Jun 30, 2011

Fourth o' July snacky snacks

As I was going to write my Mentervention post, I found this on "Freshly Pressed" via Wordpress. Um, deliciousness? I dream of things like this. Much like I can't deny a man with a full head of hair, I can't deny myself sweets. Yum.

By the way, these are only about, eh, 6M calories. No bigs.

Nutella Cheesecake Bars (nom nom nom), from The Moonlight Baker

Jun 29, 2011

Best day of the week -- Quote for the day:

You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him. 

James D. Miles

Jun 28, 2011

And then I danced with Matthew...

Can I tell you this story? I absolutely love this story. It was quite possibly the highlight of my 13-year-old life.

Scratch that. So many magical things happened when I was 13: got my first boyfriend, first kiss, first pair of jeans from Abercrombie (obviously a huge milestone); rode on a float in the Yankees' Ticker Tape parade after winning the World Series, went on stage and was seranaded by *NSYNC with my best friend. Ah, life at 13. Take. me. back!

Not to brag or anything but yeah, that was pretty awesome, right Kirb? I love talking to myself.

The reason I bring up my 13-year-old self is because my mom sent me this photo last night:



For those of you without eyes (apparently) for the past 15 years, that's Matthew McConaughey on the right with my little babis of a brother. 

He was at the Dell Diamond in Round Rock, Texas last night with mi familia to support my cousin Koby.

So naturally mom texts me this pic. There is something slightly unsettling about the fact that my entire family is having a hay-day with Mr. Sexiest Man Alive (did you guys hit up Fogo de Chao, too?) while I was live tweeting what may have been the most pathetic episode of The Bachelorette. By the way, I came out here in hopes of possibly befriending a celebrity at some point (Britney or LiLo for starters) -- meanwhile, Mom is in good ol' central Texas and doing a better job than I possibly can. (Remind me to tell you the stories of her frequent phone calls with Reggie Jackson and friendship with Paul Wall.)

Anyway, when I was 13, the Yankees were in the playoffs with the Texas Rangers before advancing on to play the Atlanta Braves in the World Series (only to sweep them). After advancing, there was a big party at the ballpark in Arlington. Obviously I was nowhere near being old enough to get in to this boozefest, but somehow me and my five under-legal-drinking-age-by-almost-a-decade cousins were admitted in this party. Granted, we weren't interested in drinking, but I'm positive I shouldn't have been there.

My uncle is good friends with Matthew (University of Texas, y'all) and decided to introduce me.

"Kirb, have you seen Ed TV?" Uh, no. By the way, my favorite thing about this is that he acts like maybe I should have seen it, when it was clearly a movie my parents would not let me see at 13.  I mean, it was a struggle getting Mom to let me and Jen watch Clueless in 4th grade. I digress.
"No?"
"Well, this is Matthew."
Matthew sticks out his hand, shakes, and then I'm whisked over to meet Daryl Strawberry (what a doozy).

Anyhow, Matthew was extremely nice, a total southern gentleman. I did recall who he was because his mom lives in my hometown and earlier that year, at a middle school dance, (that, ironically, I didn't get asked to dance at) she raffled off his old school desk. The girl that won got to choose either the desk or $100 cash -- she opted for the cash.

I don't remember what happened between then and this next part of the story, but it doesn't matter. The point is that my first dance, in life, was Matthew McConaughey. Everything happens for a reason, ladies!

Everyone is standing around just staring at the dance floor at the point. I cannot recall for the life of me what song was playing, but all of a sudden Matthew jumps out on the floor and starts doing the twist. Or at least a version of it. I just distinctly remember his arm movements and legs twisting around.  And then, out of nowhere, he's like, "Come dance!" and grabs my hands and we did the whole "hold hands and dance" thing for a solid five minutes. My Aunt Bonnie jumped in a few minutes later (I'm sure we was on cloud nine) as more guests got on the floor to cut a rug.

This story obviously didn't mean much at all at the time. I didn't really tell anyone until I saw one of People's "Sexiest Man Alive" and I was like, hey now... I danced with that guy.

There is no way in God's green earth that Matthew would ever remember that, but what a friggen awesome story to tell my children.

Low calorie cocktail mixes: the truth behind the brand

Low-cal, or "skinny" cocktails are the quintessential drink for 20-something women and mid-life housewives, given most women like to drink and most women like to be skinny. However, my personal philosophy is if it sounds too good to be true, then it's too good to be true.

Come on. You know I'm right. Prime examples: Sketchers Shape-Ups, "healthy sweets," Marissa Miller's body (she's gorgeous, but I have a hard time finding her to be 100% au natural). Or when you have a huge closet full of Kate Bosworth's clothes... only to wake up from the dream, or when meeting Mr. Right to find out he's married... or gay. Alas, it's all too good to be true.
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Disclaimer: While this blog may appear as if I remembered too much from alcohol.edu back in college,  this is not freehand knowledge, my friends. Terry Shanahan is the one who opened my eyes to Skinnygirl's marketing phenomenon, and through many hours of research, I'm (now) a connoisseur in the field of mixology. It's not like I knew how to calculate alcohol by volume off the top of my head, folks. Just had to make sure all of you don't start assuming I have a drinking problem. I just prefer to know everything about everything.

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I've been focused on getting the healthiest I can be with the help of Terry Shanahan. As you all know, this man is my savior. Well, not exactly, but close -- he's made diet and exercise a religious experience of sorts, as he is my nutritionist and he's certainly provided several "Come to Jesus" moments regarding how terribly I was eating in the past. He's diverted my attention towards eating quality food, not counting calories, and focusing on a strong mix of cardio and strength training.

With all that being said, I started to chat with him about alcohol. Working in PR and events, a lot of my "work" revolves around drinking. We had a happy hour two weeks ago at the Four Seasons to network; of course all bevs were on the house. Every party I cover involves an open bar and some kind of alcohol or mixer to promote. And just being real here: drinking is a social activity. (Duh.) At my age, it's how we meet people since we no longer have school to introduce us to friends and boys. The bars have become our new social system. 

While I have a whole other blog I plan to dedicate to alcohol and how it wreaks havoc on our body (and, more importantly, a woman's body), I want to focus this blog on brands that are promoted to be low-calorie, but aren't cutting any corners when it comes to your weight.

Unfortunately, I'm not at liberty to name these cocktail brands, but you're all very familiar with them -- the popular "skinny cocktail" category of beverages. They claim to be "100 calories for a 4-ounce serving" at 25 proof (approximately 12% alcohol), and made with ingredients including the terms (but not limited to): organic, all-natural, agave nectar, etc.

