Saturday, December 31, 2011

Dear Aggies

While watching one of our new SEC additions this afternoon, I was unpleasantly surprised by the wardrobe of the fans. Who knew t-shirts were so dang popular? Texas A&M fans (and I'm assuming Missouri's, too) need a wardrobe intervention, and fast! Here in the SEC, Saturday's are considered a holy day, and I have a feeling the SEC football gods will not smile down on all that cotton. If I had a ton of money, I'd be opening two cute boutiques -- one in College Station, Texas and one in Columbia, Missouri. However, I still have faith they can do it without my help. It took me five minutes to find dozens and dozens of cute gameday dresses online in maroon/black (for Texas A&M) and gold/black for (Missouri). Trust me, it's a lot easier to find than Tennessee orange. So, with that, Aggies (whatever the heck that is) and Tigers, there will be absolutely zero excuses for unacceptable clothing next season. Consider this your spring and summer challenge and use this as an excuse to go shopping for a new wardrobe. Leave the cotton at home and we'll see you next season!
Not in our houses, please.

Ideas for Aggies

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

Unfortunately, I haven't had the opportunity to write a Thanksgiving post due to traveling back to Tennessee this week, but I do want to share my Thanksgiving post from last year with you. Some of you have already read the story, but for those of you who didn't follow my blog when I first started it exactly a year ago, you can read my first blog post here:
I hope you all have a blessed Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Why Men Are In Trouble

     (CNN) -- For the first time in history, women are better educated, more ambitious and arguably more successful than men.
     Now, society has rightly celebrated the ascension of one sex. We said, "You go girl," and they went. We celebrate the ascension of women but what will we do about what appears to be the very real decline of the other sex?
     The data does not bode well for men. In 1970, men earned 60% of all college degrees. In 1980, the figure fell to 50%, by 2006 it was 43%. Women now surpass men in college degrees by almost three to two. Women's earnings grew 44% in real dollars from 1970 to 2007, compared with 6% growth for men.
     In 1950, 5% of men at the prime working age were unemployed. As of last year, 20% were not working, the highest ever recorded. Men still maintain a majority of the highest paid and most powerful occupations, but women are catching them and will soon be passing them if this trend continues.
     The warning signs for men stretch far beyond their wallets. Men are more distant from a family or their children then they have ever been. The out-of-wedlock birthrate is more than 40% in America. In 1960, only 11% of children in the U.S. lived apart from their fathers. In 2010, that share had risen to 27%. Men are also less religious than ever before. According to Gallup polling, 39% of men reported attending church regularly in 2010, compared to 47% of women.
     If you don't believe the numbers, just ask young women about men today. You will find them talking about prolonged adolescence and men who refuse to grow up. I've heard too many young women asking, "Where are the decent single men?" There is a maturity deficit among men out there, and men are falling behind.
     This decline in founding virtues -- work, marriage, and religion -- has caught the eye of social commentators from all corners. In her seminal article, "The End of Men," Hanna Rosin unearthed the unprecedented role reversal that is taking place today. "Man has been the dominant sex since, well, the dawn of mankind. But for the first time in human history, that is changing—and with shocking speed," writes Rosin. The changes in modern labor -- from backs to brains -- have catapulted women to the top of the work force, leaving men in their dust.
     Man's response has been pathetic. Today, 18-to- 34-year-old men spend more time playing video games a day than 12-to- 17-year-old boys. While women are graduating college and finding good jobs, too many men are not going to work, not getting married and not raising families. Women are beginning to take the place of men in many ways. This has led some to ask: do we even need men?
     So what's wrong? Increasingly, the messages to boys about what it means to be a man are confusing. The machismo of the street gang calls out with a swagger. Video games, television and music offer dubious lessons to boys who have been abandoned by their fathers. Some coaches and drill sergeants bark, "What kind of man are you?" but don't explain.
     Movies are filled with stories of men who refuse to grow up and refuse to take responsibility in relationships. Men, some obsessed with sex, treat women as toys to be discarded when things get complicated. Through all these different and conflicting signals, our boys must decipher what it means to be a man, and for many of them it is harder to figure out.
     For boys to become men, they need to be guided through advice, habit, instruction, example and correction. It is true in all ages. Someone once characterized the two essential questions Plato posed as: Who teaches the children, and what do we teach them? Each generation of men and women have an obligation to teach the younger males (and females of course) coming behind them. William Wordsworth said, "What we have loved, others will love, and we will teach them how." When they fail in that obligation, trouble surely follows.
     We need to respond to this culture that sends confusing signals to young men, a culture that is agnostic about what it wants men to be, with a clear and achievable notion of manhood.
     The Founding Fathers believed, and the evidence still shows, that industriousness, marriage and religion are a very important basis for male empowerment and achievement. We may need to say to a number of our twenty-something men, "Get off the video games five hours a day, get yourself together, get a challenging job and get married." It's time for men to man up.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


Tomorrow night I leave for Tennessee to attend my first post-graduation Homecoming. It is sure to be a busy and fun-filled weekend with friends and family. As some of you know, I'll be crowning the 2011 University of Tennessee Miss Homecoming as my final duty as last year's Miss Homecoming. I absolutely love Homecoming and am really looking forward to all of the festivities! 

