Nov 30, 2010

Two days!

The kick-off for "Holiday Shopping for the Ladies" will commence on FRIDAY!!!!

Get excited because it will be my first-ever video blog.  I'm affeared considering I am barely able to manage through iMovie.  It might be a little rough around the edges but by the end of the series it'll be awesome!

Men, men, men, men

First of all, I don't care how you stumbled upon this blog -- maybe you found me on Google images, perhaps you were thwarted over here as a result of a tweet, or maybe my incessant pleads on Facebook have started to pay off.  Regardless, if you are reading this sentence right now, THANK YOU!  I might not be paid for this little horse and pony blog, but I love writing it and I hope you enjoying reading it just as much.

Further, I want to give a big shout out to all of the male readers.  I get more feedback from men than from women!  You apparently like the posts, and you make it known.  Doesn't matter what the post is about either.  It can be a fall fashion bit for men, it can be about growing as a Christian, it can be about Dianna Agron's eyelash extensions or a post on what women like -- no matter what, you guys take some initiative (impressive, I must add) and let me know that you're liking the posts! 

For any writer, feedback is amazing, whether it's good or bad.  I really appreciate the reception the male audience has had with KG2H and maybe I should start catering more to the male population!

By the way, please vote on the blog name.  I need to renew all my domains soon and I am trying to figure out how to more forward!  I love Kirbie Goes to Hollywood, however I don't feel like it represents the blog fully anymore because this is not a gossip/celebrity site; it's a lifestyle and opinion blog. 

Last thing: any recommendations for a great web design team (near of far) would be so helpful!  I'm not loaded but I'd be willing to pay for someone to help me convert the blog into a full-fledged site!

- Kirbie

And that's the truth

Things happen for a reason, and that's the truth.

Last night I had a pity party for myself.  It was real cute, trust me.  I knew going into it that I should knock it off, suck it up and forge ahead.  That nothing was really that bad, that I was just complacent, anxious and feeling impatient -- and mostly exhausted.  If you guessed that I was having another quarter-life crisis about my career, you'd be correct!

Of course today would be the day I decide to throw this pity party.  I was running on four hours sleep.  I had just left my family and the wonderful comforts of home.  I was informed that one of my dogs has eight lymphomas on his tiny little body, and that if the steroids we give him don't work that we'll probably have to put him to sleep.  Pretty much a glass case of emotion ready to burst, but nothing so awful that it called for tears.  I mean, my dog is still alive!  I'm going to see my family again in three weeks!  And I'll be able to sleep soon enough...

I called my mother to cry about it and I knew what she was going to do... offer alternatives, make me think about things rationally.  But everything was just soooo devastating!  Be on my side!  I'm pitiful!  It's when you really want your parents to give in to your dramatic antics that they start treating you like an adult.

My mom's phone was about to die, so my dad called me.  He's very calm and rational and just like any dad, he doesn't want his daughter upset about anything.  He put everything into perspective for me, as usual, and after a few deep breaths I was fine.

After talking to him (and the follow-up call from my mom mocking how my life was surely over), I remembered something I had read during my quiet time this morning.

"God is too wise to ever make a mistake and too loving to ever do anything unkind."  

I wish I knew who said that, because I want to hug them.  Isn't that the most amazing thing you've ever read?  When times are tough, when things aren't going according to your plan, when you have no idea why things are or aren't happening or what will come next, just remember that none of what is or isn't happening is a mistake.  It's all a part of His plan for you.   And his love for you is so immense; He is not of worldly flesh, He is the one person in the entire universe that does everything in your best interest and will never, ever hurt you.  He does everything for your good.

And just like my earthly father, My Father in Heaven puts everything into perspective.  He makes it all okay again.

At the end of the day, that's the truth.

Nov 29, 2010

vlogging...

I'm working on my first video blog.  Please be patient with the editing... I'm still learning the ins-and-outs of iMovie.  However I think it's going to be a great additional component to the blog!!!

Stay tuned!

- Kirbie

An open letter to men. Love, the 23-28 women's demographic

The male species is particularly of interest to me because right now in my life I'm transitioning from a lingering college grad to a full-fledged adult.  I will be 24 in a little less than a month; I am finally getting my own health insurance, I voluntarily pay to fix damage on my car and I next year I will be able to legally rent one if needed. Basically, I'm moving forwards in maturity.

Yet it seems as if men are moving... backwards.

I know that's a bold statement. It's not meant to ruffle feathers, but it's the truth. Some men mature more quickly than others, but a majority of men my age (and older) are literally trying to turn back time.  It became apparent to me that we females, unless married or discussing it with our partners, are surrounded by males who are desperately trying to morph into Benjamin Button. 

Let me explain. As women mature, we tend (not always, but tend) to lean towards more stable relationships. We look for men who have stability and if not that, at least aspirations as such. It's a turn-on to meet someone with passion -- whether it's sports, politics, art, his career, or maybe even us

What isn't so hot? When the guy is passionate about blacking out and keg stands with 20 of his closest friends every weekend.  News flash, this isn't a Cher song.  You can't turn back time, you can't find a way.  Please take that to heart.

Before I proceed, this post is probably not relatable to undergraduates.  Nothing to see here (unless you want to prepare for the future, then proceed with caution).  And I guess I should define the target market of men I'm speaking to.  If you have a big boy job, if you are you pursuing higher education, if you are old enough to pay your own rent; basically if you're anywhere between the age of 23 and 30 (maybe older in some cases), I'm addressing you.  While some of you guys have yourselves together, most of you do not.  So please take this with a grain of salt if you are one of the few who aren't busy planning your drinking festivities on a Monday.

It seems to me that men are trying stop time by reliving their freshmen year of college all over again; the older they get, the more they long for lack of responsibility and dive deeper into their quarter-life crisis.  Growing up is a double-edged sword: along with freedom you attain more responsibility, you have to make more important decisions, etc.   And while I thought men made a miraculous change in maturity after graduation, it appears as if I am wrong.  Not so much from personal observations, but by a majority of my friends' experiences.

"Why does every guy our age feel it's necessary to be completely, stupidly hammered all the time?"

I had a friend tell me in detail how she witnessed a majority of her grad school friends getting drunk to complete obliteration at a recent wedding.  While she was enjoying herself with a few more bevs than normal, she noticed her guy friends, around the ages of 24-28, were getting boozed to the point of no return. She might not be single, but regardless it definitely wasn't piquing any interest of any female in the room -- even those guys' girlfriends.

My cousin just explained to me her break-up with her 31-year-old boyfriend, a successful business exec still getting sh*thoused every weekend, who would find any excuse to throw a few dozen (not an exaggeration) back: the game was on, the kickball game was won (or lost, or rained out...), and so on. One night she felt sick so she went to take a nap and awoke at 4:30 in the morning to her now-ex doing keg stands with his friends, AT 31-YEARS-OLD. This is the same boyfriend who left in the middle of moving her to a new apartment to go drink and watch the game.  I guess sofas can move themselves now!

