Monday, January 26, 2015

What's the Deal With Cliques Anyway?

I ponder a great many things in life.  That's just how I am.  And the things I ponder are often just random.   Sometimes I see something or hear something and just have to wonder...WHY?!  One of those things I have never understood are cliques.

Cliques were (and most likely still are) particularly popular among adolescents.  You know, junior high and high school age kids.  However, I have found that they are not limited to that age individual.  Unfortunately cliques extend in both directions of that age.  Children much younger are affected by cliques as well as adults.  While we all know what a clique is I thought it might be helpful to include that actual definition:  CLIQUE:  "A small exclusive group of friends or associates."  Hmmm...I think the key word here is "exclusive".  And by "exclusive" one can actually say "excluded".  Because, in my opinion, cliques either "include" individuals or "exclude" them.

I have often wondered how one decides who can be in a clique and who cannot.  Are there requirements?  Can someone just look at another and determine if they should be allowed to join their clique (or little group of friends)?  And do those within the clique feel bad about rejecting entry into said group?  I suppose cliques have been around for centuries if you think about it.  Most likely beginning with the separation of social classes. Years ago it was pretty much unheard of for people to socialize with individuals not in their own class.  How shallow, right?  Because in the year 2015 we cannot fathom how anyone could do such a thing.  Well, how is forming a clique these days any different?

Cliques are hurtful and harmful to the "excluded" individual.  I was talking to someone just the other day, a younger woman,  who confided in me that she had been excluded, probably not purposefully, but excluded nevertheless from her peer group at church.  This truly saddened me because if there is one place where individuals should feel "included" it should be within their church family.  There should be no cliques there.  But there are.

So, what, you may be asking, is the answer to this problem?  I'm not sure if this is an "answer" but it is the advice I always gave my children growing up.  Treat people the way you would like to be treated.  Give them a smile, a kind word and try to include them.  For "including" people makes them feel valued.  And why would we want anyone to feel otherwise?

FOOD FOR THOUGHT.  That's what today's post is...

**** Remember February 1st the WINNER to the FREE REEBOK SPARTAN RACE ENTRY will
         be announced so click HERE to enter!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Rainy Day Reading...

The weather has been so nice here this week.  In the high 60's and sunny.  And, I know it's still January and winter, but for a minute there I had hopes of a very early spring (sigh...).  So, you guessed it...the skies are gray, the rain is back and the temperatures are once again in the 40's (Brrr...pretty cold by southern standards).  So, what's one to do on such a dreary day?  Sit by the fire, sip a steaming cup of King Cake Coffee and crack open a good book.  Or blog.  Or blog about reading a good book.

I am currently reading, The Maze Runner Series.  Ryan and Allison have both read this series and recommended it to me.  It took me a little while before I got around to starting it because I was engrossed reading, The Book Thief.  It was quite a lengthy book but oh, so good!  Once I had finished it, however, I immediately picked up the first book in The Maze Runner Series entitled, "The Maze Runner".  The book starts when a young boy named Thomas awakes in a black box, not knowing how he got there and with no memory of his past.  Once the box is opened, he finds himself in a world of all teenage boys who speak an unusual language and they are living in a world they cannot get out of...because of a maze.  Try as they might, these boys just can't seem to find a way out of the maze despite having individuals who run through the maze the entire day looking for an exit.  There, of course, are dangers within the maze and then a very strange thing happens one day; a girl arrives.  And when she does, everything changes.  This book is such a compelling read that you cannot put it down.  You have to see what happens.

After completing the first book, I immediately picked up the second one in the series, "The Scorch Trials".  It picks up right where Book 1 leaves off.  I won't tell you much, but just know that there is really no resolution at the end of Book 1.  That's why the reader must start reading the second book right away.  And that is the book I am attempting to finish up on this cold, rainy afternoon.

My house is clean (Yay!), the preparations for Allison's baby shower are almost complete (Yay again!) and I am awaiting Caitlin and Holli's arrival from Ohio this afternoon (Yippee, Yahoo AND Yay!).  This weekend should be fun with all the shower activities and I plan on posting photos next week on this Pink and Gold Themed event.  Stay warm and dry wherever you are have a great weekend.  OH...and DON'T FORGET to enter my GIVEAWAY!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Who's Ready for Another SPARTAN RACE GIVEAWAY?!

