Three Things.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Three things.

1. Do you want to hear one of the greatest mathematical mysteries known to mankind? Here it is: why one can hear a large amount of compliments and nice things about themselves and hear one really hurtful and awful thing and how that one hurtful thing outweighs all the nice things you've ever been told. Like I don't sit around thinking "You know, I think these people are right -- I am pretty smart and nice and thoughtful." But I will (now) spend hours thinking "Maybe I am not a team player and I have a bad attitude and am bad at my job." Like that one incredibly hurtful thing holds way more weight than anything nice anyone has ever said to me about myself. It's the eighth wonder of the world.

2. I honestly think that perhaps this world would be a much nicer place if people got more hugs. I really learned today (if I didn't already know before) that when you want to crawl in a hole and die and your body actually hurts because you've been hurt so badly by someone's words and you are seriously about .02 seconds from screaming and pulling your own hair out, that pain can be almost totally removed by a genuine hug from someone who loves you. Just standing there and  being hugged while you cry provides so much relief. I mean, you'll still be hurt, hugs aren't magic, but what they do is prevent you from taking that very scary step off the ledge. It's amazing the physical change you feel when you're hugged. I knew I needed a hug today and, through the providence of the Good Lord, I happened to see my dad, when usually I wouldn't on a Monday evening. I honestly don't know what these poor children do without a hug from a mom or a dad. Well, I guess I don't know what adults do without a hug from their mom or dad either. Maybe all these people who are angry all the time and do things that hurt other people really just need a hug. Just a long hug from someone who loves them. I feel like this is something Kid President may want to look into if he hasn't already.

3. I am almost 30 years old, and I have been watching The Sound of Music for almost 27 years. That's a much longer story than I'll write right now, but suffice it to say that, without fail, if I feel like crap or I'm hurt or whatever, watching The Sound of Music is such a comfort. It's like being wrapped up in your favorite blanket. I hope you have something like that too.

7QTF: Dinosaurs, Chipotle and an Old People's Cruise

Friday, March 28, 2014

Joining Jen for a very late in the day Seven Quick Takes Friday!

1. Real photographers may want to stop reading here because guys ... I discovered a new app! Discovered = read my friend Miranda (who is redesigning my blog ... eep!) uses it. I am OBSESSED. It's called A Beautiful Mess and it was 99 cents! Woot. I think it's my new obsession. One that I might be taking wayyyyyyyyyyy too far. Way. too. far. But maybe watch for my upcoming photography exhibit in your local Museum! :)

2. Speaking of obsessions ... I was on Netflix a few weeks ago looking to see if they had the show Bunheads. (RIP Bunheads ... I don't think you were given a fair shake.) They do not, however they did recommend that I may enjoy a show called Dance Academy. I quickly learned this was a show about a group of teens in the fictional National Academy of Dance in Sydney, Australia. Ballet? Australians? A show aimed at teens? I was SO THERE. And man, it did not disappoint. Happily, the dancing is LEGIT so I totally bought in. This show is so awesome. If you have Netflix and need something to get into ... Dance Academy. Watch one episode and come back and thank me!

3. I really like dinosaurs a lot and I also have a really elementary sense of humor. If you don't believe me take a gander at this photo:

I realized I had a T-Rex on my windowsill an also a Stegosaurus. This was the natural conclusion.

4. I thought the other day that I am no one's favorite person. My parents have more kids than just me, my grandparents have more grandkids than just me and I don't have a husband or kids. And that's sort of sad because it might be nice to be someone's most favorite person. But then I realized -- wait, Anna. I am Snicks the Bunny's favorite person! It might be because I am the only person he knows, but I'll take it!

5. CHIPOTLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Chipotle. Comes. To. Huntington. It's open! I can barely stand myself. And if that is not enough good news for one lifetime ... I also heard they're putting in a Sheetz next door to the Chipotle. When did Huntington become Heaven?

6. People my age would probably dream of a tropical vacation in the Bahamas or a fancy trip to Paris, and, yeah, those things sound awesome! But my dream vacation of the moment? The Turner Classic Movies cruise! Dude. Me, a ton of people over 60, old movies and the people who starred in them. (And I don't even like old people.) Dream vacation! I'm ready to board the boat. Any takers?

7. My church, like many Catholic churches, has a fish dinner every Friday during Lent. They are awesome, but that's not what this is about. What this is about is that the Catholic elementary school attached to my parish has the kids draw place mats for the dinner. Please look at the one on my table tonight:

There are no words for how awesome this is. I'm dying to meet this genius.

Go see Jen for more takes!

You Know What Makes No Sense? I'll Tell You.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Something I've been thinking about a lot lately and have talked with my sister Erin about is people and change.

I feel like, as a society, we're always wanting other people to change. Maybe not change exactly, but improve. For instance -- quit being so sensitive, quit being so negative, quit getting angry so quickly.

All great and wonderful things to wish for others, right? Right.

... except when we don't allow them to change.

Erin might have spent the past five years really changing for the better -- a more mild temperament, more optimism, more laid-back.

But when Erin gets angry about something ONE TIME (most likely with great reason) it's "Ugh, Erin, why are you so angry all the time? I remember when you used to have tantrums ALL THE TIME." Um, you mean literally 20 years ago when she was 7?

You know what I mean? Think about it ... Us Weekly will be writing a story on Reese Witherspoon's new movie, but for the rest of time as we know it the story will always end "remember that time Reese Witherspoon got pulled over with her husband for drunk driving?"

So we think drunk driving is wrong, we think that should never happen again, neither Reese nor her husband have had a second incident, but we are never EVER going to let her forget it.

Amanda Bynes. Man, we all hope she gets better right? But I can practically guarantee when Amanda (God willing) stars in a movie or new TV show in 2024, we'll be like "Amanda Bynes ... who suffered a mental breakdown 10 years ago ... has a new movie coming out!"

Guys. Really? Do you see what I'm saying?