Looking back, I can certainly promise you I never thought in a million years I would go from this:
Brittany and I before our first football game as students.
to this:
Dad and I on the field last year.
in just four (and a half) years.

A lot of people have been asking me over the past few weeks:
What is Miss Homecoming?
How does it work?

As defined by All Campus Events (the student organization that organizes homecoming), Miss Homecoming should be "a senior woman who possesses poise, leadership skills, loyalty, strong character, and most of all true "Volunteer Spirit." She will be one who the students, administrators, and peers will be proud to have representing them as the emblem of the University of Tennessee and all for which it stands."

- Any registered student organization at the university is able to nominate one senior woman for Miss Homecoming.
- The nomination process consists of a nomination statement from the organization, two self-written statements from the candidate, and additional information about the woman's involvement both on and off campus.
- The nomination packet is followed by two rounds of interviews conducted by university administrators. The first round is a group interview (3-4 women). After the first round, the candidates are narrowed down to the Top 10. The second round is an individual interview (which, by the way, was by far the hardest, most intense interview of my life). The candidates are then narrowed down to the Top 5.
- Throughout Homecoming week, the Top 5 candidates participate in a number of different events to promote voting. However, no individual campaigning is allowed.
- The Top 5 candidates are then voted on by the student body through an online system and the winner is announced at halftime.

This weekend I'll be in the annual homecoming parade on Friday night and will then crown Miss Homecoming 2011 at halftime. Five amazing ladies are nominated this year and I'm so excited for all of them! Best of luck to all of you. You've all been great representatives of our university! 

With that, I'll leave you with one of my self-written statements from my nomination packet. I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend and 

Tennessee has always been my home. Though I considered many different colleges, I followed my heart to the University of Tennessee. The fear of becoming a "number" at a large institution deterred many of my friends from attending Tennessee. However, my love for my home state and home university wouldn't let me go anywhere else.
The opportunities I have had over the past four years have cultivated a greater love for our university and for the state of Tennessee than I could have ever imagined. Now, as I look back on my four years as a Volunteer, I realize this University has changed my life. My experience at UT as a member of some of the most rewarding organizations on campus has allowed me to meet amazing people, enjoy my education, and make a difference at a university where so many worried they would become a "number."
Enlightened by my experiences, I hope my love for our university has shone brightly to my family, friends and fellow Volunteers during my time at UT. No matter where life takes me when I graduate, I will be forever grateful to this university.
While I have been highly involved in campus life and have tried to live the true "Volunteer Spirit," being chosen to represent my university as Miss Homecoming 2010 would be one of the highest honors I could imagine. I am humbled by this nomination. Thank you for this consideration.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

And Guest

Receiving a wedding invitation can be a stressful experience. I know what you’re thinking. Weddings are stressful? No way…

In a relationship: “I love weddings. How romantic! I can’t wait to plan my own!”
Single: “I love weddings. How fun! I hope the bridesmaids/groomsmen are single and good looking and I really hope they have an open bar!”

Weddings are supposed to be exciting. Don’t get me wrong, for the most part they are; however, we’d all be kidding ourselves if we didn’t admit that sometimes being invited to a wedding can cause a brief moment of selfish stress. Let me explain.

What causes this brief moment of selfish stress? Answer… two words:

“…and guest”

Such a simple phrase, but yet it can cause stress whether you are single or in a relationship.

In a relationship: “I better be ‘and guest-ed.’ Why did he/she get a plus one and I didn’t? What if they give my ex a plus one and not me just because he/she is in the wedding party? Did he/she get a plus one just because they are engaged and we aren’t? I’ve known the bride/groom longer!”
Single: “What if I’m not ‘and guest-ed?’ Or, what if I am? Just because I’m not in a serious relationship doesn’t mean I don’t deserve to bring a date. I’ve known the bride/groom longer than all these fools. But wait, if I am and ‘guest-ed,’ who will I take?

