was graduating from the Walter Cronkite School with an award-winning documentary in a week, but the mystery flooded all logic and memory of heartache. I scrolled to the reply button. “Hey, you know me, late for work. ☺”

And just like that, one thing changed everything. I’d opened a ticking bomb.
And with all the sincerity I can muster after a year of mystery, fantasy and false-truths, I can whole-heartedly say that there’s nothing like regret to remind you you’re alive.


I take a moment to appreciate my lacey Honeydew panties, and all my glory below them, before pulling my shorts back up on my hips.  It’s petit and pretty.  I once had a boyfriend tell me that it would earn the blue ribbon in a field day for vaginas.  This one still makes me grin in a tilted head, sense of wonderment sort of way.  Too bad his clever compliments were his single strong suit. 

My nostalgia is suddenly popped like a schoolgirl’s bazooka bubble when the woman in the stall next to me starts making monstrous sounds that can only mean she’s hovering over the toilet.  I sneak a peek at her feet.  Her flip-flops are hot pink and her toenails are polished a canary yellow with white polka dots; I bet she wishes that she felt even half that bright.   I wonder if she just saw a baby being born too?  Or maybe it’s the combination of a few too many Russian cocktails the night prior and the reality that babies really do squeeze out of a small slit that most twenty-something women use for imports only?  I nod my head and purse my lips in agreement.  If she could see me, I’d give her that, “Hey, I feel ya sister,” look.

I exit my stall to face my humbled disposition.  I wipe a cluster of sweat beads from my upper lip and can’t help but notice the lack of glimmer on my left hand.   The foamy soap and water droplets flow around my naked fingers as I fight back useless tears.  I stare at myself in the mirror, and I swear that it’s staring right back at me.  Sick polka dot girl better stay in that export cubicle as long as she can, lighting has never been so unforgiving. 

It’s like the mirror is interrogating my soul.  It sees that my smile is because I am proud my cousin brought her baby girl into this world.  My expression slides into a smirk when I imagine how much hell that little girl is going to give her. 

It studies my deep breaths and long sighs, and recognizes them as the acceptance of defeat.  I had been delusional to think that he and I would share this one-day.  Furthermore, I’d be a fool to hope that my current crush was “the one.”  This too will end just as passionately and abruptly as it began.  I can’t depend on much, but some things are a guarantee.  The mirror seems to sense my bandaged, yet ever-hopeful heart.  It watches my memory flip through my relationship highs and lows like a late-night channel surfer, and realizes that there’s nothing worth cherishing, so I just keep flipping.  Then like the masochist that I am, it captures a slight twinkle in my eyes and helps me see the faith that I will be blessed with a family, eventually, even if I don’t feel it. 

The soul-searching mirror senses my now peaceful heart.  Just moments earlier it had been flowing with emotions and pounding like a celebratory tribal beat as I watched a new family’s hearts burst, and then sink, when one new heartbeat could not only be heard, but also seen.  Bewildered by my sweat sprinkled face and fleshed cheeks, the mirror takes curious inspection of my raised arm hair and plump goose bumps.  I know that these linger from being the bearer of amazing news. 

“She’s here!  She’s here.  She was here at 1:26 and she has the most endearing whine.” I burst out, exasperated, with not nearly as much articulation as I would have preferred.  I instantly wish that I’d properly prepared myself to deliver this memory.  But I don’t think it mattered how I said it, because when I did, it was like watching the sunrise for the very first time. 

His expression brightened.  Pure joy and true love spilt from his smile as the corners of his lips curled up into his cheeks revealing a spirit that oozed of pride and curiosity.  My uncle has always had the most inspiring smile.  It’s the kind that sweeps an entire face, makes one’s eyes glisten with gladness and beckons others to take delight in the moment.  You’d be a miserable fool to resist its charm.

The mirror is patient while I squeeze my eyes tight and hope and beg that that very moment never fades from my memory.  I open them to find my gaze upon my flat stomach.  I turn to the side, take in a deep breath and push my tummy out as far as I can.  I rest one hand on my air-filled belly, the other on my strained lower back. I’ve always been a pro at make-believe.  I consider what it might feel like to have life blossoming inside me, but even my wildest imagination can’t do it justice.  The mirror seems to look upon me with compassion this time.  We gaze into one another, and sigh. 

A toilet unexpectedly roars like a rushing river crushing my belly back to size.   And in an instant I recognize that the glass is more than half-full; a single girl never goes hungry, polka dot toes are only a salon away, my vagina is still collecting compliments and a baby girl really is the most beautiful thing in the world.