Dec 12, 2014

If you haven't any charity in your heart, you have the worst kind of heart trouble. -- Bob Hope

This post is originally from March 2011.

Today, give a stranger one of your smiles. It might be the only sunshine he sees all day. -- H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

There's this guy who works the service elevator that has a very strong accent.  I can barely understand what he is saying when he talks to me.  A few weeks ago, my boss was out for a few days and I had to perform his daily duties, which included using the service elevator to get the mail. 

I was dreading it.

I'm usually a very outgoing, friendly person.  Heck, this morning I sat down at Starbucks with two people while waiting for my drink because they striked up a convo while I was in line.  Not like I need to say this (but obviously I feel like I should), I have empathy for people.  I cry at that stupid Chipmunks movie (the animated one) because some baby penguin lost its Mom.  And don't get me started on How the Grinch Stole Christmas (the Jim Carrey version).

However, I would pray this particular man wouldn't be the attendant when I needed to go downstairs. I'd bring my headphones to look preoccupied so he wouldn't talk to me.  But he always did.  He would ask me where I was from and then forget and ask me again the next day.  He would ask me about where my ancestors are from and go on to tell me that German women are "the best, strongest women."  (I can't argue with him.)  He'd repeat a lot of what he was saying and I was finding myself annoyed to no end.

I came into work one day the next week and I found a Kitson gym bag on my chair.  I figured it was from my boss (he's always leaving me magazines and samples and whatnot) and called to tell him thanks, but he had no idea what I was talking about.  It was pretty bizarre. 

That day my boss asked me to deliver the mail, so of course I had to take the service elevator.  As I got in, I saw it was the guy I dread talking to. 

"Hello, good to see you!  You look very nice today," he says.
"Do you like your bag?"

My heart immediately sank.  This man got me the gym bag. 

"You got me that?"
"Yes, I thought you would like it.  My daughter likes hers so I figured you would too," in his broken English.

Honestly, it took every bone in my body not to break down and cry.  It's so true, that you don't know how you will affect people or what you might be doing for them, just by carrying on a simple conversation.  We never talked about anything deep, and our conversations were always less than two minutes.  Plus, what if that was my Dad?  I couldn't handle how I had originally thought about him. I thanked him and you can bet that now I happily talk to this man. 

There is no greater loan than a sympathetic ear. -- Frank Tyger

There's this guy that works in the sports and entertainment division of our office and we always give each other a hard time.  He's one of the younger agents and he's hilarious.  Of course we have a senseless banter type of thing going on, and yesterday I noticed he got a box from ProFlowers in the mail.  I thought this was hilarious -- a guy was getting flowers? I couldn't WAIT to harass him about it.

I go to deliver them and he's on the phone, but I hand them to him.  "These are for me?" 

Oh yeah.  I started in on how someone must be pulling out all the stops for him and I had no idea he liked flowers.  Blah blah blah. You know, harmless jabs.

He walks up to my desk a few minutes later with the flowers.  "Kirbie, these reminded me of you..."

"Why, because they look like funeral flowers?" (They did.)
"Well, actually, funny you say that..."

I'M GOING TO HELL!  This poor guy's grandpa just died.  I really don't know how he wasn't sobbing.  I'd be a hot mess.  He was a good sport and laughed (thank the Lord), but he did mention how his grandpa had just gotten old and died at the age of 92.  That he was a good man. 

I told him I couldn't respond to him because I felt terrible, not to mention our working relationship consisted of me making fun of his clothing choices and he asking when my Sweet 16 would be, so it was just awful. 

What am I trying to say here?  Be careful of other people. Yes, careful. Show thought when speaking to others and give them attention. Smile to people you don't know, be kind when it's hard to be, because you never know what could be going on.  Stop focusing on how you feel and what you want to do and open your heart to how you can be a joy to someone else.  The greatest commandment God has given us is to love others, even through the hard times; their struggles, through our struggles, through the successes, failures, and even the mundane and complacent.

Hopefully everyone reading doesn't see me as a terrible monster after this, but if anything, my empathy quotient has gone through the roof!

An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up. -- Proverbs 12:25

Dec 11, 2014

My Grown Up Christmas List

{Brought back from the 2011 archives}

Remember as a child, when you would watch movies and the theme always ended up being some version of "family is most important at Christmas"? I remember watching and thinking, "Sure, but if I don't get _______ this year, I'm going to be PISSED."