MSA (MALE SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT):  Sorry guys, but Old School the movie is hilarious; re-enacting the film as your life is, well, just pathetic.  Getting blackout drunk (the word sloppy would work in replacement of "blackout") every weekend is not going to find you a girl worth being with.  I'm aware that some of you have no desire to be in a relationship, and in that case carry on as usual -- HOWEVER, you might want to keep reading because the latter portion of this blog will have some great insight for you.

For those of you seeking (at some point) a relationship, listen up.  You might be awesome to the undergrads, hitting up the bars like a big shot and buying everyone booze; some undergrads love older men with an affinity for heavy drinking, because the free booze guy is everyone's favorite person.  It more than likely will attract you women of the same drinking calibur, and it can be deduced that if a girl is getting obliterated every weekend that she's probably going to be sloppy.  So sure, maybe it's cool to be 25 and dating a junior in college because she likes to drink as much as you do, but when she graduates she's probably going to grow up, and you'll be left without a drinking buddy (and probably a good portion of your dignity).

I'm not talking about events like bachelor parties or birthdays, and even big NCAA rivalries get a free pass to par-tay har-day.  I'm refering to end-of-the-week escapades that start on Friday and require you scooping yourself out of bed on Sunday to recount what type of shenanigans lead to your massive hangover. 

Point being? You aren't in college anymore! Guys, women want men who are strong, confident and who we feel safe with.  Yes, we are strong, tolerant, amazing women, but at the end of the day we want someone who is on equal ground as us in that department -- we don't want to have to be the sole unit of strength in the relationship.  When the girl you are dating turns into your substitute mother, it's time to reprioritize.  Aren't you embarrassed?  Have any shame or dignity?  We can't you guys just man-up already?! You can keep resisting adulthood, but you're going to continue to get older.

Too many stories have I heard that resulted in my girlfriends taking care of their boyfriends after they couldn't drive home or were hugging porcelian all night, and that same boyfriend can't figure out how to nurse their girlfriend to good health when she has the flu.  I dated a guy (albiet briefly, thank the good Lord) when I was 20 that peed on himself while trying to pee on a car, the proceeded to keep peeing on himself in my car, and barfed all over himself, myself and his apartment before passing out drunk in bed.  He "didn't remember" a thing the next day.  Only God really knows how I tolerated that whole mess because he clearly was one to take home to Mom and Dad, but I can guarantee you that if we weren't in college and he was considered an adult that I wouldn't have answered his phone calls the next day (which is what I should have done all along).

This is a great PSA for women as well: if you're dating someone and you find that your collective social life with this person revolves around feeding his need to drink endlessly with his buddies (and in the process you're nursing your own unbareable hangover the next morning, week after week), it's probably not a relationship worth moving forward with.  If you both understand the relationship is just for kicks, that's great; have a companion, have some fun, whatevever.  But don't get bent out of shape when you decide you want something more from him and he's getting pissed off that you're asking him to commit to date night on Saturday when you know he's planning on taking Jaeger Bombs and passing out on someone's couch.

Don't get me wrong, I like to have my fair share of fun and when I date someone I like for them to share in that with me.  I'm all about looks and personality, people!  But I don't (and will never) black out. I know my limits, partially because I want to be in control, the other because I don't like vomiting or hangovers.  I also like being able to get up the next day and do something productive. I love tailgating and pre-partying; celebrating after a long week or just having a fun night. But when week after week you're drinking excessively, it's not cute anymore. It's just sad.  For women, you end up being "that chick" who can drink more than a man, but you're also not attractive to them either -- you're not the "commitment type."  And for guys?  You're just that dude who keeps aging and refuses to recognize that women like men, not boys.

I have had some nights where I look back and think, "Kirbie, taking off your shoes and eating sugar directly from the packet in Ole South probably wasn't the wisest idea you've had lately," (unfortunately this example doesn't count because it was most notably the best night ever, and I was still in college).  In fact, most of my shenanigans happened in college when I was single and school was my priority, not moving forward with my career (so deep, I know).  I could go to Happy Hour at Chimy's on Thursday and stay until bar close at The Cellar so I could sing "Forgot About Dre" and even head over to Whataburger to nom on a taquito at three in the morning yet still be up and ready for work on Friday because I was in my prime!  I had no real responsibility at that point.  People still viewed me as a student, not an adult.

Yep.  It's after graduation that everything changes.  You can't fall back on the "I'm in college" excuse.  In college, those infamous drinking tales are hilarious.  But once you've turned into an alum, they become less and less amusing and more questionable: what is this guy working towards?

Last year a guy I went to college with was known as the token drunken alumni at college parties. The guys in his frat thought it was awesome and all the girls thought he was a heinous moron. Kind of how I felt when I saw alum at parties being so piss-drunk they couldn't stand straight. They'd been out of school for three years, but they still remembered how to dump an entire beer down their shirt!  What a stud!

To be honest, I feel like some of you guys get drunk to numb yourself of how you feel about yourself.  Is your self esteem so low that you have to make an a$$ out of yourself with alcohol?  It's really not worth it.  This need to rough yourself up with booze has to stem from something, whether it's the need to feel young again, to forget your troubles, to have an excuse for your actions... and so on. 

Think about this: why do you think ladies are so attracted to athletes?  I know what you're thinking -- yes, some women are gold diggers, but that's not who I'm referring to. And personally, I'm more attracted to coaches because they're the real leaders, but I digress.  Women find anyone with dedication attractive, like I said before.  Athletes, without a doubt, are dedicated to their sport.  That's why you commonly don't hear about them going out and getting hammered in the off season, because they're preserving what they have worked so hard to attain.  They're persistent and keep stability in their work-outs and training.  They want to acquire as much knowledge about their craft as possible.  And for most athletes a few beers isn't going to affect them; they'd literally have to be drinking to get inebriated for it to count at all. 

And yes, I know what you're thinking again:  "Well, I'm not a professional athlete."  Yes, I'm aware, Captain Obvious.  The point is that dedication to anything is attractive because it shows that you know what you want.  Perhaps you started your own freelance business or you're an entreprenuer.  Maybe you're in grad school, studying to figure out what you really want to do with your career.  Maybe you volunteer, write music, perform in some way; coach, tutor, or write.  When you have passion about something, go confidently towards it.  You have to live excellently to attain excellence, am I right?  Just think about it that way.

I'm not saying you can't mix your passion with play, that drinking is bad or anything of that sort; I'm not saying that in the slightest.  But the likelihood of you taking that next step towards bigger and better goals in your life is going to be contingent on if you thoroughly recognize that the old phase of your life is done with.  And I'm positive that shotgunning eight beers and drinking enough shots to the point that you couldn't explain to your mother how you arrived back in your own bed the night before isn't going to prepare you for those goals, especially if it happens weekly.

Just sayin'.

Nov 28, 2010

Look for Less: Yves Saint Laurent Gloss Volupte

My favorite thing is finding beauty products on the cheap! Sephora Collection has become a fast favorite of mine because their products mimick name-brands.
Designer brand:

Yves Saint Laurent Gloss Volupte in Vanilla Pink, $30

Read about the cheaper alternative here.

Gentlemen, get excited!

I'm about to start my 2nd annual "Holiday Shopping for the Ladies" posts within the next few days!  I'm breaking it down into categories this year, so be prepared for several posts instead of just one! 