Having talked to Terry about calories, sugar and the like, a red flag went off when I saw these ingredients in several popular "low cal" brands. These mixes are not going to make you skinny, or keep you skinny -- but they'll keep you lazy. You could easily make a more refreshing, healthier cocktail with a few simple ingredients than buying a pre-packaged product.
Let's break it down.

The real deal on agave nectar
Don't be fooled: agave nectar is not good for you. It's not even a natural sweetener. It's better than artificial sweeteners, but it's not a magical ingredient to spice up your sweet tooth and eliminate calories. To be blunt, it's high fructose corn syrup. 
Blue Agave tequila, or "Agave tequilana," originates from Jalisco, Mexico and is the base for this liquor, stemming from the agave plant. Agave nectar is extracted from the agave plant and creates aguamiel, which is comparable to sugarcane, which is then refined to make agave nectar.
Agave has a high percentage of carbohydrates, and in turn means there is a high percentage of fructose in the nectar, or syrup, when it's made.

What is it exactly?
The Cliffsnotes version of how agave syrup is made is as follows: it's extracted from the agave plant, filtered and heated to break down the carbs ("hydrolize polysaccharides") into simple sugars. The main polysaccharide (or carbohydrate molecule) in agave nectar is inulin or fructan, which creates fructose units, or in other words fructose or "fruit sugar."
Agave nectar is comprised mostly of fructose and glucose. These terms sound familiar because high fructose corn syrup is found primarily in soda. Glucose, in Greek, literally means "sweet."
While the glycemic index of agave nectar is less than regular table sugar (sucrose), it's still sugar and is just the same, if not worse than high fructose corn syrup -- something most people know to stay away from if they're trying to maintain a healthy diet.

All about fructose 
Fructose can wreak havoc on your liver, as it is a man-made sugar. Most think fructorse comes straight from fruit, but it's created when its refined, as stated above. Pairing agave it with alcohol can be detrimental. Terry states that consuming alcohol already creates hard work for your liver in order for it to detoxify your body, and since agave nectar is a hepatic ("liver") toxin, you can really do a number by combining the two.

Bottom line
Agave nectar = fructose & glucose = same as high fructose corn syrup = SUGAR. You might as well be drinking a whiskey and coke and call it a day!

Not a lot of "bang" for your buck
Most low cal mixes has weak proofs, or lower alcohol by volume per serving (below 15% or around 25-30 proof). For example, a standard 4 oz. margarita made with tequila, triple sec and lime juice, most sit at 30% alcohol by volume or 60 proof per serving, which is why (for women at least) you're feeling pretty buzzed after drink one and wanting to remove clothing after drink two. 

For reference, a standard margarita is made as follows:
- 2 oz. tequila (80 proof or 40% alcohol by volume -- 128 calories
- 1.15 oz. triple sec (70 proof or 35% alcohol by volume -- 75 calories)
- 0.85 oz. lime juice (4 calories)

To calculate how strong your margarita will be:
Multiply the .300 by 100 and you get a 30% alcohol by volume OR a 60 proof margarita, with 207 calories.

Popular "skinny" margaritas are only 6.35% alcohol by volume or approximately 13 proof per serving, assuming that 2 ounces of the mix is tequila and the other two ounces is the all natural ingredients they promote.

What's in this mix exactly?
Which, speaking of, you can't find an exact listing of ingredients for some of these mixes anywhere -- even on the bottle! All we know is from the website: it's made with agave nectar, blue agave tequila and "natural" ingredients. No dyes, no artificial flavors -- however, caramel color was added. Seems a tad bizarre, right? Note: reps for the brands were unable to be reached for comment at the time of this post.


Drink... and drink, and drink
Four ounces is about half a cup. To get any kind of buzz at 13 proof (yet it will still be minimal), you'll double this amount to about 8 ounces, or the size of a mini can of Diet Coke, which only brings you to 26 proof. You'll have at least two or three of these things, so right there you're already sitting pretty back at 400-600 calories, which defeats the purpose of a low calorie cocktail. It matches drinking one that was prepared at your favorite TexMex joint.  I know for myself personally that one marg from Yucatan Taco Stand or Cabo Cantina means I need one and only one, 300-500 calories or not. I don't need more than that, because the alcohol by volume of the tequila used is stronger.

Homemade is better
Bethenny Frankel's non-commercialized version of the margarita is less caloric and healthier for you.  I found online the original version from RHONY:
  • 2 oz. clear tequila (Sauza or clear premium)
  • 3 squeezed limes or a splash of fresh lime juice
  • splash of Cointreau, Grand Marnier or Triple Sec
This is the more realistic skinny girl's margarita. For starters, you're using higher-grade, 80 proof tequila with a bit of the Cointreau, Grand Mariner or Triple Sec, so you're not having to down sugary after sugary portion to get to a desired level of buzzed. Terry joked with me that the healthiest way to drink was with shots of straight liquor because it's made without sugary mixers and you're good to go after one. Obviously he doesn't recommend this, but you get the point. It's around 150 calories.

Then what the heck do I drink?
Terry also recommends that if you are going to drink (a key to losing weight is eliminating alcohol!),  purchase cocktails that use clear, premium liquors with soda water and citrus fruit. One bev I was recently introduced to is the Gimlet. It can be made with either gin or vodka, and while some places use Rose's lime juice, most muddle their limes, which makes it taste similar to a mojito in terms of freshness. The original recipe calls for four parts vodka (or gin), one part sweetened lime juice and some sugar or simple syrup, but here's a better-for-you version. Remember, these are 4 ounce servings!

Vodka Gimlet (165 calories)
  • 2 oz. vodka (145 calories)
  • 1 oz. soda water (0 calories)
  • 1 peeled, muddled lime (20 calories)
BAM. Soda water is zero calories, the limes bring a tang, and you don't have to worry about crazy caloric mixers and all that jazz. Just be sure to ask your bartender how they make it, or else they can include large amount of sugar, which isn't doing you any favors.

Greyhound (170 calories, depending on the type of juice you use)
  • 2 oz. vodka
  • 2 oz. grapefruit juice (25 calories -- organic from Trader Joe's)

The Low-Cal Mojito (122 calories -- check out the recipe here: thanks FitSugar!)
The mojito does include sugar, but a little sweetness won't kill you! Just don't have four or five.

