Date Night!

So its no secret that this mama needs a vacation. I work too much, I sleep too little, I run on stress & rarely get a chance to kick back and relax. Its just part of being a small business owner, a single mom, and well... a Leo. If life isn't a challenge then it isn't fun! Right!? Well I've been bugging the boy for months about a getaway. "Just take me somewhere... let's sleep til noon and not work, and stuff ourselves with good food, and take naps and read books... you know, all those things we don't get to do otherwise!" And try as he might, scheduling always gets the best of us. With 4 kids between us, its just been impossible to work out. We always have 1 night a week in which we're both kidless for a few hours but by the time that night gets here, we're usually just content with pajama pants & DVDs. I'm as guilty of it as he is, always turning on my computer the second we get a chance to "rest" because there's always work to be done...

Date Night

Well this week we had a real bona-fide date. Dinner at Hugo's- our favorite date night spot, and Rodgers & Hammerstein's South Pacific at the Walton Arts Center. Now let me pause to thank this boy of mine for not only re-arranging his schedule so that we could do this, but let's be honest... showtunes don't really rank the highest on the "perfect man date" scale.

He didn't scoff at my choice of dates, in fact when I told him I got a ticket from the Walton Arts Center as part of a blog contest, he was very proud. He even put on a nice jacket, toted my tookus all over downtown, and opened doors for me all night. Though he wasn't singing along with me during the show, he's been breaking into a very over-zealous version of "some enchanted evening..." randomly since Intermission. I think that means he maybe dug it a little.

Mat wasn't familiar with the story, but I have loved it since I was a child. My mom, always the entertainer, was a choir director & choreographer when I was a child. This meant a lot of REALLY lame dance routines to go along with youth choir songs about loving your friends & trusting Jesus, I mean like serious jazz-hands kind of stuff... but it also meant some really fun and hilarious performances too. The most memorable one being the Honey Bun skit enacted by a group of high school seniors when I was 5 or 6. Its one of my fondest childhood memories, seeing my mom laugh and dance along with all of these kids... We grew up watching the movie and I've seen a couple of small theater productions, but wow- Last night was completely amazing.

Reading up on the show, the Lincoln Center's production won 7 honors at the 2008 Tony Awards, and I can believe it. It was incredible, it most definitely rose above all of my expectations. The characters could not have been more perfect, from Nelly's fantastic Arkansas accent (which the crowd of course LOVED!) to Bloody Mary's "stingy bastard!" and Billis' "Twirly Whirly" hips, it was just totally right.

Keala Settle as "Bloody Mary"
photo by Peter Coombs (taken from

My favorite part of the show though was actually watching the woman in front of me... About 75-80 years young, she caught my eye because she reminded me of my Gram... beautiful, dressed very nicely with her hair perfectly curled, sitting with her daughter. She was obviously very excited about seeing the show and as it went on you could tell she was really enjoying it. Towards the end, she was singing along with every song. The smile on her face was just as big as springtime. She was 100% in the music, in the story... nowhere near Fayetteville Arkansas for the night. It was fantastic to watch. That escape, getting lost in the show... that's what its all about, isn't it?

I couldn't help but look over and smile at my boy. Maybe the vacation wasn't panning out like we hoped, but we certainly had an absolutely lovely night together. The music, the show, the dinner, the walk up Dickson Street... it was all just different. It was relaxation and excitement all wrapped into a completely unique experience for both of us. I'll spare you all cliche mentions of enchanted evenings, but I bet you can all guess what I'm humming today...


Mary is a loser.

My friend Mary wants to lose 150 pounds.

Its a big job, and its so damn hard to do even with the full support of everyone in your life. Its making different choices, staying consistent, and re-training your brain to recognize the difference between unhealthy habits and actual hunger. In a society where fast food is more readily available than fresh food, its so difficult to find a balance between eating well and eating realistically.

Mary is a mother of 3, she shapes her day around her kiddos, her husband, her family, and her close friends. She commits herself to making a happy home, kissing boo-boos, and trying to keep up with mountains of laundry. She's remarkable though because I have honestly never seen this woman not smiling, in the 5+ years I've known her I have never seen her cry, or frown, or mope. She is just a ray of sunshine all the time. Through financial difficulty, through the ups and downs of marriage, child-rearing, exhaustion... she's always got something positive to say.

When I lost my 100 pounds, Mary was a constant force in my life. She was the most encouraging friend I had all. the. time. Now women, none of us want to admit this but we all hate to see our friends get skinnier than us. There's something within all of us that makes us go "wait, she looks better than me! well crap." We're all guilty of it, its just part of having a vagina. None of us can deny that, we've all felt it at some point. Over the years, she has never neglected to tell me how wonderful I looked every time I saw her. She never distanced herself from me or made catty remarks... she was 100% supportive always.

She's been trying to lose 150 pounds for a while now. She's lost and gained, and lost again, but she fights what every person does... its just hard, its even harder when you add a family and a full schedule, and its nearly impossible when you're a mama who dedicates every bit of your life to your family and your kids. If Mary is guilty of anything, its neglecting herself. She wants to be on the Biggest Loser. So far she's been to 2 casting calls and she's trying to garner support on the internet. If anyone deserves an opportunity to focus solely on herself, it is her because I guarantee that if you gave someone so determined and committed the tools to improve her life, she would absolutely soar.

So with that said, support my friend Mary. She absolutely deserves it.

Post this button on your blog to support Mary
<div align="center"><a href="" title="Get Mary Farmer on the Biggest Loser" target="_blank"><img src="" alt="Get Mary Farmer on the Biggest Loser" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

Good luck, mama! You are wonderful, beautiful, and you deserve this. I'm behind you all the way.

Say What!? +CONTEST!!!