Trying to change yourself for the better, whatever it is you're working on, is HARD. Whether you're trying to become more laid-back or more hopeful or less easily annoyed -- it's hard. What makes it so much stinkin' harder is when people want you to change and then won't let you.

I can understand that if you've known someone for years and they've always been one way, it's hard to see them a different way. But if someone you love is making a conscious effort to improve him or herself, please PLEASE let them. If your formerly super-sensitive or easily-annoyed cousin is trying to change, and you always wished they would, then maybe stop reminding them how super-sensitive and easily-annoyed you always thought they were.

Because doing anything else is not helpful and actually just makes no sense at all.

Just think about it. Because nobody likes to be reminded of their downfalls or shortcomings. We need to stop being a society that wants people to improve and simultaneously refuses to let them.

I've Never Been a Great Runner

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

"Let us run with endurance the race God has set before us ... " - Hebrews 12:1

This has always been one of my favorite Bible verses. I always thought the "run with endurance" part was the most important part of that verse, but I realized that that's not true. The most important part of that verse is "... has set before us."

Let me explain.

This would be a totally different verse if St. Paul had said "... has set before the world" or "... has set before all of us together." But he didn't. He said "has set before US." Meaning, if he was talking to you one-on-one he'd say "Run with endurance the race God has set before YOU."

And therein lies the lightbulb moment.

I mentioned yesterday that this life is not the life I thought I'd have at 30 if you'd have asked me 10 years ago. I'm not exactly sure what I thought 30 would look like, but it's a pretty safe bet I thought my life would look pretty similar to Amy's -- stay-at-home mom, three kids (two adopted), volunteers, does projects with her kids, gardens. But my life looks so far from that it couldn't be any farther. And sometimes that makes me very sad, and, like I said yesterday, there is grief associated with that. But then I realized that that life is Amy's race. And this life is Anna's. Amy is running the race that God set before her, and I need to run the race that God set before me. Even if I don't understand it. Even if Amy's race looks so lovely to me, I know it involves more big mountains than I could possibly be aware of, just like mine involves mountains too. And even if her life - or anyone's life - was perfect, it still is not the race God set before me.

I think one of the very hardest parts of life is running our own race and not comparing our lives to others. I will be the first person to admit I am so guilty of that. I read a quote recently that said if we put all our problems in a pile with everyone else's, we'd probably look at all of them and grab our own back.

Right now Anna's race is looking pretty tough. I've known for a while that this semester was going to be tough tough tough. Along with work and the dance studio, I am taking a Media Law and Ethics class that requires a lot (A LOT) of writing and - the big one - my comprehensive exam that determines if I'll get my Master's Degree or not is scheduled for April 26. My life right now involves going to work, going to dance, going to school, doing homework and studying. And that is pretty much it. And, as I'm sure you can imagine, the WORRY I have about this exam can be overwhelming.

But I keep reminding myself that this is the race God has set before me, and I'm called to run it with endurance. Not walk it with whining or shuffle it with complaining. Right?

This post is the second in a series on Turning 30. To see the first post, click here

Thirty and Flirty and Thriv-- Nope, Just Thirty.

Monday, March 24, 2014

After I posted about the Listography book two days ago, it occurred to me that it might be fun to do a series of posts on Turning 30.

My birthday is July 19 and, yes, I'll be 30. Age has never really been a big thing for me; if people ask me how old I am I'm glad to tell them. As my dad says "it's better than the alternative." True. I mean ... the reality is I'm 29 and I'll be 30 in July.

The thing is, however, that turning 30 is a big deal even if I don't have a "problem" with it. It seems that with those two numbers in that order comes the absolute fact that I'm not a kid anymore or even a "young adult." Seriously, these surveys cut you off at being young after 29. Sheesh! If you would have asked me 10 years ago where I thought I'd be when I was 30, the life I'm living now looks absolutely nothing like that picture would. Not. at. all. And with that comes a little bit of grief I think. There might always be some grieving for the life you thought you'd have, but the important thing is not to grieve eternally, but to realize what is awesome about the life you do have. And I have a lot of things about which to feel awesome.

Jennifer Garner made it look so easy.
No matter what age you are, you always have the thought of "If I'd known then what I know now ..." If you're 18 you want to talk to your freshman year in high school self, your 21-year-old self wants to talk to your 18-year-old self, 25 would love to talk to 21 and 29 to 25. It's just a universal truth it seems. But what is also universal is that if you'd have known then what you know now, you probably wouldn't have listened to yourself. Older generations always want to tell younger generations about their mistakes and what they think they should do, but no one ever listens.

But what if we did listen?

I happened to catch a blog post tonight on Facebook that cemented my idea about doing a series of posts on Turning 30. It's called "10 Life Lessons to Excel in your 30s." Pretty straightforward and has my name allllll over it. The author asked previously on his blog for his readers 37 and older to email him with the advice they'd give their 30-year-old selves. He says he received over 600 responses, but was floored with how consistent the themes of the advice were. So similar, in fact, that he was able to take those 600 responses and turn them into 10 pieces of advice. Pretty amazing and sounds like something that's probably worth taking another look at. (I know, I know, don't end a sentence with a preposition, but this one baffled me. "... sounds like something at which it's probably worth taking another look" just sounds pompous and lame.) 

They are all really good pieces of advice, but my favorite is perhaps number 6:

6. Don't be afraid of taking risks. You can still change. 

Multiple readers related making major career changes in their 30s and being better off for doing so. One left a lucrative job as a military engineer to become a teacher. Twenty years later, he called it one of the best decisions of his life. 

“While by age 30 most feel they should have their career dialed in, it is never too late to reset. The individuals that I have seen with the biggest regrets during this decade are those that stay in something that they know is not right. It is such an easy decade to have the days turn to weeks to years, only to wake up at 40 with a mid-life crisis for not taking action on a problem they were aware of 10 years prior but failed to act.”

I've said this on my blog before, and I actually said it to someone again today -- I'm scared of a lot of things and definitely anxious about change. But the only thing that scares me more is the thought that I'll wake up when I'm 40 and wish I had done something I hadn't.