I wrote a post a while back about Reebok Spartan Races.  At the time, I had no idea what they were, but did a little research and soon found out that there are a group of athletes out there who are BEASTS in the Spartan Race World!  I wish I was one of those Beasts and really admire those who have the ability to participate in these competitions.  And that's why I am going to
GIVE  AWAY another FREE Reebok Spartan Race!

                 If you are not familiar with the Reebok Spartan Races, take a look at this video.
                                                          WOW!  That's all I can say.

And there are a lot of NEW and EXCITING things happening in the Spartan Race World.  There is the 2015 Season Pass.  This is an Annual Pass that allows participants to race ANYWHERE, ANY TIME for one fee.  You get FREE bag check, 1 year of Global Rescue Access, Race ANY HEAT (inclusding ELITE) NO EXTRA CHARGE and get discounts on hotels, rental cars and MORE!

There will also be a 2015 World Championship held in October at Lake Tahoe AND for those of you who need a little "Fun in the Sun",  the FIRST EVER Spartan Cruise will be setting sail in MARCH!  On the cruise, you can meet the founder, train with the elites, hear expert speakers, bring your kids for FREE AND...there will be over $50,000 in prizes!

And if you would just like just find out what all this Spartan Race thing is all about, you might want to sign up for SPARTAN UP!THE PODCAST with Joe Desena, founder  and CEO of Spartan Race.  This New York Times Best Selling Author has been traveling around the world exploring what it means to SPARTAN UP! in all aspects of life.  He's interviewing successful individuals (not just athletes) to determine what it takes to get to the TOP and stay there.  It should prove to be very insightful, and even if you are not a Spartan Racer, it sounds very inspirational.  (HEY!  I may have just found something I can participate in! )

So, here's the deal.  If you want to put your name in the hat for a FREE SPARTAN RACE ENTRY (good anywhere in the Continental U.S.) you need to do the following:

1.  In the "comments" section of THIS POST put your NAME and E-MAIL ADDRESS, along with
     the words, "SPARTAN RACE".
2.  Visit my FACEBOOK PAGE and "LIKE" it.  Also leave me a "comment" with your NAME and
      E-MAIL ADDRESS along with the words, "SPARTAN RACE".

I will post the WINNER of this contest on FEBRUARY 1st, so ENTER NOW for YOUR chance to WIN...and SPARTAN UP!

  ***For more information on SPARTAN RACE Events click on this link:  SPARTAN RACE*** 

Friday, January 16, 2015

"Beauty Shop Days" in the South

Ummm yea, I just did that.  I didn't say "Hair Salon" instead I used a phrase from the past; "Beauty Shop".  And to make things complete I won't say "Hair Dresser" or "Stylist".  I'll call the person who works in the "Beauty Shop" a "Beautician".  And what, you may be asking yourself, even brings this subject up.  Well, other than my mind just works that way with random thoughts running through it all day long...WHEW!...Yesterday was "Beauty Shop Day" for my mom.

Did you ever see that movie, "Steel Magnolias"?  You know, the one with Dolly Parton, Julia Roberts, Sally Fields, Shirley MacLaine, Daryl Hannah and Olympia Dukakis ...  Surely you have.  I KNOW all you southern gals have; it's a "Southern Classic" where much of the dialogue takes place in Truvy's Beauty Parlor.  The little town where we have our lake house, Natchitoches, Louisiana, is where the writer is from and also where the movie was filmed.  ANYWAY...back to the point.  If you saw that movie then you know what both a "Beauty Shop" AND a "Beautician" is.

A "Beauty Shop" is a purely southern place that still exists in small rural towns.  There's the gossip, the "beauticians" who have been working there...FOREVER and if that's not enough to entertain you try watching the clientele come in and out.  I used to drop my mother off and run off to get her groceries or run some other errands but I have come to enjoy this "Beauty Shot Banter" and decided to just bring my knitting in and sit back for the show.