Catch my drift? Don’t lie; we’ve all been through it.

Recently, four (yes four – and I have a feeling a couple more are coming soon) of my close girlfriends got engaged. Before we go any further, let me just say I could not be more excited for these four women. They are four of the most wonderful people I know and I can’t think of four people who deserve happiness more than them. I love them all so much! Let me introduce you:
Aren’t they beautiful? (And, wow! Blast from the past!)

All of these wonderful ladies are getting married between June–July of 2012. What does that mean for me? It means I better start saving money so I can travel back to Tennessee for their big days!

What else does it mean? It means I’ll soon be stressing out about being “and guest-ed.” I don’t expect to be “and guest-ed” at all four weddings (trust me ladies, absolutely ZERO pressure here, I’ve learned from experience that weddings can sometimes be more fun without a date), but I probably will be for a few of them.

So, as a single twenty-something who lives at least 500 miles away from these weddings, what are my options if I am “and guest-ed?” This is what I’ve come up with so far:

1.     Find a serious man --- and fast!
Ok, let’s all be realistic… this probably isn’t going to happen. If you know anything about me, you know the story of my life is bad timing and distance. I don’t necessarily expect that to change anytime soon, but I’m optimistic. If I find someone in the next five months, then great! If not, no worries.

2.     Take someone I’m interested in.
This one could be tricky. It all depends on how interested and how long I’ve been interested. The same caveats apply to this one as apply to taking a friend.

3.     Take a friend.
Maybe take a friend who lives in Tennessee? Or, maybe take a friend of a friends date? Or, ask a friend from D.C. (or another city) if they’d like to take a road trip back to Tennessee for a big party? Everyone loves road trips and parties, right? I think so. A few caveats with this one (and with taking someone I’m interested in): He has to be fun, and I mean really fun. He has to be social. He has to get along with everyone, be a likeable person and be able to entertain himself. I don’t want to be babysitting all night. Liking to dance would be a plus. Sense of humor, that’d be great. Look good in pictures? Even better.

4.  Thank my wonderful friends for “and guest-ing” me, but graciously let them know I’ll be coming alone (I can always use the fact that I love 500 miles away from Tennessee as an excuse, right?) 
I’ll put on my dancing shoes and celebrate some of the most wonderful people I know with some of my closest friends and have the time of my life while doing it. 

Sure, there can be a little selfish stress along with weddings, but at least for me, weddings are some of the best nights of our lives. I love everything about weddings and with or without a date, I can't wait for this next wedding season to kick-off!

Congratulations Staci, Mika, Caitlin, and Annie!!! I love y'all!

Chattanooga vs Disney World

Since 1987, Disney World has capitalized off a series of popular television commericals featuring NFL players, typically the Super Bowl MVP, shouting the phrase "I'm going to Disney World!" while celebrating the team's victory immediately after the championship game. These commercials have also promoted champions from other sports, and winners of non-sport competitions such as American Idol. The popoular tagline has even made its way into two of my favorite shows growing up, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and Full House. But, what's so great about Disney World anyways?
Based on the reaction from these Atlanta, GA children, apparently not much. Maybe Disney World needs a new advertising strategy, or, maybe this year we will see our next Super Bowl MVP change the tagline to "I'm going to -- eh -- Chattanooga!" 

 I can only imagine the field day the tourism department in Chattanooga is having trying to capitalize on this new video. Way to go Chattanooga!!! Thanks for helping the world realize what I've always known -- Tennessee really is the "happiest place on Earth!"

Happy Tuesday!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

A Few Questions Answered

Surprisingly, I had several people mention reading and enjoying my blog when I was in Tennessee the past two weekends. A few people asked some questions or made suggestions regarding what I should blog about, so since I'm a little under the weather today (dang weather changing) I'll try to answer a few.

1. You never blogged about attending President Obama's Address to Congress. How was it? And, more importantly, what did you wear?
For those of you who don't know, I had the great honor of attending President Obama's Address to Congress last month to see him propose his "jobs" plan. It was truly a once in a lifetime experience. Like I've said before on here, I try to avoid talking about my political opinions on my blog, so I won't get into exactly what I thought about said "jobs" (cough*stimulus*cough) plan. However, the experience of seeing the President of the United States, regardless of political party, address Congress was absolutely surreal. After work, I headed over to the Capitol to find my seat. I wanted to get there early so I could people watch as everyone arrived. I found my seat and made friends with the young Secret Service agent and watched as members of Congress started to take their seats. I may have purposely flirted a little bit with the Secret Service agent so he would tell me where the First Lady would be seated and when she would be arriving. It worked! ;) My seat location was perfect. The best way I know how to describe it is -- from my seat, President Obama was at 11:00 and Mrs. Obama was at 2:00. I had a great view of both. I honestly can't even describe how amazing the experience was -- watching the members of Congress pick their seats, watching Mrs. Obama arrive, watching the Vice President lead the senators onto the floor, hearing those famous words: "Mr. Speaker, the President of the United States" -- I had chills and teared up watching the events unfold. (Yes, I'm admittedly a nerd) It was truly an event I will never forget. Here's what my ticket looked like: 
Some of you are probably more curious about what I wore. Lucky for you, I took a few pictures while I was trying to decide what to wear (I tried on about 10 different options) to send to my mom and a few friends to get their input. This is what made the final cut. 

