A Celebration of the Stupid Crap We Did In The 80s

A dear friend of mine shared the funniest article about parenting with me the other day. If you’d like to read it, just click on the picture below:

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This happy little dude is sitting in a 1970s car seat. Cute how that was considered safe, huh?

You’ll be shocked to learn that I wasn’t a parent in the 80s. But let me tell you what I was, readers. I was a KID. And some of the awesome stuff highlighted in this very article were projects my brother and I made up in order to keep ourselves occupied on those long, school-less summer days.

For instance…my little brother had a Little Tykes Cozy Coupe:

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Every kid in the neighborhood did. Am I right?

It didn’t take us long to figure out that not-so-difficult math equation between his car, my bike, and my trusty old jump rope.

stupid coaster

We didn’t have to be a geniuses to figure out that if we tethered the car to the bicycle with a few solid knots, that we’d just created the world’s most basic roller coaster.

Thankfully (for my parents’ peace of mind, and their insurance bills) we only had one small hill in our front yard. It wasn’t like we lived in the mountains or anything. However, that small little hill gave us just enough momentum to make us feel like we were REALLY flying. I can still vividly remember the anticipation of that moment—the count down, the squeals of delight from my brother behind me, the feel of the wind in my mullet. Every single time my front tire sloped down the first few inches of grassy hill, my heart would skip a beat. It was, in a word, awesome.

And totally worth the ten sweaty minutes it would take us to untie the car, push it and the bike back to the top of the hill, re-secure our roller coaster of awesomeness, and do it all over again.

But don’t worry, friends–I was a responsible 10-year old. My 4-year-old little brother was instructed to keep his feet up and over the dashboard. And on the days when we were REALLY feeling like dare devils, I always made him borrow the helmet from his My Pet Monster.

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He never got a concussion. Not once.

Tacky Fun Day

Today is our Tenth Wedding Anniversary.

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We could’ve done any number of things to celebrate this momentous occasion–and in truth, we discussed MANY of them. A trip to somewhere tropical, a giant fancy party, a whirlwind tour of Europe–but when it came right down to it, we figured out the PERFECT way to celebrate the ten years we’ve shared together as man and wife.

We drove to Myrtle Beach–aka Tacky Capital of the East Coast–for the day and pretended like we were tourists.

Now why did we choose to partake in Tacky Fun Day, instead of those other fabulous celebrations I mentioned earlier?

It’s easier if I show you rather than tell you.

So we started our trip at one of the hundreds of beach ware stores you see littering Highway 17 between Georgetown and the North Carolina border. This particular one was a Pacific store, and we went in with a mission.

Find the tackiest t-shirts we could find to wear throughout our adventure.

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I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty sure we succeeded. Brian couldn’t look at me if I was standing in direct sunlight because, well, my shirt was the color of a fresh new highlighter pen. (PS: I totally should have bought the hot pink sparkly fedora. I rocked it. Hard.)

Once we’d bedecked ourselves in All Colors of 1987, we booked it on over to the Hollywood Wax Museum. Guys? Seriously? Fun doesn’t come any tackier than this. We whiled away the morning jaunting around in the quiet halls of the building, taking selfies with pretend versions of our favorite celebrities. I took a TON of pictures, so I’m only going to share a few of our favorites here.

Top: Our separate reactions to meeting Captain Jack Sparrow. Bottom: The always lovable Tom Hanks, on the set of Forrest Gump.

Top: Our separate reactions to meeting Captain Jack Sparrow.
Bottom: The always lovable Tom Hanks, on the set of Forrest Gump.

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My handsome husband proving he’s just as tough as Vin Diesel (and in my opinion, a MILLION times cuter.)

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Y’all better watch out. Bruce Lee and Brian just opened up a can of whoop ass in here.

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I may have squee’d and run past Jamie Foxx, some race car driver, and Mariah Carey to have my picture taken with The King of Pop. Can you tell I’ve been practicing my dance moves? Can you?

