Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Last Day at the Office

It's Wednesday, around 6 and my last full "free" day until I head to my new job on Monday. So it is fitting that I am sitting in Starbucks on East writing this. I used to come here every day for several months. It was more than a place to come and have a cup of coffee, I came here for sanity.

Six months ago I way laid off from my job in real estate and I never imagined I would be unemployed for that long. When I look back it has gone by fast but the day to day from month one through four was pure hell. Thank goodness I was writing. I spent every day from around 2pm on working on getting writing jobs or writing for the jobs I had. It saved me. Because quite honestly some days it was hard to get out of bed. In those first few months I felt a little lost, confused and on the edge of depression. Some days I felt like I wasn't on the edge but down in the deep end swimming around. Although there have been tears, I felt confident in Lord like I have never felt before. It was palpable for the first time.

Through it all, my time in prayer, crying out to the Lord for his hand to hold my heart combined with working out and spending time with friends got me through this unusual time in my life. It was a heart wrenching, horrible and beautiful time all at the same time. I met new friends, let go of others and spent a lot of time writing. During the 6 months I scored over 15 jobs writing, money which kept me afloat. And through it all I was still able to go out to eat, travel and have fun with friends. Somehow the money stretched.

I don't know how to adequately explain all that happened to me in the past 6 months...all that I have experienced and learned, but I wanted to recognize and mark it's end. I am so thankful for my new job and look forward to all that it brings. Maybe I'll write a book someday...:)

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Confessions of a Product Whore: My Clean Little Secret

At first the word whore seemed a little harsh and then a second glance in my bathroom cabinets and shower floor proved me wrong, junkie was hardly harsh enough, whore was just right.

I have always loved products. Lotions, creams, perfumes, face wash, make up, shampoos, pretty much anything that is sticky and/or creamy, smells good and promises to smooth, clear and clean my skin, hair, nails. One key ingredient...price. Did I also mention I take two showers a day? These two facts I am realizing go hand in hand.

The ironic thing is that although I like to read product labels (I'm weird) and peruse the aisles and magazine pages for new items, I'm becoming more loyal to certain brands. It's like I finally realized what works and what doesn't and have decided to stick with those (cough) few products. Well so I thought.

While showering this morning I took inventory of all of the things in the shower with me. Razors (2), loofah, Kiehls Amino Acid Shampoo, Pantene Shampoo and Conditioner, Herbal Essence Shampoo and Conditioner, Trader Joe's Tea Tree Shampoo, Dove bar soap, Johnson and Johnson's Baby Wash in Regular and Shea Butter and last but not least my favorite product line...Organix. I have the Pomegranate and Green Tea Shampoo, Coconut Milk Conditioner and the most recent addition to their family and mine, Mandarin Olive Oil Shampoo. With all of this in the shower, I wonder how I am able to clean myself, much less throw my leg up on the wall (standing shower) and shave my legs. It's a wonder I tell you.

The thing is that I know what all of these products do and I don't want to phase them out of the shower and out of my life. When my hair needs a little extra moisture, Pantene. When I feel like it needs a good clarifying treatment, Tea Tree Shampoo. When I want it to have extra life and lift, Kiehls. And like I said my go-to always makes my hair wonderful and smells delicious, Organix. So what is a girl to do? I am the go-to for my friends to ask about products and I am the girl who recently filled in an online poll on Allure to suggest the Best of the Best Products of 2008. I have a responsibility!! So with this I humbly say, "Hi my name is Brandee and I am a Product Whore."

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Shake, Shake What Yo Mama Gave Yaaa

I love Zumba. It's a class I take at the gym that combines salsa, hip hop and belly dancing into one fabulous hour of cardio/dance drama. I used to cheer and dance for 14 years, but nothing prepares you for being in the spotlight like a room full of woman shaking their stuff and another room full of men close by breaking their necks to see us break it down. The first time I carefully tried to follow the instructor, step for step, wiggle by wiggle. Now I know the routines and am able to throw it around a little more confidently. Then I brought my friend Faith into the equation...

Do you all have that one friend that always makes you laugh? That's Faith. She is from the heart of Georgia and is possibly the craziest, silliest girl I know. I love her for it. We met in college and have remained close friends. Just recently she and her husband moved to the QC so we are enjoying hanging out more. Last night she joined me for class and turned the whole experience upside down. She was flailing around, singing with the music yelling things like, “Ohhh shake it sistas,” and “Stir it up, stir it up.” When she missed a step (which was often) she let out a huge laugh and whooped and hollered all the way through the hour. When the instructor told us to shake our butts, she responded with a squeal, “What if you don't have one, is there an alternative move?” What was fabulous is that it made everyone loosen up. She said what everyone else was thinking. She free-styled when she couldn't catch up or catch on and it encouraged others to follow. She was just being herself. I love friends that help you loosen up. As the oldest child I am a little more type A than I would like to be, so friends like Faith are a blessing. They help you come out of the box a little. By the end of the night we were all free-styling well after class was over.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Don't Say I Never Told Ya...