Even if you're not turning 30, I think that is still good advice for everyone -- you can still change.

This post is the first in a series on Turning 30. To read some previous posts that also go along with this topic, visit here, here and here. Look for upcoming posts in the series. 

All I Hope To Do In Lists

Saturday, March 22, 2014

I love making lists. Lists of things to get done on a certain day, lists of things to get done at work, lists of things to get at the store, lists of things to do on a weekend. I love seeing all my thoughts organized and then being able to cross things off one by one, getting things done.

Which is why when I saw this book at Target last weekend, I knew I had to get it --

All I hope to do in lists? Count me in!

All joking aside, this book is super cool. It's 160 pages of lists prompts for you to fill in. There are all sorts of categories:

Some of my favorites: what you hope people will say about you at your funeral, appealing qualities you'd like to cultivate in yourself, unique sites to visit, qualities you hope to have as a parent or Godparent.

Fun, right?

I've never been a person who can journal. (Um, I guess blogs are sort of journals aren't they?) But you know what I mean -- looking at pages and pages of blank paper just waiting for me to write about my day? That sounds exhausting and something I've never been able to do. That's why I love this book so much. It's like keeping a journal of your thoughts, hopes and feelings but organized under categories. Also, there are so many lines and pages you could keep adding things for years, reading and looking back at how your life has changed since you started.

Also, I think it gives me things to think about, things I might never have thought about making goals for before like causes I want to volunteer for or some things to be less lazy about.

I do believe that self-awareness is an underrated quality (if you know me in person, you've probably heard me talk about this more than once!) and making lists of things, silly as it may seem, I think is really helping me become more self-aware. I'm becoming more self-aware about things that are important to me, which is great as I'll be turning 30 in just a few months and am really looking toward the future and making some big changes. I'm excited to think about things like habits to develop for my health, mistakes I don't want to make again in the future, good deeds I long to perform, habits to break and, the big one, things I want to accomplish.

And all my thoughts will be here in one place in this handy book. :)

You Know What's Nice to Have? Family.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

For many years of my life I lived far away from my family: four years at college about 5.5 hours away, 1 year in Prague (self-explanatory hours away) and then about 2.5 years in Washington, D.C., about 7 hours away. Now that I've been living back near my family for the past several years, I can honestly say ...

... there is something to be said for living near people who love you.

Like clearly we need to live near - some might suggest with - our families as children. But seriously as an adult, it's still a great place to be.

Case in point -- My Mom doesn't work on Wednesdays. So yesterday I asked her if she'd mind meeting me at Walmart before my work so I could drop my car off for an oil change, then drive me to work, then pick me back up at work at noon and drive me back to retrieve my car. This is about the third or fourth time we've done this little arrangement. She agreed to help me out and we agreed we'd meet at Walmart at 7:30 a.m. so I could be at work by 8. 

So when I roll into the Walmart at 7:30 a.m. I find out that sometime between my last oil change and this one, Walmart changed their auto hours and they don't open till 9. Seriously? So my mom rolls in about a minute later and drives up next to me and I roll my window down like, ummmmm ... so .... they don't actually open till 9.

How did my mom respond?

"That's okay! I need to get groceries anyways and now I'll get in there before there's anyone else there!" said the lady who I just made meet me somewhere at 7:30 a.m. on her day off for absolutely no reason at all.

Only people who (are obligated to) love you will do that.

OH ... I also texted her after I got to work and asked her if she'd get me a box of those instant coffee packs, the cheap ones, you know, Taster's Choice or something. She got me THREE BOXES and one of them was a name-brand! What?!

Oh, she also WENT BACK to Walmart at noon, picked me up after I dropped my car off, took me to lunch, took me back to work, picked me up at work at 4 and drove me back to get my car. Yep. Kathy spent her day off chauffeuring me from Walmart to work to work to Walmart. Pretty much the only other person who might do this for me in the world is my dad, also someone who loves me.

Speaking of my dad, when my washer broke/I got a flat tire/I got another flat tire/my car needed inspected/I might want a ceiling fan/etc. guess who helped me with all that stuff? ("Helped me" = did all the work.)

If I need someone to feed Baby S when I'm out of town, if I need to use a printer, if I need a stamp, if I want to brag about a good grade I got, if I want to see a movie -- you know who will do/allow/give/listen/go with me (and buy popcorn)? The Lafferres. Like guys, ain't no one gonna do stuff to help you out like your family will do stuff to help you out.

I'm just saying ... it's really nice to live near people who you know you can call on when you need some help and they'll be right there. Turns out families are pretty legit. :)

Oh, look for a future post on my brothers and sisters, also known as the people who designed my dance website for free/dropped everything to drive to my apartment to "help me" (see above definition) find and kill a mortally injured house mouse/let me sit in the front seat in the car so I don't barf.

A Different Perspective on Healthier Eating

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

I've been writing a little bit lately about my overall health and some steps I'm trying to take to improve. It's no secret that I've pretty much been a lifelong junk-food-a-holic but lately things have been changing. 

I'm making most of my meals at home, I try to always have fresh fruits and vegetables and I've been trying to plan ahead so I know what I'm "supposed" to make and eat on any given night. It's not perfect, but it's working pretty well, and I'm still shocked every time I finish cooking some sort of dinner that I actually eat and enjoy. :) 

Not the fanciest thing, but I'm doing my best!
Don't get me wrong, the meals are simple and probably nothing I'd want to serve anyone else, but for me, they are a big deal. In the past couple weeks I've made sauteed yellow squash over bowtie pasta with balsamic vinaigrette, couscous with stir fried peppers and onions and elbow macaroni with sun-dried tomato pesto and salad and have eaten lots and lots of brussels sprouts. (Who knew? Yum!) Even if I'm eating a Morningstar Farms veggie corn dog or veggie patty, I still try to have a side of some sort of vegetable and possibly even some fruit. I mean these aren't gourmet meals, friends, but I did look up on the internet how to make spaghetti squash and eggplant because that seems like a fun job to tackle some day! 