It really shouldn’t surprise you at all that I was willing and eager to jump in a photo with just about any celebrity that the Wax Museum had to offer….

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Clockwise, from top left: Me with Hugh Hefner (not sure what he’s looking so smug about); Disappointed in Mark Wahlberg’s height; But not so disappointed I wasn’t willing to snuggle him; Dolly’s may be big, but I think mine are bigger; OMG y’all it’s Samuel L. Jackson; Walking like an Egyptian with Elizabeth Taylor.

But probably the most poignant moment, if you can have one of those at a wax museum, was when we came across Robin Williams. I felt compelled to pose for a shot that may have turned out to be the best one of the day.

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We wiped away the tears and headed downstairs to find the BEST portraits that had been taken as we arrived. “Pose here with King Kong,” they said. “Make funny faces,” they said. And so we did. And I’m SO pleased with how they turned out!

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Wax Museum 10002

We are champs at taking goofy pictures. I think we proved that at the Wax Museum yesterday.

After all that fun, we were still left with hours to fill up our Tacky Fun Day. So off to Ripley’s Aquarium we went. While it isn’t as large or as grand as some of the aquariums Brian and I have visited over the years, it still had a certain charm about it. And the moving pathway underneath the giant shark tank? Super cool. And hard to photograph. So you’ll just have to take my word for it and be satisfied with this blurry picture of me in front of it instead.

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After a bit of lunch and shopping, we traveled a bit north to the MAIN attraction. We didn’t decide to just go to Myrtle Beach on a whim. Nay, good friends. We went with one specific goal in mind.

Mini Golf.

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And not just ANY mini golf. Nay, good friends. We drove ALL THE WAY to North Myrtle Beach for the opportunity to play at Professor Hacker’s Lost Treasure Golf. After paying the price of admission, and collecting our clubs and balls, we were shuffled off into a train car and driven to the top of the hill.

That’s right. It’s a putt putt course with a TRAIN.

Now you know why we drove up to North Myrtle Beach. (Sheldon would be proud.)

Just to set things up for you a little, Brian and I are pretty competitive when it comes to things like mini golf. We play on a pretty regular basis, and whoever wins bragging rights…well, let’s just say it’s a fun little jab that we use in day-to-day life until the next mini golf game is played.

I’d also like to mention that the last time we played, I didn’t just lose. I lost SPECTACULARLY. By dozens of strokes. I was slaughtered on the greens.

However, luck was in my favor yesterday. I beat Brian not just once, but twice. And here’s the shot of the hole-in-one that sealed my husband’s fate as a mini golf loser:

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…and Brian’s subsequent “I’m not happy” selfie.

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Ha HA! Suck it up, loser! … … … I mean, don’t be glum, chum. There are SO MANY OTHER THINGS in life that you excel at … … … I mean, you played so well, sweetie! You should be proud of yourself! You came in SECOND PLACE!!! … … …

Ok, I’ll stop. The next 10 years of my marriage may depend on it.

The final stop of our whirlwind tour of tackyland was actually a bit of a fluke. We wound up at WonderworksI’d seen the wonky, upside-down building from the highway many times before, and never wondered what was inside. Lo-and-behold, it was an entire attraction filled with fun scienc-y stuff. YAY! Science is fun!

We experienced hurricane-force winds, learned about gravity and the pulley system, played trivia games based on everything from geology to theme songs from the 80s, and attempted to land the virtual space shuttle. (Brian’s aside: he SUCCESSFULLY landed. I crashed three times.) (But that’s ok. Because he sucks at putt putt, so it’s all relative.)

We also got electrocuted:

Made giant bubbles:

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And got to pretend we were real live astronauts:

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It was a Nerd’s Paradise.

We capped off the evening with a quiet dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, whiling away the moments between bites of awesomeness with recounted memories from that blissful day.