Nov 26, 2010

Hey everyone!

I hope your Thanksgiving was peaceful and filled with laughs and those you love. I was able to fly home on a red-eye early Wednesday morning and got my break off to a relaxing start -- a chiropractor appointment, a massage and then lots of sleep. We drove down to Houston on Thursday to celebrate with the entire fam! Our plans were to skeet shoot today but it got rained out (too bad, I was looking forward to learning how to shoot a gun)! Such a maverick I am...

Now I'm home, curled up on the couch watching tv and sitting by the fire. It actually feels like winter here!

It's funny how this blog has become such a large part of me. I'm constantly thinking "that would make a great blog!" I have lots to post about once I get to my laptop.

Hope everyone is enjoying the break and reflecting on what means most to them; celebrating family and love. Also, hope no one got trampled on Black Friday and GO ARIZONA!


-- Kirbie

Nov 23, 2010

Free promotion for all, because Lord knows I give enough away

If you're going to be home and bored to death this week, take my advice and engage your mind in some visual and writing HUMOR.  I was introduced to 2 Birds, 1 Blog this week and let me tell you something (I would insert a colon here but my boss' keyboard does not have that function for whatever reason.  Please don't ask why I'm using my boss' computer or why I'm in his office in the first place) -- the Meg persona of the blog is reading my mind.  I especially love her recent blogs on the traumatizing nature of Charlotte's Web and her pursuit to bring back any childhood fears I may have had with her post regarding tragic children's movies.  It's a must read.  WARNING (friggen colon) if you are not keen on profanity I might nix this blog all together.  However, the profanity compliments the hilarity of what she's talking about.  To each his (her) own.  You'll be crying of laughter or crying in despair.

Another favorite is Cake Wrecks.  I don't know where some people come up with these shenanigans -- I thought you had to attend school to become a professional cake artist? -- but the results are hilarious.  The blog mostly outlines the absolutely terrible, but also features some pretty awesome works as well.

I'm amazing!
In case you missed out on the emotional rollercoaster that was "Oprah's Favorite Things," do yourself a favor and read (or view, rather) Faces of the Last Season of Oprah.  It's pretty much the holy grail for Oprah fans, considering half the reason I watch the special is to see the viewer's expressions when she blindsides them with a car, cashmere sweaters or a luxury brownie pan, and the other half is to see Oprah's expressions while announcing all the gifts.  Now you can relive them all.  I doubt anything will ever top the "EVERY BROWNIE HAS AN EDGE!" quote but she sure as hell try!

Lastly, I spend hours on Blind Gossip because it incorporates two of my favorite things (colon) research and celebrity culture.  I'm serious.  I'm an encyclopedia of celebrity information and you can pretty much bet money on that.  Doesn't matter if it's facts or opinions, you should consider it the Bible when it comes to entertainment news and you heard it from me.  Also, I have this weird obsession awesome quality that makes me want to know EVERYTHING.  I don't want to know about your job, I want to know about your boss.  I want to know how tall you are and where you were born.  I also want to know these things about celebrities.  I pretty much know every person that's ever existed in popular culture astrological sign.  I'm not proud but the point is that I LOVE research. So now that there is a site strictly of blind items that forces me to research who the object of the post could be, it's a complete free for all for my brain.

Hopefully these sites will help you waste some hours while in you're in a turkey-induced coma!

Nov 22, 2010

Making the next move

From Bedside Blessings:

"You do not have to pay the price to grow and expand intellectually.  The mind neither requires nor demands it.  If, however, you want to experience the joy of discovery and the pleasure of plowing new and fertile soil, effort is required.
Light won't automatically shine upon you, nor will truth silently seep into your head by means of rocking-chair osmosis... It's up to you. It's your move."

The mind of man plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps.  Proverbs 16:9

Let's all try to live life actively!  Living an idle life isn't a life lived at all.  Go out and do something; help someone, be a light in another's life, make someone else happy.

American Music Awards '10: A TOTAL FIASCO

Did you happen to watch the AMAs last night?  If you didn't, don't stress... you didn't miss a thing.  Nope. 

No, if you would have watched, you would have seen amateur hour at the comedy club.  At least that's what it felt like. You felt bad about laughing because you weren't laughing with the performers, you were laughing at them.  And when you weren't doing that, you were horrified -- watching performances that seemed pretty accurately like massive trainwrecks: starting off slow, gaining speed and then exploding.

With that said, here are my thoughts for the night.  Not like my opinions matter, but here they are anyway:
  • Missed the opening.  Apparently it wasn't a huge deal. 
  • Did anybody soundcheck for this event?  Every Tom, Dick and Harry was off pitch. 
  • Enrique Iglesias performed with Pitbull.  I usually hate any song that Pitbull's a part of, but I actually like this song.  However, half the reason why it was such a huge hit decent song in the first place was because the Jersey Shore cast was in the video.  They definitely should have been fist pumping on stage with E & PB.  Maybe they refrained because it would have made a mockery of the awards show, but then again Ke$ha performed so I guess they weren't too worried about that.
  • Speaking of, yes, Ke$ha performed.  I walked out of the room at one point.  While I enjoy "Tik Tok," her music as a whole is offensive to real musicians everywhere.  Not even musicians, but people that can sing.  It was apparent she realized how lucky she was to even be there, because the whole performance was a fiasco, perhaps sort of a montage to her career.
  • People that can sing.  Hmm.  That's an interesting statement.  There weren't a lot of them last night, and that's pathetic considering over a dozen people performed.  A DOZEN.  And we can't afford/organize a decent sound check before televised awards shows? Blowing. My. Mind.
  • What in the Sam Hill is Diddy-Dirty Money?  Sean Combs, please, give up music.  Your bands never do well, and when they do, they end up falling apart (ahem, Danity Kane).  You, yourself, haven't had a decent single out since... well, I don't even know.  The last song I can think of is "Good Morning."
  • I love me some Fergie and the Black Eyed Peas!  Not a fan of their new song, Dirty Bit.  It's no "Boom Boom Pow" or "I've Got a Feeling."
  • Katy Perry's performance was cute!  I like how she incorporated the boys' choir, especially since the massive success of "Teenage Dream" on Glee.  She sounded good as well, but not as good as she has sounded in the past.
  • Everyone lay off Justin Bieber.  The kid CAN sing.  And I know 28-year-old men that like him!  I know he sounded kinda shakey last night, but he was singing three octaves lower than usual... kid's hit puberty and probably has no idea how to incorporate that into his singing voice.  Cue Peter Brady.  I like his song, "Pray."  SO precious.
  • However, is he artist of the year?  Debateable.
  • NE-YO.  Come on man!  I expected so much more for from you.  "Monster" is a terrible track and needs to die hard.  Also, the song at the beginning of the medly is a straight-up rip off of the track "Addicted" by Truth Hurts.  Hope that was intentional or someone is going to be shilling out some dinero!
  • I have to add that almost everyone had a really, REALLY heavy backing track if they were doing and upbeat song. 
  • Best performances of the night:  Kid Rock, Train and Santana (minus Gavin Rossdale).  Kid Rock sounded better than anyone else that performed, and I'm starting to think he was lip synching.  It was THAT GOOD.  Train was great, but they're always great live.  And Santana is a musical god, but Gavin Rossdale left something to be desired (he made up for it with his good looks).
  • Pink is really a great artist, but her backing track was overpowering her natural talent!  I felt like I was watching Britney Spears (with better dancing).  I love Pink -- she's a great performer and she sings fantastic live... from what I could hear, she sounded great.  But again, the backing track = woof.  She's pregnant so I'll give her some slack. :)
  •  Usher, gag. "I been doing this for 18 years y'all!"  Shut up already!  You act like you are God's gift to music!  Make sure your mama makes some humble pie this Thanksgiving!  You need a heaping spoonful.
  • Christina Aguilera sounded amazing, but honey, you're a mother.  You're not the 100 pound 17-year-old you used to be.  COVER UP.  Wear some pants.  Actually, wear clothes that are flattering to your figure.  I feel like we're back in the "dirty" phase again where she was seemed to abandon any type of styling advice... and better judgement.
  • BSB/New Kids on the Block reunion: Nick Carter? Is that you?  WOW.  I mean, it's amazing what laying off the booze and drugs will do for a person.  He looked smashing.  As for the actual performances, I would have loved to hear Joey Mac belt something out, not just Jordan Knight.  Yet everyone sounded pretty crappy (the overbearing theme of the night).  This is more fuel to the *NSYNC reunion fire -- Justin, just hop on board. 
And that's about it!  Nothing spectacular.  I wish that these event producers would come up with something original... I mean, how awesome would it have been if nominees covered each other's songs?  Carrie Underwood covering a Taylor Swift song?  Katy Perry covering Pink and Pink covering Carrie Underwood?  I mean, I would pay money to hear Pink belt out "Undo It." 