I've been planning out my lunches too. Sometimes I take leftovers from dinner, and other times I make a good old PB&J. No matter what, I always include a little baggie of some combination of grapes, strawberries and blackberries. I got these little organic fruit strips at Target that are only like 45 calories but offer a punch of post-lunch sweetness for the afternoon. Oh, and I never, EVER skip breakfast, whether that's yogurt, a cereal bar or some (homemade, woot!) banana bread. 

This is water in case that wasn't clear! (OMG a joke and a pun in the same sentence. I've died.)
My reality also is -- I still like pizza, so sometimes I eat it. I also saw this box of beer bread mix at the store today, so I got it and made it. (I think I saw so many posts about soda bread on St. Patrick's Day I had bread on the brain!) And speaking of beer, I still enjoy a glass of wine or bottle of beer some evenings. And I'm still a dessert person too ... because I'm Anna Lafferre not Richard Simmons Lafferre. :) 

I've gone through phases before where I've tried to eat better and get enough exercise in (still working on both of those) but have always fallen off the wagon into some sort of junk food stupor. So I've been wondering what's different about this time. 

One thing I've thought of is the above-mentioned planning. When I actually write out what I'd like to make for dinner or take for lunch, then that's what's in my head, so when I get home that's what I make. I don't have to think about it. So, yeah, planning is definitely a big part. I also try to have those fresh things on hand, and when I realize I'm running low, I make a quick trip to the store to pick up the essentials. I also got those little snack bags so I can make sure I always have some grapes or whatever easily on hand. These are all things that have really been helping me. 

Those easy-to-grab snack bags are where it's at!

But I think the biggest thing is -- I'm not being unrealistic. I'm not NEVER GOING TO EAT PROCESSED FOOD AGAIN. I'm not NEVER GOING TO EAT A CHEESEBURGER AGAIN or NEVER EAT SIX COOKIES IN ONE SITTING AGAIN. This might be realistic for some people, but it's not realistic for me. And the last thing I want is a major guilt-trip on myself because that never ends well. Ever. What I'm trying to do is just eat a balance. If I really want a piece of cake after dinner (like tonight) then I'm also going to be sure that I ate vegetables with dinner and I have a good breakfast ready to go tomorrow. Because the last thing Anna needs is Anna hating on Anna. 

I'm also not trying to lose weight or lose weight for a thing, you know? Like I'm sure I could stand to lose 5 lbs. like almost everyone, but I am not on some militant mission lose 20 lbs. Nor am I trying to fit into my bathing suit or an old dress or whatever. I honestly am trying to eat better for my overall health and how I feel. I'm not getting any younger guys. :)

Yum! Just kidding ... this is Snicks' food. Sometimes he gets what I eat too, like this yellow squash (not sure if he's eating it, I think he's taken a few bites) and this piece of strawberry. Healthy for everyone!

I think the best motivation for more healthy eating came on a blog post of Amy's I recently read. She was talking about some things her family is focusing on in 2014, and better eating is one of them. The reason? An "effort to prepare ourselves in this time for whatever God would have for us in the future, to be prepared and ready to give love freely and openly again, a joy."

Um, is that not the best thing you've ever heard?! Honestly I can wholeheartedly say that that is, by far, the best reason I've ever heard for focusing one's energy on eating better. No "lose weight" no "run a marathon" (both valid goals if you feel strongly about them), but to prepare now to be in the best shape you can be for whatever God would have for you in the future. 

Bring on those brussels sprouts! :) 

Snow White, a Flying Monkey and Rumplestiltskin Walk Into a Bar ...

Monday, March 17, 2014

Let me explain ...

So it's no secret that I love Once Upon a Time ... and Story does too, obvs. That's one of the first things we found we had in common and it's just gone on from there.

I make little statements all the time about why I like it so much, what it's about blah blah, but I've never sat down and really articulated it before. I thought I would today because I think I'm finding my words.

First of all, at first glance and in all seriousness, this is a show where ... well here's what Story and I said last night:

Uh ... that's Robin HOOD obviously.

True story!

So basically the Evil Queen from Snow White put a curse on all the fairytale characters and banished them to "our world" (which always sounds like the most depressing place on Earth). For 28 years, none of them remember who they are. Then Snow and Charming's daughter who was born the day the curse was cast and sent to our world is found by her biological son whom she gave up for adoption and who was then adopted by the Evil Queen. He convinces her to return to their little Maine town with him and he works to get her to believe she can break the curse. Which finally happens at the end of season one. Since that time, here's what we've learned: Rumplestiltskin is also the beast from Beauty and the Beast. Snow White and Red Riding Hood were fairytale land friends. Peter Pan is Rumplestiltskin's dad. Captain Hook has gone from bad to good to bad to good again, and ran off with Rumplestiltskin's wife. She died and now he's in love with Charming and Snow's daughter. Which presents a problem as her biological son's father is actually Rumplestiltskin's son. Oh yeah, and as you also just read Little John from Robin Hood just turned into a flying monkey from Oz because Dr. Frankenstein wasn't quick enough to save him. And the Wicked Witch of the West is friends with Snow White in our world.

Oh, and, (spoiler alert) the Wicked Witch of the West is the half-sister of the Evil Queen! And, as Story and I suspect, may be the daughter of Rumplestiltskin and the Evil Queen's mother Cora who is also the Queen of Hearts.

Ya follow?

Throw in the Mad Hatter, Jiminy Cricket, Gepetto, Ariel, Sleeping Beauty, the Blue Fairy, Mulan, the seven dwarves and Pongo, and you've got yourselves a show!

Like I told Story last night, if someone told me we were watching this, I'd be like ..................................

But you guys.