So, you see, I don’t need a week in the Poconos. I don’t want a cruise in the Mediterranean, or a big fancy party. Because what I have is a partner, a best friend, a teammate, a playmate, and a husband, all rolled into one. I’d say that makes us winners.

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Except for at mini golf. At least in Brian’s case.

Because I’m Happy

You’ve read my blog before, right? For the most part, it’s all sunshine and light (and occasional slap-stick humor.) I have a few mottoes that I live by, and one of my favorites is this:

happiness

It’s not always easy to be happy, I know. Believe me, I’ve had my fair share of days in the dump. But I make a decision every morning. And most days, I decide that I’m going to be HAPPY. Why? Because life is too short to be anything else!

So when I stumbled across a little internet challenge called “100 Happy Days,” I knew, even before I clicked onto their sunshine-y website, that it was going to be my cup of tea. The gist of it is this: Can you be happy for 100 days in a row? And if so, can you prove it? I took 100 pictures, 100 days in a row, of things that make me happy. Those photos were shared on my Instagram (and subsequently on Facebook and Twitter, for all my friends and followers to see.)

As the 100 days went on, I had several people ask me if it was challenging to find something to be happy about every single day. Truth? Not at all. Even on days where I was cranky or sad or irritable, I still managed to laugh and smile and be happy during those days, too. Snapping a picture to document those moments turned out to be fun, but also life-affirming. Whatever I’m doing, I’m doing it right. So…go me. I rock.

Here are a few of my most favorite happy moments in the last 100 days…

Day 8: Edge of the World

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Because a day at the beach is ALWAYS a happy day.

Day 18: Geordi LaForge, Crochet Style

How adorable is he?? I also have a Minion that I adore. You can shop for your own nerdy little Dude at their Facebook shop: https://www.facebook.com/Rekindled.Spindle.

How adorable is he?? I also have a Minion that I adore. You can shop for your own nerdy little Dude at their Facebook shop: Rekindled Spindle.

Day 36: Songs That Remind Me Of Old Friends

You've experienced it before. A song comes on the radio and you're instantly transported back to high school, dancing around with your BFF. Love that feeling.

You’ve experienced it before. A song comes on the radio and you’re instantly transported back to high school, dancing around with your BFF. Love that feeling. It’s an instantaneous grin-maker, for sure.

Day 40: Besties Beach Day

Is anyone seeing a theme? It is summertime, after all. And a day at the beach with a FRIEND is an even HAPPIER day!

Is anyone seeing a theme? It is summertime, after all. And a day at the beach with a FRIEND is an even HAPPIER day! (Pictured with me is BFF and Weight Loss Buddy, Melissa.)

Day 43: My King

Because he makes me laugh. So much. I'm the happiest girl in the world when I'm with him.

Because he makes me laugh. So much. I’m the happiest girl in the world when I’m with him. (You try and look at this photo without laughing. Go on.)

Day 46: My Adoption Fund Minions

This series of photos was taken at one of our yard sales, to benefit our adoption fund. Every single one has been hot, miserable, and exhausting. But having my friends and family around has also made them FUN and HAPPY! (From L to R: Minion Name tags I drew for each team member; Head Minion and BFF, Tina; the lovely Kat; Expert Crocheter and General Happiness Expert, Jaime; Gru, aka Brian, and Office Manager Minion Rick aka my Daddy.)

This series of photos was taken at one of our yard sales, to benefit our adoption fund. Every single one has been hot, miserable, and exhausting. But having my friends and family around has also made them FUN and HAPPY! (From L to R: Minion name tags I drew for each team member; Head Minion and BFF, Tina; Cat Wrangler Minion Kat; Expert Crocheter and General Happiness Expert, Jaime; Gru, aka Brian, and Office Manager Minion Rick aka my Daddy.)

Day 47: Date Day Dress

Sometimes all it takes to put a smile on a girl's face is for her husband to say "You look really pretty," and to offer to take her picture in her new dress.