I walked in the bathroom to check on my 3 year old this weekend and she looked up at me and said "The fucking bugs are back!"


"The what?"

"Um, the bugs... are back."

"The WHAT bugs are back?"


"We don't EVER say that word, little miss. Where in the world did you hear that word!?!?!"
(Please say daddy, please say daddy, please say daddy)

"The Little People"

"...The little people told you that word?"

Matter-of-factly: "Yes"

Which one of you did this? WHICH ONE!?!?! I demand someone tell me right now!!!

I lost it, totally laughed. I should've pulled out the bar of soap right then and laid down the law... but oh my god. The little people told her to say "fuck" !?!?! How do kids come up with this stuff? I mean, let's be honest here... she could've very well blamed me, but being the precious and intelligent child she is, she was gracious enough to not only lay the blame elsewhere, but to make me laugh at the same time! She's got me figured out already, I'm telling you.

This is my favorite shirt ever. It pretty much describes exactly how I feel about my hometown. Come on and try to tell me you don't love this shirt, or Fayetteville for that matter... even if you've never been here, it just screams me, right!?! Right.

Anyhow, I don't own it because I'm a respectable member of society and a mother and I can't very well go around wearing shirts that curse at people. Actually, none of that is true... I basically just haven't dropped $15 on it yet, and that's a damn shame.

But you know what- you won't have that problem.

Tell me your favorite "oops!" moment in the comments... either as a parent or a child.

I want to hear some juicy stories... Bad words, accidental walk-ins, the whole 9 yards. Did you (or your parents) lose it? Did you get your mouth washed out with soap or your hands smacked?

Tell me stories, best one wins free stuff from Rock City Outfitters, maker of this and many other lovely shirts.

...and GO!

*no guarantee of which shirt, just be a very happy little cupcake with whatever lovely gift you get, deal? though if you tell me in the comments which shirt is your favorite, i'll pass that along to the t-shirt fairies and we'll see if they can make it happen. fairies, like cursing toddlers, can be very gracious at times as well.

*comment link is up top. or click {here}

The Birthday Cupcake Saga... and why I hate being a modern mama

Here are Marti Pearl's cupcakes. 24 strawberry-on-strawberry with rainbow sprinkles, a job my very precious nearly 3 year old took quite seriously, sprinkling 3-4 at a time, which left her adorable little hands color-speckled and sticky. She loves to bake, so much so that she asks to make cookies or cupcakes every. single. night. And she's great at it! For a child her age, she has an amazing understanding of what it takes to make the food we eat, and I'm so proud of that.

This morning we marched in proudly carrying the cupcakes, and all she could say over and over again was "I made cupcakes!" When her teachers saw us, they immediately frowned. No homemade cupcakes allowed, only store bought.


I mean, I get it... I really do, no one wants to get sued. There are bad people in this world that do terrible things, we're all hyper-sensitive and no one wants to do the wrong thing here... but its a goddamned cupcake.

What happened to the days of bake sales and potlucks? Its not like they were that long ago, I remember the days before Pepsi-sponsored elementary schools when bake sales were how we made money. My mom and I would make my grandfather's "hurry up" peanut butter cake, then sit out in lawn chairs overlooking tables and tables of delicious treats. This is one of those "pinnacle of childhood" kind of moments: the first moment I lusted. And don't you dare knock it, lust has gotten me far in life.

I'm Methodist- I've got potluck casserole in my veins. My grandfather always has the same response when I ask him "Grandaddy, what's so different about Methodists and Baptists?" "Methodists have better potlucks". Do we still potluck like we used to? Are we all really that worried about how clean our friends & neighbors kitchens are? Worried that someone would rat poison the broccoli cheese casserole? Have we just gone that nuts?

I, for one, am not impressed. And I have a feeling that when 2:30 rolls around and my daughter sees those damn chocolate frosted cupcakes I hurriedly dropped $30 on at the bakery this morning, she's going to be very disappointed. Are we so worried about liability that we've stopped appreciating the little things that made us who we were? What does that mean for our children? What about the kids who have never had the pleasure of eating a homemade cupcake? What about the parents who don't have the cash to spend on birthday treats for a school that demands uniformity?

Why can't we all just eat some fucking cupcakes and be happy?

Overworked & Underpaid

I haven't posted in a coon's age. Want to know why?

I'm working myself to death, y'all. I'm in such desperate need of a vacation that I don't know what to do with myself. I love what I do, and I feel so very thankful that for the first time since I started my business in 2006 ( I am completely covered up with work. Its an incredible feeling, to know that I'm finally making a living doing what I love, and that people recognize that I'm really pretty damn good at it!

When I started my company it was because I had no other option. Pregnant and jobless I turned to the one career I avoided like the plague, growing up with a family of designers I never considered graphic design art... I wouldn't ever "sell out" like that. Blah blah blah, whatevs. I was silly, and now I am a fantastic graphic designer who totally kicks ass and takes names on a regular basis. Its a life, and I really do love it. I work from wherever I want, whenever I want. My very favorite part is getting to create all day long. I help shape businesses and directly contribute to other people's success and there's no better feeling. It is wonderful.

You know what's not wonderful, though? Not being able to consistently provide the security for my family that we honestly need. I'm at the point where I have to honestly look at my life and say "is it more important to own my own business, to be my own boss... or to make a good living and live with less stress?" I'm just so tired of working all day long, just to come home and work all night. 12-16 hour days are completely normal. Everyday I long for the opportunity to sit and not work, to actually relax and not feel guilty for it.

Perhaps its because I'm overwhelmed, or because I haven't had a vacation in over a year, or because I'm exhausted... but I'm feeling a big need to make a change. Being a single mama and owning a small business is an amazing feat, and I'm so proud that I've made this work, but I have to wonder what our quality of life would be if the constant stress over finances eased just a bit.