Here's the thing -- we all grew up reading fairytales. All of us. Well, at least I hope you did! I don't quite remember the actual event of learning the stories of Snow White, Beauty and the Beast and the Little Mermaid, but somehow I know them. We all wanted to be princesses (and secretly I hope you still do!). Thing thing that changed is, we grew up. Like Wendy. And that's fine because we have to be adults and get things done. But in this blog I read that I love, the writer once wrote a post where she made the point (and I'm paraphrasing) that for adults the line between fantasy and reality is very clear, but for children it's really blurry. And maybe for me and Story too, and I hope you also. Or maybe you have no idea what I'm talking about ... but I hope you do!

Now I know how this might be reading like the world's longest, most boring commercial or like I have a beyond inappropriate relationship with TV. The truth is, for most TV I can take it or leave it. If I miss something I'll catch it On Demand or whenever.

But, at the end of the day this show is about one thing: hope.


The show's creators have flat-out said multiple times that this show is about hope. Two Sundays ago when the show returned from (the world's longest) winter hiatus, there was a one hour special on where the show's stars and creators were interviewed. And if I had a quarter for every time the word "hope" was said in that hour, well ... I'd be able to park at an awful lot of meters for an awful long time!

The show is not abstractly about hope -- it's about real, in-your-face hope. For instance:

"Believing in even the possibility of a happy ending is a very powerful thing."

"What do you think fairytales are? They are a reminder that our lives will get better if we just hold on to hope."

"Everyone wants a magical solution to their problem, but no one believes in magic."

There are so many stop-your-heart moments on this show. Just stop your heart. Stop-your-heart creativity, stop-your-heart magic, stop-your-heart love. Stop-your-heart hope.

Because, and here's the point, we ALL could use some hope.

I'm telling you -- do something good for yourself and let the line get blurry every Sunday at 8 p.m. Spend an hour in fairytale land forgetting about work and the electric bill and putting gas in your car and remember when you believed you really were a princess or a pirate and you could fly and were magic. Take a minute and just ...

Dedicated, with love, to Story - who made Anna believe in magic. 

(all photos from 

I ipsy, Do You?

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Do you guys ipsy? If you don't, you totally should!

This is yet another cool thing Story told me about, and I just had to sign up. It's $10 a month and they send you a cuuuuuuute makeup bag with 3-5 samples of awesome products! Body lotion, face lotion, lipgloss, hair stuff. Some I've received are brands I've heard of (like Bare Minerals) and some are brands I haven't heard of (Pop) but everything I've received so far has been awesome. I started in January and just received my March bag Friday. 

I think the best part about it (besides the quality stuff to try) is that it's a fun little gift for yourself once a month. A little present to Anna from the mailbox. The truth is, I also think it's helping me save money too. I know, I know -- hear me out! I can VERRRRRRY easily piddle away $10 (and more) in the Target or Walmart beauty aisles. That'll end up getting me one, maybe two things, which I may like or not like. But now that I get an ipsy bag every month, when I am at those stores, I think "My ipsy bag will be coming soon!" and I don't pick up a bunch of stuff when I'm there. 

Look what I got this month:

It's Pacifica Body Butter, Bare Minerals Marvelous Moxie Lip Gloss in Rebel and Be a Bombshell eyeshadow in Bora Bora. Can we say SUMMER IS COMING! 

The lotion is seriously just the scent of summer ... I don't know how to describe it better than that! The lip gloss is FAB and the eye shadow goes on so smooth. Awesome! Best part (other than getting cool stuff) is that you can log on to your ipsy account, review the products you received and get coupons/promo codes for ordering from the same company! Win-win-win! 
Hopefully you can find $10 in your monthly budget to do a little something nice for yourself. It's totally worth it. :) 

7QTF: Super Sour Buddies Chewy Candy and a Bank Robbery

Friday, March 14, 2014

Linking up with Jen 'cause it's Friday!

1. Okay friends, the moment you've all been waiting for!

A minute of moving Snicks! I hope you're sitting down because I'm sure you're about to overwhelmed by the excitement of him scampering about ... sort of. Ha. Toward the end though, you do get a cute look at what he does when he sees your hand and wants it to be scratching his head.

Don't worry, I plan on following this up with a series of other sure-to-be-Academy Award-nominated videos: Snicks naps, Snicks eats, Snicks bathes. Riveting.

2. Speaking of Snicks, I could never cry on command but the surest way to get me to cry is imagining when it's his time to go and I'm left alone. I KNOW this totally just took a turn for the depressing. I just wonder if I'll want another rabbit. I didn't actually "want" this one, so I'm just not sure. And the vet has told me that he is very unique (okay, she may have said "odd") and not to expect another like him. I know all parents like to think their little ones are special, but she really did say this! :) For instance, he NEVER goes into the kitchen or bathroom, and I think this is because the floors are laminate, as opposed to carpet which is everywhere else. So if I get a new rabbit it will be VERY disconcerting to look down when I'm doing dishes and see him there. Yikes. Okay, am I the only person who worries about this kind of nonsense? Yes? Okay, that's probably because ...


Woke up to Kathy Lafferre (I also call her mom) having posted this on my Facebook wall. She knows my soul.

4. Y'all. Seriously. I like to save money. I take pride in it. I mean, who doesn't? But I made a mistake of epic proportions about two weeks ago. In my desire to save about .99 I purchased a bag of Market Pantry's "Super Sour Buddies Chewy Candy" at Target, in lieu of their more well known older sibling Sour Patch Kids. Six of one, half a dozen of the other, right? UH, NO. These taste pretty much like crap.

And as you can see from that picture, I've eaten about 75% of the bag anyways.

5. Guys ... honest-to-goodness bank robbery in my city today. In the middle of downtown, in the middle of the afternoon, a block from the police station. So ... clearly well thought-out. They have a suspect in custody. I think it's because the robbery was committed in the middle of downtown in the middle of the afternoon a block from the police station.

6. If you are having a bad day, a down day, a happy day, a medium day -- any day at all, you just watch yourself some Kid President. I could seriously watch this kid ALLLLL DAYYYY LONGGGG. "If you can't think of anything nice to say, you're not thinking hard enough."