Sometimes all it takes to put a smile on a girl’s face is for her husband to say “You look really pretty,” and to offer to take her picture in her new dress.

Day 76: WERQ Week, Day TWO

WERQ makes an appearance several times in my 100 days countdown, but this picture was my favorite. Why? Because WERQ makes me feel strong, sexy, and, you guessed it, HAPPY!

WERQ makes an appearance several times in my 100 days countdown, but this picture was my favorite. Why? Because WERQ makes me feel strong, sexy, and, you guessed it, HAPPY!

Day 86: Happy International Cat Day!

 You KNOW celebrating my furbabies makes me happy!

You KNOW celebrating my furbabies makes me happy! From L to R: Dizzy, Pip, Harry and Scooter.

Day 95: Baby Brother’s Birthday

Family makes me happy. Birthdays make me happy. Even celebrating birthdays of people who stabbed me once makes me happy. :)

Family makes me happy. Birthdays make me happy. Even celebrating birthdays of people who stabbed me once makes me happy. (In case you missed it, that’s my little brother, Adam, aka: the Great Pencil Wielder of 1989.)

Wanna take up the challenge? Just visit 100 Happy Days, read all about it, and commit to making your life a happier place to be. I’ll be cheering you on! I had so much fun doing this challenge that I might just start over!

Summertime Woes

Going to the beach requires a lot of work.

Before you start throwing things at me through your computer screen, let me explain.

See, I live 45 minutes from the actual ocean. Yes, I’m luckier than most because I can still make it a day trip, whenever I want. But still….a lot of planning goes into a trip to the beach for me. There’s the weather watching, and the guesswork that goes into whether it’ll be worth an hour long car ride, only to get to the beach and be rained out. There’s the logistics of the thing: will I also have time to stop for groceries on the way home? Can I make it to the post office before it closes, or should I leave early and go first? I wonder if I can eat at that little cafe nearby in a swimsuit and cover-up?

Then comes the packing. Beach towels for me, an extra for a friend, and another extra because you can never have too many towels. Sunscreen: SPF 50 spray for my body, special baby formula lotion for my face, SPF 15 chapstick. Can’t forget my hat, my sunglasses (because I have to wear my real glasses while I’m driving), headphones, a book or two, maybe a magazine if I’m feeling so inclined. Oh…and the cooler. I’ve got to fill it with ice and add healthy snacks, tons of water, and a trash bag for use at the actual beach.

I load it all into my car as the sweat drips down my brow because HOLY CRAP it’s A HUNDRED FLIPPIN’ DEGREES OUT HERE.

I’m all loaded up, all the i’s have been dotted and the t’s crossed. I kiss my husband goodbye, grab my keys and my wallet, and hit the pavement. Twenty minutes into my drive, I’m ignoring the giant black thunderhead that decided to pop up in the direction I’m heading. It’s July in Charleston…if there’s a thunderstorm this early in the day, it’ll be a quick one. I forge ahead, determined to get my time in the sunshine.

There’s traffic; so much traffic my nerves begin to fray. A dude driving a giant blue pickup cuts me off (because it’s always a dude in a pickup), and those nerves snap. My “Yay For Me, I’m Going To The Beach” mood begins to turn into my “If This Poo Face Doesn’t Start Driving The Speed Limit I’m Going To Scream” mood.

And then, finally, my car crests the bridge over to the Isle of Palms, and I see palm trees, and wide expanse of sand, and an even wider expanse of blue, all the way out to the horizon. My heart releases in my chest, and the smile creeps onto my face without my realizing it. I grin at the giant pelican as he flies lazily over the bridge into the marsh below. I stop at a red light, gladly waiting for a few minutes because I know I’ve almost reached my destination. I allow a tourist, then another, to merge before I cross the street, since I know they’ve probably never been here before, and I want to share this little section of my world with everyone and anyone. I greet the volunteer at the gate and happily hand him my parking fee, and we chat, momentarily, about the weather and the tides.