And, my personal favorite, the Ciroc Obama (156 calories)
  • 2 oz. Ciroc Coconut (126 calories)
  • 2 oz. canned Dole pineapple juice (30 calories)
  • splash of soda (0 calories)

Sure, these beverages might have higher calories than brands that claim to be "100 calories for 4 ounces," but that's because they have more alcohol by volume, meaning you don't have to drink as many if you're looking for a nice, legal buzz. To achieve what you could with one of these cocktails, you'd need three (4 oz. servings) of the "skinny" margs! Do the math people -- can't deny the facts of life!

Not to mention these aren't loaded with tons of sugar. Also, it's interesting to note that 5 oz. of a "skinnier" alternative is 125 calories -- most bars serve in something bigger than a 4 oz. glass. By drink #3 you've hit 375 calories, when drinking two low-cal mojitos would only be 244; even the most caloric drink on the list, the Greyhound, puts you at 340 -- still 35 calories less than the skinny competition.

While low calorie cocktails have great intentions, it's best to stick to cocktails made with mimimal ingredients and aren't in pre-prepared packaging (tubs or bottles).

Jun 27, 2011

Not a good look: holding on when you need to let go

Not a good look is going to spawn from The Bachelorette every week from now end of the season. Sorry about that. It's just too much amazing material to resist. By the way, if you didn't watch, this is not going to make a lot of sense. Sorry in advance.

I can barely even deal with this episode right now. I just can't. 

"Bentley left it at a dot dot dot... that usually means 'to be continued.'" - Ashley

I don't know if it's because I find Ashley pathetic given the situation, or that I've actually been in that situation, and in turn I feel pathetic myself, but my gag reflex has been in full force the past two hours. Woof.

Let's start from the beginning: ENTER CHRIS HARRISON. UNCLE CHRIS!!!!!!!! I'd like to believe he has great intentions, but he knows all the shennanery going on behind the scenes and STILL doesn't let Ashley in on the big, fat joke. 

So, here we go. Bentley's back, bitches. "He's in the hotel right now." 

SHUT. UP.

Oh gosh. This makes me literally sick to my stomach. Like, vomit-inducing. Basically, Bentley has this free trip to Hong Kong and he doesn't give an eff about anyone, and Ashley is anxious as all hell. Ladies, we all know that feeling. Similar to the anxiousness of getting a phone call but at the same time absolutely dreading it. Or seeing your ex-boyfriend at the grocery store or the local bar. 

I'm pretty sure Ashley's hormones are all out of whack because she hasn't eaten a damn thing since filming started.

Here's her logic: she needs to talk with Bentley because she might be keeping herself from a great relationship without his "closure." Sick and twisted logic there, Ash. Just kick him to the curb. The man left you! That's closure enough. (Hello, pot...)

OH MY GENTLE. I really can't handle this. 

"If it doesn't work out with other guys, come to Salt Lake," says Bentley. 

Uh, what?!!!! If you wanted to be with her, Benzo, you would be. (Except you don't. We all know this.)

Holy crap. I just had a come to Jesus moment with this episode. Seriously. Like, legs crossed, on the floor, hands clasped, come to Jesus moment of a lifetime. Why would any women subject herself to this bullcrap?

"Sometimes in life you need to be a man and admit that. Admit that it's a period. Say what it is. Admit it's done and over."

Ohhhhh Ashley. I feel for you, girlfriend. I really do. When you're sitting there hanging by a thread, waiting for what's coming next. It's hard. But the fact of the matter is that he was never going to say it was a "period" or not. You needed to wear the pants and stick a fork in it yourself.

And I can't get past the fact that at every confessional, Ashley keeps talking about how she's so happy she got closure with Bentley. Because it would have been so hard to have fun with these guys if she wasn't over Bentley. And now that she's finally over Bentley and got closure, she can look forward to finding love with someone in the group that isn't Bentley. Because they're all in Thailand and SHE'S OVER BENTLEY.

I have a rule of thumb. If I go on a date with a guy and he brings up his ex-girlfriend, or if I ask him about a past relationship and he can't stop talking about the breakup... he's not over her or the relationship. Same with me. If I go on a date and I find myself unable to unemotionally speak about a past relationship, I shouldn't be on the date in the first place. Ashley won't stop talking about Bentley... it's clear that she is not over him, and hasn't gotten closure.

Therefore...

Holding on to the past is not a good look. I can't judge because, let's face it, I'm a normal 24-year-old. I've been so caught up in relationships and love and have been blinded, starry eyed, the whole nine yards. I don't blame Ashley for her feelings regarding Bentley, but I think it's terrifying how absolutely off someone can be about another person.  I mean, she was falling for this schmuck, who, on national television, told the world he didn't find her attractive, didn't want to be with her, and was going to make her cry. And then, even after he ditched her, SHE SPENT TWO WEEKS sitting and sulking and thinking about him! 

We've all been through it, or will go through it. But just remember how you visualize other women when they hang on to men they shouldn't be with. We see those women in a different light. It's sad. Don't be the person other people pity.

Grab your confidence by the balls and have faith that God will place the right person in your life at the right time. If someone left your life, they'll walk back in it if it's meant to be. Don't try to play God or control the outcome, or worse, dwell on what was or what could have been. Keep the faith. Don't be an Ashley. 

That's enough. I can't deal with this any longer. Woof. I need an Advil and a stiff cocktail after enduring all of that. 

Jun 26, 2011

I Saw the Sign: Part II

Deciding that calling Aunt Bonnie and hyperventilating on the phone to her was a better idea than sulking in despair in bed, I dialed her number and let it all out.

I kept emphasizing to her that I'm incredibly lonely, feel like I don't really have anyone here for comfort, and that I miss home -- but that I also feel like it's not my time to leave LA. My intuition keeps telling me to persevere, much like the other great women who followed their dreams (Oprah, Lady Gaga -- remember her "Your career won't wake up and tell you it doesn't love you anymore" quote?). Just. Keep. Going. 

I love to read interviews, and most everyone always comments how incredibly lonely they felt before they hit their stride. I don't know if it was because they were all 24 and going through their quarter-life crisis or if they were legitimately without anyone, but every time I go through these spells of complete and utter solitude, I think about those interviews to get my head right.

Bonnie put things in perspective for me. That life isn't a race. Texas is going to be there forever, whenever I want to go back is up to me. And more importantly, that this is a season of my life.

A season. Has a nice ring to it, yeah? Just like when I went through my four years of high school and four years of college, I'm embarking on the summer after my sophomore year in life. Probably the hardest season to go through, for sure, given we don't have the guidance of a school system, professors, and really even our parents at this point. We all just have to navigate ourselves in the best way possible, leaning on God for guidance.