Now I need him to make a video about PERSPECTIVE.

7. I am totally going to get my friend Miranda to redesign my blog! I'm so excited. Also, Miranda doesn't know I'm hiring her yet, haha. As soon as I hit publish on this bad boy, I'm skipping over to her awesome design website to see what I want! Woot! Upgrade!

Go see Jen for more awesomeness!

Terrifies Trumps Scared

Thursday, March 13, 2014

One of the #1 reasons I like Facebook - perhaps THE #1 reason - is I love to see all the links people post. It's like all these people scour the internet for cool things and post them, then they end up in my newsfeed and I get all this entertainment with zero work! I like to scroll through my newsfeed and see what people are up to, and every time I see an interesting looking link, I click on it. It opens a new tab in my browser, then I keep scrolling Facebook. Then, when I'm done with Facebook I have like 5, 9, 12 or some fun number of random things to read. I love it!

One of the really good ones I clicked on recently is called Ten Painfully Obvious Truths Everyone Forgets Too Soon. They were all good, but one of them really jumped out at me:

2.  You will only ever live the life you create for yourself.

Your life is yours alone.  Others can try to persuade you, but they can’t decide for you.  They can walk with you, but not in your shoes.  So make sure the path you decide to walk aligns with your own intuition and desires, and don’t be scared to switch paths or pave a new one when it makes sense.
Remember, it’s always better to be at the bottom of the ladder you want to climb than the top of the one you don’t.  Be productive and patient.  And realize that patience is not about waiting, but the ability to keep a good attitude while working hard for what you believe in.  This is your life, and it is made up entirely of your choices.  May your actions speak louder than your words.  May your life preach louder than your lips.  May your success be your noise in the end.
And if life only teaches you one thing, let it be that taking a passionate leap is always worth it.  Even if you have no idea where you’re going to land, be brave enough to step up to the edge of the unknown, and listen to your heart.
The life you create for yourself. This is something I've been thinking about daily for months. Months. 
I love this line: It's always better to be at the bottom of the ladder you want to climb than the top of the one you don't. I feel like that really goes along with what I wrote about yesterday
I'm in this bubble where I worry sometimes that I'll never be "happy" or that I'm chasing something that's not out there. But then I think - that's not it. I really think I'm after what #2 says. That a passionate leap is always worth it, even if you don't know where you're going to land. Even if I'm afraid that I'm chasing something that's not out there, or I'll never be "happy," or I'll keep running and running, I think the think I'm afraid of more is waking up when I'm 40 and wondering "what if?" 
That TERRIFIES me. And terrifies trumps scared any day of the week. 

Can I Offer You a Dose of a Little Something I Like to Call Perspective?

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

You guys ... today was such a crappy day! For real.

Lately it seems that more and more I am dying to scream at people PERSPECTIVE. Let me try that again how I really feel ...


Like, guys, I take my work seriously and I do try hard and feel that I am very professional. I get things done, I juggle my tasks, I meet deadlines and I don't go out of my way to treat people badly. I will be the first one to admit, however, that I am a person and I make mistakes. Like most people, I have a lot of things on my work to-do list to accomplish on any given day, and there truly are so many hours in the workday. But dude, my job is not curing cancer or saving lives or anything remotely connected to any of that. Like the worst thing that could happen at my job is something goes to print misspelled or with the wrong page number in the table of contents. Like I'm not saying those are good or even okay things, but I am saying that NO ONE DIED. Like my friend Ashley is a doctor, so I can see why, if someone messed up and gave a patient an incorrect dosage of medication, that'd be a huge problem. So, yeah, go ahead and get fired up about that. Punctuation is not quite the same.

Unfortunately I've encountered some individuals in my life lately that, for whatever reason, could really use a very healthy dose of perspective. Or five doses, whatever. Like I'm truly not certain how these people sustain their lives at the level of anger/self-righteousness/what honestly seems like a hearty desire for things to go wrong so they can play the blame game they display consistently, at least in my run-ins. I'm worried that these are the people who have heart attacks when they're 45 and sleep with their Blackberries and never take a vacation.

And who wants to live like that? In my mind, there has to be a happy medium in between not caring at all about whatever you do and being lazy and being one of these people with no perspective. Personally, I really don't think my life could ever revolve around my work. I like my work and I'm happy to have a job, but that job cannot be my life, does that make sense? I can't measure my worth as a person by what I do at work. And I don't want to.

It's a cliche, but it's a cliche because it's true: life is short. And we don't know how short it is. So, no, that does not mean we should spend our lives playing video games and sitting on the couch, not at all. But I think what that does mean is you need to carve out a life that doesn't revolve around wishing it was always the weekend. I don't want to not be able to sleep at night because I am so stressed out about what happened at work today and what will happen tomorrow. Because I don't want to have a heart attack when I'm 45 either.

I guess I wish everyone remembered - on a daily basis, especially when they want to freak out about some arbitrary rule or stupid policy - that they are a child of God, they have a Father who loves them and wants to bring them peace and joy. I wish people remembered how good it feels when a warm breeze blows in your hair and how fun it sometimes is to stand outside in the rain. What it's like to get a hug from your mom or eat hot dogs on the deck in the summer.


I guess what I'm saying is - what if there really were two paths? I'd want to be on the one that leads to awesome. Not on the one that leads to always being angry and rude to people. Seems like an obvious choice to me, but what do I know?

And I hope this doesn't come across sounding like I'm lazy or don't want to work or don't take things seriously, because that's not what I intend. But did any of us adults grow up dreaming that one day we'd be sitting in our offices for 10 hours a day, sending hateful emails to people and consciously intending to ruin someone else's day?

No, we did not.

We wanted to be astronauts and princesses and ballerinas and cowboys. And for most of us, those careers are not realistic, okay. But the beautiful hearts who believe(d) in magic who dreamed those things were real. And I really hope you are a BELIEVE and not a BELIEVED.

About Me?