2. How long are you staying in D.C.?
That is a very good question. When I started my new position in July I committed to staying in D.C. until the end of 2012, but beyond that I don't really know. I love D.C., but I ultimately want to move back to Tennessee, more specifically probably the Nashville area at some point in the future. It will all depend on several different factors -- where I am in my career and where my personal life is or is headed. I'm in no hurry to figure it out anytime soon. Right now I'm completely content with life and am not worried about planning for the future. I've learned things rarely turn out how we plan them.

3. Have you met anyone yet?
No. Not yet. I don't really want to go there right now, but let's just say Emily Giffin could write another best seller based on my life. (Yes, I'm leaving it at that, wonder away).

That's all the questions I'll answer for now. I'll leave you with a few pictures from the past two weekends in Tennessee. Time to curl up on the couch with some kleenex, cough medicine, and soup and get ready to cheer on the big orange. Y'all have a great weekend. GO VOLS!

A few 2000s Torchbearers before being recognized on the field at halftime of the LSU game.
Tailgating before the Georgia game.
With Steph and Cait before the LSU game.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Philippians Four Six

I apologize for being MIA lately. I've been busy with work and traveling home to Tennessee, but I wanted to share a verse I've been hanging on this week before I head back to Tennessee for the weekend. My friend, Whitney, originally posted it on her blog and I posted it in my planner earlier this week so I would be reminded of this great verse multiple times a day. I hope everyone has a blessed weekend!

do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. and the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
philippians 4:6

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Happy Wednesday

It's going to be a great day!
It's already Wednesday, Fox and Friends played a Backstreet Boys song this morning, we're in recess (or should I say 'state work period'), my alarm went off at 6:00 a.m. this morning instead of 5:00 a.m., I only work until 4:00 p.m. today, and I'll be in Tennessee in 9 days!
For Wordless Wednesday, I thought I'd share this neat little video I found yesterday. This was created by an advertising agency in Chattanooga, TN and the students are from UTC, Ooltewah and Boyd-Buchanan high schools. If you're interested, you can read more on it here. I hope y'all enjoy. Have a wonderful Wednesday!

P.S. I've had a few people ask if I deleted my blog. Obviously, if you are here, you know I didn't. However, I did change the web address for my blog. Instead of my full name, it is now (I didn't want my full name so clearly displayed and out there for the world to see) So, if you have my blog on your favorites bar, which I'm sure all of you do (I joke, I joke), then make sure to update the web address.  =)

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Erin Condren Life Planner

If you know me, you know I am as Gold as Gold personalities come (although yes, Allie, I do have a good bit of Blue in me). For those of you who aren't familiar with the True Colors model of personality identification, you can visit their website here. 

Some of the most notable traits of Golds are: organized, consistent, procedural, thorough, punctual, structured, and orderly. Golds are the people who make a to-do list daily. Golds are the people who go back and add things to their to-do list after they've completed the task if it wasn't on the list before. If you know me, you know this describes me perfectly. I am the QUEEN of lists. I've been made fun of many, many times for my excessive to-do lists and for even going as far as dating my to-do lists (Alissa). 

In case you're curious... some information I found about Golds online:
Golds value tradition (hello, this screams me), they are the record keepers, inspectors and caregivers. They enjoy family traditions such as birthday parties and family gatherings. (My family will appreciate this one - I pitch a fit every single time someone offers a new idea for a family holiday). Golds are very business-like and private. They believe their word is their bond, that everyone must be on time (pet peeve), organized and plan things through properly. They follow their to-do lists and seek closure since they prefer to do one thing at a time, do it very well and then move on. Golds view the world as black or white, right or wrong and are definitely the rule makers and rule followers of the world. They are the ones who act as the steadying element in our society. “Be prepared” is their motto. They form the backbone of institutions. They fill the places of worship, the service clubs and businesses. During their teen years Golds take on increasing responsibility. They will want to get jobs to save for their future such as their further education. They will have their rebellious times but these don’t tend to last as long as they might for other temperaments. They need to feel grown up and they want to take their place in society. Golds expect to be held accountable and to take responsibility. They cheerfully shoulder the load that they know needs to be done. They know someone is going to come along and ask them if they have finished some specific project and they want to be able to say that it is done. 