As it turns out, when you're on the verge of 25, it seems as if God sends tiny angels to show you the true meaning of Christmas. And it doesn't revolve around a new pair of designer jeans, an expensive piece of jewelry, or technology that will be obsolete in six months after the new and improved version comes out.

A lot of things have happened this year that has changed my perspective. My brother went to college. Our family lost two of our precious members, our dogs: Toby & Harley (Rest in peace, guys! I love you and miss you both every day), and my mom and dad put their house up for sale. It was bittersweet, but I'm excited for new beginnings.

So, while I'm sure I could use a new pair of shoes or a gift card to Sephora (yeah, right), my wishes for this year weren't  (mostly) anything material. YOU CAN'T BUY LOVE, FOLKS. I couldn't be more content just being in my childhood home (who knows how long we'll have it to enjoy), hanging out with my growing weed of a brother, and enjoying time with my parents. 

It's also so bizarre how I feel about coming back here. I legitmately could not care to do anything except see my family, and I'm already awaiting January 2nd when I return back to Los Angeles. Last year I was dreading going back to Cali. Funny how so much can change within 12 months.

So my wish this Christmas isn't for a ton; mostly, they're things only God can provide. 

My Grown Up Christmas List 
  • For everyone to feel loved by someone
  • For peace to be brought to those who are sad and struggling
  • For those missing a loved one this holiday to feel fulfilled and comforted
  • That everyone can experience a miracle at least once in their life
  • That every child has warm clothes and a roof over their head, with loving caregivers to nurture them
  • A two hour massage (typing on a computer all day can bring one some epic back pain)
  • A giant savings account
  • Packers get another Super Bowl win 
  • Ryan Seacrest to mentor me (dream big?)
  • For everyone to be given the best gift of all: hope for the future
Take some time to make someone else feel important this holiday. Actually, scratch that -- this entire next year. Resolute to be kind when it's hard to be, be patient when you're in a rush, and do something once a day to make another person's entire week. Be careful with your words and with one another's hearts, and if you love someone, be sure to give it all you've got.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays,

Dec 10, 2014

Instagram Spotlight: The Best LA Furniture Accounts

Instagram has been a whirlwhind for me. I remember resisting for as long as possible, barely keeping my feed alive, and now I'm addicted. I had my NFL crush follow me (and a year later, subsequently, unfollow me - traumatizing!) and managed to nab a follow from Chrissy Teigen, queen of social media herself. I will be an emotional mess if (when?) she decides to hit that unfollow button. But that's not why Instagram is so fantastic — if you think about it, it's basically your own personal Oprah lighting crew. (Everyone knows Oprah's lighting is THE BEST.)

Recently, I've realized the benefits of Instagram, other than sharing photos with my friends and family who don't live in LA and stalking randos who you may never meet in person (let's get real, we were all thinking it): you can find some great pieces of furniture if you follow the right accounts! Below are a few that I've personally purchased from or plan on purchasing from soon.

I believe Whiskey and Honey started following me based on this post, so I followed back. I have been nothing short of thrilled! They offer everything from vintage housewares to clothing items, and I just bought the cutest vintage two pocket, buttonless, yellow wool blend cardigan. I'll let you know how it goes (meaning the quality), but purchasing has been a cinch. You comment with your email and zip code, then they invoice you through Paypal. You have 24 hours to pay, or it goes back on the market. Pretty cool.

And, side note — I literally just figured this out as I write this update — I went to high school with the owner! This is NUTS. I have not talked to this woman in probably 10 years, but I just bought a wool blend cardigan from her small business, on the internet, from my couch. Hoorah, Georgetown, Texas!

One producer on my team mentioned that I should start following Sunday Marqt, as I was on the quest for a shabby chic bedside table and coffee table. A few weeks later, I ended up buying this adorable milk storage cabinet for a bedside table and I'm absolutely obsessed. The best part? I emailed them around 6:00 and they delivered it straight to my apartment for $10 in under an hour.
My mom is rapidly approaching Kris Jenner is the "Momager" category, because in addition to being on my case about my career goals (I am very thankful for this, mind you), she's been helping to spot furniture as we outfit our apartment. I'm a true Capricorn in that I love anything that's vintage or has been refurbished, which means flea markets and Craigslist are my best friends. (As is Anthropologie, except that's more of a "love everything/my wallet hates you" type of relationship.) Mom stumbled upon a listing from NAK Home on Craiglist, and I followed them on Instagram per their post. We ended up walking away with this gorgeous shabby chic entertainment center and coffee table! They've inspired me to repaint my dining room table and a few mirrors we have around the apartment, too. Their storage facility is based in Culver City, and you'll need to pick the items up yourself. 