Tight blue jeans, big hair, a thick southern drawl and a degree from "The College of Hard Knocks" to assist their clients with all problems shared in the chair is a MUST for the beautician in the southern beauty shop.  I just sit quietly back, knitting and listening and at times grab a snippet of conversation that requires me to pause for a moment to look up and zoom in on the conversation.  And the "Hair-Do's" (Yep!  That's what the hairstyles are referred to in a beauty shop).  OH MY GOODNESS.  Yesterday alone I saw an elderly (no really, elderly, I'm not lying...) woman with gray hair getting her hair done.  I looked once and it was all in curls.  When I looked again it was teased into the biggest fro you have ever seen!  And before she walked out, all that hair had been reigned into a small bun in the back with a pouf in the front.  I'm thinking maybe beauticians really ARE magicians.

Anyway, it was quite a morning because my mother's beautician was running late.  Because she had a water leak at her house that morning.  And everybody decided to sit around and wait for their turn.  And, as usual, I glanced over to see my mother talking to a lady.  Patting her on the back.  Now my mother is a real social butterfly and talks to strangers all the time.  If she talks to them long enough she usually finds someone they know in common.  She always comments what a small world it is.  No, we live in a super small town.  And almost everyone here is related in some way.  But I digress.   I was concentrating on my knitting again when I looked up and there my mother stood with this woman in front of me.  I seriously didn't want to lose my count in my knitting project but also didn't want to appear rude by not looking up to make eye contact (oh the dilemmas I get myself into...).  I wondered if this was a new friend or old one.  She actually knew this woman from way back and introduced her to me and before I knew it she was looking at pictures of my grand kids on my cell phone (sigh...did I really do that?  OK, my mother told me to.  Does that make it better?!)

So, bottom line is:  My mother's beautician was a bit of a magician because she got her hair all fixed up after my mother had attempted to cut it herself (ugh...the way too short bangs story).  She got all caught up on her gossip AND ran into an old friend.  She looked nice and the sun was actually peeking through the clouds (Yay!) so with the dreariness gone for the day,  we headed out to do her grocery shopping and get lunch.  The "Beauty Shop" was great fun.  As a spectator sport, ya know.  And I got caught up on my knitting in the process.  So, if you don't live in a southern rural area then you MUST rent "Steel Magnolias", grab a bowl of popcorn and get ready to laugh and cry.
I had to post this "Beauty Shop" scene from "Steel Magnolias".  To let you know what you're missing if you haven't seen the movie.  Or live in a southern rural town.






Tuesday, January 13, 2015

We LOVE Hand Made Gifts!

I think it's pretty safe to say that most people love hand made gifts.  I love them because they truly come from the heart.  When one gives a hand made gift, they are giving a little piece of themselves.  This holiday season there were a few home made gifts given around here that I would like to share with you.

First, there are the book shelves Hubby made for me.  I mentioned in passing that I would like bookshelves for each side of the fireplace in my living room.  When we originally built this house I was not interested in having built in shelving in there but after 10 years...I changed my mind.  I didn't really expect to get my wish so soon but once again Hubby impressed me with his carpentry skills with the most unique set of book shelves I could ever ask for.

                                                               Aren't these THE BEST?!

 He also got a request to make Beckett a toy chest that could double as a coffee table for David and Codi.  I'm not sure how well you can see the details in this photo but the front is a beaded board and there is a book rack on one end.  The top has been painted with a chalkboard paint so Beckett can write and draw on the table.

While I didn't know about the book shelves that were being made for me, I was making Hubby a little something for Christmas too.  I am a water colorist and although I don't paint as much as I'd like to, I do love painting.  I started a painting a while back for Hubby of a Native American astride a horse, looking down a snow covered hill at a herd of buffalo passing.  Now, I chose this because of my husband's Native American heritage.
 I had it matted and framed and surprised him by wrapping it and placing it beneath the Christmas tree.

 
And finally, Caitlin's gift to her dad and me.  She is really creative and always comes up with new ideas to gift us with.  This year she came up with a gift I simply LOVE!
                                                  It is a Rogenmoser, Painted Peg Family!
She painted every little detail on these peg people; beards and hair colors were accurate.  Even the pets were painted and sitting proudly by their owner.

Holidays, birthdays and special occasions are so much fun around here.  Especially when individuals give a little of themselves by creating something special.  Think about it the next time you have to take a gift somewhere; consider giving something hand made and then watch the recipient's eyes light up when they open it.


Monday, January 12, 2015

Weekend Adventures and Fun Times

The Hubs and I like to go on adventures, however with me being sick it hasn't worked out too well.  But Saturday was the day we were supposed to go pick Ace up from the trainer so we decided to take the Jeep and take the scenic route drive...and then go off road through the woods by our house for another "Jeep Adventure".