Yesterday, I had lunch with my friend Bailey, and she used the term "season" as well. She frequently reads my blog and asked if the reason I'm out here is because I think other people want me to be, not because I still want to be. This is something I have had to reaffirm several times in my mind. It's so easy when you're lonely and stressed to be like, "is it worth it?" and to wonder, "what do I really want?" 

Every time I sit down and pray for peace, the peace comes with knowing I'm exactly where I need to be, and what my dreams are. I've always wanted to move to Hollywood. And I've always wanted a TV show. I absolutely live to write, and one day I know that even if I don't have my own show, the journey of trying to achieve it will ultimately lead me to what God's plan is for my life.

So many of us focus on what was or what is to be; we think about what fun we had back in college and wish we could emulate those feelings of new-found freedom without the responsibility, or possibly the stirrings of having our first love and all the butterflies that come with it. Or we are impatient and want to reach the peak of our career immediately -- a place where we absolutely love our job and make more than enough money, or that we have that soulmate to come home to every night. In the midst of this, we fail to recognize what we're actually living through.

I had to step back from reminiscing and wishing to take inventory of my own life.

I'm 24. I have a stable job. I get to do what I love -- write. I'm taking a class towards my future. I live in a nice, safe part of town, have a reliable car, health insurance and my youth. I am mere 10 minute drive from the ocean, four hour trek to Vegas and a few hours away from the mountains when I want some snow. 

I have friends who care about me and a family who would do absolutely anything for me. These are not only things to be proud of, but things I need to enjoy while I have them -- not things to look back and wish that I had enjoyed when I did have them. 

For me, remembering what I want in my life has put everything in perspective. As my pastor noted last Sunday, we all go through a form of depression. We're all scared of that word because, well, it's not a nice word. It has serious connotations, and when you see envision someone that's depressed, you imagine someone who is absolutely never happy, ever. Fact of the matter is that we all experience a form of depression at some point. Life's trials can bring us down. It's natural and nothing to be ashamed of. Feeling these emotions makes us all human!

Some of us might not need medication for it, and it may not last as long as others, but we all have things that tear up our heart and bring anxiety to our minds. It's when we understand that all the trials we go through are for a reason that we can learn and rise above our fears. 

Lastly, regarding the signs we all search for. We all want these black or white signs to appear and make decisions for us, almost for backup. Kind of like, "Well, if this happens, then I know God is telling me to do it."

Kind of like Gideon. Gideon had some decisions to make -- big ones (Judges 6:1-40). He wasn't sure if Israel should go to battle, so he placed a sheepskin on the ground and prayed to God. "Lord, if You are really going to help Israel win, then please show me. I will put this sheepskin on the ground for the night. If it is wet with dew, and the ground around it is dry, then I will know we should go into battle." The next morning, the sheepskin was wet but the ground around it was dry. But Gideon wanted reassurance, just for good measure that he was doing the right thing. "Lord, forgive me, please. But may I test You yet one more time? Tonight, could You please make the ground wet with dew, but keep the sheepskin dry?”

The next morning, the ground was wet and the sheepskin was dry. Without any reasonable doubt, Gideon know this was what God wanted him to do. (Thanks Aunt Boo for the story.)

Wouldn't life be so easy if we were able to communicate with God like that? "Hey God. I need to know if this guy I'm going on a date with is going to be worth it. If I wake up with a pimple, he isn't. If I wake up without, he is."

The fact is that we can communicate with God for guidance, but it's through our prayer and intuition. In reality, we're human. If God did give us signs the moment we asked for them, we'd find an excuse or reason to question it, wouldn't we? "Well, I did have bad skin all week. Last night I touched my face a lot. I used a new face lotion." And so on...

We want instant gratification, and unfortunately the lessons we need to learn or the signals we need aren't presented in a split second.

If we keep looking for "signs," they'll not only never guide us in the right direction, but we'll think everything is a sign! That's why following your heart and intuition is always the best bet. When I left Texas for California, I was nervous, but more so excited. And, more importantly, I wasn't worried. I wasn't worried about leaving my family or friends, because I knew they'd all be there to support me no matter what (they have and still do). I wasn't worried about finding a job because I knew God would provide (he did -- two days after I arrived). It was just something I knew, deep in my heart, had to happen. I know if I didn't leave, it wouldn't have felt right. I would have been content, comfortable and happy, but it would have felt like I was off the path I was meant to travel.

Granted, I know God would have stopped me from moving out here had I not had anything to learn or gain from living here. And, I know that if I wasn't supposed to make the move, my intuition would told me as such, and that God wouldn't have directed me here. That's the part I love the most.

Alas, I was California dreamin', and I still am. I know God has in store something amazing for all of our lives, and we need to allow ourselves to experience living through it all first. For the record, I found myself an awesome roommate the day after my meltdown. :)


Lastly, whenever you feel lonely and blue, Diane Sawyer has a magnificent quote to live by:

"Whenever you are blue or lonely or stricken by some humiliating thing you did, the cure and the hope is in caring about other people." 

Jun 24, 2011

DIY summer hairstyle

Rockabilly bouffant

I never put my hair up. Don't know why, I've always been a chick who prefers to wear her hair down and curly (except at the gym -- does anyone else want to slap those women who run with their hair DOWN?). I'll do the occasional twists and milkmaid braid, but up? Nah. No thank you. 

However, for whatever reason, Thursday I went ahead and tried this look. I have to say I totally digged it! It made me feel like I chopped off all my hair, which was incredibly liberating. Although I felt like I was rockabilly chic, everyone was like, "you are SO rocking the pageant Texas hair!" Which is hilarious because I get asked five times a week if I was in pageants growing up. (For the record, no.) Guess it's a Texas stereotype?

Anyway, here's a super easy, DIY hairstyle for those hot, hot, hot summer days... and nights:

Take a section of your hair and make a "poof" in the front. It should be smaller
than a 'half up' look. Pin with one bobby pin...

...like so.

Grab the bottom section of hair as if you are going to make a pontyail

Twist it together and bring toward the crown of your head...

...like so. 

Pin in several places with bobby pins -- it has to feel "right." I know that's not a good description, but you know which parts of your head you feel most comfortable with bobby pinning. I pinned on both sides of the twist and exactly where my fingers are in the photo above, and added one more bobby pin in the same spot for good measure.

Voila!




Kind of snazzy, yeah? An easy, breezy hairstyle that can dress up a casual sundress or works well with a nice pair of slacks and a silk top. 

Jun 23, 2011

In other news... I saw de(sign)

GUYS.

Big news! For me at least.