Bottom line?  You don't have to be insanely talented to make it in the world!  Then again if God wants you to succeed, it doesn't matter how talented you are...

Nov 21, 2010

Blaze of Glory

I should probably take up dressing men professionally because I had an outrageous e-mail response to the "Men's Fall Looks" post.  I'm not kidding.  I guess you guys like being told what to wear. :)  Just kidding, I'm sure it's nice having a girl that isn't your girlfriend or wife (or mom) giving you some idea as to what looks good.

Apparently I didn't cater that well to the business profesh crowd, as I received many questions that were all similar:  "So, what do I wear to work?"  "I want to look nice at the office but not overdressed."  "I need to look professional but my age."

Well, look no farther.  I have the solution you're looking for.  And no, you don't need to go out and buy a three piece suit.  It's one item, my friends.  And this one piece of clothing will dramatically alter your outfit choices!  

It's a blazer.

Yep.  Again, I can see a lot of you running and screaming at the thought of a blazer because maybe it's not your usual style.  It's time to become men, boys.  Well-dressed ones at that.  You can still rock a tee shirt and jeans, but throw on a blazer and you've taken things ot a whole other level!  Blazers are not only for the pretentious, stuffy types.  There are plenty of options to choose from, and I'm sure one won't cramp your style.  And let's be clear... I'm not talking about a suit jacket.  I'm talking about a blazer; it's versatile and you can wear it with dress pants or jeans!  

Utilize it for:
  • Networking events
  • Business dinners
  • Frat formals (I had to include this)
  • Holiday parties
  • Dates (she'll die.)
  • Keeping it classy yet casual at the office
Please do everyone a favor and stick to black or grey (graphite, whatever you want to call it) and stay away from NAVY at all costs.  Navy is maybe the hardest thing to match and it reminds me of a sailor (not like sailors are a bad thing).  More importantly, you probably won't realize it's navy when you're matching it in your closet with pants and it will be a navy-black mix-match fiasco that nobody wants to deal with.  


Gap has a great blazer.  And I love this one from Lands End (main photo), only $89!  The dude in the picture is a great example -- pair it with a collared shirt OR add a skinny tie to spruce things up.  And the jersey blazer is awesome because it definitely gives a laid-back vibe (top left, from Urban Outfitters, only $68).  There are plenty of blazer options (go to Shop Style and type in "blazer" in the search engine) but they can get pretty pricey, and my goal is to keep you all looking good on an affordable budget.  A rule of thumb is to keep whatever you're wearing under the blazer simple and then go all out with a nice tie or shoes.  I've paired tee shirts with blazers before and it's a relaxed yet put-together look for a night out or for shaking hands, kissing babies, all that jazz.

Don't take it personal

Matthew 10:8b—Freely you have received, freely give.

Being a Christian means living an extraordinary life.  And that means in all aspects.  It means doing your best at work.  It means being truthful.  It means doing what you can for others.  And it also means being a good friend... all of the time.

Yes, all the time.  Even when your friends aren't doing what you think they should be doing.  It's loving them unconditionally, and praying and supporting them even if you don't understand what they're doing and why.

Maybe your best friend is moving across the country.  Or maybe someone whom you are very close with needs space.  Perhaps a family member is going through some struggles that you don't understand.  I think it's so easy at first to think, "Why are you hurting me?  What did I do?" But living a Christian lifestyle means taking your own emotions out of the equation and wondering how you can help another person.


"Love comes when manipulation stops; when you think more about the other person than about his or her reactions to you. When you dare to reveal yourself fully. When you dare to be vulnerable."  - Dr. Joyce Brothers


Today I had a really great conversation over coffee with a friend I hadn't seen in awhile.  And one thing he told me was that "nothing is personal."  We should all live our lives that way -- when we are treated unfairly, when an injustice has occurred, when people we love do things we don't understand; it's not a direct result of our relationship with them.  It's more than likely something internally they are going through and struggling with.  And the best thing you can do for them is be there for support, laughter and mostly love.  If they don't want you around to offer those things, perhaps it's probably for the best during that time in their life. Maybe giving them the space they need will help them (and perhaps your relationship with them) in the long run.  It's essential to still love and pray for them, even if you aren't a direct part of their life.  That's the best thing you can do, and it's the testament of a true friend.

Romans 12:10—Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.  Honor one another above yourselves.

For me, I struggle with that a lot -- I want everyone in my life to know that I love them and that I'm there for them.  So when someone is going through a difficult time, I want them to know they have someone to confide in, and that I love and care for them.  But sometimes people just need to be alone to meddle in their own feelings.  They need to go through the struggle alone so they can come out on the other side standing firmly on their two feet.  I've learned that I am not in control and I cannot fix what needs to be fixed.  All I can do is offer that support when they need it and let God handle the rest.  Just remember that you do not know God's plan for someone else.  Stop trying to play God!  More than likely He is trying to teach you something as well.

I've seen so many friendships and romantic relationships go down in flames because one person (or both) is struggling internally, but they're afraid to do what needs to be done: be alone for awhile.  Regardless of the reason -- to find themselves, to find a passion, to figure out a problem they're having, to recognize feelings and emotions, to work on their character -- whatever it is, they need to be alone to do it, but fear loneliness.  Unfortunately, too many of us feel like we need people to get by; that we need a million friends or a significant other to make things better.