So, now (if you're actually still reading) you know more about the Gold personality than you probably ever wanted to know, but you might be able to understand how incredibly excited I've been about my new planner arriving since I have a strange love for planners, calendars and to-do lists.

In the past, I've used a Lily Pulitzer planner. I loved it, but it seems like they have become more and more popular and I wanted something different. Let me introduce you to the best thing that has happened to planners since some person with a Gold personality invented them...

The Erin Condren on-the-go Life Planner. After much anticipation, my life planner finally arrived this week!

Notice Erin Condren's attention to brand identity detail. I was so impressed with the packaging. Fun colors and inspiring quotes can be found all over Erin's products.
Inside I found a friendly welcome note and a free gift.
My life planner came with customized free gift labels.
How stinkin' cute! Mrs. Erin sure does know how to pull in a customer base. I will definitely be ordering from her in the future. 
I also received custom notepads to match my planner.

For my life planner, I wanted something cute, but basic enough that I could leave it out on my desk at work and not immediately be compared to Elle Woods. Cute and fun, yet sophisticated was my goal.
 I absolutely loved how the cover turned out.
Inside the front over. A place to put your name and contact information in case you ever misplace your planner.
As I mentioned, cute and inspiring quotes are everywhere in this planner.
One of my favorite things - TABS! They make the planner so easy to use. My only piece of constructive criticism is next time I hope they laminate the tabs as they did the front and back cover. I have a feeling these will wear out quickly. I can't decide if I want to try to prevent that by covering them or if it might add a little character. We'll see.
Next we have special dates pages to list important dates. This will be very helpful for birthdays, anniversaries, etc. and will be helpful when transferring into a new planner after this one is complete in December 2012.
 Up next is a view of each month up until December 2012. This will be useful for long term planning.
Then we get to the individual months. Each month begins with a month view on sturdy cardstock.
 After a few notes pages, each week is broken down into morning, day, and night. Love this part! It also has a goals and to do list section for each week. Amazing!
Again, fun colors and cute quotes throughout.
 After all of the months, there is a section to fill in personal important numbers. (Work, Cell, Emergency Contact, Doctors, Dentist, Restaurants, Gym, Salons, etc.)
 What girl doesn't love stickers? Up next are six sheets of stickers. Some are already filled out (Party, Game, Birthday, Concert, Hair Appt, No School, Vacation, Wedding, Girls Night, Sale, Mani/Pedi, Baby Shower, Bridal Shower, Date Night, Massage, etc.) and then some blank stickers to make your own!
 Next is this awesome "Keep it Together" pocket. I plan on using this for postage stamps, stationary in case I need to send a note in a pinch, etc. It has a pocket on both sides.
 After the convenient pocket is a water proof Zip-Loc type pocket. It came filled with all sorts of personalized goodies AND a 10% off coupon for my next purchase. I'm telling you, they thought of everything!

 This shows where I put my personalized notepads. So convenient!
Another view.
 And finally, a full 2013 and 2014 calendar on the back cover.

If you are anything like me, I know you would absolutely love this planner. Erin Condren seriously thought of every detail you would ever need in a planner. For you brides and teachers... she also sales wedding planners and lesson plan books and I'm confident they are just as awesome.

If you've stuck with this post all the way to the end, I'm impressed. Don't forget to check out Erin's website. She has everything from these planners, to iPad stickers, to stationary, invitations, gift labels, etc. etc. etc.

Gold personality love to you Mrs. Erin. LOVE my planner. Thank you!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

I didn't blog about the 10th anniversary of the September 11th (mainly because I was so overwhelmed with different emotions and I didn't know what to say), but I wanted to share these two photos with you.

I was able to attend the 10th Observance of September 11, 2001 on the East Front of the Capitol with all 535 members of Congress and many past and present Congressional staffers. It was an amazing experience.

Time to get back to work. Enjoy! - Micah

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Someone Should Want To Date Us

The main event of the weekend didn't turn out exactly how I was hoping, but, as always, Florida weekend was still a major success. Hallie and I did some major research during the week on what all we wanted to contribute to the game watch party. Our decision: orange jello shots, football-ish cookies, pizza dip (me), and baked beans (Hallie). 