Parking achieved, I unload the bounty that needs to make the trek across the sand with me: my beach bag, my cooler, my lounge chair. I strap it all around my chest, all twenty pounds of it, sweat dripping down my back, but I do it all with a song in my heart. I nod and smile and speak to all I pass: people are just happier at the beach. And so am I.

And finally, I choose my spot and set up camp. There’s no better moment than this. I whip off my cover-up, douse myself in sunscreen, don my hat and sunglasses, and take a seat.

It is always worth it, in the end.

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Between you and me, friend, I probably won’t think about how much work it takes to get to the beach when I go again next week. These are the kinds of summertime woes I can deal with. And happily.

My Photography Skills Are Improving…But Not As Quickly As My Photoshopping Skills

I’ve been spending a lot of time behind my camera lately. It’s an introspective art form for something who’s more used to making funny faces in FRONT of the camera. But lately, it’s been the outlet for my creativity.

With photography comes editing–which, depending on each individual photographer is either the fun part, or the daunting part. For me, it has always been the daunting part. Especially when I take 400 pictures that I have to wade through to find the perfect shot before I even start messing with it in Photoshop.

The truth is, despite what my friends and family think, I really don’t know how to use Photoshop to it’s fullest potential. See, up until last week, my idea of editing a photo consisted of cropping, resizing, and de-fuzzing. Oh, and adding myself to the picture of the place that I’d rather be today, doing the things I’d rather be doing.

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Don’t judge me. I need a vacation.

As it turns out, Photoshop does a TON MORE STUFF than just those three things. And thanks to the internet, and tons of free YouTube tutorials, I now know much more about editing photographs the way the Photoshop gods intended. And so, without further ado, here are some of my favorite shots taken over the course of the last few weeks, all edited to perfection. Go me.

 The young Scottish ring bearer at a wedding I photographed recently. The black and white made it feel that much more special.

The young Scottish ring bearer at a wedding I photographed recently. The black and white made it feel that much more special.

The drunkard at the Renaissance Festival. He's my kinda guy.

The drunkard at the Renaissance Festival. He’s my kinda guy.

 Probably the best portrait I've ever taken, and made even better simply by adding a cooling filter with Photoshop.

Probably the best portrait I’ve ever taken, and made even better simply by adding a cooling filter with Photoshop.

Teeny tiny toadstools, all in a row.

Teeny tiny toadstools, all in a row.

This photo actually hasn't been edited, which makes me preen like a peacock. Broomstick handles at the Ren Faire.

This photo actually hasn’t been edited, which makes me preen like a peacock. Broomstick handles at the Ren Faire.

A beautiful day at the beach, a warming filter, some fuzzing around the edges...who knew a few quick clicks could produce something so lovely?

A beautiful day at the beach, a warming filter, some fuzzing around the edges…who knew a few quick clicks could produce something so lovely?

 Blue. Cerulean blue.

Blue. Cerulean blue.

I wasn't sure this shot would turn out, because it looked so fuzzy straight out of camera. But a little tweaking and I think it might be my favorite.

I wasn’t sure this shot would turn out, because it looked so fuzzy straight out of camera. But a little tweaking and I think it might be my favorite.

 Pink pail against a blue sky, sharpened foreground and blurred background. I rock.

Pink pail against a blue sky, sharpened foreground and blurred background. I spent a lot of time on this photo, but it was totally worth the end result.

 A photo of the Angel Oak I took awhile ago that I finally edited to my satisfaction. Black and white, and I edited out a pesky cable that ruined the photo.

A photo of the Angel Oak I took awhile ago that I finally edited to my satisfaction. Black and white, and I edited out a pesky cable that ruined the photo.

Who knows, maybe this will turn into something more than a hobby for me eventually. But for now? It’s been a great way for me to use my creativity in a new and different way.

No worries. There will still be goofy shots of me on the blog. Because even though Photoshop rocks at helping me create beautiful images, I still think it’s main purpose is for comedy.