We don't need anything in life except for our faith in God.  With that, we will be able to work through all things.  We need to recognize that while someone we care about might do things we don't understand, it's not because we're at fault.  Stop thinking about yourself and start empathizing for what the other person may be going through!   Let them do their thing, let them learn and grow, and offer as much love and support to them as possible.  They'll more than appreciate it in the end.

Stop taking things personally!  It's not productive nor accurate most of the time.  Once we get off of the "me" factor, we can start focusing on what's more important: good will towards others.

Matthew 22:37-40—Jesus replied:  Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind, This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.  All the law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.

Nov 19, 2010

Review: Blue Valentine


"Girls settle.  They grow up, their whole life, trying to find Prince Charming, and then settle for someone because he has a good job." 

Last night I had the opportunity and pleasure to see a screening of Blue Valentine, put on by Ben Lyons.  I was pretty ecstatic because the movie is getting huge Oscar buzz and doesn't come out until next month.

Now, if you know anything about Sundance, you know that a lot of the movies there are independents that don't include many romantic comedies, so I knew right away this movie was going to be raw and probably uncomfortable at times.  Plus, everyone is reporting that the Weinstein Company is currently trying to fight the NC-17 rating -- I'd have to agree.  I think it's Rated R at the max.

It stars the charming Ryan Gosling and the wonderful Michelle Williams.  Both were brilliant.  The movie runs around 120 minutes and the whole time you're emotionally engaged, whether you're squirming in your seat or smiling from ear to ear.  

For anyone who has seen this movie, and more importantly, if you've ever loved someone else, it's not hard to relate to the characters in one way or another; the blissful feeling of falling in love for the first time really hit home for me. And surprisingly, I related a lot to the male lead in the movie, Dean (Ryan Gosling). During the Q&A, one of the producers mentioned that the director's vision was that the movie was somewhat of a duet between Man and Woman, Past and Present.  It certainly felt that way.  I don't want to give too much away, but I really felt for Dean throughout the whole movie.   His unrequited love and affection for Cindy, the circumstances surrounding their relationship and his reactions to such circumstances, the way she makes him feel, good or bad.  There are some scenes that take a while to sink in; you don't really understand their depth until you're at home and laying in bed.

Yet there were also several scenes where I empathized and somewhat related to Cindy (Michelle) -- as a woman in general, but also during her disappointments, her need and want for more.  Ironically, Cindy is epically "better" than Dean, or at least according to social standards; she graduated from high school, she wants to be a doctor, she still has a mother and a father.  Dean does not have any of those things, and it's apparent that he loves Cindy, however continues to feel inferior.  But what he gives to her emotionally is more substantial than what she is seeking -- or so she thinks.  I say that she is "ironically better" given the severe physical and emotional trauma we see her go through in the movie.

I think this film is a realistic depiction of what can and does happen in relationships, especially those that come out of tragedy, loss, or young love.  Not that every relationship begins or ends the same way, but the emotions of meeting someone new and going through hard times with that person were all realistic and at times unsettling.  A lot of the movie I was covering my eyes and peeking through my fingers because it was hard to swallow what was going on on-screen.  People are raving about this movie because it's striking a chord, whether than can fully relate to the relationship on screen or just to a fragment of it.
There are sex scenes.  But it's not... offensive.  It's definitely a movie you don't go to with your Dad, that's for sure.

I applaud both Ryan and Michelle for their dramatic representation of Dean and Cindy as teens and as adults.  Ryan looked like a completely different person as a father; Michelle gained 15 pounds for the role.  The movie demanded a lot emotionally, and I have to say that it was hard not to cry or feel butterflies when appropriate.  Except I must note that I had to refrain from crying because 50 Cent was sitting behind me and I felt like an idiot; if he can get shot nine times and live through it all, I can put my big girl pants on and pull it together.  Plus it's totally not gangster of me to be crying in front of 50 Cent, and that would ruin my street cred and furthermore my dream of someday portraying a rapping Carrie Underwood on Glee if word ever got around to Ryan Murphy.

There was a Q&A with two of the producers from the movie afterwards and they had some interesting facts to share.  The budget was $4 million and director Derek Cianfrance wrote the script 12 years ago -- he wrote 66 drafts of it.  In the original script, there is a hiatus between filming past and present.   When Ryan Gosling signed on, he wanted a six year hiatus.  Obviously the financiers weren't too thrilled with this idea, so they agreed to one month.  During this month, Ryan, Michelle and their daughter in the movie basically were a family -- their characters, Dean and Cindy, had no reason "not to exist."  They went grocery shopping together, fishing, on dates, got in arguments, etc.  They were those characters, which explains why a lot that goes on on-screen gives you a big punch in the stomach when it happens -- it feels real.

It's a movie you have to be prepared for, but bravo to everyone involved in production.  And a heavy congrats to the cast and crew. 

Nov 18, 2010

Men's Fall/Winter Attire

Guys, contrary to popular belief, slapping on some hair gel and an Affliction tee isn't going to make you a babe magenet.  It might work for Pauly D, but that's about it. 

I can't speak for all women, but most of us enjoy a guy with a nice, relaxed sense of style.  Meaning he understands what looks good, can dress nice when appropriate and prefers jeans and a t-shirt to any other outfit.  He owns a nice pair of jeans, can rock a sweater and collared shirt at work, doesn't look like a poser in a pair of Converse and would rather be wearing basketball shorts and a college tee.  Something that weirds me out to no end is when a guy is REALLY into shopping.  Like, he knows too much about designers and dresses better than me.  NO thank you.  Please allow me to the be the fashionista in the relationship and dress you in nice threads when necessary.  Not that we don't appreciate guys that can coordinate a "trendy" outfit without us having to hold their hand, but when a guy would rather go shopping than watch a football game, it's a total deal breaker.

Why am I qualified to give you advice on what to wear?  Well, I'm not really, except one of my many side-jobs is styling men for The Haberdasher.  So I do have some idea as to what looks good and what doesn't.  I'm the resident "southern" chick, so my ideas are more laid-back and masculine than everyone else.

Anyway, here are some looks that I can dig.  Actually, any woman can dig.  And you'll like it too!

Exhibit A:  Relaxation Station
There is nothing MORE attractive (in my humble opinion) then when a man wears a thermal in the winter time.  Holy moly.  Especially when he has some arms to show off.  Seriously drool-worthy!  It looks so effortless and they're really comfortable (I should know, I buy men's thermals at Target).  Not like you guys wear things to make you look hot, but like I mentioned these items are super comfy.  PS: This outfit is ideal for Thankgiving...!




Exhibit B: Casual v. Business
For whatever reason, I think a lot of you guys are scared of a nice coat.  But it's essential you get one because the last thing you want to wear to a nice dinner or a work function is a windbreaker or ski jacket.  A toggle hooded coat is an alternative that's masculine, effective (keeps you warm) and looks good!  Wear it to work over a sweater/button up combo or with a crew neck and jeans. 




Exhibit C: Wool peacoat
Here's another option for a coat.  This one is a wool peacoat from Calvin Klein.  DISCLAIMER:  these coats can be expensive, but they're worth the investment because they're well-made and never go out of style.  Again, wearing it with a crewneck is amazing because crewnecks are basically body sculptors... they show off your best assets (a win-win for everyone).