First, the blog is getting revamped!!! I am working with the lovely Leap Marketing & Design and I'm really excited to get some professional blog design up on this thing.

Second, after all the similarities, all the comparisons...


I'm now a member of Giuliana Rancic's FabFitFun team!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Pardon my excessive exclamation points, but this has been going on for awhile. I met her editor at a party a few months back, sent some stories, lost contact for awhile, and recently got an email asking for my bio so they could put me up on the site as a team member. I'm more than honored and frankly just ecstatic.

If you don't follow FabFitFun, it's a totally kickin' email that's sent out once a day on weekdays, ranging from everything to "How to use extensions" to "The most caloric cocktails", healthy recipes and DIY beauty tips. They're all under 500 words, so it's a quick read, but each email has something to offer women. It's something I hope to turn my blog into someday.

Today, they ran my feature on Drybar!

Anyway, do yourself a favor and sign-up, follow them on Twitter (follow me while you're at it) and enjoy the lovely advice and easy read from Giuliana and her team!

I Saw The Sign: Part II

... will be up on Monday. Just need more time to collect my thoughts, piece everything together, all that jazz. I feel asleep upon arriving home and I don't want to rush anything, but I absolutely LOVE what I was told during this whole situation, and I think you will too.

xo
Kirbie

LaLicious giveaway!

I'm so excited because I have a travel bag (three, actually) to give away from LaLicious! I fell in love with them when I saw them in Allure magazine (with Lauren Conrad on the cover) and have been addicted to their products ever since. I have the travel bag -- all of the products smell amazing -- as well as a full sized Sugar Reef scrub and body oil.

My skin feels soft, which is great since I've been airbrush tanning and sunbathing a lot already this summer! I wouldn't recommend using this product with an airbrush tan, since it does exfoliate and uses essentials oils, which can break up the DHA coloring agent and cause blotchiness.

To enter, go to my Facebook page and tag LaLicious in a post. Please include your email! Also, LaLicious has to be tagged -- it will turn blue when it is. Tag on my page, not theirs, or else it will not work!

Good luck!




Jun 22, 2011

I Saw The Sign


The great thing about when I cry? My upper lip swells, and I instantly have a fuller, Angelina-esque pout. Except my face is red, so it really isn't a consolation.

The not so great thing when I cry? That after I'm done, I realize there is no reason to cry at all. 

Drats.

----------

"Life is demanding without understanding..."

Sunday, I was ab-sol-utely making myself miserable. I was so anxiety ridden that I sat in bed and watched a Real Housewives marathon, in between dozing off to sleep and waking up, which lead back to crying... a vicious, vicious cycle. You know how misery loves company -- and I can tell you that most of the Real Housewives of New York happen to be a lot more miserable than the ones in Orange County. Woof.

I guess I should explain a few things here...

I understand that most of you think I am downright psychotic. Unstable. What-have-you. My mom even said, "Kirb, be careful with what you say on these blogs, because sometimes it makes you sound like you have issues, although you don't." Thanks Mom for that reassurance -- wouldn't it have been hilarious if she was like, "It's exposing all your mental issues"? Anyway, I know, deep in my heart, that other people -- possibly other women -- are going through what I am going through. This quarterlife crisis has me down, down, down my friends. Not all the time, just some times. And I need to Praise God for allowing me to be single throughout all this, because these are things that will certainly help me become a bona fied adult. The situation is as follows:

I could not pinpoint, for the life of me, my feelings. I am enjoying LA, given the opportunity it brings -- plenty of jobs I would be more than passionate about -- but I miss three things that are dearest to my heart: My family, my friends and Texas. 

Now, I know that LA isn't where I'm going to raise a family, or get married even (then again, WHO KNOWS). But I do know I am enjoying this time in my life, although I am terribly lonely. And I second guess myself more than I should, wondering if I'm giving up luxuries of comfort back home for a life that isn't even in God's plan. This is upsetting because I have never questioned myself before. 

And, this has all come to fruition more prominently since I've been needing to find a new place to live and a new roommate. I was deadset on living alone, given I didn't want to deal with Craigslist creepsters and all my friends have places to live. But as it turns out, living alone would mean living in a shanty or whorehouse, unless I wanted to dedicate my entire paycheck to just bills and rent. So I kept thinking to myself, "If I can't find a roommate, is that a clear sign I should go home? God, show me a sign! THE sign!" Which is the hardest thing ever to ask for (and to find), because then you spend your time wondering, "Was that a sign? Or was that a sign?!"

But I was afraid. Afraid that He would tell me I needed to move back to Texas, and I wouldn't be happy, because (intuitively) I knew my time here wasn't finished yet. I talked to my friend on Friday about moving back to Texas, and she was so excited about the prospect of going back. She was content and beyond thrilled. "Sayonora LA, hello Dallas!" And I don't feel that way right now. One day, I know I'll feel like that, but right now it adds more anxiety for me to think about picking up my life and moving home and starting back from square one.

When you're looking for a sign, it's literally just as far as your intuition. It's like... when you have a thought in your head that you need to break up with someone because, for whatever reason, it doesn't feel right. That's your intuition. But plenty of times, we sit and search for the "sign" to breakup. Maybe it's that our significant other must cheat before we end things, or that he doesn't call when he is supposed to, or something petty like he didn't take out the trash. Regardless, we have this feeling in our heart to break things off, but we all try to find an excuse to confirm our feelings. 

But I feel our intuition is God's whisper. I've talked about God's whisper so many times before because it's real. When something comes into our mind, and it comes back more and more and more, and we feel it in our heart, it's God's way of guiding our lives.

----------


I ended up calling my Aunt Bonnie that day, because I didn't want to bother my parents with any of my anxieties (I know they worry about me enough out here in this crazy town!). I also went to church that night, and the sermon the pastor gave wasn't a coincidence.  I heard things from both people that I desperately needed to hear.

Both offered me insight and peace... and I can't wait to share them with you tomorrow. 

Until then, I'll leave you with this:

I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. 
Romans 15:13, New Living Translation

Nourishing Coconut Milk Treatment giveaway


Organix is one of my favorite drugstore brands, and being the National Beauty Examiner has perks -- like this!

Read my article to find out how you can win your own Coconut Milk treatment.

There will be another giveaway tomorrow with a great vacation kit!

Jun 20, 2011

Not a good look, June 21st

So this is a fairly obvious "Not a Good Look," however, after watching The Bachelorette last night... it's necessary.