We started off the weekend (as we normally do) at happy our with our co-workers after work on Friday. After happy hour(s), we headed to the grocery store to pick up all the needed ingredients for the weekend.  We then headed back to Hallie's to make the jello shots (they needed to sit overnight) and the baked beans (they needed to cook in the crock-pot overnight). We finally finished up a littler after 11:00p.m. The result? Over 100 orange jello shots and a-maz-ing baked beans.
Since the game started at 3:30, I had to get up early to get everything else done. I used adorable jersey and football cookie cutters and put a Tennessee touch on some sugar cookies and brownies. (These will be better next time, both taste and looks. I ran out of time and had to rush)
Hunter, Bray, and Poole all made the cut for my cookies. After Justin got hurt (which I can hardly talk about -- absolutely heartbreaking), one of the girls at the party asked if him getting hurt was a big deal. My reply, "Obviously he's a big deal. I mean, he's one of my cookies." And of course, I couldn't make anything Tennessee related and not include Peyton, so he got a cookie too.
I was most excited about this pizza dip. I'd had the dip before, but I'd never made it myself. I also wanted to bring in the football theme and I'd seen a pepperoni football on a pizza on Pinterest, so I thought I'd try it out. I was extremely nervous, but it ended up working out perfectly and was apparently a big hit at the party. It was completely gone within 30 minutes.
All in all I'd say it was a huge success (not the game -- the party). Hallie and I's conclusion from this weekend: someone should want to date us. We spent hours preparing for game day and deciding what we would contribute to the party, we spent hours socializing after work on Friday, and we spent hours going to the store and making food for the party (and we LOVE football and actually know what is going on). Who wouldn't want one of us as their girlfriend/wife to make each game day a complete hit? Right? =)

Since I used all of my favorite ideas for this past weekend, I'm glad we have an off week so I can try and come up with more ideas for the next game watch party... and so we can all recover from the heartbreak of the Florida game. Don't worry Gators, we'll get you next time!

Side note: I've never done the whole take pictures of your outfit thing like some bloggers... BUT I am just SO excited about fall weather that I had to share my first fall outfit. 
 I hope y'all have a great week! 

Monday, September 19, 2011

If it doesnt look right

I'm running short on time and ideas until I have time to uploaded some pictures, so this post comes from one of the adorable blogs I follow, My Two Cents. She has a guest blogger today, Danae Matthews of Women's Health Base. I hope y'all enjoy it as much as I did. Have a fabulous Monday! - Micah
I have been living in San Francisco for going on five years and in my time here there is one thing I can say for certain: girls. be. trippin.

Now why do I say that? I’m sure this doesn’t just apply to San Francisco, I’m sure you could relate to me for wherever you are reading this, but if there is something that I consistently see is women not knowing how to act- with men. This is largely because half the females I know meet a man, that man tells them exactly what his intentions are from the very beginning, but because that female thinks this man is somehow holding back his feelings she pursues him anyway. This creates months of tears, drunken text messaging and my ear being talking off about some guy who told you from day one “he wasn’t looking for a relationship.” So for all my SFers and beyond, for all my comrades in love, these are just a couple of tips to keep in mind to avoid this ever happening to you. In no particular order.

If he tells you he isn’t looking for anything serious, it’s because he isn’t looking for anything serious with you.
No really. I know I sound like that book, but it’s true. Men are like animals in the sense that when they see something they really want (actually women are like this too) they feel the need to pee all over it and let all the other men know it’s theirs. If he isn’t metaphorically, symbolically, or physically (if you’re into that) peeing all over you-it’s because he isn’t too concerned about anyone snatching you up. This could be for a thousand reasons. Find one you’re comfortable with and make yourself believe it.
If he asks you on a date, a real date, assume he has the funds to take you out.
If a man asks you out- I mean calls you up and makes plan for a restaurant or event, when you get there PLEASE don’t suggest to split the bill. You’re a laddyyyy. Not his friend, not his buddy. Doing this will automatically make him think that you are trying to be. Trust me; it doesn’t make him think you are “cool.” A real man will want to pay for you, maybe not all the time forever and ever for the rest of your lives, but for the first date, yes.
Alternatively, if he asks you out and you end up sitting on his coach playing a video game, run away, run run run away!
He doesn’t like you. At least he doesn’t like you in the way that you want him to. He probably wants to have sex with you-but a relationship no.
If you’re on a date and he says something that is really off color, makes you uncomfortable or doesn’t stop talking SAY SOMETHING.
You’re a human being too. Most likely you’ve been to high school, hey probably/maybe college. I bet you have A LOT to add to the conversation, huh? If he starts monopolizing all conversation, makes an offensive joke or reaches across the table and grabs your cha chas; tell him, correct him or leave! I’ve heard too many bad date stories from friends who said how they sat there for two hours without saying anything. EW why? TWO HOURS? It’s your life too! That is two hours you could have spent finding the NEXT guy. Don’t be rude, just politely say whatever it is that you need to make the night better or end.
There is a time and way to make plans with you. I’m not suggesting playing games, but…
I’m just saying-making plans for dinner for 8PM at 5PM means something else that he was going to do that night fell through and he is calling you to bat clean-up. The proper way to set up a date would be a day or two before. Heck really he should make a date on a Monday for a date on Saturday and check-in on Friday to confirm- that would be ideal. The whole “hey wanna catch coffee in an hour” is reserved for someone you’re already dating.
Because I had one more thing to say…
My aunt always says “If it doesn’t look right, feel right, or smell right, it’s probably because it’s not.” I live my life by this. If you have to push something, or if you’re in a situation that just really makes you uncomfortable on more than one level get yourself out of there. You know yourself best, look out for you!
-Danae Matthews