Exhibit D:  LA fall and winter/ Texas in the fall
Here in Los Angeles, we're lucky if we push 50 degrees during the holidays.  It sucks!  I wish we had legit seasons around here.  And in Texas, it gets cool in the fall, but it's not like you need a puffy jacket to keep warm.  Regardless, it does get a little blustery at times in both the City of Angels and the Great State.  Match a flannel, thermal or v-neck sweater with your favorite pair of jeans, bundle up with a button-up sweater and voila!  You're good to go.  Plus, I love these shoes!  They look casual-cool.




Exhibit E: Everything else
Here are some other looks that are comfortable and the ladies dig!  Hoodies are always a good thing, mixing and matching browns with neutrals is a put-together look, and the Speedo Deck Boat Shoe is a huge hit with all the men in my family.  (Nice trend you've started Uncle Mark!)







Be grateful

At work, I sit at the front and get to hear all of the top stories on Headline News.  Two stories that really caught my attention are due to their emotional nature:
  • Bodies of two women, 10-year-old boy found in hollow tree
    • This story is so disturbing that I can barely even comment on it.  On November 10th, two women and the boy went missing, along with a 13-year-old girl, Sarah.  They found the girl inside the home of Matthew Hoffman, who allegedly told authorities the locations of the other three bodies.  Sarah is alive and "doing well," but I can't imagine what kind of trauma she went through, especially so close to the holidays.  Bless her and please pray for her and her family.
  • Woman paralyzed by best friend at Bachelorette Party
    • Ladies, imagine having a great night with all of your friends to celebrate your upcoming nuptials.  Playfully, your best friend pushes you into the pool.  Next thing you know, you're paralyzed from the neck down; you can't feel your legs or your hands.  Your wedding is a month away.  That is what strong and resilient Sarah Friedman went through.  Her wedding is on hold because they cannot afford it currently.  Her medical bills are piling up -- to have a catheter it costs around $2,000 a month for equipment.  She can't afford to have a lift so she can get to the second floor of her home.  Throughout all this, she isn't placing blame on anyone, even her best friend.  I can't say I'd be any different -- if Erin or Jen pushed me in a pool and paralyzed me, there's no way I could be upset with them.  They'd still be my best friends too.
    • I feel so terrible for this girl.  Just a month before marrying the love of her life, everything changed.  I hope her fiance is an excellent man and sticks by her through all of the upcoming changes they're bound to endure.
This isn't a news story, but definitely can be applied to prayer requests.  My mom's very dear friend, Melanie, has been undergoing chemo for a tumor.  While she remains positive and in high spirits, her tumor actually grew in size instead of shrinking.  Please pray for Melanie and her family.  It's been a very strenuous process and I know my mom is anerved, worrying about Melanie's health.  Please pray for peace of mind and a speedy recovery for Melanie!  Through God anything is possible, and I fully believe in time that this turmor will be completely eliminated from her body.

Thanks everyone! 

Reason #5842 that I love Ellen

Yesterday I got a phone call at work from an 818 number.  I usually don't answer my cell at work, but I was pretty intrigued as to who would be calling me at 3:00 in the afternoon from Northern Los Angeles.  I answered and it turned out to be a staff member from Ellen!

Apparently they call random viewers who write in to the show to check in and create profiles on them in case they write in again, etc.  Who knew?  I wrote in a few months ago because I wanted to surprise my mom with something (still keeping that on the DL in case it happens) and I guess they read it! 

They also asked me if I was Justin Timberlake's biggest fan.  First off, yes.  I can't even explain to you the lengths that I am a fan of his.  He might be questionable at times, and I might be hard on him, but it's only for the best.  Also, I don't know anyone else that was idiotic enough to perm their hair in 8th grade just so they could "have something in common" with him. (Not like I was immune to a perm -- my mom practically made a living out of perming my hair as a child.)  And finally, I was pretty much a roadie on every *NSYNC tour because my Mom was constantly lugging me and my best friend Jennifer to every concert they had in Texas.  Dedication at its best.

A tad bizarre that they'd ask me this though.  Did they magically know that I loved him?  Does my affection for him shine like a light from my soul?  I might have written in about him but I really can't remember at this point; writing letters about why I should meet and/or work with/for Justin is pretty much like washing my hair.  Happens every two days.

All (semi) kidding aside, I think it's cool that Ellen cares about her fans to just call them and catch up!  Talk about consumer relationships.  I was surprised and delighted to hear from the show! 

PS Ellen, if you ever read this, I need to work for you.  I have impeccable research skills, love to dance and live for pranking people.  Ideal employee right here.

Nov 17, 2010

Bone to pick: Cheating on yo' wife, Part II

The other side of the Tony/Eva escapades is the ladies' role in it all.  Yes guys, I'm aware it takes two to tango, so here's my two cents on the other woman.

Dear Other Women of America,

You make me vomit.  You're the scum between my toes.

Love,
Kirbie

In all seriousness, you're despicable.  How can you live with yourself?  Actually, I feel sorry for you.  What kind of self esteem must you have to go so low to help a man cheat on his woman?  I don't care if he's married or just in a relationship, if he's committed in any way it's wrong!

I love how everyone praises Angelina Jolie for being a saint and ending wars and saving malnourished babies from poverty, yet they all barely raise an eyebrow when someone is quick to remind them that she STOLE ANOTHER WOMAN'S HUSBAND.   Granted Brad Pitt doesn't seem like too upstanding of man for giving in the first place, but Angelina has some nerve.  Note:  I actually kind of respect Brad for not jumping into marriage again.  At least he knows he's attractive and can't promise to commit legally.

Ladies, when did we start perpetrating on other women's men?  Please use your brains: if he's cheating on his wife, he's gonna cheat on you.  You're not going to magically change him.  Take this advice to heart.

Also, why would you want to be the other woman?  I just don't get that.  When I'm with someone, I want him all to myself.  Not in the crazy way.  I'm all about independence and separate social circles and having freedom, but there is not a chance in bloody, fiery Hell that I'm going to be okay letting my man kiss and do God knows what else with another women -- let alone WILLINGLY let this happen.  Do you not feel like you're worth more than that?  That you're worth having a commitment from someone?  Worth being someone's top priority?  Scratch that, his only priority?  Yeah, obviously not if you're willing to be his sexual gratification and then let him go home to another woman.

So ladies, here's another PSA.  Get your head right.  You're better than all these shenanigans.  Just because someone shows interest in you doesn't mean you have to give in!  Show restraint, keep it classy and make the right decision.

Bone to Pick: Cheating on yo' wife, Part I

Well people, I can't ignore the giant elephant in the room.  Everyone is talking about Eva Longoria and Tony Parker.  While I would want people to respect my privacy and not talk about my personal relationships, you can't overlook the fact that there has been claims of foul play in the relationship, i.e. 100s of texts between Parker and his teammate's wife.  Yikes.

First off, what is it with athletes?  Do you guys think you're so awesome that you can get away with cheating on women like EVA LONGORIA?  You're on crack.  I'm sorry.  Crack!!!