If you scoff at the fact that I watch The Bachelorette, screw you. I was an avid hater of this show, along with The Bachelor, because I don't think excessive amounts of alcohol and four weeks cooped up with no life-line to the outside world is a real way to "fall in love," however, the comedic value this show has is unsurpassed. Actually, Wipe Out is way more hilarious, but The Bachelorette is a close second.

Before we jump into my theme for today, let me recap.

Bentley (below) left the show last week, claiming he needed to go home and be with his daughter, but really he was on the show as  PR stunt and didn't even find Ashley attractive, so he toyed with her emotions in an effort to possibly get laid (which makes no sense -- well, sort of) and then made her cry.



Ashley, meanwhile, has a great group of men (yes, I actually like a lot of them) who are absolutely fascinated with her, albeit she seems like she's one switchblade away from ending the entire show and constantly comments on how "everyone needs to be honest."

Ashley, most notably, got kicked off last season's Bachelor because of this very thing I'm about to mention.

This is all because Ashley is WILDY INSECURE.

Not a good look: insecurity (or, as I like to say it: in-sec-uuuurrrr-ity).

Yes, we all have insecurities, but letting them take over? Give me a break. You shouldn't let your insecurities cripple your success, productiveness, or emotional health. Just because you're scared to leave home and start a new life doesn't mean you suck on your parents' tit (rhyme with 'Pete') the rest of your life. And just because you go through a breakup and you're heartbroken doesn't mean you take six weeks off work to cry and not eat and lose the infamous "Break up 15," although that sounds really good when you're going through something like that. And just because you might have stage fright doesn't mean you deny the world a beautiful voice you may have (like Adele -- what a gem she gave us to listen to).

Anyway, Ashley is literally always talking about her insecurity with the guys. Insecurities about ending up alone, insecurities that guys aren't there for the right reasons, insecurities that the guys didn't want her to be The Bachelorette. Yet she's hanging on this one guy, Bentley, who kicked her to the curb and walked away. Her securities of being alone cloud her vision and blind her of what kind of guy he really is.

We can all learn a lesson from good ol' Ashley. If someone walks out of your life, don't go chasing them. They walked out for a reason. If it's God's plan and if they want to come back, they will -- I promise you. Mark my words. Actually, let me repeat it for good measure: when someone exits your life, if they want to be with you, they'll find a way to get back to you. No need to chase them. Don't subject yourself to more humiliation than necessary by pining over them when the fact may just be that they're just not that into you. They're supposed to chase you, after all! They're the ones that left in the first place. Have peace that they'll end up in your life again if it's God's divine plan. 

The real fact of the matter here is that if Bentley really saw something in Ashley, he would have made the situation work. But he was not into it at all. He just toyed with her emotions. All of us have gone through something where our heart is on our sleeve and a circumstance makes us wonder, "What if?" and all that. It's like a right of passage -- you'll have some star-crossed romance that makes you question yourself repeatedly. But don't let your insecurities get the best of you!

Lose the insecurities, people. They make you act out of fear, but God gives us definitive signs on how to move forward and onward if we choose to listen (something that will be on the blog Thursday).

With all that being said, can I comment on the show?  Thanks.

- Does Ashley eat, ever?
- Ames... he's so ugly... yet so cute... and adorable... and I almost cried watching him get his concussion. I honestly can't handle guys that can't defend themselves, it makes my heart break into a million pieces. Now he has a speech impediment and looks like he could be in the NICU. Yes, the NICU.


- Riddle me this: HOW DOES ANY WOMAN GET RID OF BEN C.? SERIOUSLY? The man had a frat swoop, played the piano, and not only had a law degree -- he was a practicing lawyer. That's a huge feat for our generation. I just don't get how she let that man go. Make him the next Bachelor and sign. me. up. THIS IS NOT SARCASM. I love Benjamin C. Bam. Let's find him on Facebook...?????????!!!!!!!!!!!!


- William, good riddance, dude.
- I don't know why the keep insisting that Josh Groban and Josh Groban Ben F. and Constantine stand next to each other all the time. They legitimately could be brothers, and legitimately related to Josh Groban. No joke.

Constantine & Ben F. I mean... Josh Groban.
Will the real Josh Groban please stand up?

I cannot wait until next week when the royal crap hits the fan!

Jun 19, 2011

The past two months have been filled with plenty of fun, fun, fun, fun! I know these are a tad late, but that means this post is chocked full of events to report on.

Oscar de la Hoya partnered up with tequila company Tres Generaciones and a huge party was thrown for it. (Note: He checked himself into rehab shortly after -- for substance abuse.)  A bunch of work people went and we had a BLAST. Those pink drinks from the video were lethal. They literally tasted like Agua Fresca from Blue Mesa Sunday Brunch... you couldn't taste the tequila. It was amazing. I had six.  It was an interesting next day... I've been trying to find the recipe for the Golden Boy Punch, so if anyone finds it, send it to yours truly.
Also, I have all this to use sometime in the future. Party at my place?


Cole, a new LA transplant and old chum from good ol' Georgetown, invited me as his plus one for this event. It was at LA Live's Club Nokia and we had a great time... almost a little too great. After checking out the red carpet (and watching Cole swoon over Aimee Teagarden), we went inside to the open bar and hung out with the famous folk -- Garrett Hedlund (taller and even more handsome in person), Armie Hammer (there with his wife), some of the kids for Super 8, and of course, Aimee. We got to talk to her about Georgetown and the surrounding areas, as she is very familiar with central Texas.  Cole and I sat on the floor at Giuliana Rancic's guests' table, which obviously was thrilling for myself!

AJ, moi and Cole 

My writing gig over at Examiner has gotten me pretty chummy with some awesome beauty brand PR reps, so they invited me to the Beauty Bar to get an airbrush tan by (one of my personal faves) Fake Bake among other things. I walked away with my own tutorial on how to fishtail braid, a beautiful faux glow, and some awesome Fake Bake, Covergirl and Wella products to sample! I loved them all and will write them up on the site soon (I've already written up Wella).  

I look like a Mexican... with platinum blonde hair
I was invited by Brandlink Communications on behalf of Gilt City to attend this fabulous awards show, for a great cause. The ironic thing about this is that two years ago, the very first event I ever worked in LA was, you guessed it!, the Inspiration Awards. Before I was getting creamer for Larry King and running to Rite Aid to get safety pins for the fashion show, and now I was walking away with goodies from Trina Turk, Gilt City and Dermalogica after eating a fabulous lunch. It came full-circle so quickly!