Thursday, September 1, 2011

I Am Tennessee

My friend and co-worker, Whitney, celebrated her two year anniversary of moving to D.C. earlier this week. Yesterday, we shared stories about our moving experiences. The range of emotions both of us felt from the moment we accepted our respective positions to the day we officially started in the office can't be perfectly put into words. Excitement, disbelief, joy, sadness, stress, being overwhelmed, fear -- you name it, we felt it. We joked how our friends and family probably thought we were regretting our decisions to move to D.C. because we were so overly emotional during that time. Yet, at the same time, we were both relieved. We knew we were on our way to doing what we always wanted to do - we were on our way to our dreams.

One story I shared with Whitney was a lunch with co-workers and students of the job I was leaving. It was a very special lunch - one I will never forget. During lunch, we shared stories of all the different things I had had the opportunity and honor to do during my undergraduate career. Finally, I was asked two questions:

1. What is your favorite moment from the University of Tennessee?
2. What will you miss the most about the University of Tennessee?

While choking back tears, I described my favorite memory. Standing arm in arm with the four other Miss Homecoming finalists singing the Alma Mater on the field in Neyland Stadium. It was a spontaneous moment in which I reflected on the four (and a half) years at UT that had helped mold me into the person I had become.

I then moved on to the next question. I tried and tried to think of one thing I would miss the most about being at the University of Tennessee. Class? Football games? Sorority meetings? SAA events? Panhellenic functions? Fraternity parties? The strip? Yes, I would miss those things... but they didn't come close to describing what UT meant to me. Finally, after what felt like an eternity to me, I finally choked out through the tears... "this is my home." And it is. As cliche as it sounds, Tennessee has always been my home. I was born in Knoxville. I took field trips to visit McClung Museum on campus when I was in grade school. I went to football games. I went to Lady Vol basketball games with my Mimi. I earned my degree. I fell in love. I fell out of love. I met my soulmates in my friends and sorority sisters. I grew into the person I've always wanted to be and now I'm in the process of achieving my most far fetched dreams. And when I go back in a few short weeks, I'll again be going home.

I am 110% confident I am exactly where I need to be and where I am meant to be. At this point in my life, I am supposed to be in D.C. I love my job, I love my friends, I love everything about my life here. As one of Whitney's friends once told her... you'll always be sad when you leave home, but that doesn't mean you want to move back or aren't happy where you are... there's just something about home.

When I first ran across this poem, I decided to post it as my blog for today. The more I read, the more I realized how perfectly it describes what it means to be part of the Tennessee family and this led me to share a bit more.

 I don't think I could have ever predicted the utter sadness I feel when I think about missing our home opener in Knoxville this Saturday. There is so much more I love about Knoxville and the University of Tennessee than football, but there is something special about knowing that most of the people who love Tennessee as much as I do will be in one place this weekend, and I won't be there.

Instead, I'll join fellow members of the Volunteer family at a bar in D.C. as we all watch our boys take on Montana and enjoy every minute of it. 

I look forward to my three trips home this season (Georgia, LSU, and MTSU) and I know those trips will give me the perfect amount of home to prevent me from being sad. Best of luck to our Vols this weekend and I hope all of you have an amazing time no matter where you'll be watching the game. GO VOLS!