Second, maybe it's this "instant gratification" type of world we live in now... where we expect what we want when we want it and have no patience or restraint.  Maybe that's why the obesity epidemic keeps getting worse.  Regardless, it's mediocre to cheat on your wife.  Live an excellent life!  We all have temptation, it's those of us that choose to avoid it and keep ourselves accountable that are distinguished from the mediocre types.

SHOW SELF RESTRAINT.  Damn.  This is getting me all kinds of pissed off.  I know it's not the Christian thing to go off like this and perhaps I should just say "Bless his heart" and be done with it, but I can't.  Enough is enough. (Probably not showing much restraint here... but this is my blog.)

The tipping point for me was today at work when someone (a male) told me that allegedly Eva found these text messages, which meant she was snooping around in Tony's phone and that's invasion of privacy and wrong on her part.

After steam shot out of my ears and I bit my tongue hard enough to make it bleed, I looked at his ring finger and noticed he was married.  I was going to go into my "put yourself in her shoes" bit, but realized this guy was probably cheating on his wife anyway so I kept my mouth shut.

Here's my point: guys, if you have nothing to hide, it shouldn't matter if your wife (girlfriend, fiance) looks at your text messages.  Is it intrusive?  Sure.  Trust becomes an object of discussion.  But I have to tell you that you are on drugs if you think your significant other hasn't been through your phone.  Women are masterminds at these types of shenanigans.  And don't get all hot and bothered --  most of the time, it's not because she doesn't trust you, it's because she's curious (the other part is because she doesn't trust you, and probably has reason not to... a woman's intuition is better than a GPS when it comes to guidance).  My point is what does it matter if you have nothing to hide?  I just don't get it.  If my hypothetical boyfriend went through my phone, I could not give two craps considering all he'd be reading about is beauty product recommendations with Haley, texts from my Mom calling me a baby dumb, endless convos about where my girlfriends and I want to go to dinner or out that weekend and regular gossip to Bailey and Erin.

Guys get real defensive about this.  "It's our phone!"  Um, that makes you a trifling suspect (in my opinion).  You men don't care if we have to wash your underwear with skidmarks on them, as long as they get washed; you also don't seem to mind if you fart or puke in front of us, so why in the world should you care if your girlfriend or wife reads your texts?  UNLESS you're trying to hide something, which is my point.  Every guy that gets pissed about this is probably texting another chick inappropriately or really is having an affair, and that's grounds for a break-up in my opinion.

So ladies, here's a public service announcement for you: it's not bad to want to be enough for your man.  That's right.  You don't have to share him with anyone.  If you are, run.  Run fast.  Because there is someone else out there who will think you're the best thing that ever happened to him and will not have eyes another living soul.  Truth.  And men?  Have some self respect and stop living a mediocre life.

FAB product: First Aid Beauty


Pick of the week!
I'm absolutely loving First Aid Beauty's skincare line, specifically their Ultra Repair Cream.

This moisturizer is great for harsh winter weather and intense beauty services (like peels). Read the rest of the story here.

Above the Circumstances

I have to preface this post... I wrote it back in September.  As I mentioned in yesterday's post, I was letting worries and anxiety affect me in ways they hadn't before, and I started to write this blog.  It's been almost two months since it was written and it's interesting how my perspective has changed in such a short time.  Regardless, I feel like this post is important to share.  -- Kirbie

-----------

 "You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand."  JOHN 13:7

Circumstances seem to hold mankind back.  Most see adversity as a breaking point.  We can't move forward when something is obstructing the view we have for ourselves.  However, circumstances don't determine what we can or will do.

I have a very stable and loving family life.  My parents are supportive and amazing.  My little brother and I might aggrevate each other at times, but we weren't those siblings that attacked each other or got into huge fights (probably had to do with our age difference), and we have a close brother/sister bond.  And my extended family treats me as if I was their own child.  I could not ask for a more fulfilling family unit.

But there is something that I have in the back of my mind that I think about frequently, especially when it comes to my personal relationships.  I am afraid of divorce.

... Not like I'm getting married anytime soon.  Trust.  But as an adult, marriage is something that is actually considered at one point or another.

My mother and biological father divorced when I was very young, I want to say around when I was two-years-old.  I never got to formulate a real relationship with my biological dad, but instead God brought a truly wonderful individual into my Mom's life who I have called my father ever since I can remember.  I have his last name, and I don't consider anyone else my Dad except for him, even though we aren't even blood related.

The divorce never really took any ground into my life until I became an adult.  It never affected me because my mom and dad always made sure our family life was loving and stable, but I'm finding a lot of things are coming into fruition as I get older, I think because I am having to take more responsibility for my actions.  If something goes wrong in my life, it's more than likely a result of something I did and nobody else can take that blame.

I hate even talking about this because it's not something I like to share.  I don't like being afraid of anything, let alone letting others know that I am feeling this way.

You learn everything from your parents and I always wonder if I'm going to end up getting a divorce.  Not to mention I want to have a career in entertainment and it appears that everyone out here gets a divorce. I want a healthy, wonderful, solid relationship... but who doesn't want that out of a marriage?

It all rolls back to that "fear of the unknown" thing.  I've heard so many people say "when you know, you know."  But don't you think the people who have gotten divorces thought the same thing initially?  Or did they know that maybe it wasn't the right thing, but they were settling?  Giving in to their own need for security?  Felt it was just "that time?"  Did their partner not have a committed relationship to God?  Did they not have a committed relationship to God?  Did they ignore red flags? I could go on and on. 

But God is mighty.  And like I posted before, there is a plan for everyone.  Nobody is perfect, and maybe God was leading them out of a relationship because it was necessary.  I know for my mother, it was imperative that she got out of her first marriage.

I've been doing a lot of soul-searching on this.  Why do I feel this way?  Of course, I turned to prayer and scripture and have made some amazing revelations. 

Did you know that you're above your circumstances?  It all depends on your attitude.  Just because it's something that has happened in the past doesn't mean it's going to continue.  The buck stops here.  But while God is the one making it happen, it requires a change of attitude on your part.  Stop dwelling on what you can't control and what you do not know.  What is the point of living the life if we know all of the answers and outcomes?  Do not be fearful.  Be resilient.  Don't let your past affect your present or your future.  Live life whole-heartedly in God's will and know that you will be guided and protected throughout any wrong-doing or any injustice.  I don't believe divorce is a dire circumstance, however, it can really take it's toll on a person, whether it be a child, a mother or a father.  It's worth knowing that divorce isn't genetic or inherited.

"Sitting around thinking about what you can't change and worrying about all the wrong things."  That's a quote from a Carrie Underwood song (love, love, love her) and it's so true!  You can't change the past.  But you are above your circumstances.  They don't rule your life. 

This means for everything in your life.  Not just personal relationships, but also career endeavors.  Just because you went to school for something doesn't mean you can't make a career out of something else.  Examples include Emily Giffin (lawyer turned author), Ben Silverman (History major turned NBC exec), Kurt Warner (stocked shelves at a grocery store and is now a retired NFL quarterback); Cory Monteith was a telemarketer, Katy Perry lived in her car at one point, and Robert Downey Jr. used to be a drug addict who served plenty of times in prison.  God can make things turn for the better.