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Dude, do you know what's hard? Writing the "about me" section on one's blog. What do I know about me? I mean isn't that why I have a blog?

Needless to say, I had been wanting to update my About Me section for some time -- to what, I was not sure. The only thing I knew for sure was that I was NOT going to end with one of those "... so grab a cup of coffee, put your feet up and stay awhile" things. I HATE that. Now is also probably a good time to say sorry if you have that on your "About Me." I probably still love your blog. :) That's just not what I'm about, although I do love coffee.

So I just updated my About Me. I don't know if it's quite "there" yet, but it's better, that's for sure.

Confessions of a (Reforming) Selfish Materialist

Monday, March 10, 2014

Not this past Saturday but the Saturday before I spent pretty much all day cleaning out my apartment. My apartment is five rooms: my bedroom, spare room, kitchen, small bathroom, living room. My clothes and shoes, admittedly, are spread over two closets in both bedrooms.

I don't know if you guys have ever gone through this, but lately I had been feeling so SUFFOCATED by my STUFF. Like I am one person ... how can I have so much stuff? I have books and clothes and more shoes than I could wear in a month. I should be embarrassed really. I am definitely one of those people who would look at a sweater and think well, maybe I'll wear this when _______ or what if I want to wear this blue shirt sometime some day in the future. Or maybe one day I'll want to wear one of these two pairs of pink heels I haven't worn in about two years, but, you know, SOMEDAY I MIGHT WANT TO!


Just getting started here. I'm keeping the rabbit. :) 
I decided I really needed to make a massive change. I honestly felt overwhelmed by the sheer amount of stuff I had. And it was time to let go of a lot of that stuff. I started in the late morning and just opened the first closet and got to work. I made four piles: one to give away, one to throw away (super old or stained stuff like old tee-shirts), one of stuff to try and sell on threadUP (nicer stuff) and one pile to try and sell on eBay. The good majority - like 85% - went in the give away pile. Our church supports a great ministry called ECCHO, that provides food and clothing to the poorest of the poor in our county.

I decided that the test for determining whether or not I'd keep something or discard it was would I buy this if I went to the store today and saw it? If I wouldn't pay money for it at the store today, it was going. Shoes, clothes and purses mainly. I ended up with four big trash bags of stuff to donate to ECCHO, about five nicer items for threadUP and a dozen or so things I'm trying to sell on eBay. (Oh, great news there... I've made $37! And that's after shipping! That's almost one tank of gas that's been sitting useless in my closet. And I still have more things posted.)

Goodbye shoes, sweaters and shirts -- have fun in your  new homes!

Truth be told, my whole wardrobe system was based on the fact that several things would always be in the hamper or in the wash at any given time. I didn't have enough hangers or dresser drawer space if everything was clean. I mean ANNA. I ended up with a laundry basket full of hangers that are now unused and I'm able to close my sock drawer now! :) I mean who needs all those socks?! I'm able to actually move things around in my closet to see what's in there because the clothes aren't all smashed up on each other. And my shoes (except for boots) all fit on my shoe racks, nothing is haphazardly laying on the floor of the closet. There are still a couple drawers I need to go through like my underwear/bra drawer and my dance clothes tub, and a couple other areas - and I probably still have too much stuff - but I feel GREAT about what I was able to do.

Who knew there was carpet on my closet floor?!

Additionally, I went through my desk and got rid of all this CRAP I didn't need and the drawer shuts now and nothing is laying on the top. Oh, and I also rearranged furniture in my living and spare rooms which really has nothing to do with cleaning out my life but sometimes you just need a change, you know? :)

These two (now red and bruised) knees assisted in moving some bookshelves. I should teach classes in the proper way to move things.  
I guess this is another idea for which I have Amy to thank. I wish I could find a post that was the impetus for my thoughts, but I honestly think it was probably the few days I spent reading her archives and the overarching theme of WE DON'T NEED THIS MUCH STUFF. What about a sweater that's hung unworn for three years is helping me in my life? NOTHING. And there are people IN THIS COUNTY who need sweaters. Truth is, I am selfish. And materialistic. And those are two things I really need to work on. Material things don't matter. Relationships do.

This might be silly, but several months back I gave away a skirt that was spinny and flowy and navy and white striped. I really liked it, but I had had it for several years and it was time to move on. From time to time I've since had pangs of missing it (I know, materialistic) but then I imagine another girl a couple towns over receiving that skirt and LOVING it like I did. Sometimes I think I might see her wearing it out. And that makes me smile.

Friends, clean out your closets. Get rid of your stuff. You will feel GREAT. GREAT! If you're looking for something to wear tomorrow morning and you pull out a shirt and you think "eh, not today, but maybe someday..." YOU DON'T NEED IT. But I bet there's someone who lives near you who does.

Being Reminded

Saturday, March 8, 2014

I'm trying to figure out exactly how to say this, as I can see how this might sound self-important or like I have no perspective or even downright silly. But I'm going to try.

I saw this posted on someone's Facebook page today and I read it. It was very interesting and educational, of course, but also incredibly hard to read. So very sad. Briefly, it is a doctor's perspective and analysis of death by crucifixion - specifically, Jesus's death by crucifixion. He makes 55 points about crucifixion and, anatomically speaking, how it killed a person.

Like I said, super hard to read and horrible to think about, and it made me honestly contemplate just how horrible of a death that was for Jesus. But there was a little something in step 37 that stabbed my heart and brought a tear to my eye.

Before I say what, I'll again reiterate that I know how this might come out sounding. And I hope you'll stick with me to hear me out on this one.

Number 37 says: He was in First Degree Shock, with Hypovolaemia (low blood volume), Tachycardia (excessively fast Heart Rate), Tachypnoea (excessively fast Respiratory Rate), and Hyperhidrosis (excessive sweating). (Emphasis mine.) 

If you know me or have read this blog in the past, you know that hyperhidrosis is the defining word of my life. For 20 years I suffered from hyperhidrosis, and I won't go into the details here since I wrote extensively about it about a year and a half ago. 