If you're not familiar with SUWN, check them out. They're a really effective network that makes a huge difference in women's lives. Presenters at this event included Busy Phillips and Nikki Reed, with award recipients including Christina Hendricks (Mad Men), Catherine Hardwicke (Twilight director) and Dermalogica (with founder Jane Wurwand).  

Dermalogica station at the swag suite

Beautiful setup at the Beverly Hilton

My colleague (and friend) Natalie and I made our way to Bel Air for this awesome pool party on Saturday! Upon arrival, we grubbed on some turkey burgers, enjoyed cocktails by 28Black (a natural acai energy drink) and basked in the sun. 
Guests enjoyed a live DJ set and mingled amongst Paris Hilton, Jaime King, Rosario Dawson and others, but the belle of the beach ball was Khloe, who revealed the results of Nivea's 2011 Good-bye Cellulite, Hello Bikini! Challenge.
We walked away with Nivea's Good-bye Cellulite fast acting serum & gel cream, along with their Skin Firming Moisturizer and Smooth Sensation lotion for dry skin, A Kiss of Smoothness lip balm and a Shay Todd bikini (which is actually really, really adorable and fits me perfectly)!

Beautiful Cali weather

The Chateau
I was inspired by the 70s, as per usual...

All the goodies!

I can't wait for what other fun events this summer has to offer! I'm so happy with my writing right now and what paths it may take me in the future. I'm so passionate about it and know, one day, I want to make it my (only) full-time job, given right now I'm working full-time and writing part-time (both with the blog and Examiner).  

Also, I feel like I don't say this enough, to those of you who have politely sent me a message about my blog, that they enjoy it, or that you love my beauty articles -- THANK YOU. It's not even flattering. It's just confirmation that I need to keep doing this. So thank you for re-affirming my passion. :) 

Jun 17, 2011

Forever and ever, you'll stay in my heart

This weekend, one year ago, I was in Ozona, Texas for something I'll surely never forget -- my best friend's wedding.

I'm totally turning into my mother. I read this post about the wedding from last year and totally cried throughout the whole thing. What a great memory to have (and a great memory of my precious Tobinator, may he rest in peace). 

So, obviously, it's Stinkles and Wilson's anniversary! And they're in CHICAGO!!!! I was like, "Why wasn't I invited?" But that defeats the whole anniversary thing I suppose...

I know for a fact Erin is having herself a gay ol' time. I can't wait to be a hot wife just like she is. :) 

Love you, baby Stinkis. 


Sometimes, you just need a sit down, heart-to-heart dinner with a close friend to put everything in perspective.

The glitter isn't gold to me anymore. And while still have some things to learn and do, I know what my next steps will be. Time to make myself happy!

Thanks, baby Krispy. I love you!

Jun 16, 2011

Horoscopic Evidence

  "You'll be looking for harmony and equilibrium in your relationships today, dear kirbie . You'll be avoiding any kind of argument or quarrel with your family or friends. Under the aegis of Justice and the Star you are communicating with total sincerity, an attitude that adds to the sense of well-being that others experience in your presence. This is a good day for asking your loved one to marry you, if you've been toying with this option! At work, you're able to look to the future with confidence after an agreement is confirmed, a contract is signed or you receive and unexpected offer. Justice and Judgment are signs of focus, involvement and positive developments in your career. Your projects progress without any major concerns, and your working methods prove effective. You're moving slowly but surely towards great success."

So is this horoscope going to get me JT's number so I can attempt to propose in person? Actually, what am I thinking?!!! Does this horoscope think I'm a man? No way on God's green Earth that I'm proposing to anyone. Guys, it's your job to put a ring on it, after all. Until then I can dance to all the "Single Ladies" choreography and it won't be fraudulent. 

If anything fascinating and/or exciting happens with the old ball and chain tomorrow (ahem, the career I've been slowly but surely been dragging along, in an attempt that it may change for the better sometime soon), this will be evidence!

Then again, a few months ago a horoscope told me I was going to pack my bags and head on a tropical vacation, which didn't happen, and cross paths with my "one true soul mate" and I don't think I did that either. Unless they were referring to shoes, in which case I found the most wonderful pear of cross trainers. (I'm borderline obsessed!)


One thing is true: I'm headed towards success -- that's the goal, anyway, with a beautiful life ahead of me and a great life behind me. 

I'll leave you with my new mani/pedi that I'm rather excited about. Party on the bottom, dainty on the top:


"Mind" your manners

Today I listened to Joyce Meyer's sermon about "Making a Life Change." I don't know what compelled me to listen to that one over the rest of the ones in my iTunes queue, but I did. And I'm so glad.

Lately, I've been begging God to renew my mind. Like, literally begging. "Dear God, please remove all my anxieties and help me to be restored in you." I've been going to church, I've been praying a lot more, and I've been listening to the word (both online and in books), but at the end of the day, I wasn't "feeling" any restoration. I would maybe feel it for the brief period at and after church, or after I prayed, but it wasn't a longwithstanding. Even right now it isn't.

As I was listening to Joyce, she reiterated that our thinking is just that -- ours. Nobody can change our own mind as well as we can. It reminded me of a few years back, I had dated someone on and off for awhile and I was absolutely miserable with our relationship. It was a continuous cycle of ups and downs, and for whatever reason, I felt like that needed to be in my life. I was willing to go through the drama just to "have" somebody, and more importantly, so nobody else would "have" him. What kind of ridiculous, 17-year-old logic is that? I mean, really, Kirbie? Anyway, it was a real eye opener for me, and one day, out of nowhere, I was just done with the whole ordeal. Over it. Didn't want to be around him, didn't want to see him, didn't want to talk. It was like a switch flipped overnight. He was not a necessary component of my life, and I didn't care if other people found him attractive or hit on him or wanted to date him.

I didn't care anymore. My mind was made up and I was sticking to it.

The same thing happened to me in a job. God gave me more than enough red flags to compell me to quit, but I was always wondering if that was the rational decision. Then, one day, poof! I was done. I turned in my two weeks, worked them, then retreated home for the holidays to job hunt and start anew. I didn't have another job waiting for me, but it was better than going through the misery of the job. Luckily I got out before things got worse -- they company ended up folding a few months later.

I don't know what spurred these immediate changes in my thinking. But what I do recognize is that the reason that kept me in those situations was my concern about what other people would think. For instance, "what will people think if I'm single? Am I less desirable or less attractive because I'm alone?" (again, such a logical teenager I was)  or "what will not having a job say about me?"

And that's what I'm still dealing with now. What will they think if I move? What will they think if I tell them how I really feel? What do they think of me regarding this situation?