I'll give you an example not using Hollywood-types (a true story, by the way):  Mary Kay was a fugitive.  She carried a shotgun with her at all times and she even made the FBI's Most Wanted list.  This woman wasn't kidding around.  However, in 1972, she was arrested and had 11 federal indictments against her as well as 35 other charges.  Things were looking bleak for Mary Kay's life.

However, she concludes that God intervened, turning her 180 sentence into only six years.   While in prison, Mary Kay was allowed to leave her cell to attend Sunday School.  There, she had a revelation that made her realize her heart was cold, bitter and hardened.  From there, she decided to dedicate her life to God.

She was paroled in 1982 and was appointed Director of Prison Fellowship, where she was asked to instate a Christmas program for the inmates.  Every year, volunteers would donate tolietries to the women, whom would wrap the bars of soap, toothpaste and shampoo bottles and give to their children.  May Kay found that instead of being upset that they didn't get toys, the children were ecstsatic.  From there, she founded the Prison Fellowship's Angel Tree, an organization that's been running 30 years strong, ministering to the children and families of inmates. 

See?  This woman was on the FBI's Most Wanted list!  And now her life has taken a turn for the best.  She rose above her circumstances.

Rise above!  You don't know what's waiting out there until you actually seek it.

A daily favor

"Help me help myself so that I may help others."

I love this quote!  'Tis the season where everyone starts to really go mad with Christmas shopping and holiday gatherings, but I feel it's important that we think about those in need.  I know it's not Thanksgiving yet, but it's still the holiday season.  Plus, giving to others shouldn't be a casual, recreational activity that we do only in November and December.

Here are some organizations I like and hope you'll consider donating or volunteering with!
  • Operation Christmas Child: One of my favorite things!  Pack a shoe box and delight a child with a Christmas they won't forget.  (National Collection Week is November 15th-22nd, so be sure to pack your shoe box and send it asap!)
  • Angel Tree:  There are two -- one through JCP called the "Angel Giving Tree" that benefits the Salvation Army.  You actually adopt a child and learn about them (age, needs, etc.) and buy accordingly.  Then there's the Angel Tree, which is a ministry to help the children and family of prison inmates. 
  • Seer Group (The Kyle Korver Foundation): This group is really doing some wonderful things.  Check out this video to see how they're helping others!  And then go buy a shirt or donate so they can keep giving back.
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of America:  It's easy to give money or donate monetarily, but the most important thing is taking action and donating time.  I loved mentoring in high school, and  I'm going to start out here in Los Angeles if not within the next month, then in 2011.  It really does make a difference in a child's life -- the twins I mentored as a senior reached out to me just last week!  Crazy how times flies.
  • Dress for Success:  A great organziation that helps low-income women jumpstart their life again.  DFS offers women who are out of work or looking for jobs opportunity: they provide the women with five suits (for a full week of work), resume and interview training, as well as support in all other aspects of their lives. 
  • CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates): CASA is near and dear to my heart because in college my sorority's philanthropy benefitted them every single year.  It's a unique organization that gives abused or neglected children who have been removed from their homes a voice.  The advocate is judge appointed and sees that the safety and well-being of the child stays in tact.
Go out there and give!

Nov 16, 2010

Dear Prince William,

... it's about friggin time!

It was officially announced today after various rumors last week that Prince Willy and Kate Middleton are now engaged.  How delightful!  Mom, you can stop crying now.  Yes, another dream of my mother's when I was a child was that I would marry Prince William and be just like Princess Diana.  (Dream = shattered.)

Home boy and KM have been dating for EIGHT YEARS, albeit on and off.  That is commitment right there.  While I'm all about taking things slow, I think when you know, you know.  And Prince William probably did know Kate would be his (literal) queen a long time ago.  So why the wait?


Apparently, Big Willy Style had to graduate from college and go through military training since, apparently, he's going to be ruler of the free world at some point.  Details, details.  (I kid.)

Mostly, this is as terrific day for all women.  Why?  Well, Kate Middleton was just a simple girl (in comparison to the Prince -- her family actually has millions after her mum started own party supply company) who decided to embark on furthering her education and met the fancy of Prince William.  Now she gets to wear big, extravagant hats and probably drinks tea with the Queen, taking notes and learning what it will be like, because girlfriend is going to be Queen someday herself!  See ladies?  Anything can happen.  (That is my PSA for the day.)

Congrats to both William and Kate.  I think it is quite the tragedy that media had to place so much attention on this engagement; Kate probably knew it was coming before Willy popped the question.  Talk about taking the surprise out of it all! 

Abstinence does not make the heart grow fonder

Fergalicious
I know that it's actually "Absence makes the heart grow fonder."  But I'm not talking about that today.

Abstinence is an interesting word, because in my life, the first time I heard it was during a sexual purity retreat in middle school.  Abstain!  Then it was a word I heard associated with drinking; "Abstain from drinking in high school."  But now, abstinence is something I'm practicing every day in my life, and not with things like alcohol or the food I eat or anything of that nature.  I'm learning to abstain from negativity.

Yeah, it might sound weird.  Work with me here.  Think about how many times a day you can be tempted to talk badly about a co-worker, to think negatively about a situation, or to worry about what's happening or what's to come.  Here in Los Angeles, it's easy to think about what another person's motives are and not take them at face value; it's easy for other people to tear you down because you are one of the millions, not one in a million, to most people out here.  And it's easy to fill your heart and head with doubt.  "Will I ever achieve my dreams?"

A turning point occurred a few weeks ago, when I found myself sleepless one night.  I didn't know why,  I just wanted to get some shut eye.  "Dear Lord, please, just remove whatever doubt I'm feeling right now.  I just want some sleep."  I woke up the next morning, I kid you not, fearless.  It was a feeling I had when I first moved out here, something I possessed my entire life, but since February I have been filled with doubt, worry, and anxiety about things (read: my career) that I never doubted, worried or felt anxious about before.  I had that feeling back and it was wonderful.  It didn't matter what was going on with my personally or professionally, it was all washed away.  My "conquer all" attitude was reinstated and my deep belief that everything is going to work out for the best was back.

Over these months, I evaluated this fearless feeling I "used" to have.  "It was because I was naive!   At some point you have to grow up and learn that not everything is positive in life."  Yep.  Typical rookie mistake.  I think sometimes we have to hash things out with ourselves before God intervenes.  He has a pretty funny sense of humor.  But I am ashamed to admit I ever thought those thoughts, because everything in life is positive.  There is always something to learn, always something to be thankful for; even in your darkest hours, there is hope, and that's always a positive thing.  For me, feeling those emotions for awhile was a positive thing in the end, because it helped me to come back with the fiery determination and peaceful contentment I had initially.   I guess it sometimes when things are removed from your life, you realize how badly you need (and want) them back.  And I certainly wanted my fire back.

It's something I have to work on daily -- not giving into negativity, but it's an empowering feeling knowing that no circumstance, no situation and no person can affect how I view myself and my life.  It's really an amazing state of mind.  And I have to say that abstaining from negativity has made me happier with myself.  I don't miss those feelings and I don't see them as emotions I am "fond" of, that I ever want back.  As Fergie said in this month's Glamour, "You'd be surprised at how addicting self confidence is."

"Nothing is too difficult for you."  Jeremiah 32:17
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