Author Unknown
I am Tennessee. I am the 30 year old couple coming back to campus for the first time with both little ones in tow. One wears her orange and white cheerleader outfit; the other wears #16 even though he's too young to understand why.
I am the 50 year old man who hoped no one saw tears in his eyes when the T was formed by the band. I was too choked up even to sing "Rocky Top." For a moment I felt foolish and then I didn't care. God, I love this place.
I am the 60 year old woman meeting her freshman grand-daughter who is now the 3rd generation of UT students in our family. Despite my age, I'd strap it on Saturday and hit someone if it weren't for my gender and this blasted arthritis.
I am Tennessee and I have always believed I was different. You can see it when you look up into the stands. My orange is not the same as Florida's or Auburn's, but the differences go much deeper than my colors.
Read my creed. What other school has one? I genuinely believe in these things. To be a real Tennessee man or woman speaks of character, not of geography. All are welcome to walk through my gates, not just the wealthy or the elite.
Georgia and Alabama may have their nations, but we have always been family. Make no mistake, we loathe defeat, but even in defeat we would rather be a Tennessee Vol than anything else.
We are family and you are the sons of Heisman, the sons of Majors and Neyland. You come from a long line of brothers whose names include White, Gault, Wilson, Manning, Shuley, Nash, and Mahelona. It is a great heritage.
So this Saturday, when the warm ups are over and the prayers and amen spoken, when you hear my thunder growing in the stands above you, when you stand in the tunnel and the smoke begins to form, listen for my voice when you run on to my field.
Behind the frenzy of the shakers and deafening roar, I will tell you something in a whisper you may miss. I will be telling you that you are my sons and I am proud of you for the way you wear the orange and white. I am telling you that you are my sons and I love you.
Tennessee is so much more than a state or a school or a team or a degree. It is something that, once you have experienced it, will live inside of you forever and become a part of what makes up who you are.
It is driving into town on a game day. You may have come from hundreds of miles away and as you get closer and closer to the city limits, you feel it rising inside of you. Other cars on the highway proudly display their Orange and White flags or magnets or car tags, and you honk and wave at them, because, for that one day, you are all on the same team.
It is the smell in the air and the ritualistic act of tailgating... catching up with old friends, making new ones, and invitations from perfect strangers to try their ribs or watching their satellite TV showing all of the day's important match-ups... of course, all being secondary to the one that will occur in the great cathedral of Neyland Stadium later that day.
It is the Vol Walk... where you might just see 300 pound men overcome with emotion and weeping with pride, because you have come there to cheer them on. As they walk by, you might exchange a glance with one or two of them, and you can see it in their eyes... it is going to be their day.
It is the students... dressed in their best, because going to a Tennessee game is like going to church for Tennessee people... you show the same respect as you would if you were in God's house. Those students remind you of the days when you were walking in their shoes and Tennessee was your home... but then you realize, in many ways, it is still and always will be HOME.
It is that lump that rises in your throat when the band plays Rocky Top as the "T" is formed.
It is walking around on a "foreign" and sometimes hostile campus. You are easily identified (Tennessee people always are) and the enemy jeers and shouts things at you to mask their feelings of intimidation. But just then you happen upon a friend you have never met before. You know they are your friend by the colors they wear or the shaker in their hand. You exchange a "Go Vols" and a confident grin, because he/she knows what you know.
It is when your heart leaps with every touchdown, field goal, sack, and interception... because those are our boys. And win or lose, they will always have our un-dying support. After all, it is those boys that you are really there for and not a coach or a logo or a trustee or a president.
It is the complete and utter exhilaration of walking away victorious over a worthy opponent... that feeling of pride and accomplishment as if it were your own feet that had crossed the goal line scoring the last points yourself... that feeling of wanting to scream "GO BIG ORANGE" at the top of your lungs and hug complete strangers... and then there is the ultimate high of defeating your most hated foes from across the state.
No words can describe what this feels like, but you know because you have experienced it. It is the sheer agony of defeat as the last minutes tick off of the clock and you realize that all hope of a victory is gone.
You feel like crying and maybe you do... then you hear the faint sounds of a cheer that grows louder and louder... "IT'S GREAT TO BE A TENNESSEE VOL."
It is knowing that year after year, no matter how things change in our hectic lives, you can always come back to "the loveliest place on the river"... the place where you came from... your home.
It will probably look a little different and there will be new names on the backs of the jerseys, but deep down, no matter what, it is still the same. You still love it as much as you always have, because Tennessee is as much a part of you as your arms and your legs and the orange blood that runs through your veins.
And finally, it is the feeling you have right now as you read these lines... the anticipation inside of you, because you know it's almost time... it's about to start all over again... but then it really never goes away, does it?