Another major factor? My pride. Yes, admittedly, I absolutely cannot stand to be taken for a fool. Don't get me wrong, I don't think anybody enjoys this, but for me, it can be crippling. This is something I am working on consistently, but it's hard for my mind, lately, not to wonder without limits -- and worry that people are saying one thing and doing another, or vice versa. I don't want to be like Joey, the last to know about everything. (This is the competitor/researcher in me... I've self-diagnosed myself.)

So, what the heck? Why do I go through these emotions? And why do I go through them right when I'm hitting my stride and feel like I'm on top of the world? It's because, what I've learned thus far, is there is always going to be something that is going to try to make you feel inferior, less than, incapable ... unpretty, unworthy ... whatever. But the point of life is to overcome those things and know that you are deserving, you are worthy, you are more than capable.


When we were younger, we'd watch TV shows to teach us about the alphabet, counting, crossing the street correctly, sharing, etc. Consider this Sesame Street for our so-called 20-something lives.

Today's lesson: Minding your manners. No, I'm not talking about covering your mouth when you cough or not to curse in public (both, however, are advisable), I'm talking about thinking with standards.

Manners are defined as: unenforced standards of conduct which demonstrate that a person is proper, polite, and refined. They are like laws in that they codify or set a standard for human behavior, but they are unlike laws in that there is no formal system for punishing transgressions, the main informal "punishment" being social disapproval.

I'm going to keep my mind on point with my own standards. I wouldn't want anyone treating me with disprect, so why would I disrespect myself by thinking negatively? When I look for a guy to date, I want them to be confident, strong, comforting and enjoyable to be around. Why would I let my mind be insecure, weak, unpeaceful and frankly a terrible place to be? After all, my relationship with myself lasts forever. When I don't think positively, confidently and peacefully, I'm hurting myself -- the worst form of punishment. I won't allow outside, social influences to alter my mindset.

Someone who minds her manners every day is my colleague, Shauna -- somebody I absolutley adore. She was in the bathroom with me (we were primping and I let her borrow some makeup) and commented that she felt frumpy. Then, without missing a beat, she looked at herself in the mirror and goes, "Who cares. I'm Shauna." And walked out the door.

I promise on my life, God himself wanted me to hear her say that one statement. "I'm Shauna." Like, who gives a crap about what other people think, do and say? I'm me, I'm fabulous, and most people love it. Those who don't, don't know what they're missing out on.

I feel like every woman needs to say that to themselves once a day. It's so incredibly easy to compare, compare, compare, especially during a time where we're all trying to figure our lives out, let alone ourselves.

Take some time to meditate with God. Do you worry at all? Then you know how to meditate. Worrying is meditating on the negative. Don't do that!

What you think is imperative to haow you progress throughout life. I'm learning (still) that you control your emotions and thoughts, and what you think is so much more important than the rest of the world.

Jun 14, 2011

I don't really know how to go about writing this. I'm sad, but I wonder if I should be? Is it wrong that I am upset? Or emotional?

Today, I got an email from my Aunt Lisa, letting me know she needed to reach my mother ASAP. Lisa married Vernon, my biological dad's (Von) brother. She has been divorced from him for awhile, as my mom has been from Von. 

I texted Mom, but she was at college orientation with Nick (my brother) so she said she'd get back to Lisa when they were finishing things up.

I haven't seen Von since who knows when. I remember seeing him briefly during visitation, where my mom and dad would drive me to Houston to see him -- a three hour drive. He was married and living with his new wife, Jean, and their two daughters (hers from another marriage).

I've picked my brain several times and I cannot remember the last time we spoke. I know it was before I was 18, maybe even before I was 10. I don't think he paid child support so there wasn't a reason (I suppose) for him to be in touch with me.

However, if you loyal readers can recall, I have posted twice about Von in the past two months because my Statcounter indicated someone from Las Vegas, Nevada, was searching for "Kirbie Jaks" (my biological last name) and "Von Jaks." The has been going on up until a few days ago even.

Tonight, my mother told me that Von died. He died May 6th. That's what Lisa wanted to tell her -- Vernon told Cole (Lisa's son). 

I'm shocked. He was only 57 -- which I only found out by Googling him. By the way, that's about the only info I can find about him. No Facebook page, nothing about him anywhere. I can't even locate an obituary or death record. That's astonishing to me, given all of the technology we have at our fingertips.

He passed from leukemia. That shocked me as well... I've never "known" anyone who has died from something like that. It breaks my heart for him. I was surprised by my own emotions, because I cried on the phone to my mom. To be honest, I am sad. The past two years, I have quietly been wanting to get in contact with him... let him know how I'm doing, ask him some questions, get to know him a bit. I mean, he's the other half that created me.  

It's just a very odd, bizarre situation. 

I always wondered if he thought of me, if ever, and what he thought about me and our non-existent relationship. Would he ever want one? Why didn't he reach out to me? Does he have any grandchildren? What is he doing?

And now, I just keep thinking, "What if we did have a relationship? What if he was a huge part of my life, just as big as Dad is?" And that if that were the case, I would have lost a dad at 24. I mean... I have. I have lost a Dad at 24. But I wouldn't call him my dad. He was probably an integral part of someone else's life, but he didn't send me to college, he didn't see me go through heartbreak, or drive me out west to start my adult life. Mostly, he hasn't really been there. I don't know if that was a conscious decision to avoid hurting me or because he didn't care, but he wasn't around. 

I am mostly sad that it took over a month for me to get the news. I sincerely hope he was surrounded by people that loved him and took good care of him in his last days. Furthermore, I'm sad that I wasn't notified previously that he had cancer. I mean... I don't know. Perhaps I am not entitled getting those types of details. If I was dying of leukemia, I can't say that I'd be like, "Call Von and get him here," or anything. But, at the same rate, I'd want to talk to him to get some peace out of our whole situation. I wonder if he asked to get in contact with me? If he tried?

And lastly, it's just a really sad part of life that you can have a child with someone and then never really know that person, and that you can love someone and know them inside and out and then go to not knowing a solitary thing about them -- and never seen them again. A natural progression in life that God brings us to if necessary, I guess. Everything happens for a reason.

It's a sticky situation because it's really nothing like if Dad would have passed away. That would be a whole different story -- I'd broken apart. Being a Dad is more than having a genetic tie. But I can't help to see that one tie as one that bound us... and one that should have been explored more. 

If there are any relatives of Von with a direct connection, please, please send me an email and get in touch. All I want is a few minutes of your time. 

Rest in Peace, "Daddy Von." I hope you are feeling healthy, happy and are reunited with those you loved who passed before you.
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