Now, the first time we went on one of these little"adventures" through the woods, we ended up taking on water and having to call someone to pull us out.  The second time I had to climb out through a window because I thought we were going to turn the Jeep over, so this was the 3rd adventure...surely the 3rd time really was the charm!

I have to admit that after our other mishaps, I was a little jittery about the ride in the woods.  OK, mainly those big mud holes.  But after a little while, I just sat back and enjoyed the fact that I was out of the house for a little while.

                                   We live out by Kisatchie National Forest...Isn't it beautiful? 

I was so excited to go get Ace since he had been at the trainers for a couple of months.  When we arrived to pick him up, the trainer took him out to show us the commands he had taught him, as well as some retrieving skills he had acquired.  I was SO impressed.  This little puppy had really grown!  And his obedience had improved SO much!
                                                      I told you he had grown a LOT!
He was so well-behaved that we were able to bring him into the house (with the weenie dogs!) and he laid down by our feet and took about a 2 hour nap!

When we had gotten home from our ride in the woods, I decided that I would put the Sunday Pot Roast on the stove to slow cook for lunch the next day.  I had not felt well enough to go to church the past couple of Sundays but I was for sure going to go this week.  And following the church service, whomever is in town that day comes over for Sunday lunch.  This week it was Justin, Sarah and their two girls, along with Ryan, Allison, Mimi and Papa.  And this was a small crowd.
I got that Pot Roast going and slow cooked it for about 5-6 hours; until the gravy was dark and thick and the meat was falling apart.

The weekend wasn't too busy and I got to rest a bit.  The weather here is still dreary and I am feeling the pull of the beach...any beach.  I don't like winter; did I already mention that?  Anyway, I am at least feeling a little better today and think I will get out and go to the gym.  I know what you're thinking..."WHY?!"  Well, I think it will help my mood with this dreary winter weather.  And I have promised myself that I won't overdo it today.

Stay warm out there and look for the recipe I have promised some of you for that Paleo Turkey/Chicken Pot Pie!  I promise...it's coming this week.



Friday, January 9, 2015

Mani/Pedi Can Brighten a Gloomy Day

This week here in Louisiana has been blah...  It has been cold (ugh).  And rainy (yuck).  And I have been struggling with this awful sinusitis (boo).  I only got to work out on Monday and today I woke up with a head and ear ache.  After taking some medicine and drinking a couple cups of hot coffee, I find myself still sitting in bed watching some of my taped television shows (please don't judge, I don't do this often).  However, on Monday, while I was out and the gloominess was beginning to overtake this lovely, warm state I live in, I decided to brighten things up a bit with a manicure and pedicure.

Every other week I treat myself to this little luxury.  Mostly because having a mani/pedi can brighten almost any day for me.  I give myself an hour to sit and read while having it done and generally turn my phone on silent so I can enjoy the full benefits of this little self-pampering ritual.

With this week being so gloomy, I decided to brighten things up a bit with some of my favorite Essie nail polishes. 

On my toes is "Mod Squad".  A really vibrant pink that make me think of warmer temperature that will hopefully return in a couple of months.
And on the nails I took inspiration from a pin on Pinterest.  The nail shop chose a pale pink base color and I provided the golds I wanted to use:  "Good As Gold" on the tips and "Rock At The Top" for the one nail that has gold glitter on it.  These colors put a little sparkle in my gloomy day.

And, I actually got another couple of tasks completed also.  I am preparing for Allison's baby shower this month and the theme is "Pink and Gold".  Everything will be pink, cream and gold and I can't wait to share photos of the event with y'all!  Since I had taken all of my Christmas mantle decorations down, I went ahead and decorated the mantle in the room where the shower will be held...
   It's a good start and in the days ahead, I will be adding touches here and there for the special event.

I also decided to get started on my Mardi Gras decorating by decorating the mantle in my den...
The string of purple, gold and green lights I was going to add to this was unfortunately burned out, however, when I'm feeling a little better, I will be heading out to replace them.

I realize that these are just small things but they really did help to brighten such a gloomy week here.  Here's hoping for a sunnier weekend...no rain...warmer temperatures...and getting over this sickness.  OK, so, a girl can wish, can't she?!
                                                                HAPPY FRIDAY!