Don't wear a thong to Pilates. It will inevitably get lodged in all of the wrong places. Somewhere between Downward Dog and Tree Pose for me this morning, things got twisted.

Don't go to the tanning bed and then go to a party. ALL of the pictures will turn out with you looking like a little salmon. The color, not the fish.

What are your "Don't Say I Never Told Ya's?"

Friday, January 30, 2009

What is this 25 Randomness Business??

1. I didn't sleep a wink last night, so I ate Oreos and watched Sex and the City til 4am.
2. Then the trash man came and the yard guy started doing his thing, so yeah I will be taking a nap.
3. I love doing Pilates and Yoga, but my biggest fear is losing the "good fat" I have, ie. front and back.
4. My cat has over 10 names, all of which you will never know.
5. Every day I pass by a tattoo parlor on my way home. Every day I think about turning in and getting one. Every day.
6. One of my favorite things this week was the one hour gmail video chat with Kel.
7. Yesterday I bought shoes and a shirt at Target for under $13.
8. I "tried" to be the girl that washes her hair every other day to give it a break...I am not that girl. Two showers a day is the only way.
9. I hate how tricky it is to blow your nose with a nose ring.
10. I confess I scan the gym for hotties on the way to a class. I also confess to shameless eye flirting.
11. I tried to be fancy and order a Gin Martini last week. It was gross. Conclusion: they only look fancy on tv.
12. I would never kiss an animal on the mouth. That disgusts me on many levels.
13. I am planning a trip out of the country this year. Chile, Greece and Italy are all on the list.
14. Sometimes I wake up with an idea for a novel and/or something to write about. I have a very long list.
15. I sing and pray a lot in the shower. I also dance.
16. I still dream in Spanish every now and then.
17. I fly a lot in my dreams.
18. I would like to master the art of small talk, because right now it is killing me.
19. Sometimes I want to be a counselor for married people even though that is none of my business.
20. I want to live in Europe for some part of my life.
21. I think I will have white babies. In college my friends used to say I would have mocha babies...
22. I am thankful that my best friends (who are married) do not try to set me up with single guys they (or their husbands know). I love them for that.
23. I never thought I would rock leggings, but they are like a second skin to me now.
24. I wish my parents never moved me to the East coast.
25. I am thankful that I have always believed in God.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Emperor's New Clothes

Remember the story of the Emperor's New Clothes? If you need a refresher, the Emperor struts his royal stuff in a parade, naked as a jay bird. He has been told that he was wearing such exquisite clothing, that only a well trained, refined eye could see it. The tailors, or scoundrels rather, had him fooled and because he was so wrapped up in couture rather than the matters important to his land, he made a complete ass of himself. Literally.

I wondered if we were not like the Emperor until the recession hit. We were striving in our jobs and personal life and maybe some of us got wrapped up in matters that weren't all that important. I know I have been humbled, in a refreshing way during this weird time in my life. Just like the child in the story shouted out with an honest cry, “The Emperor is naked!” I think I have looked at my own life and cut the crap a little. The child could care less about keeping up with the elite and his innocence kept him honest. Maybe this time is for us to quiet down a bit and reflect on what the heck we are doing with our lives and what we find most important. I don't know about you but I don't ever want to get so off track that I end up jumping at the idea of walking down the street naked. I'm just saying.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Best of 2008

I did this last year and it seemed to help my girlfriends, so here is your Best of 2008 product list!

Shampoo- Organix (Pomegranate and Green Tea), Pantene, Kiehl's Amino Acid
Conditioner-Organix (Coconut Milk), Pantene
Foundation- Bare Minerals
Bronzer- Clinique (Sunkissed)
Blush- Nars (in Orgasm, makes me blush writing that!)
Mascara- Loreal Voluminous
Eyeliner- Rimmel, Chanel, Revlon 12 Hour (all have great staying power)
Lip gloss- Kiehl's #1 Lip Balm, Cover Girl Fruit Spritzers, Desert Essence (drugstores)
Lotion-Johnson's and Johnson's Baby Shea and Coco Butter, Bath and Body Works in Sensual Amber
Body oils- Kiehl's Argan oil, Neutrogena Sesame Oil.
Nail polish- Sally Hansen in "Flirt!"
Face Lotion- Kiehl's Oil Free PCA Lotion
Mousse- John Frieda
Whitening- Aquafresh (recom. by my dentist!)
Razors- Try the guy's with a 4 or 5 blade
Shaving cream- Use the oil mentioned above for silky stems
Eye cream- Kiehl's Avocado Eye Cream
Perfume- Ralph Lauen Rocks and Hot, Philosophy's Falling in Love, Marc Jacob's Daisy
Random new tool- A pick...don't laugh. You know I have super long, super straight hair and this helps to "lift" a bit.
Face wash- Kiehl's Ultra Gentle Foaming Face Wash

And now looking at the list, I feel very high maintenance. haha Enjoy ladies!