I haven't bought anything from James and Frankie yet, but I love their assortment of upholstered furniture. I'm actually in the market for a few chairs for the living room... I hope they have a few similar to these available soon!

I stumbled upon Krrb from James and Frankie, mostly because the name caught my attention. :) Their site isn't LA-centric. In fact, they have listings from all over the U.S. Apparently I'm late to the game on this site, because it's been featured in The Huffington Post. I haven't bought anything yet, but their posts on Instagram have me giddy about making a purchase.

If you've been on Fairfax on a Sunday, you've experienced the masses that head to Melrose Trading Post. It takes place in the parking lot of Fairfax High School and you've can find anything you've ever dreamed of there: clothing, jewelry, homemade and local food, and of course furniture. You can easily pick up some one-of-a-kind finds here, each containing a rich history and authenticity you can't find anywhere else. (Unless you are capable of shipping directly from France for this old school telephone seat.)

If you have other Instagram recommendations... what are you waiting for? Let me know in the comments below! And don't forget to follow each of these lovely accounts.
@kirbiejohnson :)

Dec 9, 2014

Bring back old school Disney

Remember as a child when Disney wasn't known for stars that went off the deep end? 

During that time, they held all kinds of concert series: B*Witched, Johnny Lang, 5ive, M2M, BBMak -- and one of my favorites was around the holidays. It started off with Tatyana Ali and I swear there was another performer but all I can remember besides Tat was *NSYNC. Obviously. These boys were the air I breathed for a good portion of my life, and this was when they were first getting started. (UPDATE: The third performer was SHAWN COLVIN!)

I need to clarify something: contrary to popular belief, I was not a Justin fan. I loved JC because I thought dating a man 10 years old than me was probably the coolest idea I ever had (if not just completely creepy -- I was 12, he was 22) but also, I had a feeling Justin was a little shit. And you know what? I was probably right. He was the youngest of the group, and just like Justin Bieber is stopping traffic in his Ferrari in Westwood and figuring out other ways to terrorize the citizens of LA, I imagine JT did the same thing because, hello, 18-year-old boys with too many restrictions (in his case, bodyguards and handlers) will equal complete and utter chaos. Either that or wife-beaters and oversized K-Fed hats. (Biebs... it's not a good look.) 

Anyway, I got bored and guess what? The entire Disney Channel Holiday Concert is up on Youtube. Gotta love technology these days. I guarantee you if I waited a day and went through all my VHS tapes at home (which, I am pretty sure we don't even own a video tape player anymore)  I could probably find this on one of them, since I taped everything they did -- and I mean everything. EVERYTHING. I taped every time they were on TRL in hopes that my message I sent on the website would pop up. (It never did). I taped their little guest spot on Love Line with Dr. Drew and Adam Carolla. My mother was furious, and I will never forget the look on poor JT's face when some girl asked a completely obnoxious and inappropriate sexual question (I don't even think I knew that the context of the show was all sex-related at that age). It was ridiculous, but a) it was the only way I could learn all of their choreography, duh, and b) if I was going to meet and greets, I wanted to be sure not to ask a question they'd heard before. (Just the budding journalist inside of me.)

Here is the concert series in all it's glory. Side note: I didn't really get the deep sexual innuendoes that stem from "Under My Tree" (Part 4). Naughty!

Do yourself a favor and share this with your friends because they will be giddy. And they will think, "Man, I'm glad *NSYNC didn't turn into those washed-up Backstreet Boys." I mean, I couldn't take any of them seriously if they were still a band. Joey has like three kids at this point. (Although I wouldn't be opposed to a small holiday appearance on Ellen so they could sing some of their classics. Actually, who am I kidding. I would be sitting first class on the Hot Mess Express if they serenaded me with "God Must Have Spent...")

By the way, this was 1998. Feel old. I was 11. 

PS: I found my Halloween costume next year. Macaroni hair, giant khaki turtleneck; Timberland boots.

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