I do completely and totally understand that out of all the things in number 37, hyperhidrosis is clearly the least difficult and problematic thing. I totally understand that. Wholeheartedly. 

But for a person like me who suffered from hyperhidrosis for 20 years - and suffering it truly was - and who wondered where God was in all that time, why He wouldn't just take it away (since it did seem like such a "simple" thing) and provide some relief, well -- reading that Jesus suffered from hyperhidrosis right before his death... it was almost too much to bear. Like Anna -- he did know. When I was crying out to him in anger and sadness because I didn't understand -- he knew

When I read it I got tears in my eyes, and I'm getting them again now. God richly blessed me when he provided healing for my hyperhidrosis (and I thank Him for it every day, as I continue to think about my life pre-healing every day) but, for some reason, I truly understood and learned tonight that Jesus truly understood the impact of that suffering, as he had it to when he was human. And it reminded me of something Jen said that I like to think about often: where is God when we suffer? He is right here, suffering with us. 

7QTF: Wicked is Coming

Friday, March 7, 2014

Linking up with Jen for another edition of 7 Quick Takes Friday!

1. It's no secret that I'm a junkfood-a-holic, but I am trying to change my ways. Marco's Pizza (which is SO GOOD), however, is not making it easy. An email I received yesterday:

They've missed me. Seriously, it's bad when a pizza place emails you to let you know they've missed seeing you.

2. Okay, I don't know about you guys, but one thing that really motivates me to get things done sometimes is my fear that if I don't do it, I'll most likely die in the night and whoever comes to find my body will also see that thing undone. For instance, I got into bed last night and realized the curtain over my closet was open a little. I didn't really want to get up, but then I thought how embarrassed I'd be if someone came to find my dead body and saw that open. Same with leaving the remote control cockeyed on the couch or magazines that are askew. It's the same thing when I put on, let's just say less than attractive underwear. You know what I mean! I have some bigger underwear that are reserved for occasions like when I'm really sick or just got home from dance and took my tights and leotard off. But when I put them on, there is always a voice in the back of my head reminding me that if I die, I will be found in those underwear.

3. I've been keeping up pretty well with my walking/saying the Rosary at lunch time in my office complex. At the end of the hall there is a pediatricians office and through the windows beside the door you can see they have a TV in the waiting room. And they're always showing something awesome like Tangled. You do not know how badly I just want to open the door and ask if I can spend my lunch hour watching Disney with the (other) kids in the waiting room.

4. Snicks is an odd little fella, it's an indisputable fact. He will sometimes lay in the funniest places. For instance:

Who just lays and stares at the wall? It's like he's put himself in time out.

5. Tonight begins the annual Lenten seafood dinners at my church, Our Lady of Fatima. I'm not ashamed to say (although I probably should be) this is my very favorite part of Lent! I can eat food like it's going out of style, so you just give me a plate of fried fish, baked potatoes, hush puppies, coleslaw and whatever else and I'm in heaven!

6. OMG YOU GUYS. OMGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG. Once Upon a Time is FINALLY (finally finally finally) back on after a THREE MONTH hiatus. THREE MONTHS?! It's safe to say Story and I have only been functioning at about 75% since Once started its break in early December. This is clearly a conversation between two freakishly obsessed people:

I know, I know. It's just TV. Or is it? I've seriously never been this way about a show before. If you're not watching it, I can't talk to you. :) You are sooooo missing out. Wicked is coming!


7. Did I mention Once Upon a Time is coming back Sunday? ABC, 8 p.m. ET.

Go see Jen for more!


Thursday, March 6, 2014

Posting today totally got away from me. I have some ideas I've been knocking around, but I want to put the time into writing them. So for Thursday, I leave you with this thought:

Preach it.


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The neatest thing happened to me this morning. After my post yesterday about giving up the snooze button, my alarm went off at 6:30 this morning and I started to get up. My alarm is set to KLOVE radio, and guess what is literally the FIRST thing I heard when that alarm went off?

Hello, my name is child of the one true King
I’ve been saved, I’ve been changed, I have been set free
"Amazing Grace" is the song I sing
Hello, my name is child of the one true King

Awesome, right? Because that's pretty much what Lent is about!

But, Lent, man, not for the weak of heart, right?

My church offered three masses today: 7:30 a.m., 8:50 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. I am already at work by 8:50 and I had a meeting with my professor after work about my upcoming exam, so 7:30 it was!

Here's the thing about wearing ashes around all day (and by "all day" I mean work, my lunch trip to WalMart, my meeting at Starbucks with my professor and a wine bar date with an old college friend I dearly missed) -- it's not that I don't want to talk about God, Lent, Jesus or all of it -- I do! But what I don't like is any sort of extra attention called to myself. I ALWAYS feel this way. Want to ask me about being Catholic? Ask me! But man, I am soooo uncomfortable with any sort of extra attention on myself. I always worry about a wedding (not to worry, no imminent danger!) because ALL THOSE PEOPLE are staring at you!!! I know that's weird for a dancer and someone who doesn't mind public speaking but man, I do not like unnecessary attention!

One great thing I realized today was how much fasting makes you appreciate the food you have. I'm not a champion faster... I subscribe more to the "don't eat more than one full meal" list of rules... but I do try to adhere to not eating more than one full meal on Ash Wednesday and offering up my hunger for the Lord. I had a cereal bar for breakfast (not a full meal I don't think) and for lunch, one peanut butter and jelly sandwich. (Not an Anna Lafferre lunch, I can say that.) But as I was eating my one sandwich, I realized how happy I was to have it and how great it tasted. I slowed down, I thought about what I was eating. With each bite I took, I realized how grateful I was for that simple food and how fulfilling it was. And I call that a Lenten success. I'm a humble sinner with so many faults, but I did look at my little sandwich today and think about how much I enjoyed the opportunity and ability I had to eat it. I savored every bite.

So I hope I'm on the right track.
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